Succeeding as a travel nurse requires flexibility and passion. Travel nurses fill medical care gaps at hospitals, clinics, and offices. Therefore, it’s a rewarding career.
The travel part of the assignments adds another layer to a career path that already carries stress. Nurses experience high expectations and demands from administrators, doctors, and patients.
When it occurs in a setting unfamiliar to you, it can add anxiety to the role.
Despite the demands of the position, many nurses succeed in the travel role. In 2022, the United States employs almost 1.7 million traveling nurses.
The following are seven tips to succeed as a travel nurse.
Table of Contents
1. Treat Assignments as Permanent Jobs
Even though you are a working guest at a hospital, medical clinic, or office, treat the assignment like a permanent job. You should blend into the culture and attempt to become a valuable part of the team.
In some cases, nurses who travel should work a little harder not to outshine the local nurses but to prove that they have earned their stripes.
Plus, these experiences help you continue building your resume. If you want to learn a new specialty or head in a specific direction, these assignments provide an opportunity to accomplish those career goals.
2. Work with Recruiters
In some respects, nurses who travel are similar to freelancers. Freelancers must keep their sales pipeline flowing. Otherwise, they’ll experience gaps in work that impact their income.
Nurses should also keep their calendars full of assignments. You can schedule breaks between assignments, but you want to ensure that you always have another assignment ready to go.
Sometimes medical facilities overestimate demand, and they do not need extra nurses after all. Other times, the situation is out of their control, and they’ll cancel the assignment.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s nice to have a backup assignment that you can take. Therefore, work with recruiters or head hunters who will dedicate themselves to keeping you busy.
3. Find the Right Housing
The average travel nursing assignment lasts 13 weeks – that’s a good chunk of time. You’ll spend 13 weeks in a different environment and must perform at your best. Therefore, successful nurses find the right housing.
A few lodging establishments cater to nurses who travel. For example, extended stay properties understand the needs of traveling workers. Other options are to find housing options through your recruiter or headhunter.
Make a list of the type of housing and amenities you want before you receive your assignment’s details. Once you receive it, narrow down your options by that list. If you don’t get the housing right on the first assignment, use the experience as a learning opportunity.
Then, keep it in mind for the next assignment.
Here are some tips to help you find the right travel nurse housing.
4. Improve Your Skills
Travel assignments can easily double as learning opportunities for nurses. Maybe the hospital executes medical treatment procedures differently than the hospital where you landed your first job.
Ideally, you’ll find assignments that give you ample opportunity to improve your skills.
5. Maintain Certifications
The reason why you want to continue improving your skills is to maintain your certifications. In addition, you can apply for new ones.
Once you boost your resume through several certifications, you become more valuable, and the assignments could start to find you.
Keep an eye on the requirements to renew your certifications. Then, follow through on the renewals, even if you’re on the road.
6. Adapt to the Environment
Every assignment will provide a different environment. Sometimes you’ll enter situations where the other nurses are well-established. Other times there is room for the opinions of outsiders.
Learn how to read the room and adapt to the environment. It’s best to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes. However, you still want to advance your career. Therefore, learn how to become diplomatic.
7. Stay Organized
If you decide to take back-to-back assignments, you must remain organized. Even if you take breaks between assignments, keep your documents organized, and your bags packed.
Organization reduces the amount of stress you’ll experience before you leave again. If a great assignment shows up unexpectedly, you want to ensure that you send them copies of your professional documents quickly. Otherwise, the job could go to someone else.
Successful travel nurses share some characteristics. They treat assignments like permanent jobs, seek to improve their skills, and stay organized. These tricks help them stay on their toes and ready to travel when the next assignment shows up. Moreover, it reduces the stress of travel since nursing is a fast-paced career.