Travel nurse jobs are a great way to explore the United States while boosting your nursing portfolio. Yet, as with any type of job or travel experience, it’s hard to get it right the first time. In other words, everyone needs a little experience or advice to perfect the process.
As luck would have it, our team of expert travel nurse advisers are specially qualified to deliver just that type of insight! So, before you begin your next assignment, consider these 10 important travel nursing tips to help make sure you get the best possible results from the journey, and the job.
10 Travel Nursing Tips You Need to Know
#1: Pack Light & Shop Local
Travel nursing assignments may last about 13 weeks, but that doesn’t mean you have to pack for the long haul. Packing light not only makes the initial experience of traveling to your assignment less stressful — no heavy bags to haul around a busy airport, for instance — but it also gives you the chance to buy cool clothes and other stuff like cosmetics or accessories from local shops in your new location.
#2: Choose Housing that’s Close to Your Assignment
The less time you have to spend commuting, the more stress-free your life will be, and the more likely you’ll be to truly love your new experience. This is especially true in urban areas that are famous for bad traffic — Los Angeles, Chicago, or Houston, for instance, are not places where you want to commute more than 10 miles to your job.
Although it’s not always possible to get housing that’s right next to your assignment, talk to your recruiter and find out what your options are. Chances are good that they can set you up in a location that meets your preferences.
#3: Choose an Assignment that Will Give You a Unique Experience
One of the most appealing benefits of travel nursing is the chance to gain new experience that may not otherwise be on your career path. Whether it’s working in a different facility type or with new systems or technology, few career paths offer the same opportunity to diversify your portfolio as travel nursing.
So if you usually work in hospitals or medical centers, try a job in a school, SNF or even a correctional facility. Having this kind of variety in your portfolio not only gives you the obvious benefit of learning and growing, but it also improves your future employment prospects, which could come in handy at an unexpected time.
#4: Take the Opportunity to Visit Loved Ones
Some nurses work travel jobs as a means to visit family or friends who live in different cities or states. For those who live far away from parents, grandparents or other extended family members, or who have a network of friends who live across the country, working a travel nursing job near them can be a great way to spend quality time with loved ones without taking a break from your career.
#5: Cure Your Wanderlust
On the other hand, working travel nursing jobs is also a great way to completely get away from it all and explore every corner of the United States, while getting paid, too! If you’re the type of person who’s always seeking adventure and who loves to travel for the sake of traveling, approaching travel nursing as a chance to do all of that while helping provide care for those in need is a great way to do it.
#6: Get to Know the Locals
The most effective travel nursing tips are designed to help you feel happy and fulfilled during your assignment — and to avoid getting lonely or feeling burned out. And a key way to do that is to be as social as you can. That means getting to know the people you work with, and the people you live near.
Some great ways to meet folks in your new community include joining free city walks (available in most major cities), taking local classes like cooking or learning a language, visiting museums or art galleries, or even entering the local dating scene, if you’re single.
#7: Live Like a Local
A big reason why so many nurses find travel nursing so fulfilling is that it offers a much richer experience than just taking a weekend trip. Because most assignments last a few months, you’ll have the chance to enjoy an in-depth experience and get to know a location like a true local.
Whether it’s visiting all the local museums or art galleries, dining at all the hottest restaurants, visiting every park or beach, exploring all the shopping venues, or checking out all the hottest acts in the local music scene, you’ll have plenty of time to do whatever you love to do.
#8: Think in the Long-Term
Travel nursing jobs can turn into full-time positions in the right circumstances. If an assignment goes well, and if you’re open to the opportunity, a facility may want to use you again for a similar position. They may even want to hire you permanently! Be mindful of the possibility of sticking around, and think about whether you’d really want to do so, so you’re ready if the opportunity arises.
#9: Find a Job You’ll Find Fulfilling
There’s a reason why so many travel nursing jobs are available across the United States. From small-town facilities struggling to stay fully staffed, to big-city hospitals seeking a greater variety of nurses in the face of a local shortage, travel assignments are a great way to ensure that you’re truly helping a community in need.
So, for those whose greatest motivation is to help people stay healthy, a career in travel nursing can be enormously fulfilling. If that describes you, you may want to consider working travel nursing jobs in schools or correctional facilities, both of which are experiencing a high level of need.
#10: Choose an Agency that Offers Full Benefits
Finally, and maybe most importantly, make sure you choose a travel nursing agency that treats you right. And that includes providing not only great job opportunities but also a high level of pay and a full range of benefits. Medical, vision, dental and life insurance should be standard, but you should seek additional incentives like gym discounts, assignment and loyalty bonuses, and CE reimbursement.
Find Your Next Travel Nursing Job Today!
Ready to put our travel nursing tips to the test with a new travel assignment? You’ve chosen a great time to begin: CareerStaff has travel nursing jobs available across the U.S.! You can join our roster of nursing professionals here, or check out our list of travel nursing jobs here.