Travel Nurse Interviews: Tips to Ace Your Travel Nurse Interview

For most people, interviewing can be nerve-wracking, from what to wear to engaging with the interviewer. However, for travel nurses, interviewing is an entirely different experience. Not only will they not be in person, but there’s really no set standard either. Whether you’ve done a dozen interviews or are prepping for your first travel nurse interview, here are our best tips on how to prepare, what to expect, and how to secure your next job.

Why Do Travel Nurses Need Interviews?

While hospitals and facilities are looking to fill staffing shortages, that doesn’t mean they’re not concerned with who will join their teams. Like any job, your interview will determine if you’re a good culture fit as well, ensuring your skills match your profile.

  • Experience: The employer will be looking to ensure you have the expertise to provide top-notch patient care.
  • Culture Fit: Does your personality mesh with their team? How does your work style — think how you organize your shifts — complement their unit?
  • Accommodations: Typically, this is where you’d ask if the facility can make arrangements around any dates you want off. Given the current pandemic, consider offering up flexibility.

But, and this is a big deal, it’s also your opportunity to ensure the facility is a good fit for you. It’s your chance to gauge how the unit operates and discover details on how you can be an asset to their team; this is a crucial step in determining if you want to pursue an opportunity with them.

Interviews & What You Can Expect

While each interview you do will be different, there are a few things you can count on to remain consistent. Namely, that it will be a phone interview. Before your interview, you and your recruiter will discuss the facility. They should never ‘blind submit’ your profile to a hospital. If they do, understand that this practice isn’t standard, and you can easily find an agency that will ensure you have final approval on all submits. Let’s get back to interviews and what you need to know.

Pre-Interview

Some facilities may conduct a pre-interview. Think of it as a resume check — this can be a big time-saver for facilities by double-checking your skillset before scheduling a formal interview. A pre-interview also opens up more time for your unit-specific questions when you speak to the hiring manager in your formal interview.

Can I expect a pre-interview screen? Not necessarily. Some facilities forego this process, and others may confirm your background with your agency first. Your recruiter will be your go-to resource during this time and should advise you on whether or not to expect a pre-interview.

Tips for Making a Strong Impression Over the Phone

The standard in-person interview offers the opportunity to communicate with facial expressions, hand gestures, and eye contact. Interviewing over the phone can feel awkward, so you’ll need to focus on sounding confident and competent. Consider these tips to help you make a strong impression.

  • Speak slowly: Have you ever accidentally combined two words, like in that scene from Mean Girls? Take a breath, speak slowly, and utilize natural pauses to make it easier on the interviewer while also minimizing those weird blunders — gruel.
  • Pay attention to inflection: Did you ever have a professor ask, “Are you sure?” Make sure your tone reflects confidence by avoiding up-speak — that’s when your voice goes up, like when you ask a question.
  • Stand up & smile: This one sounds weird, but it makes a big difference! Smiling can change your speech patterns and people can pick up on that! Similarly, standing up improves your posture and projects confidence.
  • Practice on the phone: Have your recruiter, a family member, or coworker ask you questions over the phone. Ask them for feedback on the clarity of your answers.

Travel Nurse Interview

Again, there’s no such thing as standard here. Your formal interview can be a brief 5-minute check of basic culture questions or it can be a lengthy interview filled with behavioral questions. It’s a good thing travel nurses are so adaptable, because there are a few different interview types too.

Travel Nurse Interview With Hospital Staff

For these interviews, you can expect to chat with unit managers, charge nurses, or hiring managers. These representatives will likely ask about your schedule and have scenario-specific questions for you. As the ‘boots-on-the-ground’ interviewers, they’re also your best source for you to investigate topics like:

  • Scrub color
  • Patient population
  • Day-to-day workflow
  • Traveler history
  • Float expectations

You may have an interview with HR staff. While they might not have access to unit details, they still have useful insights for nurses. HR staff can arm you with an overview of the hospital itself like:

  • Resources available to your unit
  • Internal medicine doctors on a unit
  • Pharmacy on the unit
  • Transports
  • CNAs/PCTs and Environmental Services on the unit

Automated Interviews

In an ideal world, after submitting your profile, you’d hear back with potential interview times with a manager. Unfortunately, as you know, travel nursing is all about adjusting when things aren’t ideal. Enter the Voice Automated Interview (VA). Instead of speaking with a person, you will record your answers to a list of questions selected by the manager. The manager then listens to your answers and decides to hire you based on your responses and skills checklist. Here a few things to note:

  • You should be notified before submission: If a hospital uses VA, you should know before you decide to submit.
  • You won’t speak to anyone on the unit: Understand that you will forgo speaking with someone about unit-specifics like scheduling.
  • You should be able to submit questions: Typically, if a hospital uses VA, you can submit questions in writing; however, you may not get a quick response or receive a response at all.

Look for Recruiter Who Takes Your Career Seriously

There’s so much to consider when it comes to interviewing. Particularly when thinking about what’s essential for you to ask; that’s why it’s crucial to find an experienced recruiter. A good recruiter will not only guide you through the process but coach you to make the most of each interview. Ask your recruiter if they have a list of questions for you. Olivia Carper, TNAA Recruitment Manager, coaches her nurses to ensure they’re prepared and confident. We asked her for her top tips for travel nurses interviewing for the first time:

  • As soon as you get a call, ask for the manager’s name and contact number in case you get disconnected and need to call back. It also is good to have to help your recruiter secure the offer for you so that when you call back, you can focus on those additional questions.
  • Keep a list with you of vital questions you need to know to accept an offer with confidence. Think about what you need to know to do your job safely.
  • Close the deal! If you like the job, tell them and ask for it. Asking for the job is key, and that can feel uncomfortable. It helps to practice what to say, “This job sounds like a perfect fit for me, can I tell my recruiter you will be sending over an offer? I am ready to start in 2 weeks.”

We hope you found these travel nurse interview tips helpful. Do you have any tips for travel nurse interviews?

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Ways to Kick Loneliness as a Travel Nurse

As a travel nurse, you are packing up your belongings after every assignment ends.  Many times, these assignments are thousands of miles away from your family and friends.  So, how do you handle being that far away from those you love, in a town you aren’t familiar with?  Loneliness can be a real fear for travel nurses, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are many options to keep your time occupied while on assignment, aside from working.  We have put together a list of things you can do to handle the loneliness you may feel while away from your family and friends.

Work as a volunteer at a local animal shelter:

Giving of your time is also a great way to curb your loneliness.   What better way to give of your time than spending it with adorable animals at an animal shelter?  Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers.  Volunteering will get you out of the house, while you spend time with other people and animals that are so appreciative of any and all attention you can give them.   While it may not be in the books for you to adopt a pet while on the road you can give love to those in the animal shelters while you are on assignment.

Get a travel companion aka a pet:

Pets can provide you companionship no matter where you go.  You won’t feel quite so alone having them with you in your new “home.”    Coming back to an empty home can make the loneliness worse, but having a pet there waiting can make a huge difference.   Having a pet on an assignment can change the way you have to travel and look for housing.

Join a gym:  

Find a gym in your new area that offers classes!  You have a better chance of meeting people by joining a class at the gym than just by going to the gym.  Yelp is a great place to search for gyms in your area because they also give reviews just like they do for restaurants.  Many gyms offer classes more than once a week so you can work around your work schedule!

 

Utilize video chatting:

With today’s technology, staying in touch with loved ones while on assignment is much easier than ever!  Our cell phones now allow us to make video calls.  If that won’t work for you there are numerous ways using different apps or programs like Skype.  While it may not be the same as seeing them in person it will definitely help you feel closer to them while being so far away.

Meetup App:

Many travel nurses use the Meetup app. People use Meetup to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones, and pursue their passions, together.  The app has groups you can join that you are interested in, such as; Health and Wellness, Outdoors, Family, Sports and Fitness and many more.  When you join a group, you will see who is hosting local events for that group.  If there isn’t a group for a topic you enjoy you can always create one yourself.  It is a great way to find others in the area that enjoy the same things you do.

Meet other Travel Nurses in the area:

This is a great way to curb your loneliness while making friends!  We see posts on The Gypsy Nurse Facebook network group all the time looking for other travel nurses in the area.  What better people to connect with than those who know exactly what you are going through?   There are many groups on Facebook dedicated to certain cities for travel nurses.

Get out and explore:

Explore your new temporary city.  Getting out and exploring your new area is a great way to get out and you may meet some friends along the way as well.  A lot of cities and businesses offer events to bring people together.  Facebook is a great place to look for events happening around you.  You can also ask your co-workers for ideas on what to do.

Take up a new hobby:

You are on assignment usually for 13 weeks at a time, which gives you plenty of time to pick up and learn a new hobby.  Learning a new hobby will help with loneliness because it keeps you busy and your mind off being away from family and friends.  There are so many options to choose.  Knitting, crocheting, hiking, writing, yoga, and the list goes on and on.  Hiking is a great option if you can find a place in your new city.  It gets you out and about and away from your home away from home.  Knitting and crocheting are great because they can be done from your home and there are many tutorials on YouTube that make it easy to teach yourself.  The list of new hobbies to learn are really endless, it just depends on what interests you and what you think you will enjoy.

Work as a volunteer at a local animal shelter:

Giving of your time is also a great way to curb your loneliness.   What better way to give of your time than spending it with adorable animals at an animal shelter?  Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers.  Volunteering will get you out of the house, while you spend time with other people and animals that are so appreciative of any and all attention you can give them.   While it may not be in the books for you to adopt a pet while on the road you can give love to those in the animal shelters while you are on assignment.

Loneliness is inevitable while being away from your family and friends, but it doesn’t have to be.  These are just a few ways that you can handle your loneliness while traveling for an assignment.  There are many more ways.  Reaching out in the Gypsy Nurse network group about certain cities is also a great way to find out things to do while you are in your new city.

Our hope is that by providing these examples it will at least get you started on finding ways to handle the loneliness and enjoy your assignments that much more!

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Best 9 Hospitals for Travel Nurses to Work

As a travel nurse finding a great hospital or nursing facility for your next assignment can seem overwhelming. There are so many hospitals and nursing facilities within the United States.  Fellow travel nurses on our Facebook group said the below hospitals are the best hospitals for travel nurses. You will find a little bit of information from each hospital’s website as well. *They are listed in no particular order. 

Omaha, Nebraska- Children’s of Omaha

Children’s Hospital of Omaha prides itself as the only full service, pediatric healthcare center in Nebraska. They provide expertise in more than 50 pediatric specialty services to children across the five-state region and beyond.

Nebraska’s only…

They are home to Nebraska’s only Level 4 regionals NICU and the state’s only Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Center. Their regional heart center offers expertise in pediatric heart transplantation.

They are recognized as a 2018-19 Best Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report in five pediatric specialties: Cardiology and Heart Surgery, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Orthopedics, and Diabetes & Endocrine Disorders.

They state that “Teamwork, friendly coworkers, a supportive leadership team, and a family-like atmosphere make our workplace feel like home. You will enjoy autonomy, the respect of our world-class physicians, and the opportunity to advance your career.”

Wailuku, Hawaii- Maui Memorial Medical

Maui Memorial Medical Center is affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. They pride themselves on providing high-quality, patient-centered, affordable care for all residents and visitors on Maui and Lanai. Because they are affiliated with Kaiser Permanent they can provide industry-leading technology systems, evidence-based medicine, and nationally recognized care quality.

Together in health:

One of their missions states “From developing programs and initiatives to support the total health of our communities to creating the best place to work, deliver, and receive care, Maui Health System is committed to improving the health of the people of Maui and Lanai”

Boston, Massachusetts- Boston Medical Center

As their website states “At Boston Medical Center, all are welcome and treated equally. The best and brightest physicians, representing virtually every medical specialty, choose to work here for the opportunity to make a difference in their community and beyond.

Unwavering in its commitment to the community, BMC is a private, not-for-profit, 514-bed, academic medical center located in Boston’s historic South End. The primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine, BMC is the largest safety-net hospital and busiest trauma and emergency services center in New England.”

Teaching:

At Boston Medical Center teaching and education are very important. They are the principal teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. They are devoted to training future generations of healthcare professionals. “Every member of the hospital’s medical and dental staff holds an academic appointment at the Boston University School of Medicine or the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine. BMC operates 66 residency training programs with 817 resident and fellowship positions”

Charlottesville, Virginia- UVA

UVA prides itself on being a health system that includes a hospital, level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia.

Through research and clinical trials, they stay at the leading edge of the treatments they offer.

They rank among the nation’s top hospitals because their doctors, nurses, and caregivers make every effort to push the envelope of healthcare.

UVA’s goals include:

  • Become the safest place to receive care
  • Be the healthiest work environment
  • Provide exceptional clinical care
  • Generate biomedical discovery that betters the human condition
  • Train healthcare providers of the future to work in multi-disciplinary teams
  • Ensure value-driven and efficient stewardship of resources

West Plains, Missouri- Ozark Medical Center

Ozarks Medical Center is changing the way medical care is delivered to their area by providing the rare combination of advanced medicine and compassionate care you can only get at home.

Ozarks Medical Center is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, an independent, not-for-profit organization that develops standards of quality in collaboration with health professionals.

Their website goes on to state that:

“At Ozarks Medical Center, our physicians, nurses, staff, administration, and board of directors are dedicated to providing quality care to our patients. Our goal is to demonstrate superior clinical quality, safety, and effectiveness. We strive to create a culture of safety and quality for all services: every patient, every time.

The people of this region can be very proud of the high caliber of physicians currently on staff at OMC. With more than 100 doctors, OMC has a strong core of primary care physicians as well as numerous specialists.”

Grand Forks, North Dakota- Altru Hospital

Altru Health System is a community of over 4,000 health professionals and support staff committed to caring for the region for more than 100 years. They serve over 200,000 residents in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, they also provide an array of services to meet the needs of patients of all ages and levels of health. 

Mayo Clinic Care Network:

As you will find on their website they are the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, because of this Altru’s providers have access to clinically integrated tools extending Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise to patients. “Together, we share a common philosophy, commitment, and mission to improve the delivery of healthcare through high quality, data-driven evidence-based medical care, and treatment.”

Seattle, Washington- Swedish Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill is part of the Swedish Hospitals. The campus is undergoing improvements currently and they have a master plan in place that they say ” The new master plan represents a 30-year vision for the future of the Swedish Cherry Hill campus that will allow Swedish to continue providing family medicine and emergency services to patients of all ages, while also treating the most complex cardiovascular and neurological diseases.”

Their commitment to improving the health of our region extends beyond patient care. Whether through physician clinics, health education, research, and innovation or other means of outreach, they are committed to caring for the people in their region and beyond.

Richmond, Virginia- Virginia Commonwealth University Health (VCU)

As you will find on their website VCU prides itself on offering above standard care. “From new, life-saving procedures or a clinical researcher who finds promise in new cancer treatment, we’re making possibilities a reality. The exciting new medicine is happening at VCU Health – every day.”

They have it all:

  • Five schools
  • An academic medical center
  • A Level I trauma center
  • One of only two NCI-designated cancer centers in Virginia
  • The region’s only full-service children’s hospital
  • More than 800 physicians in 200 specialties
  • With a community health center, dedicated research teams, facilities and valued partners in every field

Puyallup, Washington- Good Samaritan

Good Samaritan Hospital is part of the MultiCare Health System. It is a comprehensive, private not-for-profit medical system serving the growing populations of Pierce and King Counties in the greater Puget Sound region of Washington.

Their medical staff includes 1,600 of the region’s most respected primary care physicians and specialists.

Their website states that their expanding health care delivery system is based in Tacoma and includes acute care hospitals in Tacoma and Puyallup as well as:

There are 6,210 hospitals in the United States. This is just the top 9 hospitals for travel nurses as mentioned by fellow travel nurses in The Gypsy Nurse Facebook group. There may be others that you find great as well. Be sure to mention your top hospitals for travel nurses in the comments below. 

We hope this list will help you along your journey as a travel nurse.

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10 Tips to Help Travel Nurses De-Stress

If you have chosen to journey across the country as a travel nurse, you have probably hit a few bumps in the road along the way. Long days, challenging patients, conflicts with supervisors, and even bad weather can increase stress levels. It is important to take care of your health and avoid Travel Nurse Burnout. Everyone will appreciate you more if you are in a good, positive mood.

Here are 10 easy ways to reduce stress and even lower blood pressure. Take five minutes for you and give them a try the next time life throws you a little extra anxiety.

10 Easy Ways to Reduce Stress for Travel Nurses

1. Listen to Music

While classical music can be extremely calming and decrease levels of stress hormones, the truth is any music you enjoy can increase the flow of feel-good chemicals to the brain and help you relax.

2. Disconnect from your electronics

Turn off your cell phone, step away from your computer, look away from the screen. Uninterrupted screen time can increase stress. So be sure to take frequent breaks and from time to time disconnect completely.

3. Laughter is the best medicine

Anything that makes you chuckle will work, a joke, funny video, hilarious memory, just laugh out loud. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.”

4. Inhale and Exhale

Breathing exercises can help. One popular choice is to take a deep breath in, hold for the count of ten, then exhale for a count of ten. Just taking a few deep breaths can reduce tension and relieve stress. The extra boost of oxygen nourishes the brain and can reduce blood pressure.

5. Try aromatherapy

Escape for just a few moments with essential oil. Aromatherapy has been shown to decrease stress levels; some popular scents include lavender, vanilla, and chamomile.

6. Get your potassium

Bananas are loaded with potassium which has been shown to help regulate blood pressure and even improve energy levels during stressful times.

7. Get out and move

moving your body or any type of exercise that you enjoy stimulates blood flow, staying active regularly helps keep you fit and better prepared to handle stressful situations.

8. Have treat here and there

Good nutrition continuously helps keep you healthy, but a treat from time to time in small portions can also help boost your mood and combat stress. Dark chocolate is one of the best choices because its flavanols may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.

9. Get your sleep

Sleep is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. But not all sleep is created equal. To be rested you need adequate amounts of uninterrupted sleep, many times it quality not quantity that can best help you de-stress.

10. Make a schedule

No doubt you will have very busy days and challenging to-do lists, to keep stress at bay, build in time between commitments. Don’t schedule something every minute to avoid rushing and fear of being late—real stressors!

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