Constantly changing your surroundings and living on the road can be challenging, but there are plenty of benefits to choosing a travel nursing lifestyle. Take it from your fellow travel nurses! We spoke with some of our seasoned travelers at Supplemental Health Care about what it takes to be a successful travel nurse and the advice they wish they had while starting out in their travel careers.
The Best Advice from Travel Nurses
Do Your Homework and Prepare
Before you become a travel nurse, you’ll want to figure out what you want out of travel nursing and do some research on the opportunities that are out there. You should research travel nursing agencies and locations to find out what will work for you. It’s important to consider the cost of living and housing options in your new home away from home too. Once you start traveling, keep track of all your documentation so you’re ready to go for your next assignment.
Have an Open Mind
You may have a specific idea about what you want travel nursing to look like, but sometimes it pays to be open to different locations you may not have thought of. It’s also important to note that every facility or hospital you work in will operate differently than the last, so you will need to be adaptable to learning new approaches and processes virtually everywhere you go. Since you’re in a new environment, it’s important to roll with the punches and remain flexible. You’ll learn so many new things about nursing and yourself along the way!
Build on Your Experience
As a travel nurse, it’s essential to continue learning and build on your foundation. You already have solid nursing experience, but you can always discover new methods and skills throughout your travel career. Even though you’ll be moving on after your assignment ends, treat your time at each facility like a probationary period; it will help you make the most out of your time. Every assignment offers you a chance to gain new skills, references, and maybe even an extension if you’re looking to stay in your new location a little longer. You became a nurse to care for your patients, so continue to remind yourself why you’re in the profession to begin with. It will keep you grounded and prevent burnout.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Even though you have plenty of nursing experience under your belt already, you’re still the new kid on the block when you start out on each new assignment. Make sure you know the facility’s codes, procedures, and policy as soon as you start; you wouldn’t want to find yourself in an emergency without the answers. Your coworkers are thankful for the extra hands and happy to help get you up to speed, so don’t be afraid to ask them! IT is also just a phone call away if you have computer issues or trouble logging in on your first day.
Partner with Your Recruiter
A great resource you may overlook is your travel nursing agency and recruiter. Agencies have years of experience in the industry and your recruiter will act as your career advocate throughout the entire process. They place nurses in jobs every day, so they can help you understand how travel nursing works and answer any questions you may have about your schedule, pay, housing, and compliance. They also have close relationships with the facilities they place nurses in. Find a great recruiter and they’ll take care of the rest so you can find your dream assignment!
Build Your Community
Just like our seasoned travelers, the rest of the travel nursing community is happy to share their tips and tricks with newbies. Social media groups specific to travel nursing are a great place to learn more and meet other travelers. While on assignment, you will also meet nurses in your unit and other travelers at orientation that can become lifelong friends. Take advantage of the opportunity to find others that have the same passion for nursing and travel!
Just Do It!
At the end of the day, if you’ve been thinking about travel nursing for a while and are nervous about making the leap, take other travel nurses’ advice: just do it! Now is the perfect time to start out on your adventures. There are plenty of travel nursing jobs and resources to get you started. So many of our travelers say their only regret is not starting sooner. Contact us today to learn more about travel nursing in general and openings in your desired location and specialty!
the shc blog