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Five Things to Ask About Before Starting a New Travel Assignment

Travel nurses have a variety of reasons for choosing this nomadic career path.  Many just love to travel and find travel nursing to be the best way to get paid for touring the country.

Travel nurses have a variety of reasons for choosing this nomadic career path.  Many just love to travel and find travel nursing to be the best way to get paid for touring the country.  Others like the pay packages and having a greater say in when and where you are going to work.  And others enjoy the excitement of changing opportunities and learning new skills and techniques with each new assignment.  No matter what your individual reasons are for choosing travel nursing, there are certain questions you should ask before starting a new assignment.  Let’s take a look at what answers you should be looking for each time.

  1. Find out about the current staffing situation.  Obviously, the facility needs help because you are there interviewing to take on a travel assignment.  But, you should still gather as much information as you can about the staffing situation as a whole.  Find out how many RN’s are on the staff and how many of those are travel nurses.  You should also ask what their current patient to nurse ratio is and also what they consider their ideal ratio.
  2. Ask about the organizational culture.  One of the hottest topics in the healthcare industry is organizational culture.  It is prominent because of the role it plays in a facilities ability to attract and retain staff.  Before taking on an assignment, asking about the culture of the facility and even right down to the unit you will be working in will help you to identify any red flags before joining the team for the next 13 weeks.
  3. Ask about the planned orientation. Every facility will have their own orientation plan for incoming travel nurses.  Some may tailor the orientation to the amount of experience a particular nurse has with similar processes and systems.  Others will have a standard orientation that everyone has to go through regardless of experience.  Either way, when it is your turn to ask questions, make sure orientation is on your list.
  4. Logistical details.  Many helpful details can be ironed out quickly with a few questions.  Find out about scrub policies, specific colors, etc.  This is also a good time to find out if there are any applicable parking situations that you should know about or cafeteria operating hours.
  5. Ask about your schedule and responsibilities.  Even if it is spelled out for you in the pre-interview documentation, it is always a good idea to have a discussion any scheduling questions you may have.  Find out about call responsibilities, overtime canvassing, weekend coverage, etc.  You should also have a discussion about daily responsibilities and if there are other specifics that may be outside of what you have experienced in the past.

One of the biggest interview mistakes candidates make is not asking any questions.  Having a list of topics to discuss with your interviewer demonstrates that you are eager, interested, and prepared.  And one final question that you can always ask at the end of the interview is when they would like for you to start.  How they answer that question will give you an idea of whether or not they will be offering you the assignment.

What are your favorite questions to ask of interviewers?  Share your interview tips with your colleagues by adding them to the comment section below, or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.