A nursing opportunity without boundaries doesn’t only mean a career that takes you from one rich experience to the next. It also means joining an industry that continues to break down barriers for more opportunities. And there are numbers to prove this beneficial demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the demand for nursing between 2011 and 2018 should grow by at least 18 percent.

Even with this projected growth, it’s important to remember the evolving role of the nursing workforce. Just like any other service industry, supply and demand within the nursing workforce is directly affected by numerous factors: population growth and reduction, healthcare reimbursement changes, national and state-level economic conditions, and even aging within the nursing workforce. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also pointed to the rapidly changing healthcare delivery system, which directly redefines the roles of healthcare professionals — nurses included.

With that in mind, your best strategy for a successful traveling nurse career is to keep up with most current travel nursing specialities. So long as you stay in front of what the industry is specifically demanding, then you’ll find opportunities without issue. To start you off, follow this consolidated list of travel nursing specialities in high demand.


This nursing specialty is a vital part of the neonatal care team. Neonatal nurses care for newborn infants up to 28 days after birth. Within this specialty, there are four different levels where you could work. The levels in highest demand are Level II and Level III.

A nurse with Level II experience can expect to provide the extra special attention an infant needs before being discharged. A neonatal nurse with Level III experience is an inherent part of the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU). He or she is expected to take care of newborns who rely on equipment to survive the first days of their lives.

Operating Room (OR)

Operating room nurses, otherwise known as perioperative nurses, are a pillar among the surgical team during procedures. A nurse with this specialty is also responsible for educating patients on pre- and post-operative care. This travel nursing specialty is a result of ambulatory surgery centers plus the growth in office-based surgeries.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

Nurses with this specialty are considered “particularly easy to place” according to the Healthcare Traveler. Even more so for those with critical care and high acuity experience. The intensive care unit staff is responsible for providing care for patients who are battling life-threatening medical conditions. On a day-to-day, you’ll look after patients who have experienced invasive surgery, accidents, trauma, or organ failure.


The demand for this nursing specialty is a direct result of an aging population that’s living longer. Aged baby boomers and their parents are in need of dialysis treatments, which means nurses with experience in this specialty are in need too. A dialysis nurse has responsibilities that include monitoring a patient’s vital signs, keeping work areas clean, communicating procedure details and later determining the efficiency of the procedure, and much more.

Labor and Delivery

A popular and just as demanded traveling nurse specialty, labor and delivery nurses care for women and their new or soon-to-be bouncing bundles of joy during labor and delivery. These nurses are the right hand for coaching mothers through delivery, assisting with inducing labor, identifying and preventing complications, and many other specific responsibilities tied to monitoring the fetal heart rate as well as the mother’s vital signs.

Emergency Room (ER)

Travel nurses with this particular specialty can expect to find plenty of work available within the workforce. With this specialty, you can expect that you’ll work in assessing, intervening, and stabilizing trauma patients as well as patients with illnesses that need immediate action. Knowing how to quickly move from one assessment to the next with painstaking accuracy is a must. The most opportunistic place for employment are hospitals and independent emergency departments.