3 Tips For Working As A Travel Nurse Outside of Compact States

Travel nurses outside of compact states must work in the single state they are certified in, or they can opt to apply for additional licenses. While it may seem restrictive, staying in one state isn’t necessarily a negative. 

Travel nursing doesn’t mean you must travel far, it simply expands the reach of your opportunities. You can live and work in Houston, and then travel to another facility in Dallas, Austin or anywhere else in Texas, to work part-time or temporarily—if you do this, just remember to give yourself some time to breathe, eat, and sleep.

Shorter travel times and more familiarity with the culture of the state and area can be pros for a travel nurse, making the adjustment from location to location much easier. If you live in a non-compact state, don’t get discouraged. There are still numerous opportunities for travel nurses. To have the best possible experience, follow our top 3 tips for travel nurses outside of compact states. 

Travel Light

Generally, the further your assignment is located, the more you should pack. For nurses working in a single state, the travel time will be much shorter than those taking cross-country assignments, allowing you to pack much lighter. Packing light can help make the move from location to location less stressful, and it is great for nurses working on shorter assignments. When packing your bags, you shouldn’t need much more than scrubs, street clothes, legal documents, and entertainment. However, don’t worry too much about not bringing enough, because if you accidentally leave something behind, you’re close enough to home to retrieve it.

Stay Close to Home

One major benefit of travel nursing in a single state is that you can stay close to home. This enables you to connect with friends and family more easily and makes the transition from assignment to assignment less stressful. At least to start, we recommend staying closer to home when possible. In some cases, you may even be able to stay at your own home and just adjust your commute to accommodate different assignments. Plus you’re readily available for weekend and last-minute assignments, which isn’t as easy for those working across multiple compact states. Staying in your community, or close to it, can reduce stress and help the day-to-day variation feel more manageable. 

Enjoy the Change of Scenery

While staying close to home helps create a more comfortable transition from assignment to assignment, part of the benefits of travel nursing is experiencing new places. Don’t miss out on this benefit just because you are staying in a single state. Next time you’re traveling to a new part of your home state, search out new places and events you haven’t visited. Checking out new restaurants, state parks, and other entertaining attractions can help freshen up a location that may feel a little too commonplace. Don’t know where to start? Try these methods for finding new events:

  • Browse social media. Regularly search locations that you work in on social media platforms to see events and even hobby inspiration from others in the area.
  • Check Google maps. This application already provides directions to where you want to go, but you can also search your nearby areas for venues to visit.
  • Pick up a newspaper. If you run out of ideas on social media, check out digital or printed publications like newspapers and local magazines; often journalists will feature upcoming events and review restaurants.
  • Go for a walk. A tried-and-true method for finding things to do is playing tourist. If you find yourself with an open schedule on your day off, go for a walk. Stroll the city center, entertainment districts, and other vacation destinations. Check out restaurants, shops, and see where the day takes you. 

You can even have a friend or family member drive out for a day or weekend to explore the location with you. 

Staying in a single state can provide many of the same opportunities as working in multiple compact states would, and it has its own list of benefits. Travel nursing isn’t about how far from home you go, it’s about using your expertise to help a variety of people in various locations—sometimes those people and locations are just a city away.

Ready for your next travel nurse assignment? Check out our job board for the latest travel nurse jobs in the top travel nurse locations!

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