A travel nurse is a registered nurse who works temporary assignments in different healthcare facilities and locations, often across different states or countries, to fill staffing needs and provide care to patients in various settings.
Travel nursing is a compelling and rewarding career path that allows nurses to work in different healthcare facilities nationwide. As a travel nurse, you get to experience new places, work with different patients and staff, and earn competitive salaries with bonuses and benefits.
However, travel nursing can also be challenging and overwhelming, especially for those new to the field. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help make travel nursing easy for you. In this article, we’ll provide insider tips and tricks to help you navigate the travel nursing world with confidence and ease.
Whether you’re a seasoned travel nurse or just starting, these tips will be valuable in making your experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Table of contents
- 1. Learn About Travel Nursing & What It Involves
- 2. Consider Working as a Float Nurse at Your Current Nursing Job
- 3. Speak to Other Travel Nurses You May Know
- 4. Ensure Your Licenses, Certifications, and Immunizations Are Up-to-Date
- 5. Make Sure You’ve Found The Right Recruiter
- 6. Be Honest With Recruiters & Potential Employers
- 7. Determine Your Availability To Work as a Travel Nurse
- 8. Prepare for the Interview
- 9. Understand Your Contract
- 10. Ask Questions
- 11. Be Organized and Prepared
- 12. Gather All Your Necessary Documents
- 13. Choose the Type of Transportation You Want To Use
- 14. Be Flexible
- 15. Research Your Destination
- 16. Know Your Travel-Nursing Essentials
- 17. Plan for Housing
- 18. Get to Your New Town a Day Early
- 19. Find a Mentor
- 20. Be Friendly, Positive, and a Team Player
- 21. Embrace New Opportunities and Challenges
- 22. Don’t Take Things Personally
- 23. Don’t Burn Bridges
- 24. Practice Self-Care
- 25. Enjoy Your New Town!
Discover expert tips and tricks from experienced travel nurses to make your nursing experience more manageable, enjoyable, and successful!
1. Learn About Travel Nursing & What It Involves
Before embarking on a travel nursing career, it’s crucial to gain a thorough understanding of the industry and its demands. Delve into extensive research, engage in conversations with experienced travel nurses, and ask insightful questions to ascertain whether this unique career path aligns with your aspirations and goals.
2. Consider Working as a Float Nurse at Your Current Nursing Job
If you’re interested in travel nursing but are still determining if it’s the right path, consider working as a float nurse at your current nursing job. This will allow you to experience working in different departments as well as gain the necessary skills for travel nursing.
3. Speak to Other Travel Nurses You May Know
Talking to other travel nurses can provide valuable insights and tips for a successful travel nursing experience. Ask them about their experiences, the challenges they’ve faced, and what they wish they had known before starting.
4. Ensure Your Licenses, Certifications, and Immunizations Are Up-to-Date
Before starting your travel nursing assignment, make sure all your licenses, certifications, and immunizations are up-to-date. This will ensure a smooth transition to your new job without any stressful delays.
5. Make Sure You’ve Found The Right Recruiter
Finding the right recruiter can significantly impact your travel nursing experience. Look for recruiters with a good track record, strong communication skills, and a willingness to advocate for your needs. Click here to discover the top-rated travel nursing agencies.
6. Be Honest With Recruiters & Potential Employers
Honesty is crucial in travel nursing. Be transparent with your recruiter and potential employers about your expectations, preferences, and limitations to ensure a successful and fulfilling experience.
7. Determine Your Availability To Work as a Travel Nurse
Consider your personal and professional commitments when determining your availability to work as a travel nurse. Be realistic about your schedule and preferences to avoid any conflicts or stress.
8. Prepare for the Interview
Prepare for your interview by researching the facility, reviewing common interview questions, and practicing your responses. Dress professionally and bring copies of your resume and licenses.
9. Understand Your Contract
Before signing your contract, make sure you understand the terms and conditions, including pay, benefits, housing, and any penalties for canceling or extending your assignment.
10. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the process. Clarify any doubts, and seek guidance from your recruiter or fellow travel nurses if needed.
11. Be Organized and Prepared
Stay organized and prepared by creating a checklist of necessary documents, packing essentials, and important contacts. This will help you stay on top of tasks and avoid any last-minute stress.
12. Gather All Your Necessary Documents
Before starting your assignment, gather all your necessary documents, such as licenses, certifications, immunization records, and insurance information.
13. Choose the Type of Transportation You Want To Use
Consider the type of transportation you want to use for your assignment. Options include driving, flying, or using public transport. Choose the most convenient and cost-effective option for you.
14. Be Flexible
Cultivating flexibility is essential for thriving as a travel nurse. Be ready to acclimate to diverse healthcare environments, fluctuating work schedules, collaborating with various colleagues, and adjusting to new living arrangements to ensure a successful and fulfilling career.
15. Research Your Destination
Another important aspect of travel nursing is researching your destination. Knowing what to expect in your new location is essential whether you are moving across the country or just a few hours away.
Researching things like the cost of living, local attractions, and cultural norms can help you better prepare for your move and make the transition easier.
16. Know Your Travel-Nursing Essentials
As a travel nurse, there are certain items that you should always have on hand. These essentials can vary from person to person, but some examples include a good pair of comfortable shoes, a reliable stethoscope, and a laptop for documentation. Having these items readily available can make your job easier and less stressful.
17. Plan for Housing
Finding a place to live in a new town can be daunting, but there are several options for travel nurses. Some travel nursing companies offer housing options, while others provide stipends for you to find housing.
Researching housing options ahead of time and working with your recruiter can help you find a comfortable and affordable place to live.
18. Get to Your New Town a Day Early
Arriving in your new town a day early can help you settle in before starting your new job. Use this extra time to get familiar with your new surroundings, stock up on any necessities, and relax before your first day on the job.
19. Find a Mentor
A good mentor can be a valuable resource for any travel nurse. They can provide guidance and support as you navigate your new job and surroundings. Look for opportunities to connect with other nurses in your unit or at social events to find potential mentors.
20. Be Friendly, Positive, and a Team Player
Being friendly, positive, and a team player can go a long way in making your travel nursing experience successful. You will be working with new colleagues and patients, and having a positive attitude can help you build relationships and make a good impression.
21. Embrace New Opportunities and Challenges
Travel nursing offers the opportunity to work in new settings and gain valuable experience. Embrace these opportunities and challenges as a way to grow as a nurse and expand your skills.
22. Don’t Take Things Personally
You may encounter different workplace cultures and communication styles as a travel nurse. It’s essential not to take things personally and to maintain a professional attitude throughout your assignment.
23. Don’t Burn Bridges
Leaving a job can be difficult, but it’s important to maintain positive relationships with colleagues and employers. You never know when you may reencounter these individuals; burning bridges can have long-term consequences for your career.
24. Practice Self-Care
Finally, practicing self-care is essential for any nurse, especially for travel nurses who are often away from their support systems. Take time for yourself to recharge and engage in activities that bring you joy in order to avoid burnout.
25. Enjoy Your New Town!
Lastly, remember to enjoy the new town! Travel nursing offers the opportunity to explore new places and make new memories. Take advantage of your time off to explore the local area and try new things.
Travel nursing can be an exciting and rewarding career path, but it can also come with its own set of challenges. From being organized and prepared to practicing self-care, there are many ways you can ensure your success as a travel nurse.
Following these insider tips and tricks can make your travel nursing experience much easier and more enjoyable. Remember to stay flexible, embrace new opportunities and challenges, and enjoy your new town.
Nurse Luke is a CRNA who specializes in Nursing content and still enjoys a very busy career with Locum, Per Diem and Travel nursing in the greater midwest. He has over 25 years of experience in the healthcare field and received his CRNA masters degree from the Mayo Clinic School of Healthcare. He is passionate about helping nurses explore the options of becoming a travel nurse as well as spending time with his Family.