Why It’s Important to Take a Vacation as a Travel Nurse

While travel nursing has the perks of competitive pay, getting to visit new cities, and adventure, you’re still working. Each assignment you take offers new adventures, but it’s still important to take a work-free vacation as a travel nurse and enjoy yourself without worrying about your next shift. Taking even a short break in between assignments is a great way to arrive at your next assignment refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.

Moving Can Be Stressful

Every seasoned travel nurse learns how to be a pro at moving every few months. However, moving into a new apartment, getting used to a new city, getting accustomed to new job duties, and getting to know new coworkers and friends can take a toll on even the most extroverted traveler. Taking a work-free vacation once a year or more is a fantastic way to de-stress and enjoy leisure time before your next assignment.

It’s Good for You

All nurses know the importance of mental and physical health, and practicing self-care is crucial. Nursing is a hard occupation. You’re on your feet most of the day and responsible for taking care of your patients. Stress is a major cause of heart disease and high blood pressure, and studies even show that those who vacation reduce their risk of heart disease and heart attack!

Vacations Help you Recharge

On assignment, you usually have a daily routine, and it’s easy to lose perspective and forget about life outside your next shift. On vacation, you have time to revisit your goals, explore new surroundings, and abandon your regular schedule to indulge in whatever you enjoy but don’t have enough time for at work. Taking regular vacations also helps prevent burnout in your career.

Vacations Can Improve your Relationships

While it can be relaxing to vacation alone, taking vacations with family, close friends, or your significant other can make your relationship stronger. In addition, exploring new areas, enjoying stress-free leisure time without worry about work, and having new adventures together strengthens the bond with the people you care about most.

Taking Vacations Make you Better at your Job

Taking vacations makes you happier, and, logically, happy people perform better at work. In fact, one study showed that for each 10 additional vacation hours an employee took per year, their performance review was 8% higher.

They Make You a Happier Person

Research shows that chronic stress levels release hormones that can lead to depression and anxiety. Taking a stress-free vacation contributes to your mental health and happiness, and the effects will last longer than your vacation.

The benefits of vacationing are clear – consider it a self-care necessity rather than an indulgence! It’s easy to say you will go and never get around to it. You only live once, so what are you waiting for?

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Tips for Homesick Travel Nurses

As a travel nurse, you understand that you will not be at home for many months out of the year. While it’s an understanding, it doesn’t mean being away from home is enjoyable. We speak with many travel nurses who experience homesickness during an assignment. To help, we have put together this list of 10 homesick tips for travel nurses.

10 homesick tips for travel nurses

Stay Connected Via Social Media.

Social Media is a great way to stay connected. You can see what others are doing, and they can also see what you are up to.

Get To Know Your Neighbors.

Your neighbors can be great people to help you explore new areas and no longer be homesick. When you “get adopted” by others in your new surroundings, you can create a new family.

Setup Weekly Calls With Friends & Families.

Schedules give you something to look forward to. Find a day and time that works for you and your friends or families to have a weekly call. Use it as an opportunity to catch up. If you want to have more fun, use Facetime.

Go Out With New Colleagues.

It would help if you had a few similarities with some of your colleagues. Use that to build off of. Invite one of them out to dinner, drinks, coffee, or go exploring if you have travel nurses at your facility, even more of a reason to get to know them.

Explore Your New Surroundings.

Getting out in your next city helps you establish new routines. It also takes your mind off being homesick as you become present in the moment.

Have Friends/Family Visit You.

The best way to avoid being homesick and missing your friends and family is to see them. So why not have them come out for a few days. They can see your new environment, and they get to take a little vacation. It’s a win, win.

Travel With Someone.

Many travel nurses travel with someone else. Whether it’s another traveler, a friend, a loved one, or a pet, traveling with someone is certainly one of our 10 homesick tips for travel nurses.

Join A Social League.

Many cities have sports leagues you can join. These are great ways to have something social in your schedule and meet new people.

Take Your Next Assignment Near Friends and Family.

If you want to avoid being homesick on an assignment, make your next assignment near loved ones. Be sure to let your recruiter know ASAP, depending on your ideal location. It could be competitive.

Do Something New.

There must be something on your bucket list you have always wanted to try—what better time to try something new than when you are on assignment. Doing something new can help take your mind off being said and focus that energy on your new hobby.

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8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Travel Nurse

Guest article from TGN by Kayla Reynolds

One of the great things about travel nursing is the variety of experiences for those who choose this path.  As an ICU travel nurse for the past  5+ years, I’ve learned a lot through trial and error.  If you are interested in becoming a “Gypsy” or are new to travel nursing, there are 8 things I wish I know before I became a travel nurse that I hope helps you in your journey.

Trust your gut!

I had a pretty lucrative contract in CA, but I sold my soul for it. It was a pretty rough assignment using the most outdated charting system and floated from one end of that hospital to another. Yes, I got paid well, but I certainly worked for it. My gut was right when it said, “this is too good to be true.” If you feel after an interview uneasy about anything, ask more questions, and don’t be afraid to pass on it.

Have A Safety Net!

Traveling is a risky business, and it may sound like a no-brainer but do not start traveling without some savings. You have to be ready for the unexpected, like when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere or a contract gets canceled. You may have to live without working for a few weeks. SO, be prepared for it.

Educate yourself on taxes regarding travel nursing and what is meant by maintaining a tax home.

I spent hours researching articles related to travel nursing and taxes before becoming a travel nurse. This can be very complicated.

Read your contract!

You have to go over your contract with a fine-toothed comb. Ensure you understand everything in your contract and that it includes all the things you have asked for. Some of the top things I make sure is in my contract are pay rates for the first 36 hours, hours from 36-40, and hours from 40+ (the exception is California), requested days off, cancellation policy or guaranteed hours, canceled contract policy, travel and any other reimbursements, per diems, shift times, the specific unit I will be working, and floating policy. Make sure you understand things like non-compete clauses in your contract or any other terms you agree to.

 Before starting to apply to companies have all your documents ready.

This will include a resume, certifications, copy of your diploma, vaccination records, copy of your identification card, nursing licenses, and references. Also, every company will request that you do a skills checklist before being submitted to hospitals.

Travel nursing can be uncomfortable at times.

If you were to meet me now you would probably never guess I was not the most social and certainly not as confident as I am today. That I owe to travel nursing pushing me out of my comfort zone. I have learned to go at it on my own and not wait for anyone to tag along with me to have an adventure. I like to call it dating myself or solo explorations.

Learn from the experienced travel nurses.

All of us have made mistakes going in but if you know before you start what to look out for this may save you a lot of heartache.

Be ready for whatever is thrown your way.

Finally, your reaction to situations will make or break your travel nursing career. You can choose to throw in the towel or you can handle it. Travel nursing will test your limits sometimes but you have the power to run it or let it run you.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful. One of the keys to being a successful Gypsy nurse is the willingness to help your colleagues. Feel free to let me know if they do by leaving a comment here.

Want to share your own travel nursing tips with fellow Gypsies?  Leave a comment here or (for the budding travel nursing writers out there!) email content@thegypsynurse.com with your ideas and we may be able to turn it into an article and share it with the thousands of Gypsies in our network!

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Self Care Tips for Travel Nurses

As travel nurses, you are always caring for others but taking care of yourself is just as important, if not more important. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will not care for those who rely on you. Being on the road while on a travel nurse assignment can make it harder to care for yourself.  Not being familiar with the area may be a concern, but it doesn’t have to be.  To help you while you are on the road, The Gypsy Nurse team has put together a list of 4 self-care tips for travel nurses while on assignment.

Rest and Sleep

Self-care for travel nurses should start with focusing on sleep. Getting plenty of rest as a nurse is sometimes difficult. And working twelve-hour shifts as a travel nurse can make having a typical sleep pattern difficult. Nurses average about 6.8 hours of sleep a night. While it is recommended, they get 8 hours of sleep. It may seem that 1.2 hours of sleep isn’t that much. Looking at the big picture, that is a loss of 438 hours of sleep a year that you are losing out on. Sleep loss directly affects your health as well. We realize that getting enough sleep is easier said than done. Here are a few tips to help you fall asleep at night. Make sure the room is darkroom darkening curtains work great to keep out unwanted light, whether during the day for night shift nurses or artificial light at night.  Stay off your cell phone and/or computer. Not only does this stimulate your mind, but the blue light from them isn’t good for your eyes.  Read a book.  Reading helps to reduce stress which helps you fall asleep quicker.  If you have tried all of these and still find yourself having trouble falling asleep or getting good sleep, you can try over-the-counter supplements such as; chamomile tea or melatonin. Your body needs rest to keep it healthy and to function at its best. Lack of rest is also dangerous when driving to and from work. If you haven’t had enough rest, you could risk dozing off while driving.

Eating Healthy

As a nurse, it is sometimes difficult to maintain a healthy diet. You don’t always get to take your lunch breaks and are forced to dine on vending machine options. At the same time, convenient these things won’t keep you going for long. Many of these options are packed full of sugar. Sugar affects the body and brain in many ways, including; the obvious weight gain drains your energy, contributes to depression, and many others. Something as simple as packing a few healthy snacks for your shift could make a difference. Some examples of healthy snacks for the go could include; trail mix, avocado chicken salad, protein bars, jerky, veggies and dip, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, or protein shakes.  These are just a few suggestions. There are many more out there.  You won’t feel the need to reach for the vending machine food if you have something easy at your disposal.

Exercising

Exercising is a great method of self-care. There are numerous benefits you can receive from it. There are some obvious benefits, including helping control your weight and combating health diseases and health conditions. Did you know that it can help your mood, boost your energy, and help you get a more restful sleep at night? You don’t have to get a gym membership to exercise. YouTube is great for workouts if that is what you are looking for. Going for a jog, run or walk are also great options; these can be done anywhere!

Hobbies/ Me Time

Taking time out of your day for your time is important.  It helps to refresh and refuel your mind and body.  By taking time out of your day for yourself, you’ll lower your stress, become more productive, and have more energy.  What better way than with hobbies. They don’t have to be time-consuming or expensive; reading a book, crafting, painting, dancing, or writing.  If the outdoors is more your thing, you could go for walks, hikes or go outside and enjoy the weather.  You can always get me time by going out and getting a massage, manicure/pedicure, or facial as well.

These 4 things are just a few things you can do for self-care. Taking care of yourself should be one of your main focuses to care for others. While you may be able to get away with avoiding these things for a while, it won’t last, and at some point, your body and mind are going to hit a wall. Take time for yourself so you can help those who need you most.

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Items to Collect That Don’t Take Up Space

As travel nurses, you are going to new locations every 13 weeks. Sometimes even sooner.  While taking pictures and making memories are great, sometimes you want something to remember each place.  The key to these collectibles is to keep them small because you are traveling and only have so much space.  Here are some great items to collect from each location that doesn’t take up a lot of space.

Items to collect that don’t take up space

Postcards

Postcards are the first item on our list, they are easy to find in most locations, and they are easy to store. Postcards are great because you can write on them, for example, what was your favorite thing about that assignment or city.  They are also great because they take up so little space; you could buy a photo album and place them in it or store them in a box.

Magnets

Magnets make great collectibles because they don’t take up much room except on the refrigerator!  They are usually easy to find if you visit truck stops or gas stations along highways

Key chains

Again, key chains make great collectibles because they are often small.  While you may not use them for day-to-day use, you can keep them hung on key hooks or just put them away to look at and reminisce on your travels.

Shot Glasses

Shot glasses are great because they are small and don’t take up much room.  Because of this, they can be displayed out as décor pieces.  They are often not very costly, either.

Coffee Mugs

Coffee mugs can be tricky because they can take up some room. However, if you always keep a few with you and rotate the ones you take with you on an assignment, you won’t have to worry about that.  Starbucks even has mugs with each state on them and pictures of landmarks and such from each state.  If there is a state park or visitor center near you, they often carry these as well.

Pins

Pins are great because you can put them on a bag, hat, or really anything that you want to.  You could also take the backs off and place them on a corkboard as a display piece.  The options you get with pins are almost endless.  Pins are a fun thing to collect!

Shirts/ Hooded Sweatshirts

Shirts and sweatshirts are great because not only are they collectibles, but you can wear them.  Again, you can rotate the ones you bring with you on assignment.  They are often found at gas stations along highways.

Key chains

Again, key chains make great collectibles because they are often small.  While you may not use them for day-to-day use, you can keep them hung on key hooks or just put them away to look at and reminisce on your travels.

Charms for bracelets

Another great option is a charm for a bracelet.  While it may eventually fill up, you could get another bracelet.  Bracelets and jewelry take up very little space.  Pandora is just one option for charms and charm bracelets.  This option also lets you be creative because you can pick a charm that reminds you of something you love about a city or state you have had an assignment in.

Remembering your adventures is an important aspect of travel nursing.  These are just a few things that travel nurses have collected along their travels.  There are many more, but these options are easy to take with you on the road and really don’t take up a lot of space.  Some of these things are probably no-brainers, but some you probably never even thought about.

What travel nurse items do you collect? Post in the comments!

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To Extend or Not to Extend: The Travel Nurse Dilemma

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Should you stay or should you go? It all depends on what you’re looking for in a travel nurse contract extension.

By Megen Robbins, Cirrus Medical Staffing

By definition, travel nurses have the opportunity to move from place to place, and hospital to hospital all over the U.S. with every new assignment. Part of the fun is finding the next position offering the pay package you need, the location you want, and the facility that will help you grow professionally.

Most of the informative articles and tips circulating about travel nursing relate to helping you find a new assignment, and yet information about extending your current assignment seems almost absent from the narrative. This article will break down the pros and cons of extensions, and how to talk to your recruiter and facility about this option.

What is an extension?

An extension is when a healthcare traveler chooses to extend their current contracted assignment for an agreed-upon number of weeks. The length of the extension varies depending on what the hospital needs and what you’re willing to do.

Why extensions can be good

It’s easy. For everyone involved, extensions require less work to arrange. All of your paperwork is done, so you won’t have onboarding or orientation at the facility. You have housing set up and you already know your way around the city. Licensing and testing are already complete. Just sign on the dotted line to extend and you’re up and running!

It means you get more time to enjoy your current location. Maybe it’s the new people you’ve met that you’re not ready to leave behind quite yet or the hiking trails you haven’t had time to explore, or maybe you just need more time to think about where you’d like to go next.

You can still negotiate. Usually, recruiters provide the best deal possible on your first contract at a facility, but sometimes you can redistribute expenses into your pay package such as travel stipends, expenses for drug/TB testing and physical, criminal background check (if ordered by facility), or compliance and credentialing costs. However, if you’ve never traveled with a company before, you may have already received things like a sign-on bonus and other one-time-only perks in your first assignment’s pay package, so keep that in mind.

It’s flexible. On new assignments, the number of weeks you’ll be there is set in stone on your contract, and most facilities aren’t interested in shortening the length to appease a traveler. If you’re offered an extension, however, the facility knows you’re acclimated to your unit. Having you stay on, even if only for half the length of your first assignment, is more efficient than orienting a new traveler in your place. Unconventional contract lengths are typical for extensions, so you have more control over how long you stay.

Why extensions can be bad

It’s not in your best interests. Feeling pushed into an extension is the most basic reason why extensions can be bad for you as the traveler. Make sure you communicate to your recruiter how you feel about every aspect of the assignment throughout your contract. If there is something that can be changed to make your experience better, your recruiter can help you consider your options by pinpointing exactly what’s making you unhappy. Otherwise, your recruiter may not know what needs to change and therefore cannot help you in a meaningful way. If your recruiter knows why you’re unhappy and they aren’t actively submitting you elsewhere per your request, it might be time to find a new recruiter.

You’re unhappy at the facility itself. If you’re unhappy at the facility, and other factors don’t make staying worth it (like money), then extending may only be an option for you if no new contracts work out. Again, communicate with your recruiter and make sure they are actively submitting you to new positions so you have a new assignment lined up. One of the beauties of being a travel nurse is that you have the option to move on after a relatively short time, no questions asked.

How extensions come about

You’re approached about it by your recruiter and/or facility. Hospitals typically start to consider extensions up to four weeks prior to the end of your current contract. Sometimes you’ll get more notice; depending on the time of year or census patterns of the facility, hospitals may release their needs well in advance. You’ll be approached by your recruiter to weigh your options when they’re made aware of an opportunity to extend.

You bring the idea to your recruiter. Whenever the thought to extend occurs to you, it’s never too early to let your recruiter know. They can tell the facility you are interested in and start the process of arranging a contract that maximizes your income. Also, keep an open line of communication with your nurse manager so they know you’re interested in staying and they can work on getting any necessary approvals for the contract extension in advance.  Also, be prepared to discuss time off requests with the nurse manager and your recruiter.  You want to have those ready to go and approved up front to get the contract locked down quickly. Your recruiter can help you navigate an extension even before a facility’s needs are released. Just like you would for a new assignment, the earlier you start hunting – even if you’re looking to stay put – the better your odds of a successful placement.

The bottom line on extensions

Contract extensions should be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis – every assignment is different, and your reasons for staying may change depending on your circumstance. Extensions are a great way to get more of what’s important to you at the time; whether it’s more of the people, more money, more time to explore, or simply more time to find your next destination without a lapse between assignments.

Whatever your reasons to extend, they’re your reasons. Communicate openly with your recruiter and maybe your dilemma, to extend or not to extend, will cease to be a dilemma at all.

 

About the Author: Megen Robbins is the Marketing Supervisor at Cirrus Medical Staffing, a full-service healthcare staffing agency and travel nurse company. In her spare time, she’s usually hanging out with her two children under age 4, while simultaneously daydreaming about alone time. Find more travel nursing job advice, tips, and news on the Cirrus blog!

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Preparing for Hurricane Florence: What Travel Nurses Should Know

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A look at Hurricane Florence from space. The Category 2 storm is expected to hit the East Coast this weekend.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall near the Carolina coast later today and into the weekend. Forecasters are already calling it “the storm of a lifetime.” Are you in the path of the storm? If you are, don’t panic. Here’s what travel nurses can do to stay safe before and after a natural disaster while on assignment.

Before the storm:

Learn your facility’s emergency response plan: Most facilities have an emergency response plan in place to protect their patients and staff during critical events or natural disasters. In some cases, hospitals will even evacuate their patients if they can. However, just like hospitals, no two emergency response plans are alike. So, make sure you understand your role within that plan. Your unit manager should be able to brief you on your specific role and answer any of your questions.

Stock up on supplies: Prepare for what you’ll need before and after a natural disaster. The American Red Cross recommends this handy checklist of emergency supplies. For example, you should have a 2-week supply of non-perishable food and water as well as a full tank of gas in your car. You may also want to purchase a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio so you can get the latest information from the National Weather Service.

Consider your housing situation: Make sure you have a Plan B for housing in the event that your current living situation becomes uninhabitable. Talk with your recruiter and your facility managers beforehand to determine your best course of action.

After the storm:

Contact your friends and family: Let your loved ones know you are safe. You can do so on Facebook or use the Safe and Well website. As a travel nurse, it’s also a great idea to put your recruiter on this list.

Avoid flooded areas and downed power lines: Flooding brings with it the risk of waterborne bacterial contamination and downed power lines pose a potential threat in the aftermath of a storm.

Don’t drink the tap water until authorities have given the all-clear. Tap water might not be safe to drink immediately following a natural disaster, so use your bottled water and/or boil the tap water before you use it.

Should you ever find yourself preparing for a natural disaster while on assignment, we hope these tips can help you stay safe. Thank you to all the travel nurses who have weathered similar storms or disasters in the name of patient care! You inspire all of us!

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Nurses Week 2018 Steals and Deals

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Nurses Week is May 6th to 12th! Get the most out of your Nurses Week with these deals!

Nurses Week 2018 is almost here! Are you ready? To help you celebrate your week to the fullest, Travel Nursing Central has compiled a list of Nurses Week discounts, freebies, and deals for you.

Cinnabon: As the proud sponsor of the DAISY Foundation, Cinnabon is understandably all about nurse appreciation. During Nurses Week, show your medical ID badge to any participating Cinnabon store and receive a free, delicious treat full of gooey goodness! 

American Nurses Association: Interested in technology and nursing? Then ANA’s free webinar “Emerging Technology and Its Impact on Nursing Practice” is for you! Participants will earn a free CE and gain useful insight into the impact of technology on a nurse’s daily practice, real-world advice for adapting, and how to enhance patient care using technology. The live webinar is slated for May 9th at 1 p.m. ET. Registration closes at May 8th at 7 p.m. You can learn more here.

Lippincott Nursing Center: Enter for a chance to win a $50.00 Scrubs.com gift card at Lippincott Nursing Center’s website. All you need to do is explain what #NurseStrong means to you when you complete their form here. Applicants will also receive a $10 off CE coupon just by participating.

Medical Solutions: This travel nurse staffing company is pulling out all the stops for Nurses Week. Head over to WeLoveOurNurses.com and play trivia games, quizzes, and more for a chance to win some amazing prizes, including a $1,500 grand prize.

Disney World: The most magical place on Earth loves nurses too. They offer a hotel discount to nurses at the Swan and Dolphin. When booking your rooms, use the code DREAMS to receive the discount. You will have to provide your medical ID badge at check-in to get the discount. For more information, click here.

At DiscoverNursing.com, Johnson & Johnson continues to offer free nurse themed magnets, coloring books, a “Nurses Heal” pin, and many other complimentary resources including brochures, posters, videos, and software.

Did we miss any Nurses Week activities or events out there? Let us know in the comments below. In the meantime, Happy Nurses Week to all you hardworking nurses!

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7 Helpful Pieces of Advice for New Travel Nurses

A career in travel nursing offers several key differences from a traditional nursing position. For many nurses, it is a uniquely exciting career, offering experiences and new settings they would not experience otherwise.

hospital%20nurse%20with%20wheelchair%20patient 600x - 7 Helpful Pieces of Advice for New Travel NursesFor some nurses, travel nursing offers the right combination of excitement and job flexibility.

If you’re interested in a travel nursing career, read up on personal accounts by experienced travel nurses, and take the time to select the right travel nursing agency. Here are seven other helpful pieces of advice for new travel nurses.

1. Organize All Essential Documentation

The ability to plan ahead is essential to a successful travel nursing career. Make sure you have the following on hand for when you sign with a travel nursing agency:

  • Current nursing license and specialty certifications
  • Immunization records
  • List of references with contact information
  • Professional resume highlighting your skills and strengths

Having these important pieces of information ready makes it easier to prepare for phone interviews with potential employers, because you can focus more on questions you want to ask and on understanding policies and schedules.

2. Keep an Open Mind and Remain Flexible

In addition to excellent planning ability, you must also have a certain amount of flexibility. Ultimately, a travel nursing career can allow you to tailor your career to your desire to travel, or to your family’s needs, but especially at first, you must be prepared to be flexible and accept assignments with an open mind.

3. Learn How to Pack Strategically for Assignments

Don’t expect to pack perfectly the first time. Strive to pack light, yet know what your “essentials” are, whether that’s family photos, a personal journal, or a special throw or bed pillow. Travel nursing agencies will inform you about what is available in any housing they provide. Over time you will learn what really is necessary and what you can leave at home.

4. Understand Pay Rates and Other Benefits Before Accepting an Assignment

An outstanding travel nursing agency welcomes questions, so don’t be shy inquiring about benefits, base salary, canceled shift policies, shift differentials, and other pertinent information. Determine whether benefits like health insurance are offered, and if so, what percentage of the premiums you’ll be responsible for.

male%20nurse%20with%20little%20girl 600x - 7 Helpful Pieces of Advice for New Travel NursesThe right travel nursing agency is happy to answer your questions. 

5. Allow Yourself Plenty of Time to Prepare for Your First Shift

Generally, it’s better to show up more than one day before your start date. If you can allow a few days to settle in, rent a car (if necessary), learn your commute time, and stock up on food and household items, your first day on the job will be far less stressful. Knowing your neighborhood, including things like where the local supermarket is, can also minimize stress.

6. Realize that Getting Accustomed to Travel Nursing Takes Time

Travel nursing isn’t for every nurse, and those who are well-suited for this path may not realize it at first. Once you learn to pack well, save receipts, and take care of the details, you’ll be able to evaluate travel nursing as a career choice and determine if it is right for you. Many nurses choose travel nursing and can’t imagine doing it any other way.

7. Choose the Right Travel Nursing Agency

The importance of choosing an outstanding travel nursing agency cannot be overemphasized. Your agency should be large enough to offer you the opportunities you want, yet small enough to provide the attention you need, answer your questions, and generally have your back as you take on travel nursing assignments. The right travel nursing agency is ready to listen to you, answer your questions, and help you build a career that lets you shine and that provides the challenges and rewards you want.

Travel nursing offers many amazing opportunities. Not only can nurses pursue travel to places they may never have had the chance to go, travel nurses with families can schedule their assignments to mesh with school schedules, or a spouse’s schedule, offering flexibility and earning power. If you are interested in travel nursing, Travel Nursing Central invites you to fill out our sign-up form. It’s an important first step towards what could be an outstanding nursing career for you.

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4 Tips for Working with a Traveling Nurse Recruiter

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Open communication with your recruiter can make your travel nursing journey easier.

By Susan Whitman | Sr. Vice President & CFO at Freedom Healthcare Staffing

So, you’ve decided to become a traveling nurse. Congratulations! There’s a lot of planning to do as you begin this journey, but the most important might very well be developing communication with your recruiter. Yes, thinking about your first desired location, how you’re going to lightly pack for 13 weeks and what your furbaby will need for the journey are all important, but before getting overwhelmed, find comfort in knowing your recruiter is there to help you with all of this and more. To enjoy such useful support, communication with recruiters must be at an all-time high.

With these 4 tips, you’ll grow into your new travel nursing position without sweating the small stuff.

What’s Your Preferred Method of Communication?

45% of job seekers think texting is a professional way for recruiters to communicate with them. Whether you prefer texting, Facetime or even Facebook Messenger, let your recruiter know what you’re most likely to check often.

Your recruiter will need to be able to contact you frequently, and you want him or her to, especially if one of your preferred facilities has openings. Don’t let perfect assignment opportunities slip through the cracks because the email inbox is archaic to you. There will be times when you need advice or guidance through your current assignment as well. So, the easier it is for your recruiter to contact you, the better your experience will be.

It’s Okay to Say No

Honesty is extremely important when working with a traveling nurse recruiter. Don’t feel bad if they present you with an assignment you’re less than excited about. You decided to become a traveling nurse for many reasons, one of which was the ability to explore different cities across the nation. It’s acceptable to be a little picky about the places you want and don’t want to visit. After all, the traveling from facility to facility in new towns and cities is an amazing perk!

“You know how to take care of people, this is what you were born to do… You will find that traveling brings back the best part of nursing. It allows you to take care of your patients without having to get hung up on the inner workings of the unit,” said Crystal Gustafson, RN

Don’t get stuck in an assignment because you didn’t want to turn down the recruiter. It’s best to tell them yes or no immediately so they don’t end up doing extra work when they could be finding jobs you’d love.

Get Organized

If you’re brand new to the traveling industry, there are many things you need to set straight before accepting your first assignment. Don’t miss a dream opportunity because you didn’t prepare everything ahead of time. Run through this list before saying, Y-E-S:

  • Get up-to-date on all your vaccinations
  • Apply for your new state license
  • Get your car checked for updates and necessary repairs
  • Give a house key to a trusted family member or friend
  • Stop your mail for the length of your assignment
  • Call your bank and notify them you’ll be leaving for X amount of weeks
  • Ask someone to take care of your lawn if you have one that needs tending to
  • Set up automatic bill payments

With all the essential duties out of the way, you can focus on working with your recruiter to find a great opportunity.

Be True to You

Know what you want in your assignments before letting your recruiter send you any ol’ open positions. Do you have specific compensation preferences? A short list of states you hold licenses in? Certain times of the year you’re available or unavailable to travel? Are you traveling with a pet or partner? Your recruiter needs these specific guidelines so they can focus their research on the positions that suit your lifestyle.

Create an open and easy relationship with your recruiter. He or she will be your partner in finding the opportunities you really want. The better you understand one another, the greater your chances of forming a successful traveling nurse career. And, with their help, you’ll never be alone in your travels.

What are your biggest concerns about taking your job nation-wide?

Susan is the Senior Vice President & CFO of Freedom Healthcare Staffing, a staffing agency for traveling nurses across the U.S. based in Aurora, Colorado. Susan has over 20 years of experience in the hospital & staffing industries beginning in 2001 as the Vice President of Fastaff Travel Nursing. The Freedom Healthcare team and Susan take pride in helping their travelers find the healthcare jobs of their dreams, providing support, outstanding benefits, and unbeatable compensation. Learn more about Freedom Healthcare: http://www.freedomhcs.com/.

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