You were looking for a change because you wanted more adventure and a higher salary. Travel nursing opportunities seemed to be the answer, so you took a leap of faith and decided to try something new.
Now you feel like there are so many things to learn. How will you ever know what to do?
Having a rewarding career as a travel nurse is possible. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you can learn the ins and outs of this industry. Getting used to your new life may take some time, but working as a travel nurse, you can experience new places and learn new things.
This guide teaches you the DOs and DON’Ts of working as a travel nurse. Make your life easier by following the tips we developed from our experience in the industry.
Table of Contents
- What Are the Dos and Don’ts of Travel Nursing?
- 9 Things You Should Do When Travel Nursing
- 7 Things You Should Not Do When Travel Nursing
- Trusted Nurse Staffing: Helping You Each Step of the Way as You Follow Your Dreams
What Are the Dos and Don’ts of Travel Nursing?
It is your first time on assignment as a travel nurse. You are so nervous about your first day that you can’t even sleep. But you know that being tired on the job is not an option.
If only there was something you could review to help calm your nerves.
Being prepared is always the answer.
Even though you are entering a new world of unique challenges, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Look to others with experience to quickly learn the dos and don’ts of travel nursing.
9 Things You Should Do When Travel Nursing
#1: Find a Trusted Staffing Agency
Agency representation can help you with the particularities of travel nursing while finding the best assignments according to your skill set and experience.
Being well connected is vital in this industry, and a staffing agency can make your life easier because their job is to:
- Advise; and
Agencies know the best housing options and can help you find suitable accommodations.
Additionally, it would help to stay connected with the agency during the assignment to help with any questions or concerns that may come up and to find future opportunities.
Strive for successful communication by being honest. The agency needs to know what is happening to help you get what you desire. Having someone on your side is helpful, so nurture this relationship and check in occasionally.
Search for your dream job on Pronto. You can begin to build a relationship with Trusted Nurse Staffing today.
#2: Research Your New City and Make the Most of It
Researching your new city will familiarize you before the move.
You can learn from others, but it is also worth taking the time to research yourself before signing the contract to ensure you know what you are getting into.
Research the following:
- Housing options
- Best/safest areas to live
- Things to do
Prioritizing play and exploration is crucial for your mental and physical well-being.
Exploring and having new experiences are top travel nurse perks!
Sometimes it takes effort to make an essential decision like housing arrangements before arriving in the city. One tip is to rent something via Airbnb or VRBO for a few weeks, and then once you spend some time in the area, you can make a more educated decision about where to settle down for the rest of your assignment.
Still unsure of how to start exploring housing options? Trusted Nurse Staffing is on your side. When you work as one of our travel nurses, your recruiter will be here to help you every step of the way, even while searching for housing.
Decide if you prefer to be downtown or in the suburbs. Do you need to be near public transport stations?
Make a list of everything you desire in a location.
Yelp may become your new best friend; it is a great way to discover recommendations for restaurants and activities.
#3: Arrive Early on Your 1st Day
Try to arrive at least 30 minutes before your orientation. You may have administrative tasks beforehand, so make sure you have enough time to complete the process.
Before your first day of work, practice the travel route to ensure you know exactly how long it will take during your commute. Square away your parking situation, so you aren’t frantically looking for an open space on the first day.
You always want to make a good first impression — so shoot to arrive at least 15 minutes before your shift.
In reality, arriving early every day should be your goal. Rushing to work can start your day off on the wrong foot. Commit to waking up early, so you arrive before the start of your shift.
#4: Learn the Rules and Protocols of Your New Hospital
All hospitals have different procedures and processes. Accept that every workplace is different; just because something is different doesn’t make it wrong.
If safety concerns are not an issue, learn to accept change and go with the flow.
You will need to understand:
- What the work environment is like
- If you will ‘float’ or always work in a specific unit
- How things are done (such as the process for calling in sick)
- Where supplies are kept
Be open to learning from experienced nurses and appreciate that you get to experience different perspectives.
#5: Introduce Yourself to Supervisors and Administration
Every hospital has its own terminology. The charge nurse can answer all questions and guide you. Other names to look out for may include floor manager, unit manager, or nurse manager.
A quick “hi” is recommended to start building your relationship with the unit secretary. This person knows where everything is and is a great resource.
#6: Make an Effort To Learn Names
Learning the names of hospital staff shows you are interested in them and open to building new relationships.
Looking people in the eye and calling them by their names always makes a good impression.
#7: Make New Nursing Friends
Making new friends is another perk of travel nursing.
Making friends means you have people to count on when you need help or are lonely.
Adapting to your new environment is always more fun with friends — so get to know your coworkers.
Focus only some of your time communicating with friends back home via technology; being on assignment is a time to branch out and experience what the world has to offer.
Ask about what people do on their days off and what events are popular in the area. You can even ask coworkers to meet you at a local coffee shop, restaurant, or bar after work.
#8: Learn New Techniques and Skills From Nurses and Doctors
Working in new settings means you can learn various new skills. Growing professionally is always a win.
You may be able to sign up for workshops or overtime in a different unit. Learning new skills means you will have more to offer in the future.
Determine which skills you want to improve on during your next assignment.
#9: Include Time for Self Care
According to Zippia, in general:
- 40% of employees don’t think they have a good work-life balance; and
- 77% of employees believe they have experienced burnout
Both mental health care and physical activity can help you deal with stress and anxiety. You can’t effectively take care of others if you don’t put your own well-being first.
Self-care may include:
- Resting or taking a nap
- Eating a healthy diet
- Breathwork or breathing techniques
- A daily walk
- Time to read
- Drawing or painting
The list is endless — as self-care can be anything you enjoy doing.
Self-care helps you connect with yourself and can bring you into the present moment. Learning ways to cope with stress and implementing them into your daily routine can be life-changing.
Your mood and productivity levels can also improve when you feel less stressed.
7 Things You Should Not Do When Travel Nursing
#1: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
Asking questions should be essential throughout every nursing assignment. Before signing a contract, ask questions to ensure you know exactly what is expected.
You may want to ask questions about:
- The orientation process
- Benefits and perks related to the position
- Overtime compensation
- Insurance coverage
- Rental car discounts
- Uniform discounts
On the floor, a good nurse always asks questions to ensure the safety of a patient and their own reputation. Working on a team means you share knowledge and help others.
People may assume you don’t know everything when you are new in an area. You don’t have to tackle the world alone and control everything; be open to receiving help and when in doubt — ask.
#2: Don’t Fail To Read and Review Your Contract
You should always read and understand the fine print in any contract you sign.
Your contract should always include the following:
- Weekly and hourly rates
- All stipends (such as housing and travel stipends)
- Length of the contract (the start and end date)
- Your role and responsibilities
- The shifts you will work and the number of shifts you will have each week
- Overtime pay rate
- Pay frequency
- The agency, hospital, and your personal contact information (including locations and names)
Trusted Nursing Staff can help you with all the details of your new nursing assignments. Search for jobs today, and let us start to support you.
#3: Don’t Forget Your Safety
Be street smart at all times, especially when …
- At hotels
- At new housing
- Walking on the streets
- At work; or
- In parking lots
… and always be aware of your surroundings.
#4: Don’t Take Things Personally
When stress is activated, sometimes people take things personally.
The key is to focus on yourself and not the behaviors of others.
It is common to misinterpret situations when you are tired, overwhelmed, or burned out. Or sometimes, you only see things through your perspective — meaning your blinders are on.
Hospitals can be some of the most stressful working environments, so grounding yourself in the present is always your best bet.
#5: Don’t Discuss Salary
Keep your travel nurse’s salary private, even if your coworkers are curious.
If others have questions about travel nursing, you can refer them to Trusted Nurse Staffing to learn more about travel nursing options.
#6: Don’t Burn Bridges
Having good recommendations is always a way to transition into new future opportunities. Your goal should be to leave every position on good terms.
When considering your long-term career goals, you may need to return to an old job or get help from a previous colleague. Be pleasant, smile, and treat people respectfully, so the same comes back to you.
#7: Don’t Forget You’re an Amazing Travel Nurse
You spent years studying to be a nurse and have the necessary skills and knowledge. Trust in yourself.
Commit to working hard and being a team player. Once your coworkers consider you a valuable team member, work should feel more manageable.
Trusted Nurse Staffing: Helping You Each Step of the Way as You Follow Your Dreams
One thing is for sure, the more you know, the better prepared you will be.
Working with Trusted Nurse Staffing means you don’t have to navigate the travel nursing life alone. You will be supported and guided so that you find the assignments that best match your skills and experience.
You are all set for your next assignment now that you have the travel nursing dos and don’ts. Let us help you find a nursing opportunity in a city you want to explore.
Our job is to accompany you throughout the entire process. Together we are stronger!