April 17, 2024


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What You Should Know About ICU Travel Nursing Job

Travel Nurse Career Guide: ICU Nursing & Jobs | TNAA

An ICU ( Intensive Care Unit ) nurse’s job is multifaceted as work encompasses many areas to produce a plan and establish goals for a patient in their care. Being an ICU nurse is not easy, it involves critical thinking, teamwork and good communication skills in order to follow proper  procedures in the  unit. 

They are required to meet the unique and individual needs of their patients in a calm and professional manner. So if you think you have what it takes to be an ICU travel nurse then keep on reading.

What is an ICU Travel Nurse?

ICU nurses should be ready to take charge of patients who need critical care. Their patients in the ICU have serious conditions that require round-the-clock care and precision as life or death is on the line. They need to adhere to the strict hospital protocols and accurately hand out the correct and at times numerous medications needed for the patient to survive. 

As a ICU travel nurse, assignments can usually be 13 weeks or more, depending on the demand and need basis. If you are considering being an ICU travel nurse, talk with your employer, they will hear any of  your requests to accommodate friends and family and or if you have specific needs.

During this time, many employers in the healthcare industry have a high demand for qualified ICU travel nurses. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, there is a special and urgent need all across the country and many are willing to offer higher than usual pay to meet this demand. 

How to Get a Travel Nursing Job in an ICU

To be an ICU travel nurse you need to be a graduate of Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You need to also pass the NCLEX-RN ( National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses in order to be a Registered Nurse (RN) to be licensed to work. 

  • A valid professional license within the state of practice
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) credentials are recommended and may be required for specific travel nurse positions
  • Other specialty-related certifications are preferred and may be required for specific travel nurse positions
  • Proof of right to work in the United States
  • Years of experience in critical care 

If you are already a registered nurse but want to expand your qualifications then seek out specialized programs in order to be more ready to work in the ICU. There are many ICU externship opportunities for student nurses and there are after graduate internship programs.

If you are interested in earning certifications to widen your portfolio, The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) offers several ICU certifications, including the CCRN certification for acute/critical care nurses and additional modules for pediatrics and neonatology. 

ICU Travel Nursing Jobs Statistics You Should Know

1. How much is an ICU travel nurse’s salary?

  • If you want to earn more a career as an ICU travel nurse, the average salary for an ICU nurse in the United States is $85,755; the average hourly pay is $41.23, according to ZipRecruiter.com.
  •  ICU travel nurses can earn more than a staff nurse, due to travelling they have travel allowances and bonuses, and overtime pay. Factors like locations, years of experience and your qualifications can affect your compensation.
  • An ICU travel nurse is one of the seven highest-paid nursing specialties for registered nurses according to Travel Nursing.Org


    2. Is being an ICU Travel Nurse in demand?

  • Yes. During this time of the Covid-19 pandemic they are in demand more than ever. Many healthcare employers are seeking qualified ICU nurses nationwide.

    3.Can I know in advance what location I can be sent to?

  • Yes. If you are qualified and have years of experience as an ICU nurse then you can even choose where you are sent to. There are many hospitals who have a high demand for ICU nurses from big major cities like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago to rural towns in Alaska and Arizona.
  • Due to the high demand, hospitals do not have the time to teach new staff all the ins and outs of the job as such your years of experience and qualifications can make you an ideal and attractive candidate for the job.