Healthcare Traveler

Travel Nursing Specialties You May Not Have Considered

Travel nurses work in all types of specialties in various healthcare facilities. Specialties, such as the ICU, emergency room, and operating room will always be in demand. There are also several other specialties where travel nurses can find assignments including:

Subacute Care

Subacute hospitals are facilities that care for people who no longer require an acute care hospital, but they still need specialized medical care. Nurses that work in subacute hospitals care for patients with all types of injuries and medical conditions, such as strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and acute respiratory failure. Nurses often provide wound and pain management, tracheostomy care, and ventilator support.

Cath Lab

Cath lab nurses take care of patients that undergo certain procedures, such as cardiac catheterizations, stent placements, and valvuloplasties. Nurses prepare patients for procedures, assist the doctor, and also care for the patients after the procedures. One advantage of working as a cath lab nurse, is you have the chance to work with the most advanced technology. Nurses who are interested in working as a cath nurse should consider earning their cardiac-vascular certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Experience working in the ICU or telemetry is also helpful.

Long-Term Acute Care

Long-term acute care nursing may be a specialty some nurses are not familiar with. Nurses who work in long-term acute care treat patients who have complex medical needs that require extended hospitalization. Long-term acute care is different than subacute care. Long-term acute care patients are not recovered enough to go to a subacute or rehabilitation facility. Patients may be recovering from life-threatening conditions and need long-term hospitalization sometimes for several months. If you’re interested in working as a long-term acute care nurse, it’s helpful to have a year or two ICU or emergency room experience.


Dialysis nurses care for patients who have kidney failure and require dialysis treatment. Nurses prepare the patient, operate the dialysis machine and monitor the patient throughout the procedure. Dialysis helps remove excess water and waste from the body when the kidneys do not function as they should. The increase in people with diabetes and kidney disease has created a demand for dialysis nurses to work in hospitals and dialysis clinics.

Step Down Unit

After patients are recovered enough to leave the intensive care unit, they may not be ready for “floor care.” That’s where a step-down unit can be helpful. Nurses who work in step-down units provide care to patients who still require close monitoring beyond the medical-surgical floor. Certain procedures that may not be performed on the floor are done in a step-down unit. For instance, procedures, such as cardioversions and bedside bronchoscopies may be performed. Staffing ratios are also often different in step-down units. Nurses working in a typical step-down unit have more patients than if they worked in the ICU, but fewer than if they provided floor care.

One great thing about travel nursing is there are many specialties in need of nurses. Do you work as a travel nurse in a unique specialty? Share your specialty and experience with us in the comments below!

Looking for a different adventure in travel nursing? Check out our open opportunities across the nation right here.

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