CHOOSING A TRAVEL NURSE ASSIGNMENT
Every nurse has their idea of “the perfect” assignment. The problem can be getting a recruiter or agent to understand. For instance, how small is a “small” town?
Take the traveler who, when she first started, had a recruiter who wanted to send her to a small town of only 90,000 people, to which the nurse immediately replied, “But you don’t understand, I’m from a town of 1250.”
That’s what’s so wonderful about travel assignments; you can choose a big city or a small town. You can try out a small hospital, like Critical Access Hospital, or you can go to a substantial Level-1 trauma center.
Here are 7 things to consider when choosing a travel assignment:
- See what’s available on the job board. You usually have a wide variety if you are in ICU, ER, OB, MST, or OR. You will be quite limited if you work Psych, Rehab, and House Supervisor.
- Decide where you want to go according to your hobbies. Do you enjoy skiing? Hiking? The mountains? The beach? Love to play golf?
- Ask yourself what type of city/town you’re looking for. Do you want the hustle and bustle of a big city? Some people are just the opposite and love the peace and quiet of a small rural area. What about a happy medium in the suburbs?
- What size and type of hospital are you looking for? Everything is out there, from prestigious super hospitals with Level 1 trauma centers to teaching facilities with the most challenging NICU patients. Then you have your Critical Access Hospitals, which usually have an ER, 25-bed med/surg, and maybe a small 2-4 bed ICU. And of course, there’s everything in between.
- Keep your profile up-to-date with your agency. Jobs can be offered and filled within hours. This is where it’s nice for you or a recruiter to be ready to submit within a few minutes of the posting.
- Be very careful about having two different agencies submit your profile to the same facility. Another general rule is never letting an agency submit your profile without your explicit consent. The only exception would be if you have a “hard to find” specialty and you are working ONLY with one agency.
- Make sure that the pay package fits your budget. How much do you need to pay your bills? How much do you need for the costs of duplicating expenses? Is it in line with what staff is making, plus having your housing and meal costs covered? You can also look at job listings and see what others are offering.
By following these simple but effective tips, you can easily find yourself in a great place to work.
Kay Slane, RN, BS, CGM, is a 30-year career nurse and writer who has traveled in the areas of rehab, telemetry, emergency room, and since 2010, as a House Supervisor. She currently works from home educating nurses on becoming better travelers through her books, several travel nursing groups, and her recent development of a travel nursing university.
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