Survival checklist: How to survive your first travel nursing assignment

While travel nursing is an exciting opportunity for exploring destinations and utilizing your skills and expertise to help others, it can be rather intimidating at first. The idea of uprooting your stable career and heading down a path that’s more flexible and unique seems impossible, but it allows you to step outside of your comfort zone and embark on new journeys that expand your resume both professionally and personally.

If you’re ready to take a chance and dedicate your career to travel nursing, consider our survival checklist for your first assignment:

1. Do your research

Research Instagram and Facebook to find Travel Nurse influencers worth following. Then join a few Facebook groups to learn some of the challenges and rewards of travel nursing. We recommend some here.  And don’t be shy about reaching out to recruiters. You don’t have to commit to anything yet. Simply tell them you’re doing research and they’ll make time for you and answer your questions. It’s not all that confusing once you dig in and ask questions, but it can be time consuming.

2. Get organized

If you’re ready to start applying, make sure you meet the minimum qualifications. This includes having updated licensure, immunizations and all other paperwork that you may have to present to a recruiter. If you’re not sure what those are, no problem. Your recruiter will help you get all that ready after you apply.

3. Get the right recruiter

Finding a travel nursing job on your own for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Take the stress out of getting an assignment by working with a recruiter from the start. Talk to 3 or 4 if you have to. But, find the one that fits your personality, your style and who communicates with you with ease. They will get to know you and identify your goals so they can find the best fitting assignment for you to start your career.

travel nurse driving

4. Understand your limits and flexibility

In meeting with your recruiter, make sure you identify your limits and flexibility early on in the conversation. Do you want to stay close to home, or are you willing to travel across the country? Determining this early on will give your recruiter the resources needed to find you an ideal assignment and help you set realistic expectations on pay and travel stipends.

5. Search for housing

Even before you land your first assignment, you should get serious about your living arrangements. Explore your options for short-term living in the areas you’re interested in, whether it’s a month-to-month apartment lease or an extended stay hotel. Don’t forget to tell them you’re a travel nurse. Some hotels give you discounts.

6. Connect with other nurses in the area

Making new friends as an adult can be difficult, especially when you’re spending a limited amount of time in a new place. Get on social media and connect with other nurses and like-minded professionals in the area so you have a better chance of making friends upon your arrival. Join Meetup groups or ask around at your job for other travel nurses on assignment, too.

Remember: You started this career to exercise your skills and passion for nursing while stepping outside your comfort zone. Don’t let the initial intimidation keep you from pursuing your dreams – if you ever need a second opinion or advice from a like-minded professional, reach out to one of our recruiters. They’re always available to help you understand what it takes to travel as a nurse.