Being a travel nurse is incredibly exciting. You’ve chosen a rewarding profession that offers opportunities you may never thought we’re possible. It not only offers the chance to advance your nursing career, but to experience new places, meet new people, and be paid very well for it in the process. Of course, much of what makes life as a nurse traveler so appealing can also come with a few bumps along the road. Being prepared is one of the best ways to ensure the most positive outcome possible, which is why anyone taking a travel job for the first time should heed this important advice for first time travel nurses.
When you initially make the decision to become a travel nurse, it can sometimes take a little longer to land that first travel assignment. Being flexible can be key to making it happen. While you may hesitate about traveling a long distance from your hometown for that first travel nursing job, if you’re willing to make the leap and get your foot in the door, odds are, you’ll have a lot more available to you in the future as many hospitals and other facilities are looking for prior travel nursing experience. That means that while places like Florida and Southern California offer that wonderfully warm climate, those locations are also in high demand. Consider some of the more off-the-beaten path spots and you’re much less likely to face stiff competition, something that can be key to landing that first position. Remember, a travel nursing job is temporary – if you end up loving it, you may be able to extend, but if you don’t, you’ll be able to move on to something better in just a matter of weeks.
Learn Everything You Can About Your New Assignment, and Your New Location
Ask lots of questions throughout every step of the process, as your travel staffing recruiter is there to help. Find out as much as you can about your new assignment, the facility and the location you’ll be heading to. Check out sites like City-Data and Neighborhood Scout to learn more about city characteristics. You may want to do some research online to find out what you’ll be able to do outside of work, such as popular attractions, nightlife, outdoor activities, and so on. Not only will you be more prepared, but it will get you excited about going.
Thoroughly Read Your Contract
While it may seem obvious, before you make any major decision, from buying a new car to renting an apartment to taking a travel job, reading the contract thoroughly to make sure you understand everything that you’re committing to is a must. All of those details you discussed with your nurse recruiter should be a part of your contract – you don’t want any surprises after you’ve arrived.
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Double and Triple Check Everything Before You Go
All hospitals and other facilities have their own particular requirements when it comes to documents – some of the most common to cause a delay in starting are drug screenings and inoculations, so be sure that’s taken care of before you head to your new destination. While the travel staffing agency will arrange your housing (how to avoid housing horrors on a travel nursing job) for you, it’s also a good idea to confirm ahead of time that it will be ready on the day you plan to arrive.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Your attitude can make all the difference in a positive or negative experience when it comes to travel nursing jobs of all types. A new job is stressful for just about everyone – and when you’re in a new location at the same time, that can add to the anxiety. Just remember that not everything is going to go perfectly well, 100 percent of the time. By keeping a positive attitude and a willingness to ride those inevitable bumps while adjusting to the situation, you’re likely to find that everything goes a lot more smoothly – and, before too long, that newness will all be a thing of the past.
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