Starting your next (or first) travel nurse assignment can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience, not only for the potential change professionally, but different towns may require a lifestyle change! While you get the opportunity to make an impact on patients, explore the country, and earn more, you also have to drop everything and move, possibly leaving a stable job for the unknown, while living away from your friends and family. If you’re ready for your next great travel nursing adventure, keep these tips in mind to successfully tackle your next assignment like a seasoned pro:
1. Get the right recruiter
No matter what travel nurse agency you work with, it’s important you work with a recruiter who gets you. Your recruiter is your point of contact for almost anything, you can ask questions on your contract, get help with benefits or timesheets, and vent to them after a particularly rough shift. Working with a recruiter whose personality meshes well with yours is crucial to having a successful travel nursing career. You want a recruiter who takes the time to get to know you, your job goals, personalizes your job search, and connects you with assignments in facilities and locations that are based on your wants and needs! Most importantly, you want a recruiter who is honest with you and will tell you the pros and cons of certain contracts or locations and give you insight and alternatives you might not have considered before. A good recruiter should continually check-in on you and how you’re doing, even when you’re not on contract with them.
You might need to fire your recruiter
Since recruiters play such a vital role in your career, always be on the lookout for signs that your recruiter isn’t the right fit for you! If you’re a seasoned travel nurse but you’re not thrilled with your recruiter, don’t be afraid to ask to work with someone else. If they're submitting you to jobs without talking to you first, not communicating about your next assignment, being argumentative, or they just don’t get our goals and try to press you into contracts that don’t match your plans, you may want to consider making a change! Travel nursing is your career, so it’s important that you feel supported by both your recruiter and agency.
2. Get organized
When you start applying to jobs, ensure you meet the minimum requirements for the jobs you’re looking at, or it's a waste of time for you and the Recruiter. Make sure you have updated and necessary licensure, immunizations, skills checklists, and references. Having a completed profile with your agency will allow them to quickly submit you to jobs, which is extra important due to the competitive nature of the travel nurse market. Even if you’ve worked with that agency before, make sure none of your documents are expired and expect that you might need to talk to the credentialing team again. Not only do you need to get organized professionally, but it’s important to get organized personally as well! Ensure your personal information is still valid and not expiring soon like your driver's license or car registration to avoid any issues while moving. If you’re applying for jobs with an immediate start date, you should be prepared to move to that location quickly. Having an organized home will ensure that you don’t forget to pack any necessities to be comfortable during your move.
3.Ask questionsDon’t be afraid to ask tons of questions! No matter if travel nursing is a brand-new adventure for you or you’ve been traveling for years, ask recruiters, other travel nurses, and facility staff any questions that come to mind. Some recruiters are better about onboarding than others, don’t let them assume you have all the information you need meanwhile you’re a nervous wreck in your new city or facility. The more information you have, the better prepared you are to have an amazing assignment. Don’t be shy about asking about salary, benefits, insurance, reimbursements, facility processes, or anything else that comes to mind. Beyond just asking about your job, ask questions about what to do in your new city! Ask for restaurant recommendations, local mechanics, or the best hair stylist around. Getting comfortable in your new city can help turn a not-so-fun contract into a stellar one!
4. Be flexible and Open
Flexibility is key to having a smooth travel nurse contract. It doesn’t matter if this is your first contract or your 50th contract, you have to remain flexible while working as a travel nurse. Being open to out of the way locations can allow you to potentially earn more, but also opens up the number of assignments you can apply for. After you secure your contract, staying flexible on the job will really help you have a smooth assignment. Travelers are often the first to be floated when another specialty is short, either because there’s a guarantee of hours for travelers or because of the hospital’s floating policy, so it’s important you’re flexible and open to that or you may want to consider other facility settings.
Don’t let the initial intimidation and nerves keep you from stepping outside of your comfort zone! Remember that you chose this field for a reason, to exercise your skills and make an impact on patients, and travel nursing is just the next step in your adventure. If you ever need advice or a second opinion from another industry professional, reach out to one of our recruiters – they're always available to help you.