Travel nursing can present new, exciting and challenging opportunities. If your present job situation is just not satisfying, don’t let yourself be stuck. Stick your neck out and try something new.
The beauty of nursing is that it offers so many different opportunities. Don’t be afraid to try some of them. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
First of all do your homework. Not all travel nursing agencies are created equal and not all facilities that hire travel nurses are among the best employers. Word travels fast, and information is available; you just have to do a little research.
This site offers a large forum for discussion about all things nursing, and among them, travel nursing experiences. Spend some time reading through the threads and posts. Ask questions and get the information you need.
There are a multitude of books, websites and blogs by travel nurses with much valuable information. Read everything you can to understand the pros and cons of your next adventure.
Talk to travel nurses who work in your current facility. Some of the questions you may want to ask include:
- Which travel agency they currently work for?
- Do they have other agencies they would recommend and why?
- Have they had bad experiences with any agency and which ones?
- What do they like about their current assignment?
- What don’t they like?
- Do they have a favorite place to travel and why?
- Where don’t they like to go and why?
Some of their answers may be more personal especially if they have chosen locations close to family or friends, but their experiences can provide good insight into what to expect in a travel assignment. Even if the assignment was for their own convenience, the job satisfaction factor comes into play somewhere.
Current travel nurses can help to provide valuable information about what to include in your contract, what kind of information you need to know about a location, a facility and specifics about the nursing assignment.
Each and every one of the travel nurses you network with will probably be able to give you at least one new tip or trick to make life on the road more enjoyable and successful. Take notes and keep a file of these handy tips and tricks. As you become a veteran travel nurse, be sure to share your own tips with others.
You may want to start with a short assignment close to home or near to family and friends so that you have your own support system at hand. Any new situation can and will be stressful and having support systems in place will help to reduce some of that stress.
You may also want to consider taking a leave of absence from your permanent employer while you take a short travel assignment. This ensures you have a job, seniority and benefits to fall back on if this isn’t something you want to do.
Remember to give yourself ample time to evaluate any new venture. No job is perfect, and it may take some time to get used to being a travel nurse as compared to a permanent employee.
By Kathy Quan RN BSN. Kathy is the author of The Everything New Nurse Book, and the owner/author of TheNursingSite.com
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