Becoming a travel nurse is an exciting start to your professional career. In addition to meaningful work and high pay, you will have the opportunity to travel to other areas and use your nursing skills in various capacities. Here are several steps to help you prepare for travel nurse job assignments.
Choose a Placement Agency
With many travel medical personnel agencies to consider, select one that will consider your needs and preferences when offering long-distance nursing assignments. Some agencies may specialize in certain regions of nursing placement while others offer jobs at locations around the country. Research the services provided before contacting top travel nursing companies of interest. Some may offer the type of work you would most like to do or include benefits that are important to you and your family.
Update Your Credentials
Make sure your resume includes current references along with their correct contact information. You may want to ask nursing instructors in whose classes you earned high grades if they will provide a reference. Review your academic history to ensure the degree you earned and your GPA reflect all your coursework as well as any recent classes or seminars that you are now enrolled in. Your work history should likewise contain accurate information, such as the position you held and the length of service. Depending on the type of travel assignments you plan to seek, you could also add any second languages you speak or special skills that might come in handy.
Obtain Additional Certifications
If you are looking for specific assignments that require added skills, such as cultural communication or diversity appreciation, enroll in a short-term class, workshop, or seminar that offers these topics as learning objectives. You will be better prepared to work in areas that may be unfamiliar, and the extra credentials will enrich your resume to attract recruiter attention. If you plan to do nursing work in communities where another language is primarily spoken, take a conversation class in the language that will provide basic communication skills.
Talk To Your Mentor
If you don’t have a professional nursing mentor, this is a good time to find one. The person might be a former nursing instructor or a work colleague who has done travel nursing work or who can offer advice about working in other parts of the country. Someone who has done short-term nursing work may be able to offer tips and advice on managing those placements. A person who has lived in an area where you hope to be assigned can offer suggestions for nursing support as well as local services and entertainment options.
Consult Travel Nursing Agencies
You might want to contact top travel nursing companies to ask questions and get information before applying to work with one of them. You can inquire about the types of nursing assignments that are available as well as examples of nursing assignments that are available. You might want to make a list of questions that include queries about what to expect and how to adapt quickly to new nursing locations. You will also want to find out about the pay scale to determine your expected earnings. Benefits can also be explained as to what type of plans are available and what your premiums, if any, might be. Sick pay, holiday pay, and personal days may also be available. Ask about their evaluation grids to see what is expected and how your performance will be assessed.
Organize A Support System
Set up a group of friends, mentors, or associates who may be willing to answer questions when you accept a long-distance assignment. Knowing that people can help if you get stuck can be very reassuring and instill confidence in your ability to succeed. Stay in touch with your professional friends and associates with social media or personal calls and text messages. Join a professional nursing organization for networking and support as well.
Prepare For Short-Term Travel
Short-term travel could be anything from a week to several months. Arrange for any pets to be cared for, and arrange your commitments to be covered while you are gone or to be assigned to others. You might want to pay your rent or mortgage ahead or at least make sure the money will be in the bank for direct withdrawal when needed. Check with the travel nurse agencies to see how and when you will be paid, so you can plan your bills accordingly. Let the banks you deal with know that you will be out of the area for a while to avoid raising suspicions of fraudulent activity if charges or check payments begin accruing in another part of the country.
Choose luggage that will travel smoothly to your selected destinations. Label everything in case your baggage becomes lost or misplaced. Only take the things you will need at each nursing assignment to avoid having extensive luggage to manage. You can buy basic necessities at your nursing assignment locations. Check with the travel nurse assignment company you decide to sign with for suggestions on what and how to pack. They may have a list of recommended items to bring or leave behind.
Make A Contact List
Before leaving on your first travel nurse assignment, make a list of the people you will be in contact with regarding your position. Include the names and contact information of those at the placement company who can answer questions or provide guidance if necessary. It also helps to have the names of medical staff at your nursing assignment locations in case you need to be checked or require a prescription. Give your family members the names of contact persons in the event they cannot reach you directly.
Becoming a travel nurse offers a unique career experience that many find meaningful and exciting. Avoid a last minute rush with the potential to overlook something by getting a head start. Plan now for your first travel assignment to be ready when the job offer comes that will launch your nursing career.