11 Helpful Tips for Travel Nursing in Hawaii - Trusted Nurse Staffing 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

You’ve been eyeing the job openings in Hawaii for quite some time now, and your most recent contract is quickly coming to an end.

Could this be your opportunity to explore the Aloha state and gain a new perspective on Hawaiian culture? 

While it is all very tempting, you want to make the right moves for your career and for yourself. And accepting a contract as a travel nurse in Hawaii isn’t a small move. 

We get it. And we’re here to help ensure that if you choose a travel nursing contract in Hawaii, you’ll be fully prepared for work and play with our top tips for making the most of your time on the islands. 


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Is It Hard To Travel Nurse in Hawaii?

Getting a travel nursing assignment in Hawaii isn’t difficult, as there is an ongoing need for nurses throughout the state. 

Now, if you’re asking if it’s hard to BE a travel nurse in Hawaii, the answer truly depends on your priorities.

If you’re looking for a travel nursing gig that offers high paying contracts, Hawaii offers above the national average in pay — but the cost of living is also exponentially higher. Additionally, if you’re opting to find housing on your own, it can be difficult to find due to the limited options. 

If you’re considering travel nursing in Hawaii for the island experience and quality of life, pack your bags; you’re in for a treat. Travel nursing is well worth it to many travel nurses as they enjoy the unique culture and beautiful location. 


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What Are the Main Challenges for a Travel Nurse in Hawaii?

Hawaii is a vacation destination that almost every beach lover dreams of. Beaches, sunshine, and exploration galore — what’s not to love? But as a travel nurse, working in Hawaii, you have to decide if the challenges you may face are worth it. 

Some of the most common challenges travel nurses face in Hawaii include: 

  • Dealing with higher than average costs of living 
  • Adapting to culture differences and “island life”
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Lack of housing and transportation
  • Limited healthcare resources

These challenges don’t have to stop you from enjoying a travel nursing assignment in Hawaii. You just have to be prepared. Follow our tips for travel nursing in Hawaii, and you may find yourself packing your bags, enjoying your stay, and even requesting to extend your assignment. 


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11 Tips for Travel Nursing in Hawaii


#1: Prepare for Licensing Requirements in Advance

You’re in. You’ve already talked with your recruiter, and Hawaii is top of your list for travel nurse assignments.

One of the best things you can do to save yourself unnecessary stress when you arrive is to prepare for Hawaii’s licensing requirements in advance. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the licensing process before picking a contract. 

Hawaii isn’t a compact state, meaning you must apply for a license in the state BEFORE you can start practicing as a nurse. However, as a travel nurse in Hawaii, you can apply for licensure by endorsement

It’s important that you start this process as soon as possible because Hawaii works on what many call “island time.” Verifying — and getting — your licenses with Hawaii’s Board of Nursing can be a slow and tedious process.

Before leaving for Hawaii, remember to check the expiration dates on your certifications. 

Re-certification classes may be limited in the area of Hawaii you’re working in. You may be required to fly to another island, even the mainland, to get recertified. Finish any re-certifications that you can prior to leaving for the islands. 


#2: Understand (and Respect) Hawaiian Culture and History

Although part of the United States, Hawaiians didn’t necessarily want it to be this way. The state actually wanted to remain its own kingdom, which left a lot of Hawaiians, especially older Hawaiians, with many unhealed wounds. 

Taking time to learn about Hawaii’s history before you arrive can help you show compassion and gain perspective. 

Hawaiians are very proud of their heritage, so it’s crucial that as a nurse, you … 

  • Understand the history
  • Respect their culture; and
  • Take time to learn the language 

… of Hawaiian natives. 

In Hawaiian culture, for example, family is “Ohana” and is valued above almost everything. It’s common for patients to have family members stay with them during their hospital stay.

Most Hawaiian households are multigenerational, and elders are only placed in long-term care facilities if they cannot be cared for at home. 

As a nurse, one of the best things you can do is learn about your patient and their family and be accepting of family involvement in the care you provide. 

It’s also important to remember that communicating in Hawaii is much different than on the mainland. 

In Hawaii … 

  • Speaking loudly
  • Using exaggerated body language; and 
  • “Talking with your hands” 

… is often considered rude, aggressive, or even disrespectful. 

Hawaiians generally appreciate softer, more relaxed voices and keeping a fairly calm demeanor. Taking the time to learn basic Hawaiian terms can be helpful when gaining the respect of co-workers and patients. 


#3: Be Ready for “Island Life”

Life in Hawaii is much different than in the rest of the United States, with a much more relaxed, laid back way of living

Although it sounds wonderful during a vacation, it can be difficult for “mainlanders” as they adjust to living and working in Hawaii. 

Slowing down and truly living in the moment is something that islanders take seriously. 

There’s no rushing work or cutting time with a friend short because of a busy schedule. While on assignment in Hawaii, you’ll learn to prioritize differently — which can initially make adjusting difficult for nurses who are used to living and working in a fast-paced environment. 

Another drawback to living in Hawaii is that activities, like museums, concerts, and sporting events don’t occur nearly as often as in mainland cities. 

But that’s what makes Hawaii so special. Island life is about embracing the Spirit of Aloha and the land and people of Hawaii. 


tips for traveling nurses hawaii


#4: Go for the Experience, Not the Paycheck

If you’re looking for a travel nursing contract that will make you lots of money and create a nice cushion in your bank account, Hawaii may not be the place for you. 

Hawaii isn’t a destination travel nurses choose for high paychecks; they do it for the life-changing experience.

Although we didn’t put this as our number one, it is one of our top travel nursing in Hawaii tips: 

If you sign a travel nursing contract in Hawaii, do all that you can to truly live while you’re there. 

Don’t leave Hawaii before you:

  • Experience the volcanoes and beaches
  • Learn traditional Hawaiian dances. 
  • Taste the unique foods. 
  • Go on the hikes that lead to views that will leave you awestruck. 


#5: Accept That Your Cost of Living Will Likely Be More Than You’re Accustomed To

Hawaii’s cost of living is much higher than the national average. Honolulu’s, for example, is 95% higher than the national average

As isolated islands, Hawaii must have goods imported, increasing the prices of goods and services. 

But those aren’t the only costs you’ll see rise. Housing, transportation, entertainment, and food costs are higher than on the mainland.

If you are a travel nurse serious about taking an assignment in Hawaii, consider these five tips to minimize your costs: 

  1. Rent a room rather than an entire living space.
  2. Rent a vehicle from a local establishment rather than a chain rental company.
  3. If you plan to stay for multiple contracts, consider purchasing an affordable used car that will get you from point a to point b. 
  4. Use websites like Groupon to find discounts on “tourist” activities and excursions on your time off. 
  5. Check with your agency about any compensation or housing allowance that may be provided while working in Hawaii. 


#6: Make Connections With Other Travelers Before You Go

Taking on a travel nursing assignment in Hawaii can be overwhelming if you start your adventure with little travel experience. 

To make yourself more comfortable and gain as much knowledge as possible about the island you’ll be working on, try connecting with other travel nurses before getting to Hawaii. 

You can make connections in various ways, like: 

  • Connecting with travel nurses from your agency who are already in Hawaii
  • Joining travel nursing groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook to connect with other nurses who have been, or are currently, on assignment in Hawaii
  • Reaching out to the hospital you’ll be working with and ask if they can connect you with other travel nurses who are currently, or will be, working on assignment in the area you’re assigned to 

By connecting with other travel nurses, you can learn about the best places to work, housing options, and more about Hawaii’s “must-do” experiences. 


#7: Look for a Contract That Covers Housing, Flight, and Transportation

The travel agency you work for can make all the difference in your experience as a travel nurse in Hawaii — or any other state

When deciding on an agency to work for, don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn what different agencies offer. 

Find out what …

  • Housing 
  • Travel; and 
  • Transportation 

… stipends are available to you. 

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we offer comprehensive benefits packages to ensure our team of travel nurses has the time and resources to do what they’re passionate about on their own terms. 

Aside from offering housing, travel, and meal stipends, Trusted Nurse Staffing provides:  

  • Sign-on bonuses
  • High pay rates
  • Flexible contracts
  • Full and part-time work
  • Referral and completion bonuses
  • Dental, health, and vision benefits
  • 24/7 access to your recruiter
  • And more 


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#8: Understand That You Will Need To Prove Yourself

While common in most healthcare settings, it is especially true in Hawaii: 

Travel nurses generally have to prove they’re committed to the job and aren’t looking for a 13-week-long paid vacation. 

Although it is easy to get caught up in the state’s beauty and want to take as much time off as possible to enjoy the state, always put work first. Play second. 

Prove your commitment to the job, and the team, by:

  • Showing up on time for every shift
  • Keeping a flexible schedule; and
  • Providing a helpful hand to co-workers whenever possible


tips for travel nursing hawaii


#9: Know That You May Feel Isolated at Times

One of the biggest hurdles many travelers have when starting life on the islands is the isolation. You might be thinking, “Living on a beautiful island, surrounded by new experiences — how could anyone feel isolated?”

But it happens to the best of us. 

Especially those who are:

  1. Newer to the world of travel nursing
  2. Introverted by nature

Without close family or friends nearby, it can be easy to feel alone. 

Fight feelings of isolation by: 

  • Maintaining a positive mindset
  • Filling your downtime with new activities and experiences 
  • Embracing the way that Hawaiians prioritize spending time with others in the community


#10: Put in the Effort To Make New Friends

Making new friends while on assignment can be intimidating — but it’s well worth it to put in the effort. 

Get to know the other nurses and healthcare staff that work your shift or connect with other travel nurses in the area. Connecting with like-minded individuals can remove some of the intimidation you’re feeling. 

Worried you’ll feel like an outsider in the community? Don’t overthink it. 

Hawaiians are known for their welcoming and open spirits. Don’t be afraid to get out and connect with others throughout your community. 


#11: Explore Whenever and Wherever You Can

We briefly mentioned the importance of taking travel nursing assignments in Hawaii for the experience, not the paycheck, and we mean it. 

While in Hawaii, use your time off to explore whenever possible. 

While there are eight major islands of Hawaii, only six major are accessible to visitors and offer their unique views and experiences: 

  1. Hawaii: The “Big Island” is home to the Kilauea volcano, allowing tourists to see active lava and unique volcanic landscapes. 
  2. Maui: For snorkeling, surfing, and hiking, Maui is the place to be. Enjoy beautiful beaches and scenic drives.
  3. Oahu: Home to Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and the Polynesian Cultural Center, Oahu is the most visited island of the Hawaiian islands.
  4. Kauai: Known as the “Garden Island,” Kauai is ideal for nature lovers looking for laid-back adventures. Kauai is home to Waimea Canyon, also known as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” 
  5. Lanai: As a privately owned, secluded island with its own luxury resort, it’s the perfect spot for solo — or group — adventures. Experience the rugged scenery, snorkel, ride horseback, or spend the day relaxing at the resort. 
  6. Molokai: The majority of the population here in Molokai are Hawaiian natives, and it’s considered the most authentic Hawaiian island. You can hike the world’s highest sea cliffs or explore the Coconut Grove.

If visiting each island interests you, check various airlines and travel options — as island hopping can be reasonably priced and well worth the adventure. 


Trusted Nurse Staffing: Here To Help You Navigate the Transition To Nursing in Hawaii

Living in Hawaii is something you’ve always dreamed of, and Trusted Nurse Staffing wants to help make your dreams a reality — both in your career and personal life. 

We understand that although a dream location, transitioning to island life can be challenging in more ways than one, which is why we’re here for you every step of the way. 

When looking with a travel nursing agency, you want to find one that … 

  • Provides housing options
  • Helps you find the right contract for you
  • Offers support 24/7
  • Introduces you to their network of travel nurses

… and puts your needs at the top of their priority list. Trusted Nurse Staffing is that agency. We believe in supporting your passions, in and away from work. 

When you’re ready to start your journey travel nursing in the Aloha state, we’re ready to help. 


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