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Advice for New Travel Nurses from our Travel Nurses

Regular readers of the Working Tourist are probably familiar with the profiles that we do to highlight our travel nurses, therapists, and allied talent.  Upon deciding that it was time to put together content with advice for those considering or are new t
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Regular readers of the Working Tourist are probably familiar with the profiles that we do to highlight our travel nurses, therapists, and allied talent.  Upon deciding that it was time to put together content with advice for those considering or are new to travel nursing, we felt that there was no better source for information than those working tourists that we have profiled over the years.  Below is a collection of thoughts that we’ve gleaned from the profiles.

  • Have a plan.  It is important to know what you are looking for in your career and what you are expecting to get from starting as a travel nurse or therapist.  Take the time to write down your goals and discuss them with your recruiter.  The more your recruiter knows about what your goals and your needs are, the more they can help you achieve them.
  • Communicate with your recruiter.  In conjunction with the first piece of advice, behind every successful travel career is a good recruiter.  Developing a solid relationship with your recruiter and staying in constant communication with them will set you up for finding the assignments that best fit your needs.
  • Find your right living situation.  Your living situation can make or break your assignment and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all.  Much has been written about the options available, and it may take you a few assignments to find what works best for your situation.  The important thing is to understand the impact that a good or bad living arrangement can have on your assignment.  In the beginning, it is always a good idea to allow your recruiter to help you examine the options and find something that is going to work.
  • Don’t be afraid to stay closer to home.  If you are just getting into your career as a working tourist, and are feeling nervous about the prospects of being away for 13-weeks, consider taking an assignment closer to home.  There is no rule that says your first assignment has to be on the far side of the country.  Instead, get your feet wet by traveling to a location that is within easy driving distance allowing you to head back for a visit if you feel the need.
  • Keep an open mind about different locations.  Sometimes your first choice for a travel assignment location is not available, but your recruiter has a backup location that is someplace you’ve never considered.  Don’t dismiss it without taking a closer look.  There are wonderful travel locations all over the country and in states not named Hawaii or California.  Consider going to places that may be outside of your comfort zone because those assignments tend to help you grow as both a person and as a healthcare professional.
  • Open yourself up to new friendships.  If you think that 13-weeks are too short of a time to create lasting relationships with your colleagues, think again.  Experienced travelers will tell you that some of their best friends in life have been met while on assignment.  Some might be travelers like you, while others could be permanent staff at the hospital where you are assigned.  Never go into an assignment thinking that you will keep to yourself and “punch a clock until it is time for your next assignment or a trip home.” Instead, keep yourself open to meeting new friends and new people for the richest experience possible.
  • Expect to need time to adjust.  New travelers often feel self-imposed pressure to come into an assignment like a superhero.  Don’t do that to yourself.  Be confident in your abilities but understand that there will be adjustments to new policies and new surroundings.  Just ask a lot of questions when you aren’t sure about something and do your best.  You are there to provide care and help fill in staffing shortfalls, no one is expecting that you changed into your scrubs and cape in a phone booth.

If you are still unsure about taking the leap into becoming a working tourist, talk to other travelers.  You will find a myriad of advice from nursing professionals of all backgrounds and specialties.  You can also share any concerns you have or ask questions with any of Supplemental Health Care’s recruitment professionals.  Feel free to share your thoughts or questions in the comment section below or share them on our Facebook page.  Someone will always respond with answers, advice, and encouragement.

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