Is an OR Travel Nurse Position Right for You? - TNS 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

You’re an OR nurse looking for adventure outside the operating room. True that it can be an exhilarating place — but you just need more.

No need for a career change! 

OR nurses have been choosing their own adventures for years — and so can you.

In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about becoming an OR travel nurse and how to get started today.



Table of Contents


how much do travel or nurses make


Job Requirements for an OR Travel Nurse

It’s not difficult to meet the requirements of an OR travel nurse. 

In addition to having a nursing degree from an accredited nursing school and a state RN license, here are some of the certifications and requirements you may need to meet:

  1. One year of on-the-job work experience as an OR nurse
  2. BLS and ACLS certifications are typically required
  3. PALS and CNOR certifications may also be required; and
  4. First Assist OR nurses may require a CRNFA certification 

These requirements may vary based on the facility and the state for which you are applying to become an OR travel nurse. Check with your recruiter before you apply!

Are Advanced Certifications Required to Qualify for an Operating Room Travel Nurse Job?

At a minimum, most OR travel nurses will be expected to have their BLS and ACLS certifications. Additional advanced certifications are usually only necessary for First Assist OR nurses, however, each facility will have a list of minimum requirements that you should be aware of before applying.

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we make the OR travel nurse application process easy. 

When you send us your resume, we’ll set up a call with one of our super-friendly recruiters. After determining what your qualifications are, our recruiter will guide you to the positions that you may apply to.

Contact us for more information or to speak to a Trusted Nurse Staffing recruiter today.

What Does the Optimal Candidate for an Operating Room Travel Nurse Look Like?

In addition to the certifications and qualifications the facility is looking for, an OR travel nurse should also possess the following skills and personality traits:

  • Think fast on their feet
  • Work well in high-stress situations
  • Adapt to new surroundings quickly
  • Show compassion and patience
  • Possess great communication skills
  • Be friendly and approachable; and
  • Have strong organizational skills

If you think you have what it takes to succeed as an OR travel nurse, let us know at Trusted Nurse Staffing.

What Is a Typical OR Travel Nurse Salary?

Taking on the responsibility of an OR travel nurse is often well-compensated. The operating room travel nurse salary will vary from state to state and also between facilities.

An OR travel nurse can expect to earn an average of $55/hr or $113,613 annually, depending on:

  • Demand
  • Duties performed
  • Certifications
  • Years of experience; and
  • Regional salary trends

What Additional Contract Benefits Are Often Included in Travel Contracts?

While every travel nurse agency offers a different set of benefits, most include:

But, OR travel nurses with Trusted Nurse Staffing can expect all this and more, including:

  • Highest pay rates in the industry
  • 401k with 4% matching after 1,000 hours
  • Overtime/double time
  • Sign-on and completion bonus
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • License, certifications, and CEU reimbursements
  • Loyalty program
  • And much more




What to Expect From OR Travel Nursing

Aside from the great pay and benefits, what else can you expect when you become an OR travel nurse? Every facility offers a unique environment, but below we have listed some of the most common expectations.

Fast-Paced Environment

The OR is busy! Most often, large hospitals have dozens of operating rooms and the doctors require nursing staff to prepare each room for surgery — and you can’t be late!

In many cases, OR travel nurses work 8-hour shifts, with the expectation of being on call during some of your “off hours,” which means you have to stay on your toes, even when you’re not at the hospital.

You should anticipate very little downtime, as OR travel nurses are essentially the “runners” of the operating room.

OR nurses are also expected to monitor the patient’s vital signs during surgery, requiring constant communication with the surgeons. You’ll also be required to assess the patients before surgery and maintain a sterile operating room.

If you thrive in fast-paced, ever-changing environments, then the operating room might be for you.

Limited Orientation Time

Being an OR travel nurse means that you’ll be thrust into a new environment with little time for orientation, especially on shorter assignments.

You’ll be expected to hit the floor running, which requires adaptability on your part. 

If you’re a … 

  • Quick-thinker
  • Fast learner; and 
  • Work well in unfamiliar environments

… an OR travel nurse position might be the perfect fit for you.

Differing Names for Surgical Items

Before you hit the road as an OR travel nurse, you should know that the medical devices you’re familiar with may be referred to as something entirely different in another facility.

According to Geeky Medics, some of these variations may include:

  • The name of the inventor of the device, such as:
    • Adson or Gillies (types of forceps)
    • Mayo or Potts (types of scissors)
    • Langenbeck or Moynihan (types of retractors)
    • Etc.
  • The generic name of the device, such as:
    • Long non-toothed forceps
    • Large curved-handle retractor
    • Atraumatic clamps
    • Etc.
  • The size of the device, such as:
    • #10 blade
    • #3 suture
    • Etc.

It would be wise to brush up on the various names for each surgical instrument because the last thing you want to be doing in the middle of surgery is playing a guessing game!


or travel nurse salary


Added Job Skills

One of the unique expectations and benefits of becoming an OR travel nurse is the amazing experiences you’ll be able to add to your resume. 

Whether you’re helping …

  • A patient get a new knee
  • Remove cancerous tumors
  • With an open-heart surgery

… or assisting with some of the more unique surgeries, such as turning an ankle into a knee (Rotationplasty), you’ll acquire skills you wouldn’t otherwise have staying on the same ward in the same facility.

Unique and Rewarding Experiences

Working as an OR travel nurse puts you in control of your destiny. Not only can you select from locations that appeal to you, for whatever reason, but you’ll also meet some incredible people along the way.

Some travel nurses may choose to room with other travel nurses, forming a buddy system and bonds that last forever. While others plan adventures outside the operating room to connect socially with others who are in the same position.

If you’re ready to see the country from a whole new perspective while earning money doing exactly what you love, becoming an OR travel nurse could be for you.

Are OR Travel Nurse Jobs in Demand?

OR travel nurse positions are in high demand, and the more experience you have, the greater in demand you become.

OR nurses with … 

  • 3+ years experience
  • Practice as a First Assist Nurse; and 
  • Multiple certifications 

… are highly sought after and compensated quite well for their qualifications.

But don’t worry. OR travel nurses with less experience can still find amazing nursing jobs all over the country. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing has placed OR travel nurses with a wide variety of experience and qualifications and in a wide variety of locations and facilities. Register your free profile and speak to a recruiter today. We’re available 24/7 to assist you throughout the entire process.

What Types of Facilities Hire OR Travel Nurses?

OR travel nurses can be called to action in various facilities, including:

  • University teaching facilities
  • Advanced trauma centers
  • Acute care facilities
  • Outpatient surgical centers
  • Children’s hospitals
  • And more

The Top 10 Cities for Operating Room Travel Nurses

If you’re looking for an OR travel nurse position and want to follow the dollar signs, start your search with these 10 cities:

  • New York City, NY (average annual salary of $134k+)
  • San Mateo, CA (average annual salary of $132k+)
  • Juneau, AK (average annual salary of $128k+)
  • Boston, MA (average annual salary of $128k+)
  • Berkeley, CA (average annual salary of $127k+)
  • Santa Monica, CA (average annual salary of $126k+)
  • Daly City, CA (average annual salary of $126k+)
  • Quincy, MA (average annual salary of $126k+)
  • Renton, WA (average annual salary of $126k+)
  • Minneapolis, MN (average annual salary of $124k+)


or travel nurse jobs


How Long Do OR Travel Nurse Contracts Typically Last?

Most travel nursing agencies offer contracts of 13 weeks with the possibility to extend. However, Trusted Nurse Staffing has contracts ranging from 8 weeks to 52 weeks, allowing for the most flexibility.

In many cases, OR travel nurse contracts can be renewed, so if you happen to enjoy the location you’ve chosen, you may not have to leave! This is especially beneficial to travel nurses who: 

  • Have taken positions for personal reasons
  • Are traveling with family; or 
  • Work close enough to their hometown to commute

Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find the Perfect Travelling Position as an OR Nurse

Are you ready to begin your journey as an OR travel nurse? Look no further than Trusted Nurse Staffing. You can count on us to find a position that checks all of your boxes.

We offer a wide variety of staffing opportunities, including:

  • Local assignments
  • Travel assignments
  • Permanent placement 
  • Temporary to permanent; and
  • Per diem

With TNS, your career is in the best possible hands. We’ve made it our mission to deliver exceptional customer service while upholding our core values of:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Leadership
  • Responsibility
  • Passion; and
  • Growth

Your experience with Trusted Nurse Staffing will be 100% personal, and you’ll never feel like just another number. With agents working around the clock to answer your questions, we want to ensure that every encounter with our agency recruiters is a positive one.

Getting started is as easy as clicking below and creating your free profile. 

Still not sure? Check out these testimonials from some of our happy nurses.