Travel Nurse Tips: 5 Ways to Travel Light

woman going on vacationThere’s an old saying that goes something to the effect of: There are two types of travelers, those who travel light and those who wish they had. Travel nurses are usually going somewhere for 13 weeks, so it’s a bit different than a vacationer, but the principle is still the same. Here are some travel nurse tips: 5 ways to travel light:

1.   Research your destination.

Rather than throwing in an outfit for every possible weather pattern, research your destination’s general weather and also search the weather predictions for the time you’ll be there. Most travel contracts are 13 weeks, so it’s likely you can’t get an iron-clad forecast. But, you should be able to look at some trends and get a general idea of what to expect. Similarly, consider usage for everything you pack. Will you be walking a lot? Bring comfortable shoes and leave the heels behind, or, if you must, bring one small pair.

2.   Use a smaller bag.

The larger the bag, the more stuff you can put in it. It’s the same philosophy used by diet gurus who recommend smaller plates: The larger the space, the more likely we are to fill it. But we make do just fine with smaller spaces when that’s what we have. The smaller the bag, the less you will pack — and you won’t miss the extra stuff.

3.   Pack strategically.

This can actually be a really fun challenge. See how efficiently you can pack your belongings. You’ll be surprised the space you can save when you really try. Make like Tetris and have some fun with it!

4.   Pack clothing that can all be paired together.

Pack clothing items that can be easily repurposed into several outfits. In other words, items that can all go together in different combinations. This doesn’t mean you have to be destined to a suitcase full of beiges and blacks. You will want to bring mainly solid colored items, but definitely throw in a few fun accents that you can pair with the neutrals. Maybe a plaid skirt, paisley shoes, or a funky yellow bracelet. The idea is to maintain something that can really show off your personality while also bringing mainly versatile items. Just don’t bring, for example, a skirt that only goes with one specific shirt.

5.   Wear you bulkiest items.

This suggestion helps in two ways. One, wearing your bulky boots or coat will save space in your bag. One coat could legitimately take up your entire carry-on! Two, when you have to actually put these items on your back it’s easier to determine if you really need to take them along or if they could be left behind.

And remember, most everything can be purchased and/or replaced if you leave it behind and then turn out to need it at some point. Don’t sweat these easily replaced items. Make sure you have the essentials: ID, wallet with debit/credit cards, medications — and you’ll be golden!

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Travel Nursing 101: Hospital Interviews

Pin-up girlDoing a hospital interview for a travel nursing position can be a mixed bag, depending upon your mindset going into it. Most people get at least a little nervous going into such an interview, which is totally natural. But you want to also remember that the interview is not just for the hospital to decide if they want you, but also for you to determine if you would be happy working at that location. Here to help you is this Travel Nursing 101: Hospital Interviews.

Of course you are interested in the position, or you wouldn’t be interviewing for it, but you want to be very sure to ask a lot of questions so that you can get a really clear idea of the hospital’s strengths and weaknesses, qualities and quirks.

You will want to ask a lot of details about the hospital, including: safety and traffic in the area surrounding the facility, the size of the hospital and the unit you’d be working in, patient population, parking options, dress code, and more. Make sure to record the interviewer name and notice the type of rapport you have with them — this person is a representative of the hospital so you may be able to glean some information on the general climate of attitude based upon how he or she conducts the interview.

You will also want to ask about staffing and what will be expected and required of you, as well as what to expect from the work environment there. It’s always good to ask very specific questions to get exactly the information you want, but at the end of the interview, ask a more open-ended question, like: “Is there anything else you’d want a nurse to know about the facility or their role as temporary staff?” Doing this opens things up and you’ll be surprised by the good info you might get from this type of question.

Click here for our “Hospital Interview Questions for Travel Nurse” from our Travel Nurse Resource section, which includes several handy checklists for travel nurses. There are also a couple of helpful links, such as other travelers’ ranking of hospitals and a link to U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Hospitals rankings.

Good luck with your interview — we hope you find a hospital that is complementary to your skills and attitude!

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