What Makes a Good Travel Nurse? - Trusted Nurse Staffing 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

Travel nursing isn’t for wimps.

You’re in the thick of patient care and hospital protocols — but you’ve also got to be ready to deal with the ins and outs of daily life on the road.

It takes a special kind of person to handle it all with grace and success. 

What kind of person does it take to make a good travel nurse? 

We’re glad you asked. 

We take an up close look at what makes a good travel nurse, so you can make the most of your career in this exciting and rewarding field.


what makes good travel nurses


Table of Contents



How To Be a Successful Travel Nurse

A good travel nurse must exhibit a wide variety of skills and characteristics, including:

  • Professionalism
  • Compassion
  • Willingness to learn
  • Strong work ethic
  • Flexibility
  • Confidence
  • Positivity
  • The ability to manage stress
  • Strong communication; and
  • Emotional awareness


What Makes a Good Travel Nurse? 11 Characteristics of a Good Nurse on the Road

#1: Professional

Professionalism as a travel nurse means more than just wearing scrubs and passing out meds. It encompasses a set of values and proficiencies that are critical to living out the highly skilled career you’ve chosen. 

A nurse who exhibits professionalism:

  • Knows how to effectively resolve conflict.
  • Is willing to collaborate with colleagues.
  • Pays attention to detail.
  • Prioritizes the needs of their patients and provides individualized care.
  • Respects the dignity of both patients and coworkers.
  • Is ready and willing to adapt as necessary.
  • Always practices honesty and integrity.


#2: Compassionate

Compassion is a critical skill for travel nurses — who are often called upon to fill in when hospitals are in desperate need of help. 

What does compassionate nursing like? Things like …

  • Practicing good manners
  • Actively listening to your patient and their loved ones
  • Showing a personal interest in a patient’s condition and recovery
  • Taking the time to think about what each patient has been through
  • Acknowledging patient feelings
  • Empathizing with the patient’s condition
  • Respecting your patient’s need for privacy
  • Showing patience when you may not be feeling it; and
  • Taking the time to explain treatment plans and answer questions

… are perfect ways to extend compassion and let your patients show you truly care.




#3: Lifelong Learner

As a nurse, the learning doesn’t stop as soon as you pass your NCLEX. And even more so for a traveling nurse.

With the never-ending flow of new … 

  • Patients
  • Locations
  • Facilities
  • Coworkers
  • Protocols
  • Policies and procedures; and 
  • Research 

… you’ll be taking in new information throughout your nursing career. 


#4: Positive Attitude

It isn’t always easy to keep a positive attitude when you’re far from home and surrounded by a new environment. But keeping your chin up and doing your very best to always see the glass as half-full is a quality you’ll need to be successful on the road as a travel nurse.

How can you keep a positive attitude as a travel nurse? Try:

  • Looking for positive solutions to problems.
  • Using positive affirmations.
  • Finding an on-the-road hobby.
  • Making friends at each assignment.
  • Looking at each obstacle as an opportunity for growth.


how to be a successful travel nurse


#5: Good Team Player

When you’re on the road as a traveling nurse, you’ll quickly discover every facility you work in is like a team. Some have honed their skills and play well together — others, not quite so much.

As you work your way from assignment to assignment, having a strong sense of teamwork is a huge asset.

You can be a good team player when you’re on the road by:

  • Practicing open communication with your colleagues
  • Building relationships with your co-workers and trying to get to know them as individuals
  • Participating in group decisions
  • Meeting your responsibilities in a timely, professional way; and
  • Stepping up to lead when the situation calls for it


#6: Strong Work Ethic

We all know the nurse who leaves loose ends at the end of a shift for everyone else to clean up or who only puts half-hearted effort into patient care. Don’t be that nurse!

If you’re wondering what makes a good travel nurse, a strong work ethic will be topping the list. When you’re on assignment:

  • Be reliable
  • Show up on time for each shift
  • Go above and beyond your responsibilities 


#7: Flexible and Adaptable

Do you love change and the thrill of the unknown? If not, you may want to rethink hitting the road as a travel nurse because when you’re on the road, nothing stays the same for long. 

You’ll constantly be experiencing all-new:

  • Cities
  • Medical facilities
  • Coworkers
  • Patients
  • Policies
  • Climates
  • Cultures
  • Housing

A travel nurse always has to be ready for the unknown — for the routine to be thrown off or for the shift to not go as planned — and to roll with those uncertainties. 


#8: Confident and Assertive

When you’re a travel nurse, you’re always going to be the new kid on the block. But you can’t let that intimidate you.

You’ll need to exude confidence and assertiveness by:

  • Knowing your skills as a nurse
  • Having confidence in your ability to be a leader
  • Being willing to speak up
  • Feeling secure and capable of doing what you were trained to do




#9: Ability To Handle Stress 

Travel nursing is no cakewalk. In fact, it can be downright stressful and overwhelming much of the time. And that’s okay. 

The important thing is that you learn to endure the difficult times and come out stronger and wiser on the other side. 

You can handle the stress of travel nursing by:

  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Keeping yourself organized both at home and on the job
  • Getting more exercise
  • Practicing yoga or meditation
  • Unplugging from electronics
  • Exploring your new surroundings
  • Taking time off between assignments
  • Relying on your support system


#10: Good Communicator

Communication skills are an asset for any nurse, but for a traveler, they can make all the difference between an assignment you love and one you can’t wait to leave. 

Travel nurses need to be able to connect with anyone and everyone, from patients to new co-workers who don’t yet trust you.

That doesn’t mean you have to be an outgoing extrovert. But it does mean you have to:

  • Ask questions when you need clarity 
  • Communicate with kindness
  • Practice active listening to make others feel heard
  • Be aware of your body language, tone, volume, and facial expressions
  • Know how to deliver a verbal message in a way that’s clear to the listener


#11: Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity

As a travel nurse, you may be stepping into situations and cultures that are vastly different from your own. 

Take the time to examine yourself to discover any known or unknown prejudices. 

If you find yourself in a culture that’s particularly foreign to you, dig in to learn all you can. Find out about any cultural norms, appropriate manners, culturally-specific foods, and seasonal celebrations. 

Learning to work and live with diverse groups of people from across the nation allows you to expand and grow as both a professional and a person.


what makes a good travel nurse


How To Be a Successful Travel Nurse With the Support of a Staffing Agency

Here’s the thing about travel nursing. 

You can have every characteristic of a good travel nurse and be the best nurse around — but if you don’t have a supportive staffing agency, you may find yourself counting down the days until your assignment ends. 

Here are our top tips for choosing a staffing agency you’ll want to stick with. 


Choose a Top-Rated Travel Nursing Agency

Choosing your travel nursing agency isn’t a decision to take lightly. You want an agency you can trust to help you find the best position and provide the support you need throughout your assignment.

Look no further than Trusted Nurse Staffing. 

Not only do we give you 24/7 support and offer great benefits, but we’re one of the top-rated travel nursing agencies in the country, and we have the awards to prove it.


Take the Right Travel Nursing Assignments

Are you looking for an assignment in the ER, or would you prefer pediatrics? Do you want a job in a bustling metro area, or is a quiet country setting more your speed? Do you have bilingual capabilities or fluency in technical nursing systems/technologies?

Your recruiter should be able to help you narrow down exactly what you want out of your assignment, so you wind up with a rewarding, memorable placement. 


Enjoy the Benefits and Perks of Being a Travel Nurse

Another amazing advantage of working with an experienced recruiter from a leading staffing agency is benefits and cool perks. 

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, you’ll enjoy things such as:

  • The highest pay in the industry
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance
  • Guardian dental and vision insurance
  • HRA card
  • 401(k)
  • Weekly pay
  • Full/part-time or per-diem work
  • Flexible contracts
  • Housing, meal, and travel stipends
  • A fun loyalty program
  • And much more


Trusted Nurse Staffing: Offering Opportunities to Professionals Who Want To Level-Up Their Expertise Through Travel Nursing

Are you ready to go further with travel nursing?

It’s easy with Trusted Nurse Staffing. Simply create your free profile to get access to the:

  • Top recruiters
  • Most rewarding jobs
  • Best benefits; and
  • Most competitive pay in the business

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, our goal is to make you successful by helping you become the best travel nurse you can be. 

With Trusted Nurse Staffing, you’ll be on your way to success in no time!