Starting a new assignment as a travel nurse can be a really exciting challenge. Whether you're an RN with years of experience as a travel nurse or you've just graduated from a practical nursing program and completed your National Council licensure examination, the idea of moving to a new location to work in an unfamiliar clinic or physicians' offices can be a thrilling prospect. For five tips for travel nurses beginning new assignments, read on.
1. Research your next destination ahead of time.
Perhaps the biggest perk of working as a travel nurse is the ability to see and experience different parts of the world. In fact, many registered nurses decide to become travel nurses simply so that they can combine their passions for travel and basic care nursing while making a difference in the world. If you're someone looking to explore during your time off, you can get a head start by doing your research ahead.
When you find out your next assignment destination, take the time to research not only where you'll be living temporarily, but the bigger community, too. Search for tourist destinations, local festivals and events, and do what you can to get an idea of the community you'll be moving to. Maybe you'll be working in Sydney, Australia for six months in an emergency room. Display homes in Australia would be a great term to search to get an idea of what to expect when it comes to housing in this vibrant city. Not only will you learn about the types of homes you might look into renting, but you'll get valuable information for making decisions about neighborhoods and amenities in the area, too.
2. Stay open-minded about job opportunities.
Many travel nurses use their travels to determine where they'll want to lay their roots. If you're someone who is interested in finding the perfect place to start a life or begin a family, travel nursing is a great way to learn about practical nursing career opportunities all over the country. Plan to bring a notebook or journal with you where you can write out the pros and cons of each city you work in. This will help you make a final decision when those job opportunities come. The reality is that most travel nurse professionals are offered full-time positions at the end of assignments directly from the clinics and hospitals they work in. Stay open-minded about potential employment offers and pull out that list of pros and cons as needed.
3. Use assignments as networking opportunities.
While you have that notebook out, consider making a section for contacts. Whether you add names and numbers to paper or your phone, the idea is to collect contacts to form a larger network. You never know when you'll cross paths with a former employer or professional you've worked with. Using your travels as an opportunity to network is a great way to build a strong future in a high-demand field.
4. Take time off to travel and see the country.
The global pandemic showed everyone just how important our nurses are to our community. Whether you practice basic nursing care or spend your time in emergency rooms, it's important to get rest and take breaks where you can. Your mental health depends on it. Be sure to negotiate vacations and time off before taking your next travel assignment. In doing so, you'll be in a better position to provide quality nursing care to your patients. Besides, you deserve it!
5. Keep track of long-term goals.
When beginning a new assignment, it can be easy to lose track of long-term goals. Caught up in learning a new city or best practices and gaining clinical experience or giving Covid-19 vaccines, you may find that you forget about your own big-picture dreams. Before taking a new assignment, write down a list of short and long-term goals so that you can refer back to it later. Maybe your dream is to work with older patients using a bachelor's degree in nursing. By reminding yourself of this as you go, you'll be more likely to sign up for that online nursing program to keep on target with your career path goals.
In the end, however you decide to work in the growing field of nursing, using your high-demand experience as a travel nurse will put you in a great position for career opportunities down the road. Good luck with your next assignment, and thank you for your hard work as an essential healthcare worker working to keep our communities safer. It makes a difference and the future of nursing depends on people like you.