Preparing to leave for assignments can feel nerve-wracking. Are you forgetting anything? What time should you leave? Did you account for traffic? These are just a few questions that may race through your mind as you pack your suitcase. At Nurse First, we don’t want you to feel nervous, we want you excited and eager to start your journey.
We suggest keeping it simple—especially for those shorter travel nurse assignments. To help ensure you’re well-prepared to travel, here’s what we recommend you bring.
At Nurse First, we want you to find housing that you’ll love. That’s why we provide a housing stipend to help accommodate your relocation and allow you to find the best temporary housing for you. But temporary housing can vary significantly—some furnished residences may be stocked with everything you need; others may be lacking in kitchen equipment or linens. Verify with the landlord in advance, and think about what you’ll need to make you feel at home. You may need to bring pots, pans, and silverware, or you may only need to bring specialty items like mandolins and food processors if you’re a connoisseur.
You should also bring toiletries, a first aid kit—surprisingly, something that is not always in stock— and ensure that prescription medications are refilled before leaving.
Remember to check with your travel nurse agency regarding your scrubs’ colors because some hospitals may require a specific color depending on your position. Have your scrubs sorted first, to ensure that you’re ready for your first day. After the scrubs, don’t forget to pack regular clothing.
If your assignments are in a new location, research the climate to prepare for the appropriate weather conditions. In some cases, you can predict what the weather will be like, especially if the assignment is close to home. However, weather is often unpredictable, and if you’re traveling through compact states, weather can vary significantly. For example, Richmond, Virginia’s average winter low is around 28 degrees in January; Miami, Florida’s low is around 60 degrees. So if you live in Miami but plan to travel to Richmond around January, bring a coat!
When traveling, you may need to bring legal documentation depending on what your facility requests. This might include your social security card, immunization records, and certifications. Whether the documents are originals or photocopies, make sure they are organized and stored safely. The last thing you want is to lose them while away from home.
Part of the excitement of traveling as a nurse comes from exploring new cities, but there will be times when you’re too tired from a shift to go out. Prepare for those times by bringing entertainment items for fun at your house; this might include books, painting supplies, a laptop, and anything else you enjoy using during your free time. Don’t forget to bring a charger for your phone and laptop. We recommend packing a second charger specifically for your vehicle and, if you want to be extra prepared, a portable charger.
You shouldn’t feel too overwhelmed, which is why your Traveler Advocate will help you with everything you’ll need for the assignments, including any scrubs recommendations and travel nurse requirements, and you’re always welcome to contact us online with any additional questions.
Ready for your next travel nurse assignment? Check out our job board for the latest travel nurse jobs in the top travel nurse locations!