*Blog originally published on 12/19/17 last updated on 2/15/21
So, you’ve secured your first travel nursing contract. Congratulations!
You probably spent some time researching travel nursing requirements and the best healthcare staffing agency to help you along this new journey. But now, it’s time to think about how to set yourself up for success on your first assignment. From preparing for your first day to making time for adventures, here’s a quick overview of what you can expect on your first travel nursing job.Prepare for Your First Assignment
Whether you are an RN or LPN, you must have the proper credentials before starting your first assignment. You may be required to participate in a background check, license renewals, skill inventories, and medical checks, like physicals, as well as TB and drug screens before you can sign a contract.
As you’ve probably discovered, there are a lot of little pieces that have to come together before you can hit the road as a travel nurse. The expertise and guidance of a staffing company is invaluable as you go through the checklist of requirements needed to start your new adventure.
Find Your Home Away from Home
The next step is to secure your home away from home for the next 13 weeks. Multiple housing options are available for traveling nurses, including a private studio, one-bedroom apartment, or a more substantial, private two-bedroom residence with a co-pay. Many travel nurses also choose to search for and select their own housing with a generous stipend provided by their travel nurse staffing agency.
Though you may need to pack light for your first assignment, you can still make your travel nurse housing feel like home by prioritizing your boxes, unpacking quickly, and setting the atmosphere with lush bedding and calming lighting options.
Hit the Ground Running
We recommend travel nurses have at least a year of experience as an RN before becoming a travel nurse. At its core, travel nursing was created to help fill nursing shortages across the country. Whether you are filling in for a nurse on medical or maternity leave, or you are covering shifts because of an increased patient population, travel nurses must be able to adapt to change quickly.
Having a good head on your shoulders and the ability to tailor your approach to each facility is a must. Many travel nursing jobs will provide only about a week or so of orientation, and some might offer a chance to shadow a preceptor for a few shifts. While travel nurses may be expected to jump in without a lot of training, you will always have the support of your recruiter to back you up.
Get to Know Your Colleagues
One of the best ways to approach your first travel nursing assignment is by getting to know the staff with whom you will be working. You’ll want to vibe with the hospital’s culture in your new home away from home and the best way to do that is by getting to know your coworkers sooner rather than later. Dedicate some free time in your first few weeks to grab coffee or a bite to eat with your new colleagues.
Every facility is different and taking the time to observe subtle changes in procedures or policies will help you feel more comfortable in your new environment. These differences will be more evident to you once you get to talk to your new friends!
Have an Adventure or Two
You’ve taken on your new assignment to travel, so do it! Get tips on great dive bars and museums from the locals, research the best places to eat on Yelp or Tripadvisor, and get out of the house! Take a moment to surround yourself with the local flora and fauna and experience the city, the beach, or the mountains depending on your location. Chances are, you selected this contract because you had a vested interest in this destination. Now, it’s time to have some adventures!
Are you ready to start your career as a travel nurse? We’ll be with you every step of the way from first interview to facility orientation and beyond. Learn what makes CoreMedical different from other staffing agencies and be sure to download our guide to becoming a travel nurse.
Looking For More Information on Travel Nursing?
Contact us today, and be sure to download our Travel Nurse Agency Guide!