5 Essential Tips for First-Time Travel Nurses

Last Updated on December 19, 2022

female travel nurse holding a carry on piece of luggage wearing a mask to protect her from COVID-19

Travel nursing is an amazing way to further your career while helping communities in need of great nurses. It can also be a refreshing lifestyle choice that lets you see the country while developing new skills. But for those who have never done it before, it may seem intimidating. If that rings true for you, here are a few tips for first-time travel nurses. Don’t travel without them!

5 Tips for First-Time Travel Nurses

Tip 1: Keep an Eye out for Fake Opportunities

Before you get started, make sure that any travel nurse job opportunity is legitimate, and that it comes from a real source. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that now dominates the care delivery regimen for most healthcare facilities (either directly or indirectly), there have been a number of scams seeking to gain nurses’ personal information with fake job offers.

There are a number of ways to spot these fake nursing jobs. It’s a simple matter of learning how to determine whether the source is legit. You can get a full rundown on the topic at our guide to spotting scams and fake nursing jobs.

Tip 2: Establish Your Goals

What’s more important to you — where you’re going, and or the experience you’ll be earning? Of course, both will have bearing on your decision on where to travel. If you’re more focused on earning extra money while boosting your resume, you’ll find plenty of assignments scattered across various cities, towns and rural communities.

On the other hand, it’s also common for nurses to search for travel jobs in a specific location. Maybe you want to live near family or friends in another state for a while. Or, take the chance to spend a few months near a National Park or favorite sports team. It’s also a good way to scout a potential permanent move before making a long-term commitment.

Remember, travel nursing jobs don’t necessarily have to be halfway across the country. We may have an assignment that’s in the next town over, or maybe a half day drive from home. Working one of these jobs can help keep you close to home while working.
At CareerStaff, you can search travel jobs by location or specialty at our online nursing job board. And if your priority is to help communities treat Covid-19 patients, we’re also actively recruiting nurses for those assignments, too. You can find all the details here.

Tip 3: Get Your Paperwork in Order

One of the surest ways to help ensure a smooth travel assignment is getting all your paperwork in order and having it ready at all times. From your updated license and CV to all current medication and immunization records, as applicable.

Since you may have to produce any of these documents at any time, we advise keeping them on hand as much as possible. We also recommend keeping your resume updated after each assignment. Those who travel frequently may want to consider hiring a professional to help make sure it’s always looking great and presenting your best self at all times.

Tip 4: Always Keep an Open Mind

Travel nursing can be an amazing and rewarding experience. And it can—like most other things — also be a challenge. Even for nurses that have spent decades on the travel nursing circuit, the nature of moving from location to location can sometimes be frustration.

As a nurse, you know that keeping an open mind can be essential to getting through the day. Accepting what comes your way and dealing with it are the foundation of the job. In a travel nursing assignment, though, you may find yourself up against challenges you didn’t expect.

You may have to make an extra effort to make friends in your new location. Or, you could be asked to use technology or systems that you’re not used to. We know it’s easier said than done, but the more you can think of these challenges as opportunities to learn more and meet more people, the more successful your assignment is likely to be.

Tip 5: Don’t be Afraid to Seek Support from Others

Part of coping with new situations is accepting the support of others. That support might sometimes seem tough to come by when you’re in a new job, new city or new state. But approaching and opening up to others in your new assignment could help you quickly understand what you need to know about the job. The result could help make for a much smoother assignment.

And of course, the nurse recruitment company or recruiter that sets up your assignment is there to support you, too. At CareerStaff, our team is standing by 24/7 to answer any questions and concerns our nurse travelers may have, about any part of the job.

To help our first-time travelers even better understand the nature of the job they face, we also regularly ask our current CareerStaff travelers what they’ve learned on their assignment, and what they’d tell other travelers. The answers we get are always enlightening, and usually inspiring, too.

“Teamwork is ESSENTIAL,” says Nanette, an LPN from Grand Rapids, Michigan and a CareerStaff Unlimited Clinician of the Month for October, 2020. “Your team is only as strong as your weakest member. Supporting each other is VITAL, even if there are existing animosities amongst your team. Always give 110% and leave the drama at the door. A strong work ethic is essential for success.”

“Make time for self-care,” said Kacie, a July 2020 CareerStaff Clinician of the Month. “You can only fill someone else’s cup if your cup Is filled first.”

“I want healthcare professionals to remember how special our professions are, and that we do so much for this world,” says Bethany, a September 2020 CareerStaff Clinician of the Month.

“Over the years, I have learned that there are many ways to treat and appease different patients and that it is best to always have a positive attitude,” added Cheyenne (CNA), a Clinician of the M onth for August, 2020.

“Sometimes paperwork and external circumstances don’t always go to plan … (i.e., receiving provisional licenses, Medicaid insurance, etc.), but I have never felt alone in anything that I have done with this company,” she adds, talking about her experience working with CareerStaff.

“Everyone is so encouraging and helpful when things don’t work out the way you had originally hoped due to external unforeseen circumstances. You guys rock!”

At CareerStaff, we offer lots more than tips for first-time travel nurses. From career development assistance to a constantly updated list of jobs offering great pay and benefits, we’re the industry’s leading source for travel nursing opportunities, resources and info for travelers. See for yourself — take a look at all of our current travel nursing jobs here.

See All Travel Nursing Jobs