How to Transition from Permanent Staff to Travel Nurse

Travel nursing is an incredible way to add a little adventure to your career. Working as a travel nurse means getting access to a variety of working locations, spending your off time at the beach or exploring a new city, and earning competitive pay. If you work with the right travel nurse agency, like our team at Nurse First, you’ll get expert guidance as you explore two-week, four-week, eight-week (and longer) travel nurse assignments. The best travel nurse assignments are the ones that offer good pay and benefits, the support you need to thrive in a new location, and a unique opportunity to explore somewhere you’ve never been before.

Switching from a permanent nursing staffer to a travel nurse doesn’t have to be complicated. We get it. Exploring a new career avenue can be daunting—especially if it means you’ll be working in a new or unfamiliar location. Let us set you at ease. With these four tips, plus guidance from our travel nursing agency experts, you can easily switch from permanent staff to travel nurse. Here’s how to do it. 

Find the best travel nursing agency for you.

Before you begin planning for travel, determining your preferred location, or even packing up your apartment, find which travel nurse staffing agency you want to work with. There are a few key questions to ask when picking an agency

  • Do you like the travel nurse recruiter? The recruiter’s demeanor and attitude are the best indicators of the culture at the travel nursing agency (and can help you determine if it’s a fit).
  • Does the travel nurse agency have numerous opportunities available? If your primary motivation for becoming a travel nurse is that you want to explore new locations, then make sure you’re working with an agency that provides a variety of work opportunities. 
  • What kind of support does the travel nurse agency offer? When working in a new location and job site, you’ll rely on your agency to bridge the gap and help you make connections where needed. A supportive travel nurse agency is a must.
  • Does the travel nurse agency offer specific benefits and perks? Before choosing an agency, research to see which agencies offer the best benefits and perks. Find a travel nurse agency that fits your needs and preferences.
  • What are the travel nurse agency’s policies? How does the agency support you if you miss a shift or the hospital cancels your shift? These policies will affect your day-to-day work, so make sure you know and understand them before you sign a contract.

Apply for local nursing licenses early.

Once you pick your travel nurse agency and sign a contract, the next step is to prepare for your first job in a new place. You’ll need licenses to work at your new location. Apply for these early, so you don’t get stuck waiting for approval to work. 

Read this blog for more tips on obtaining your licenses.

Determine where you want to travel (and where you don’t). 

If you work with an agency with many travel nursing opportunities, narrowing your search for a new assignment may be challenging. So before you sign a travel nurse contract, determine which locations and lifestyles fit your needs and preferences — so you can narrow down the list of options. 

Get involved with the travel nursing community.

Getting started in a travel nursing career is very different from beginning your career as a permanent staff member at a hospital. Depending on the lengths of your travel nursing assignments, your coworkers will change regularly. Get involved with the travel nursing community online and in your new locations to build relationships and stay connected.

Downsize, simplify, and prepare for your move to a new location.

Being a travel nurse means being ready to move your life at the drop of a hat when you get a new assignment. Transitioning from permanent staff to travel nurse is a great time to downsize and simplify your life so that you’re more prepared for your move. Get your documentation in order, provide your family with the necessary contact information, and determine how you’ll store the belongings you won’t take with you. 

Ready to make the transition from permanent staff to travel nurse? Reach out to our team so we can assist you. Check out our job board for the latest travel nurse jobs in the top travel nurse locations!

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