For travel nurses and therapists the initial excitement at landing your first assignment is quickly followed by an exclamation of, “Now What?” Successful first-time travel assignments can be a door opening to an exciting, adventure-filled career as a working tourist. A first travel assignment is sometimes daunting, but by considering the following tips you are well on your way to experiencing a successful 13-week contract. Below is a list of things to help you prepare as a first-time traveler.
Organize Your Documents Once you have come to terms on your first contract, make sure you receive paper copies of your terms and conditions of the assignment. Your contract will contain important information and should be kept available for future reference. Many experienced travelers utilize a binder to keep all of their important documents in order. This binder should include your contract, licenses and certifications, tax forms, and any testing that was required. From the time the contract is agreed to, up until your first days on the job, there will be paperwork to complete and forms to fill out. A simple way to keep it all together and organized is to create a “travel binder.”
Stay in Touch With Your Recruiter Experienced travelers will tell you that the relationship you have with your recruiter will be the most important one you have for a successful travel career. Your recruiter will be there to help answer any questions you have and will be able to put you in touch with others for questions out of their realm. Check with your recruiter to determine what types of paperwork the facility needs before your start date. You will also want to find out about the orientation process. Orientations may include testing of some sort, so it is important to know this up front.
Line Up Your Home for the Next 13-weeks Your home away from home during your travel assignment is arguably one of the most important decisions you will make. On your first assignment, the housing process can be a bit scary, but your recruiter and Supplemental Health Care’s Travel Division can help you every step of the way. Your first step should be to do some research on the area where you will be assigned. Learn about the area around the facility where you will be working to help you make an informed decision on a place to take up residence. Another factor to consider will be weighing the cost of the various types of housing, i.e. long-term stay hotels, rooms for rent, relatives, etc., against the travel stipend that you will be receiving. There are a series of housing factors to consider, so for first-timers, it can be extremely helpful to reach out to experienced travelers for their perspective.
Prepare the Home You Are Leaving Behind Getting your regular home in order is equally as important as finding your travel home. Obviously, your specific family situation will play a large role in determining what needs to be done before you leave. Things to take into consideration are any pets you may have. Do you have someone lined up that will care for them? Or, are you planning to bring your pet with you? Have you suspended your newspaper delivery and put a hold on or forwarded your mail? Another consideration is making sure you have family or friends who can keep an eye on your house, take care of your lawn or garden, etc.
Decide What You HAVE to Bring With You The time to leave for your first assignment is drawing near. You have now begun to tackle the question of what to bring with you. At this point, it is time to distinguish the importance of things you NEED to have with you versus those you WANT to have with you. Any experienced traveler will tell you that the less you bring, the better off you will be. Talk to fellow travelers and find out what their process is for determining what to bring. Many travelers have devised their own system and by considering these with regard to your situation, can help you determine what will work best for you. Some necessities can include: “Bed-in-a-Bag”, the minimum amount of clothing geared toward the climate you are traveling to, necessary toiletries and minimal kitchen items, Prescriptions, entertainment devices, laptop, and your travel binder. Other things can always be purchased upon arrival, such as cleaning supplies, paper products, etc. NOTE: It is recommended that you take the time to create a shopping list in advance for things that you will need upon arrival. Then, upon arrival, you can adjust the list accordingly based on what you have at your new location.
Your departure date has finally arrived, and it is time for you to pack your car, head to the airport or the train station depending on your preferred method of travel. Soon, you will be starting a new adventure and what is sure to be a rewarding and fruitful chapter in your nursing or therapy career. For healthcare professionals, the idea of taking on travel assignments is becoming more and more popular. Now it is your turn, and we are hopeful that the information provided here has been beneficial to you. Please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below or visit us on our Facebook page and tell us about your first travel assignment.