What to Expect on Your First Assignment
Are you about to start your first travel nursing assignment? That’s fantastic—congratulations! By now you’re aware of the many advantages of being a travel nurse (great salary, an opportunity to learn new skills, the chance to experience new places) and perhaps you’re a bit nervous about the first days ahead. Never fear: here are 7 tips to help you prepare as you embark on your first travel nursing adventure with Advantage RN:
- 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 cool things you will do during your time off, and all of the new people you will meet.
- Re-read your contract and stay in contact with your Advantage RN recruiter. Make sure you know where you are going and what is expected of you. Now is the time to double check and verify any of your contract details, such as scheduled days off, floating requirements and orientation details. 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!
- Get as many details as you can about housing. If you are opting to have Advantage RN arrange for your housing, you’ll need to let your housing coordinator know about your requirements. Let her know if you are traveling with a pet, so she can arrange for pet-friendly housing. Find out when your housing begins and 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, and stick to it for the duration of your stay. Learn about things to do in your city by visiting this page from the Advantage RN website: https://www.advantagern.com/getting-started/exploring-your-new-city/
- Keep a travel log and be prepared with a “just-in-case” fund. Keep good records of your mileage, meals on the road, uniform and equipment purchases, etc.—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.
- 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 it’s 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 find out which documents you need to bring with you, such as your license, ACLS card or an updated skills inventory. Plan ahead for any testing requirements. (Advantage RN’s in-house Clinical Operations Manager, Missy, BSN, can provide you with guidance and confidence.) Your recruiter should provide all of this information ahead of your journey to your new facility. Want it ASAP? Give her a nudge.
- Have an open mind and be ready to show your skills. Since you’re a traveler, it’s possible you will get to work with some challenging personalities. At times you may have an intense schedule or patients who might be harder to handle. Being adaptable and flexible will help you shine. Read what Advantage RN’s CEO wrote about fitting into your new facility for more tips: https://www.advantagern.com/getting-started/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 most facilities welcome extensions. However, if you’re ready to move on, you can start planning your next assignment just 8-10 weeks into 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.