Yes, the rumors are true. Travel nursing is as wonderful and amazing as you’ve heard people say. Being a travel nurse is an exciting career path that provides one-of-a-kind benefits and is a great way to grow your nursing career. Where else will you be able to travel the world and still do the job you love? If you don’t know if you’re the right fit for becoming a traveler, ask this:
- Do you enjoy traveling?
- Does meeting new people and learning about new cultures excite you?
- Are you ready to achieve personal and professional goals and become the best nurse ever?
If you’ve answered yes, congratulations; you’re on the right track to becoming a travel nurse! Whether you’ve just officially entered the nursing industry or are still a nurse-in-training, it’s never too early to learn the ropes of travel nursing. And with your degree right at your fingertips, it’s always best to be prepared before diving into unknown territory. So when the time comes to make a decision, here are a few tips about travel nursing to keep in mind.
1. Do The Research
First things first, it’s essential to decide if travel nursing is the right career move for you. Travel nurse blog sites are a great way to learn about travel nursing, what to expect, what to watch out for, the pros and cons, etc. Look into different travel nurse agencies, the type of assignments you may be interested in, and what travel nurse destinations suit your lifestyle. When researching, listen to your gut and trust what it says—don’t rush a process you’re not ready for. Always ask questions no matter how big or small you think they are.
When you are ready, there will be plenty of assistance before, during, and after your first travel nurse assignment. Still, doing your own research is good practice to find your non-negotiables and what you prefer but can live without.
2. Become A Float Nurse At Your Current Job
Travel nurses constantly change environments and co-workers around every three months. They must be comfortable and confident enough to work in unfamiliar hospitals or healthcare settings while performing their job with high-quality skills and ease. Becoming a float nurse within your current facility is one way to closely simulate the travel nurse experience and the diversity in assignments. Everything will most likely be different from your usual unit—from the workflow to the computer systems. Make a note of how you feel moving from floor to floor. If you don’t float in your own facility comfortably, you may want to reconsider travel nursing or at least have a backup plan.
3. Don’t Burn Bridges
If travel nursing is the path you want to pursue, always think ahead. Stay in touch with former travel nurses, recruiters, and facilities. Connecting with healthcare professionals can provide business opportunities down the line. You may want to return to an old hospital for a while, and it will be easier to transition from a travel nurse to a stationary position if you have left previous employers on good terms.
It also works the other way around. If you decide to settle down in one location and an old travel buddy puts out feelers for relocation, you’re in a great place to make a recommendation. You may even be in a position to collect a referral bonus from your facility!
4. Flexibility Is Key
Like most jobs, experienced travel nurses will most likely get to choose their preferred travel nursing assignment before a first-timer. You might not always get your first choice, so be flexible about the setting, facility, and location that’s within reason so you can get a travel nursing job faster. After establishing yourself with a travel nursing agency and gaining experience, you can be pickier about where to work.
Also, depending on your priorities, you’ll want to keep your options open. Decide if money is a key factor or if you are focused on obtaining more experience. Certain assignments could require you to work nights or longer hours then you’re used to. Keep all of these elements in mind when searching for a travel nurse contract.
Not everyone can say they have a rewarding career while enjoying the perks of not being tied down to one place, so above everything else: enjoy yourself! Make time to explore your new city and meet new people.
If you think the travel nursing bug has bitten you, learn more about the career on our website. Check out our job board for available travel nurse jobs in the top travel nurse locations. We’re more than happy to help you get started!