15 Tips for Surviving Your Travel Nursing Assignment

You are giving serious consideration to becoming a travel nurse. After all, it is an exciting opportunity for your career. It gives you the opportunity to learn and grow in your chosen profession. You have started reading up on the things you need to know before getting started. However, there is more to know beyond the initial application process. Here at Jaykay Medical Staffing, we want you to be successful.  That’s why we have put together our top 15 tips for surviving your travel nursing assignment to hopefully help you navigate your new normal.

1) Research, research, research.

While your recruiter will able to offer plenty of assistance before, during, and after your assignment, it important to make sure this is the path you want to take. More so, it is important to research different recruitment agencies. Would you prefer a smaller, boutique agency that can offer more personalized service? Or are you happy with a larger firm that will leave you to your own devices, but possibly offer more pay or bonuses? As the saying goes, “Knowing is half the battle.”

2) Chat with other travel nurses.

There are countless blogs, forums, and Facebook groups dedicated to travel nursing. While your recruiter will be able to offer advice on much of the process, it is important to hear from nurses themselves as well.

3) Home is...

As a travel nurse, you will have to decide where you will be staying. More so, you will have to decide if you want a position where housing is included (most like onsite or very near to the facility) or if you would rather find a place elsewhere. Whether or not you will have a car available to you can be a huge factor in this decision.

4) Location, Location, Location.

While being flexible regarding your potential placement is important, it is also important to select a location you can see yourself being comfortable in. Whether it is a similar climate, a location where family / friends are nearby, or somewhere you have frequented on vacation, selecting the right location can go a long way to alleviating first time jitters.

5) Organization is key.

While this starts with the application process, it is important to make sure you have all your information organized. Your license information, health details, and immunizations should be up to date and at hand. It is also important to have your documentation with you on the first day of your new assignment.

6) Flexibility is a must.

While most staffing agencies have access to jobs across the country, those opportunities fill up very quickly. Also, requirements for licensing can restrict where your recruiter is able to place you. That is why it is important to be flexible with your location, setting, and facility. The more flexible you are, the more opportunities that will be available to you.

7) Before leaving home…

It is easy to get excited about a new travel opportunity. However, it is important to make sure everything at home is taken care of beforehand. What will happen to your mail while you are away? Is someone going to look after it for you? Will it be forwarded to your new location? Will it be on hold until you return? What will you do with your utilities and bills like rent while you are away? If you have pets, will they be traveling with you? If so, your housing situation could be affected because of it. Also, be sure to bring their shot records and search for local vets if the plan is for them to travel on assignment with you.

8) Professional packer.

Most travel assignments range from eight to thirteen weeks. It is important to understand exactly what you should bring and why – particularly if you are flying and have luggage restrictions. Understanding what your housing is includes is a great place to start. Do you need a tv? Or could you possibly get by with your laptop or tablet? Also, consider what you can buy when you arrive versus bringing it with you from home.

9) No small questions.

It is important to always ask questions and understand your new work environment. During orientation, be sure you understand the policies and procedures of your new facility. Learn about your new home and the floor where you will be spending your time. How do they do things? Where are the supplies? There are no small questions. It is better to ask them sooner than later.

10) First day preparedness.

Being new to the area, it is important to make sure you are familiar with the route to your facility and onto your floor. We recommend a trial run the day before. Wake up, get ready, leave your house, find where you should park, and time your route to the facility- ensuring you arrive about fifteen minutes early. It is always a good idea to allow yourself plenty of time to arrive early. You can only make a first impression once.

11) Show what you’ve got.

Admittedly, it can be intimidating walking onto a floor with permanent staff nurses. Remember, most nurses are courteous, professional, and grateful to have “more hands on deck.” After being trained on their processes, do not hesitate to jump in, start helping, and show why you are a viable member of the team.

12) Make friends with your new co-workers.

While it may seem overly simplified, making friends with your new co-workers is a great way to settle into your new role. Inviting them for a coffee after your shift or asking them to show you around town on your day off could be great ice breakers. While you are not likely to get along with every single person, have a small group of friends can go a long way.

13) See your new (temporary) city.

One of the biggest benefits of travel nursing is experiencing new locations. Whether you bond with your new co-workers by asking them to show you around, or prefer to go solo, make sure you take time to see the sights. Plan a stay-cation if you can. While you are there to work, you can also take time and play tourist!

14) Power of positivity.

While this can be difficult, it is important to not take things personally and stay positive. Whether it is not getting selected immediately during the application process, or something that happens on the floor during your shift, do not allow it to negatively to affect you.  After all, being a nurse is fast-paced and stressful. It is important to stay focused, practice professionalism, and embracing positivity.

15) Recruiter connection and what is next…

A dedicated recruiter will stay with you throughout the process. After finding the right spot for you, they will make sure everything goes smoothly with your assignment, and then start working on next steps for you. Six to thirteen weeks will go by faster than you think. It is always important to keep the “what’s next” in mind. Do you want to extend in your current location? Do you want to try a new location? If so, will you need a new license? Keep the lines of communication open with your recruiter and they will be sure to help you get things in order.

Surviving Your Travel Nursing Assignment

Whether it’s your first assignment, or you are a seasoned pro, each travel assignment can pose new and different challenges. By following our 15 tips for surviving your travel nursing assignment, we hope you will come love to this dynamic and unique career field. If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about travel nursing, or surviving your travel nursing assignment, you can send us a MESSAGE, email us at staffing@jaykaymedicalstaffing.com or give us a call at (800) 442-5441.