Becoming a travel nurse is an exciting adventure during which you’ll make memories you’ll remember the rest of your career, and likely the rest of your life. Travel nursing also offers you the opportunity to network with others who can help grow your career over time and gives you the option of expanding your experience. Being able to enjoy the perks of travel nursing may require a few changes in the way you do things. Here are five tips all-new travel nurses will want to consider as they move forward.
Before you consider accepting your first assignment, consider if being a travel nurse is right for you. There are several benefits to traveling, including expanding your experience, seeing the country and interacting with new people. There are also negatives, including being away from friends and family, operating on your own and needing an adventurous spirit. For many, the pluses of traveling outweigh the cons, but this is a decision that’s important to make before you except your first assignment.
Before you leave home, it’s time to get organized. You may not be a naturally organized individual, but as a traveling nurse, you have to keep paperwork up to date and in order; be sure all of your personal possessions are packed, and work in a new town and new facility. All of this requires organizational skills and the ability to be flexible. Many travel nurses find keeping a binder with important paperwork and information can be a tool. These binders can include your license and copies of your birth certificate and passport, immunization records, and certification information.
As you take on your first assignment and prepare to travel, talk with your recruiter about your housing assignment. For your first trip, it’s less stressful to use company housing. Ask what amenities are included with the housing, such as sheets and towels or dishes and silverware. Consider choosing your first assignment in a city with which you’re familiar. If you have family or friends where you’re traveling, it will make the experience easier.
Take a test drive to get to the hospital the day before your first day. Leave the house at the time you think you’re going to need to leave in order to arrive on time. This way you’ll be able to scope out the traffic patterns and won’t get caught unaware. On the first day, don’t be rushed and arrive early. It’s also important to remember to not take things personally while you’re away. Being a nurse is stressful and you’re working in a fast-paced environment. Sometimes patients, families and other nurses say things without thinking.
Before leaving your assignment, be sure you have the contact information for people you want to stay connected with. Traveling offers you the opportunity to network with other professionals who often can help you throughout your career. Staying in touch is a good way to expand your circle of friends and maintain close relationships you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to grow.
While traveling offers you some unique opportunities to grow your nursing career, network with others and gain new experiences, it’s also important to remember to have fun while you’re on assignment. Work, education, and experience are all important, but so is finding a strong balance between work and life. Without that balance, you can easily become stressed and burned out. Instead, try to connect with other nurses, join meetup groups that enjoy some of the same hobbies and experiences you do and remember life is about balance.
We stress a work/life balance with our nurses and staff as a lack of time to relax is one of the best ways to get burned out and sick. Contact our recruiters at Amare Medical Staffing to work with one of the most supportive staffing agencies in the business.