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Tips and Tricks for Success: Navigating the World of Travel Nursing as a Newbie

Travel Nursing

Embarking on a career as a travel nurse can be both exhilarating and daunting. It’s a path filled with new experiences, challenges, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the key lessons learned from the journey of a travel nurse newbie.

Adaptability and Resilience

One of the first things you’ll discover as a travel nurse is your own capacity for adaptability and resilience. The nature of travel nursing will test your ability to adjust to new environments, teams, and patient needs quickly.

Embracing the Unknown

Travel nursing is all about stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s about embracing the unknown and being open to the experiences that come your way. This mindset can lead to unexpected joys and discoveries both in your career and in life.

The Importance of Preparation

Preparation is key in travel nursing. From understanding your contract to researching your new location, being prepared will help you navigate the practical aspects of your assignments and reduce stress.

Travel Light, Live Fully

Learning to differentiate between what you need and what you can do without is crucial. Traveling light not only makes moving easier but also teaches you to live fully with less, focusing on experiences over possessions.

Building Connections

Despite the transient nature of the job, building connections with colleagues and patients is invaluable. These relationships can provide support, enrich your experiences, and offer a sense of community on the road.

The life of a travel nurse is a unique and rewarding adventure. It’s a career that offers endless learning opportunities and the chance to make a significant impact on patients’ lives across the country. As you embark on this journey, carry with you the lessons of resilience, adaptability, and the joy of discovery. 20 Tips We Wish We Knew

Find a travel buddy

Traveling can be lonely, especially if you don't know anyone in the area where you’re contracted. Finding a travel buddy can help you feel more relaxed in a new environment. A romantic partner, close friend, or another travel nurse make ideal travel buddies.

Befriend the charge nurse

This seems like common sense but is a valuable tip for travel nursing newbies. The charge nurse on a unit you’re working in can be a great ally. They can get you up to speed on the software, workplace norms, and other helpful information to help you be successful in your temporary role.

Create a packing list

It’s easy to forget to pack something when you’re traveling frequently. Create a list to help ease some of your stress while packing. Add to the list over time, and you’ll be less likely to forget things in the future.

Avoid discussing your salary at your worksite

Travel nurses often make a lot more money than staff nurses. Avoid discussing your salary with nurses at your temporary worksite so you don’t create tension.

Make a plan for your pets

Some travel nurses take their pets with them when they travel for work, while others leave them in a kennel or with friends and family. Whatever you decide, plan for it in advance so you’re not scrambling to figure out how to care for your pet while you’re on assignment.

Focus on patient care

Workplace politics are everywhere you go and it’s easy to get wrapped up in it. Luckily, travel nurses are in temporary positions in which they don’t need to engage in that part of the job very much. Focus on patient care while you travel to help avoid drama.

Learn the dress code ahead of time

Some healthcare facilities have a very specific dress code that helps identify staff members by the color they’re wearing. You don’t want to show up wearing the wrong uniform, so ask what the dress code is in advance so you can pack appropriate scrubs.

Earn miles if you’re flying to your assignment

Travel nurses often purchase their travel arrangements, temporary housing and other necessities ahead of time and get reimbursed later on. Take advantage of this by using a credit card when possible that helps you earn miles.

Save money to pay your taxes

Some travel nurses are independent contractors instead of full fledged employees. This means they get paid in full and have to pay taxes themselves. If this applies to you, be sure to save enough money to cover your tax bill when it’s time to pay up.

Make the most of your travel experiences

There are plenty of new experiences you can participate in while you travel for work. Take advantage of them when you’re not working to make memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Try something new

Whether you try a new restaurant, activity, or learn something, prioritize doing something new that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to do at home.

Post about your experiences on social media (without violating HIPAA)

So many travel nurses have taken advantage of the exposure social media gives them. Posting about your experiences without violating HIPAA or company policies can help you connect with other travel nurses and pursue other streams of income.

Find a mentor

Don’t underestimate the value of a mentor in this business. The right mentor can help you find great travel opportunities, earn certifications, and help you climb the career ladder.

Take advantage of nursing discounts

There are so many discounts for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Take advantage of them to get discounts on food, clothing, shoes, and more!

Network with other healthcare professionals

You never know who’s looking to fill travel nursing or other senior nursing positions. Network with other healthcare professionals, and you may find yourself under consideration for your next dream job.

Invest in reliable transportation

Many travel nurses drive to assignments that don’t require flying across the country. Investing in reliable transportation can help you make sure you make it to your worksite each and every time.

Buy comfortable shoes

Staying on your feet for several hours is par for the course for nurses. Pick out shoes that are supportive and reduce strain on your feet while you work.

Let your family travel with you

If you have children, you might consider leaving them with a family member or close friend while you work a temporary assignment. Consider letting your children travel with you if you’re able to provide minimal disruption to their schooling. They’ll learn so much from traveling to new places and meeting new people.

Get travel nurse tips from your recruiter

Your recruiter is one of the first people to learn about new assignments. Developing a good relationship with them can help you get a heads up about these opportunities and apply early on. They can help you plan and execute your travel career from day 1 on. Make the most of this important relationship.

Ask for help when you need it

Every healthcare facility is a little different. There are different electronic medical record systems, policies, and other differences. If you find that you’re unsure about something at your travel nursing assignment, make sure you ask the charge nurse or another experienced staff member.

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