What to Expect on Your First Travel Nurse Assignment
You are about to start on your FIRST travel nursing assignment! That’s fantastic—congratulations! We know you must be excited about the many advantages of being a travel nurse (great salary, an opportunity to learn new skills, the chance to experience new places). You may also, however, be a bit nervous about your first days ahead – trust us, you are certainly not the first one to feel this way.
To help you feel a bit more confident, we’ve put together seven steps designed to help boost your confidence as you embark on (and succeed in) your first (of hopefully many) travel nursing adventure with Advantage RN. Here they are:
- Know that planning, preparing, and traveling to your new assignment is half the fun. There are some parts of your travel nurse job that will remind you of going on vacation, and one of them is the joy of planning your trip to your new facility. Map out your route and dream about all the exciting things you will do during your time off and all of the new people and professionals you will meet.
- Re-read your contract and work with your recruiter and QA coordinator to get all your documents to Advantage RN. Now is the time to acquaint yourself with your contract details such as bonus notes, timesheet protocols, recognized holidays, and so on, so you are on top of your game during your assignment. This is also the time to work closely with your recruiter and QA coordinator to get all your required compliance documents completed and in the hands of your QA coordinator one week prior to your start date. You’ll also want to set up a weekly “date” with your Advantage RN recruiter—by phone, email or text—so you have a steady “life preserver” with you while you are on your travel journey. Trust us, our recruiters sincerely love to live vicariously through your successes and adventures and being in touch with YOU is always a priority.
- Get as many details as you can about housing and once there, get acquainted with your new neighborhood. If you are opting to have Advantage RN arrange for your housing, you’ll be working with one of our housing coordinators who you will need to let know about all of your unique housing requirements – like the fact you are traveling with a pet so she can arrange for pet-friendly housing. Regardless if you are using Advantage RN’s Housing department or finding your own housing, move in before you start work so you can acclimate a bit to your new surroundings. Meet your neighbors. Practice your commute. Hit some of the hot spots in your new city. Make a bucket list of things to do while you’re there. Take some time to learn about all the activities going on in your new city by visiting this page from our website: Exploring Your New City.
- Keep a travel log, be prepared with a “just-in-case” fund, and don’t forget your journal! Keep good records of your mileage, meals on the road, uniform and equipment purchases, etc.— as these can all be tax write-offs. And, as with any job, it’s always good to have some extra savings set aside just in case something unexpected—outrageously exciting or unfortunate—happens during your assignment. Be sure to also keep a travel journal handy, too, to keep those memories and adventures alive to share with your family and friends!
- Know your contact person at the facility, what you need to bring with you, and where to go when you arrive. It seems obvious, but with everything else you have going on, it may be easy to overlook these details. You want to know who your supervisor will be and who you need to meet with on your first day. Also you need to know which documents to bring with you, such as your license, ACLS card or an updated skills checklist. Your recruiter will provide all of this information ahead of your journey to your new facility. Keep the details handy so you can refer to it as needed.
- Have an open mind and be ready to show your skills. As a traveler, it’s possible you will be working in a variety of scenarios and may encounter some challenging personalities. Or, you may have an intense schedule and work longer hours. At other times, the staff might be looking to you for ideas on how to make improvements. Being professional and flexible will always help you shine. Read what Advantage RN’s CEO wrote about fitting into your new facility for more tips: Fitting In Quickly.
- Remember: It’s just 13 weeks. You might be surprised how time flies when you’re traveling, especially when you’re thriving at your new facility, learning new skills, and making friends in your new home-away-from-home. If your experience is too awesome to leave, no worries! You can always inquire about extending your contract, as many facilities welcome extensions. If you’re considering going to another assignment (perhaps in another area you’ve always wanted to explore), you can start talking to your recruiter about your next assignment approximately 3-4 weeks into your current one which will help you plan for any new licensing requirements. Just enjoying it all? Then, relax, there’s no rush to look for another assignment until 4 weeks or so before the end of your assignment.
Feeling a little more confident and prepared for what’s ahead? Great! Your journey is sure to be unpredictable at times, and that’s part of the fun. With your cool head and these tips in mind, you’re sure to be hitting your stride in no time. Thanks for traveling with us!