Like any profession, travel nursing can have its ups and downs. When it comes to picking the right travel nurse assignment, there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Keep in mind what you want to get out of your experience and take note of your options. To help you on your journey, here are a few things to watch out for—the good and the bad.
First, let’s talk about the good.
In travel nursing, you have the control to choose your next steps. You have the flexibility to tell your travel nursing agency where you want to go, when, and for how long, and they will do their best to find options that best fit your desires. If you like a fast-paced environment, then shorter assignments may be for you. If you love the location you’re currently in, ask for an extension or look for a longer contract in the area. Your choices are virtually endless as a travel nurse, and a position you’re interested in will always be available.
Keeping in touch with the people you meet on your assignments can benefit you in a variety of ways. By staying connected with nursing staff and hiring managers (and making good impressions), you will have opportunities to fill positions before they’re even publicized. Oftentimes, hospitals have a higher preference for hiring people they already know, so reaching out could land you a job offer. Keeping in touch with previous recruiters can also give you the upper hand—if they remember your location and role preferences and have a good relationship with you, odds are that they will reach out whenever they find something that you are a good fit for.
And with every perk, there are always downsides or challenges to keep in mind. Here’s the “bad”.
Don’t Feel Pressured
Whether the pressure is from your recruiter, a friend, or a fellow travel nurse, never accept an assignment you do not feel comfortable with. It is important to be flexible in the travel nursing field, but you do not have to sacrifice your goals or what is important to you just to get a job. Don’t be afraid to turn down an assignment. Remember, one of the key perks of travel nursing is that you are in control. If one assignment doesn’t meet your needs, don’t feel bad saying no. There will always be another assignment right around the corner.
Get It In Writing
It is very important to make sure everything surrounding your assignment is put on paper. Not only will you have a physical record of your assignment, but if you don‘t receive what you were promised, you will have some recourse.
Make sure to get your hours in writing as well (it is usually 36 hours per week). In a contract, if they cancel a shift for you or do not assign you to the correct amount of agreed-upon hours, you will still get paid anyway.
Never accept verbal agreements because they can easily turn into he-said-she-said situations. If it’s not in the contract, then there is a possibility that what you were promised won’t happen. Make sure that you and your employer put pen to paper to make sure that each party fulfills their agreed-upon responsibilities.
Additionally, remember to read all new contracts thoroughly before signing them even if it’s with the same hospital. Do not begin the drive to your new location before you have signed the contract and your assignment is guaranteed.
As with any job, there are pros and cons. The great thing about travel nursing is that you are in control of your career, and as long as you are aware of the challenges of the role, you can find strategies to overcome them. Part of our job, at Nurse First, is to help our nurses navigate any challenges they come up against. We want you to find assignments that fit your career goals and speak to your specialties. The opportunities to find something you love are vast.