5 Tips to Succeed as a Travel Nurse
Great pay, more flexibility, the chance to see new places and build relationships are key reasons why being a travel nurse has such appeal. But how can you help ensure the experience goes well? Here are some quick tips for success.
Do your research.
Find the right company with the support you need to fit your desires, goals, and even your personality. It’s like dating. You’re going to want to make sure it’s a good fit before committing to anything, so you want a team that’s dependable and who you can work with if the going gets rough—the same team you’re happy to send fun selfies to if you love your assignment.
Have your licenses, credentials, vaccination records, and certificates up-to-date and uploaded on your computer. This will save you and your recruiter a lot of headaches. DO sweat the small stuff in this case, because these are the things that can delay getting you into your dream assignment. Staffing platforms such as the StaffDNA app make it easy to keep your profile updated and complete so you’re able to be submitted quickly to the jobs you want. And with StaffDNA, your credentials remain accessible from assignment to assignment, so it’s easier to apply to your next contract or extend your current one.
Be the kind of nurse you want to work with.
Arrive at a new assignment ready to work, not with a list of days off that you need. Facilities use contract nurses because they are short staffed: be part of the solution, not the problem.
Just because you are a hired gun doesn’t mean you have to act like one. Nurses know that teamwork makes the dream work. Introduce yourself to your new team, tell them a little bit about yourself, and ask questions. This will break the ice and let them know that you value their input. Your nursing chops will speak for themselves. Don’t waste your time (or theirs) by puffing up your chest talking about your skills and experiences—just show them what you’ve got when the rubber hits the road.
Have clarity with both your recruiter and yourself. If you’ve got your heart set on Arizona for a winter assignment, don’t get talked into Alaska. If you know 36 hours/week is your limit, don’t commit to a 48 hour/week contract. 48 hours/week on your feet feels a lot different that 48 hours in front of Netflix; but it pays a heck of a lot better, and for some nurses this will be worth it! Knowing your limits and setting goals for work/life balance will make life easier and better for you, your recruiter, and your future teammates.
Cover all of your bases: most importantly, home base.
After a long day, you want to be sure you have a safe, quiet place to shut the door behind you. Furnished Finders, Airbnb, VRBO, and Tripping.com offer a variety of short-term housing options for nurses, though some nurses prefer extended stay hotels with the free breakfasts and daily housekeeping services. Consider the neighborhood. Is it noisy? If you are a night shifter, you’re not going to want a place next to an elementary school playground. On the other hand, day shifters might think twice about that super cool loft space above a nightclub. Most importantly, start your search early so you have a comfy place to curl up and watch The Bachelor after your first day on the job.
Been thinking about embracing the travel nurse lifestyle? LiquidAgents Healthcare provides concierge-level service and support from experienced recruiters to help guide and ensure your success through the whole process.
Lean more to the tech savvy side? StaffDNA allows you to manage your healthcare career using a 100% mobile self-service platform. You get complete control to find, book, and manage assignments yourself, from one app, with access to the highest pay packages available.
Whichever way you choose, travel nursing has many benefits, and we hope these tips can help position you for success.
Karla Theilen is a writer, storyteller, and Registered Nurse based out of Missoula, Montana. Her writing has been featured on NPR, STAT News, Life in a Strong Town, and select stories and essays have been anthologized. She has been Facebook-free since 1972.
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