Sage Advice From Seasoned Travel Nurses
Travel nursing is a small niche in a much larger field of medical professionals. As a result, it’s a community of nurses that’s close-knit and communicative. If you’re a new travel nurse, it’s not difficult to reach out with questions and find a resounding community of your peers ready to provide answers. In fact, one of the best ways to learn the ropes and get acclimated in the field is to lean on the wisdom of others who have been in your shoes before.
New travel nurses would be wise to heed the advice of seasoned travel nurses who have insider perspectives to share. Use this collection of tips from experienced travel nurses to make your transition into the workforce easier.
Traveling with others
- Traveling with a second earner can help reduce costs wherever you go. Conversely, traveling with someone who’s not working might be fun on the travel and experience side, but can add financial stress as you’ll likely be duplicating many expenses.
- Making connections with travel nurses while you’re on assignment is very important! It might even help you find new opportunities and work assignments together later, especially if you’re interested in traveling with others.
Managing home while you’re away
- If you own property in your home state, you might want to rent it out so it’s maintained while you’re away. However, make sure you understand how this affects your tax home and duplicate expenses.
- Trim down your belongings as much as you can before you leave. You likely won’t be able to go home for things during assignment, after all.
Adjusting to travel
- Get licensed in the states you want to work in early. Licensing requires a lot of documentation and often takes many weeks to finalize.
- Working in one area for a few assignments (or extensions) allows you to settle in for a while and experience the region. You might save money signing year-long leases instead of month-to-month leases as well.
Savings and finances
- Have a savings plan and build an emergency fund during every assignment. You don’t want to get caught in an emergency between jobs without a financial safety net!
- Choosing your own housing on assignment is often cheaper than using agency-provided housing. This can result in more stipend money in your pocket.
Skills and specialties
- Be sure of your skills. These skills will be tested on assignment, and you’ll want to stay confident to avoid mistakes.
- Advance your charting skills and be adaptable to alternate charting systems. You’ll use a lot of different charting systems and will need to be able to adapt from assignment to assignment. Also, learn how to write a “narrative note” that explains patient interactions in further detail in case the charting system does not give you space to do so.
- If you haven’t chosen a specialty, examine which ones are in demand and will open up the most opportunities. Specialized skillsets often pay better and have less competition.
Communication and professionalism
- Always complete your contracts, remain professional, and maintain a good work ethic. These things make it easier to return to a facility where you’ve worked before.
- Choose the right staffing agency. A great recruiter and personal relationships can make a big difference in how your hiring and assignment processes go.
Travel nursing leaves so much to explore
Looking over this advice, you might feel like there’s a lot to learn. But don’t fret! Tens of thousands of people choose travel nursing every year, and you’re sure to find support everywhere you look. There’s plenty of wisdom to be shared, and before long, you’ll have your own tips and tricks to pass on to fellow travelers.