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Travel Nursing November 10, 2021

10 Tips For New Travel Nurses

Travel nursing is all about exploring new destinations, meeting new people, gaining new skills, and doing what you love. The process from application to your first day on the job can seem like a whirlwind, especially with the short-term, quick-start assignments from American Mobile.

Depending on availability, your new travel nursing job could start within just a couple of weeks!

FIND travel nursing jobs across the U.S.

But new travel nurses starting rapid response jobs don’t need to feel overwhelmed.

Use these 10 tips to ensure a good start for your travel assignment:

1. Talk to your recruiter. Recruiters will have your start date, information on the facility, and can help with required documentation, free housing arrangements and travel.

If you need a new state nursing license, they can help with that, too. They can also give you advice on what to bring with you and provide instructions for your first day on the job.

2. Get to know your destination. A little online research can help new travel nurses prepare for almost anything. Learn what weather/climate you can expect over the course of your travel RN job, what the health care facility is like, where your housing is, and what attractions you want to explore while on assignment.

3. Choose your mode of transportation. Are you planning to fly or take a road trip to your new assignment? Either way, you can be reimbursed for some or all of your travel costs.

Remember to take your GPS or use your smartphone for maps, directions, restaurants, and gas stations along the way. These travel apps can make your trip smooth and worry-free.

4. Schedule your fun time. Since rapid response travel nursing jobs can go by quickly (usually just 4-13 weeks), you’ll want to plan ahead to make the best use of your days off. You may even want to book some things before you arrive in town, such as tours, plays, concerts, sporting events, etc.

5. Make a packing checklist for essentials. If you are using the housing arranged by your travel nursing agency, your recruiter or housing specialist can give you a list of what furnishings and appliances are provided so you know what you’ll need to add.

You can’t bring everything from home, so get organized and make a packing checklist. Packing apps such as PackPoint, Packing Pro and Packing List can make it easier.

Pack only “must haves” and not “just in case” items. If you need something else, you can always buy it when you arrive at your destination.

6. Do a final check. Before hitting the road, make sure that everything is ready to go, from your automobile safety inspection to your cell phone (with charger), GPS, first aid kit, and all the necessary items on your checklist. Share your itinerary with family or friends and check in when you arrive.

After arriving at your assignment location, settle in to your apartment. Then:

7. Do a test run. Before your first day on the job, head on over to your hospital or clinic to become familiar with your commute – accounting for how long it will take with traffic — as well as the available parking, the general layout and the unit. You may even want to introduce yourself to some of the staff.

8. Pack your first-day essentials. Don’t be caught without critical paperwork, supplies, a snack or two, water bottle and a pen. Bring a portfolio containing copies of your nursing license, certifications, contract, skills checklist, references, resume and any additional paperwork that the hospital required you to complete.

You should also have the required scrubs clean and ready to go. Then leave early for your shift to ensure you arrive on time.

9. Ask lots of questions during orientation. During your traveler orientation, which may last 1 or 2 days, you will be learning new policies and procedures, meeting new co-workers and becoming familiar with the layout of the healthcare facility. There is a lot to cover in a short time, so don’t hesitate to clarify or ask for more information.

10. Get “intel” from your fellow nurses. After orientation, you may have the chance to have a nurse buddy for a shift or two, which will give you even more opportunities to gather information from the nursing staff. Most nurses won’t mind answering questions about the job, and they can also give you the inside scoop on the best local hangouts.

Seek out other nurse travelers at orientation, as well, and ask if they want to join you as you explore the town during your time off.