Clothes strewn about. Your Anatomy and Physiology textbooks left open on the bed, along with a rainbow of highlighters. You’ve lost your favorite pen — again.
We get it.
Staying organized in nursing school was a near-impossible task between your:
- Course load
- Test prep
- Friends; and
- Other commitments
But learning how to stay organized as a travel nurse is necessary for survival. If you’re a disorganized or messy person at heart, don’t worry. We’ve got eight tips that are sure to help you know where everything you need is — as well as not panic when a new nursing friend wants to come over.
Table of Contents
- How Do You Stay Organized as a Travel Nurse?
- 8 Tips for Staying Organized as a Travel Nurse
- Trusted Nurse Staffing: Helping You Make the Most of Every Assignment
How Do You Stay Organized as a Travel Nurse?
A travel nurse’s schedule can get hectic. Being organized between and during assignments will help ensure you don’t forget essential items.
To help you stay organized as a travel nurse:
- Pack smart
- Make your new housing a home
- Utilize technology; and
- Always know where paperwork and documents are
Our nurses with Trusted Nurse Staffing get to experience many new and exciting places. We want you to feel organized and stress-free while on assignment, so you can experience all your new home has to offer. We’re here for you with years of experience and advice. Feel free to reach out to one of our recruiters today with any questions — simply click the box below!
And check out these eight tips below to help you learn how to stay organized as a travel nurse.
8 Tips for Staying Organized as a Travel Nurse
#1: Don’t Over Pack
Less is more — at least for a travel nurse! The less you travel with, the less you have to keep organized. Creating a checklist (and sticking to it) will help you plan and pack just the right amount.
Try to stick to the essentials, but you can make room for a few special items.
Consider your new assignment’s location for things like …
- Local climate
- Special living situations
- Road trips for exploring
- Experiences you don’t want to miss out on; or
- Anticipated work events
… but be honest with yourself about what you’re REALLY going to need there.
When deciding what clothes to pack, try sticking to one color family and neutrals. This will allow you to mix and match more easily to create several different outfits from a few key pieces.
Once you have your items out and ready to pack, see if there’s anything you can live without and try to take out some items.
If these selections work well for your current assignment, continue to use the same list and packing methods to create an organized and consistent routine.
#2: Don’t Live Out of Your Suitcase
It can be hard enough moving every few weeks. If you’re having to dig through a suitcase or box every time you need something, you may never feel settled.
Unpacking can help:
- Lessen stress
- Decrease messes; and
- Help you feel more “at home”
Don’t wait. Unpack your belongings as soon as you arrive at your new home. Determine where things will go immediately—and plan to keep them there.
With suitcases and boxes out of the way, you’ll be able to see where you can add personalized touches to make it more of a home.
And not having to rifle through a suitcase or box every time you need something can also help reduce stress, anxiety, and inconvenience.
#3: Set up House the Same Way
Create a routine for unpacking and setting up your new house. Bring the same familiar items with you and try to arrange them the same way with each unpacking.
While you want to limit what you pack, bringing a few special items that remind you of home can help make your new housing feel more comfortable.
Personal items such as:
- Bedding or a blanket
- Pictures of loved ones (or a digital photo frame)
- Treasured drawings
- A special trinket; and
- Scented candles
… can help make your home comfortable and inviting.
And by decorating the same way each time you move — putting things where they should go will soon become second nature.
#4: Use Packing Cubes
Keep your belongings organized by separating items into packing cubes. It’s an easy way to know where everything is. Unpacking will be faster, and you’ll be settled into your new home away from home in no time.
Packing cubes come in several different sizes and colors for better travel nursing organization.
You can organize your cubes by the:
- Type of items
- Room they’ll go in
- Order you’ll use them; or
- Whatever works best for you
#5: Put Technology to Work
As a busy travel nurse, you don’t always have time to plan what you’ll take with you down to the smallest detail. You probably aren’t planning to prepare a spreadsheet of your day-to-day needs.
Thankfully, you don’t have to — as there’s an app (or a few apps) for that!
While learning how to stay organized as a travel nurse, give these five apps a try until you find one that works best for you:
- PackPoint helps you not over-pack and can help make sure you don’t forget important items. It can help you organize your list based on your personalized needs. PackPoint is straightforward and easy to use.
- Packtor does everything PackPoint does, but it’s more visually appealing. It’s streamlined, detail-oriented, and offers extensive capabilities. Although, Packtor can be a bit inflexible on categories.
- PackKing’s free version is fairly limited. You can create a list manually from scratch. However, with the premium version, comes automatic recommendations based on personal factors. PackKing is intuitive and user-friendly. It can go beyond packing with other lists such as “To-dos.”
- Easy Pack
- Easy Pack is great for long-term packers like travel nurses with its “Assistant” section. Instead of panning for a short trip or vacation, Easy Pack is different. It allows for a generic “bag” that’s not listed under a certain destination or timeline. You’ll provide general travel details and can create an unlimited number of reusable and editable lists.
- PacTeo is perfect if you prefer a manually created packing list rather than an auto-generated one (Although, it can also auto-generate a list). Simply choose items from a category or type in the items you plan to pack.
#6: Pack a Travel Bag
One of the perks to travel nursing is taking a last-minute weekend getaway to explore what your new state has to offer.
Having a designated “quick getaway” travel bag always ready will help avoid the panic of trying to find everything you need. Keep your bag packed and ready at all times. Keep it somewhere you’ll remember — like under your bed, a closet by the front door, or under the bathroom sink.
You can always add to your bag according to the weekend’s needs, but you’ll want to always keep it stocked with essentials so you aren’t digging for them as you’re running out the door.
Pack things like:
- Basic hair products
- Body wash or soap
- Cotton swabs
- Feminine products; and
- Cash in case of an emergency
#7: Consider a Capsule Wardrobe
If you struggle with what clothes to pack for your non-working days, a capsule wardrobe can help. A capsule wardrobe is a limited selection of clothing pieces that are meant to complement each other so you can mix and match with ease.
A capsule wardrobe allows you to pack less, but it has multiple outfit options!
Instead of having a closet full of random clothes you’ve bought here and there to choose from, you’ll have well-curated outfits that were bought with intention — and that you love.
A capsule wardrobe helps you:
- Pack less
- Be more organized
- Have less decision fatigue; and
- Save money
The basic steps for creating a capsule wardrobe are:
- Audit your current wardrobe
- Plan your capsule wardrobe
- Build your new wardrobe
You can find examples of capsule wardrobes here.
#8: Organize Your Documents
Travel nursing paperwork and documents can quickly become overwhelming — especially after a few years. If you’re not organized, you can spend hours, days, and even months looking for or waiting on replacement documents.
Consider these suggestions for helping you stay organized as a travel nurse.
Decide What You Need
As a mobile professional, knowing what documents to keep on hand and what to leave at home can be a hard decision.
Typical documents travel nurses take on the road with them include:
- Travel nurse portfolio (resume, licenses, certifications, etc.)
- Copies of contract
- Assignment information
- Birth certificate
- Social security card
- Insurance cards
- Health and medical information
- Tax documents
Set up a Filing System
You know what you need to bring. Now, you’ll want to organize the documents well so you can always have quick access to what you need.
There are different ways to organize documents that work well for different nurses. There are apps, websites, folders, and good old-fashioned filing cabinets.
Whatever filing system works for you, it needs to be portable.
Many nurses like to use binders with colored tabs for different categories. Sheet protectors can hold important documents, copies, and expense envelopes.
File boxes are also great for organizing your travel nurse documents. They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Use colored folders or tabs for different categories.
Back It Up
Even if your travel nursing documents are organized, it’s vital to secure them all in case of fire, theft, etc. Technology can fail us and files get misplaced.
Having two backups of all your important documents and information is recommended.
For example, in addition to your hard copies with you:
- Keep copies of your documents in a fire-proof safe with a family member; AND
- Have them backed up on a portable hard drive you keep with you.
It’s also important to have digital copies of all your travel nurse paperwork. There are many apps on your smartphone that can do this.
Being prepared, organized, and having everything on hand will ensure you’re always ready to quickly find something you need.
Trusted Nurse Staffing: Helping You Make the Most of Every Assignment
Staying organized as a travel nurse doesn’t need to be stressful or a chore — even for less tidy nurses.
Remember to …
- Not pack your entire belongings
- Unpack and make your new house a home; and
- Organize your documents
… and you’ll be on your way to a new, better-organized travel nurse.
Plus, the recruiters at Trusted Nurse Staffing are here to help! We’ll work with you to ensure you feel completely comfortable in your new surroundings. Should you ever need anything, we’re here for you.
For more information about travel nursing with us, contact one of our recruiters today. We look forward to working with you!