Travel nursing is a unique and exciting career path that provides opportunities and challenges to help you learn and grow. Being a first-time travel nurse can be overwhelming when you have so many things to research.
Travel nursing can seem daunting whether you’re a fresh nursing graduate or transitioning from a previous nursing role. However, this role is an excellent way to gain valuable clinical experience and meet new people.
Travel nursing is a great place to start for individuals willing to break out of their comfort zone and explore new adventures professionally. Travel nursing can be a little uncertain, like any new thing you start. However, there are tips you can follow to make your first steps as a travel nurse a smooth one. Here are seven useful tips for a first-time travel nurse.
Valuable Tips You Need as a First-Time Nurse
Travel nursing is a fantastic way to grow your career while assisting communities that need professional medical care the most. It’s also a great way to build your professional network while exploring your place of assignment. Below are valuable tips that can help you as a first-time travel nurse.
1. Plan and Be Organized
Being organized is a critical factor in having a successful travel nursing career. Ensure all your nursing documents are in order. This includes your nursing licenses, certifications, records, or other documents.
Every travel nurse must have their immunization and health records up to date before traveling for an assignment. Travel nursing agencies and recruiting organizations have different uses for medical records. Thus, you must ensure a history of your physical health, clearing you for your assignment is available.
Prepare a professionally vetted resume highlighting your accomplishments and skills as a travel nurse. It must also contain a list of references with their contact. Prospective applicants are screened and interviewed by all travel nursing agencies. Thus, adequate preparation and organization will boost your chances of getting a job.
2. Flexibility Is Key
Flexibility is essential when starting your career as a travel nurse. The more flexible you are with assignment facility, location, pay grade, and settings, the more jobs you’ll have access to. As you become more experienced in travel nursing, you become pickier with your choice of assignments.
Travel nursing can be challenging, even for veteran nurses who have been at it for decades. The stress that comes with moving from one location to the other, learning new languages, and making new friends can be frustrating. However, accepting and dealing with any issues that come your way is part of the job.
You may have to learn new systems and technologies you’re not used to. However, the earlier you see these experiences as opportunities to learn and grow, the easier and more successful your assignments become.
3. Perform Adequate Research
Research is your best friend as a first-time travel nurse. Before you accept any assignment or sign any contract, ensure you do adequate research beforehand. Research different travel nursing agencies to see the best one for you.
Think about the locations you’d like to work, the assignments you’d like to get, and how much money you’d like to make to tailor your research. There are many exciting opportunities in the travel nursing industry, and one of the best ways to access them is to research and learn as much about travel nursing as possible.
Once you’ve got your first assignment, research your assignment location. Know everything about the place of your job before you get there. Since you’ll be interacting with new people, knowing all the aspects of the area you’re going to will help you communicate better with your colleagues and locals.
4. Utilize Strategic Packing
Packing as a travel nurse can be your worst nightmare or best friend. Packing is stressful for any trip, and packing for your travel nursing assignment will be the same. Travel nursing assignments are 13 weeks long at most. Thus, you must be strategic in packing so you aren’t saddled with unnecessary luggage.
Resist the temptation to pack everything in your closet. Instead, make a list of priorities. Take note of the essentials you can’t do without and the things you can get once you settle in your new location. Sticking to your list of needs will make moving to a new place more effortless and give you time to prepare for your first day of work.
5. Understand Your Contract Before Signing
It is common knowledge that one needs to comprehend the terms of a contract before signing. The same logic applies to your travel nursing contract. You must look through the contract with a ‘fine tooth comb” and understand everything written before signing.
You can ask the travel nursing agency or recruiter questions about aspects you need help understanding. Employers will only implement something written in your contract. Thus, look through your agreement to ensure it contains housing stipends, a clear outline of your responsibilities, weekly or hourly rate, and the length of the contract.
6. Connect With Other Nurses
One of the fastest ways to get settled as a travel nurse is to get friendly with other nurses at your new location. As a travel nurse, you can work in diverse and unique practice environments, promoting professional and personal growth.
Networking at your place of work plays a crucial role in helping you make the most of your position and ensures you have a supportive community wherever you are. Your job might be for a few weeks, but you can connect and build your network during that time.
7. Seek Help When Needed
Seeking help is a part of coping with new situations. Knowing who to seek help and support from can be tricky when you’re in a new job or state. However, opening up and seeking help from people at your new assignment helps clarify things you need to know.
Seeking help when you need it can make completing your assignment easier. You can seek help from older nurses, your recruiter, or a travel nursing agency.
Travel nursing is a lucrative career path that requires dedication. It’s a lifestyle that can be intimidating and exciting, but it can take some time to get used to it. Regardless of its challenges, deciding to follow the travel nursing career path is a huge step.
Ensure you commit to learning everything about your new assignment, make friends with your colleagues, network with other nurses, and keep an open mind regarding your tasks and their locations. The tips in this article will help make your experience as a first-time travel nurse enjoyable and smooth.