NICU Travel Nurse Jobs

NICU nurses are responsible for the care of premature or critically ill infants in a neonatal intensive care unit. They provide around-the-clock care to these infants, monitoring their health and administering life-saving treatments as needed. NICU nurses also provide support and education to the infants' parents and families, helping them to understand their child's condition and treatment.

Nurses with neonatal intensive care unit experience have never been in more demand and critical care nurses are sought after by nearly every hospital in the country. NICU travel nursing can be an exciting and rewarding career, especially for those who are excited about experiencing new places and meeting new people. There are many benefits to working as a travel NICU nurse, such as increased income, professional development opportunities, and gaining experience in areas outside of your own geographic region.

73 Travel NICU Nurse jobs available

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NICU Travel Nurse FAQ

The salary of neonatal nurses can vary significantly depending on the experience of the nurse as well as the experience, certifications, and location they are working. The average salary for a full time NICU nurse was $ 80,010 per year or $36.22 per hour in 2020 with most earning between $61,630 and $93,590 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Entry-level registered nurse NICU jobs or those with the lowest 10% salary earned around $53,410, while the highest 10% earned more than $116,230. Typically, travel NICU nurse jobs will provide higher hourly and weekly pay than permanent positions in the same location, especially for critical care positions like the neonatal intensive care unit.

NICU RNs - or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurses - care for the most vulnerable patients - premature and critically ill newborns. The equipment and advanced technology in the neonatal intensive care unit provide very specialized care for the tiniest of tiny patients there.

A NICU travel nurse can find employment opportunities at an intensive care unit that has a designation of level 1-4. A level 1 neonatal intensive care unit provides postnatal care and stabilizes relatively healthy full-term babies born between thirty-five and thirty-seven weeks. Once the newborns are stabilized, they are transferred to another facility. Level 2 healthcare facilities resuscitate and stabilize preterm brief periods (twenty-four hours), and once stabilized they are transferred to a facility for newborns born less than thirty-two weeks as well as babies born with birth defects or critical illnesses. They offer a full range of respiratory support and advanced imaging. There are some advanced level 3 or Level 4 NICUs that have capabilities of providing surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions.

Typical Responsibilities of NICU NURSES:

  • Assist mothers during labor and after birth

  • Perform cognitive tests and evaluate test results

  • Monitor vitals (pulse oximetry, blood pressure, temperature) and report changes to the nurse manager

  • Deliver medications as prescribed by a physician or as per protocol

  • Participate in rounds with neonatologists and teach family members about infant care if necessary

  • Document patient’s progress and record their status

NICU Nurse to Patient Ratio:

  • 1:1-2


  • Level 4 to Level 1


Premature birth and critically care newborn children suffering from:

  • Sepsis

  • Hydrocephalus

  • ECMO

  • Congenital Viral Infections

  • Meconium Aspiration

  • Congenital Heart Disease

  • Gastroschisis

  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

  • Pneumothorax

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Choanal Atresia

Education & License Requirements

Registered Nurses need to complete their associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and take the National Council Licensure Exam NCLEX -RN Exam, which is a requirement to practice as a registered nurse in the United States. Once the NCLEX exam is passed and you meet the board of nursing license requirements in your state, then all that is left is to do is gain the necessary clinical experience as a neonatal intensive care nurse and explore additional certifications.


Though it is possible to work as an intensive care unit nurse with NICU certification, it is a requirement in many hospitals. NICU nursing, like all critical and neonatal intensive care nursing specialties, can be stressful and demanding. NICU travel nurses who get ICU certified can expect higher pay because hospitals know they have the clinical skills to treat babies and infants. One of the most common certifications for a NICU nurse is the NRP or Neonatal Resuscitation Program offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics. NICU travel nurses must also maintain basic certifications such as Basic Life Support.

While compensation offers can vary greatly depending on the contract or agency offering, pay packages for travel neonatal intensive care nurse jobs typically have four major components: hourly taxable wages, meals and incidentals, housing, and travel.

Hourly Pay

Full-time nurses working at healthcare facilities receive a salary, but most travel nurse healthcare employers offer hourly wages. Every pay package must include a taxable hourly wage, and the amount can vary depending on the shift, location, and specialty required for the assignment.


Housing payments can be included in a payment from a staffing agency. This is typically offered in two ways. Either the company is providing its own housing, or the traveler is taking the housing stipend. It is more beneficial for the traveler to take the housing stipend for two primary reasons. First, they will have a choice in where they stay. Everyone’s definitions of comfortable and acceptable are different. The second reason the housing stipend is more beneficial for them is that it can be given as a non taxable amount.

Meals and Incidentals

Also known as per diems, meals, and incidental stipends provide a daily budget for daily living expenses. These standards vary depending on the cost of living in cities and states across the country.

Travel Expenses

Travel is the last portion of the pay package. Many recruiters may not even offer travel and instead put that money into the per diems or housing for their traveler so they are receiving the benefits over the entire contract, not just at the very beginning or end of the contract. While a travel stipend can be used to cover the cost of a flight for the traveler, it is more often than not used to subsidize the traveler’s expenses to and from an assignment. Travel expenses can be offered as a reimbursement rate per mile, though many agencies will opt to offer a flat rate to and from an assignment.

Many NICU travel nursing professionals find work through recruitment agencies and marketplaces, which means they have better access to job boards to choose their schedule, location, and salary. When you begin browsing for new NICU travel nursing jobs yourself, be sure to consider the housing options, the benefits, the guaranteed hours policy, and the recruiting company’s overall reputation.

The good news is that Fusion Marketplace has everything you need when it comes to finding the perfect NICU travel nursing jobs. Here, you have the freedom to work with a recruiter to help you compare benefits, packages, and staffing agencies—all in one place.