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Written by Christine Purviance, BSN, RN, Director of Clinical Services at Medical Edge Recruitment

What is an ER Travel Nurse?

ER travel nurses are highly specialized travel nurses who care for patients of all ages for any reason. They stabilize, evaluate, and treat any patient that walks into a hospital’s emergency room. ER travel nurses respond quickly in life threatening situations and must have a high-level of critical thinking to react and anticipate the needs of every patient they see. 

ER Travel Nurse Education and Certifications

Becoming an ER travel nurse takes time, education, and experience before one can jump into the fast-paced career. If you think you want to be an ER travel nurse, keep reading to find out the requirements to ensure you are on the right track!


The first step to becoming an ER nurse is to complete an accredited nursing program through a university or a community college. You can become a Registered Nurse with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, but keep in mind that many nursing jobs require bachelor’s degree these days.

Pass the NCLEX

After you’ve completed nursing school, you can apply to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a Registered Nurse! You will apply in the state that you will be licensed as an RN.


ER nurses require a few certifications to take care of the diverse patients that they see. The minimum certifications required are:

  • BLS (Basic Life Support)
  • ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) 
  • PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support)
  • NIH (National Institute of Health) Stroke Certification

Get Experience Before You Travel

Before you can begin working ER travel assignments, you must get at least one year of experience in the emergency room! Secure a job in the ER if you can as a new graduate. If you are unable to find a job in the ER, you might have to work in a different specialty then transfer to the ER before you can travel as an ER nurse.  

As you gain experience as an ER nurse, you may also need these certifications…

  • CEN (Certified Emergency Nurse)
  • TNCC (Trauma Nurse Core Course)
  • ENPC (Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course)

Having additional certifications may not be required, but they are great for your resume! ER certifications, like the three listed above, show future facilities you are an excellent candidate for a travel assignment.

What experience is needed to become an ER travel nurse?

ER travel nurses need a minimum of one-year of experience working as an ER nurse to take a travel nursing assignment. However, some agencies and facilities may require up to two years of recent ER experience before they will consider you. Travel nurses do not get training on how to do their job, they are only oriented to their unit. The more experience you have, the better!  

Is ER Travel Nursing for you?

If you’ve thought about becoming an ER travel nurse, ask yourself a few questions to see if it’s the right specialty for you—

  • Do you enjoy frequent changes of pace and meeting new people?
  • Are you assertive?
  • Can you see yourself taking care of patients of all ages while never knowing what to expect?
  • Can you multitask and manage your time well?
  • Are you an adrenaline junkie?

If you answered yes to most, or all, of these questions, ER travel nursing may be the perfect career for you! Not only are ER travel nurses assertive, enjoy fast-paced work environments, and have excellent time management skills, they are skilled professionals and complete dozens of tasks for multiple patients each day including:

  • Take vital signs and patient medical histories
  • Provide basic and advanced life support
  • Administer blood products and lifesaving medications
  • Stabilize trauma injuries and prepare patients for emergency surgeries
  • Assist physicians with emergency bedside procedures
  • Insert IV’s and send blood tests to the lab
  • and more!

ER nurses witness critically ill and injured patients daily. One day they may spend an hour trying to resuscitate a drowning victim and the next day they’re mass transfusing blood products into a victim of a hit-and-run motorcyclist. Every day is different in the ER, but one thing remains the same—ER nurses save lives regularly!

Are you ready to find an ER travel nurse assignment?

Medical Edge Recruitment is the premier travel nursing recruitment agency, specializing in providing top talent to clients in the healthcare industry. We connect clinical and allied providers to their ideal opportunities, focusing on building long-lasting relationships through honesty and transparency.

In travel nursing, bigger does not always mean better. While we have an extensive network of job opportunities, our experienced team is dedicated to making your personalized provider experience our priority. There are a lot of moving parts in getting set up for a new assignment, but we take care of all the details along the way.

Adventure awaits, let Medical Edge Recruitment show you where to go next! 


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