Health care facilities occasionally experience shortage of staff. In such situations, they turn to travel nurses from other locations to fill in for their permanent staff. There are several travel nurse staffing providers in the country to help hospitals/clinics to find temporary nurses and vice versa.
The United States offers opportunities to travel nurses in all specialties. At the global level, health care facilities are in a constant need of efficient nurses to manage clinical and administrative duties. Nurses who are willing to take up assignments in international locations can get in touch with companies who facilitate these programs.
As a travel nurse, you need to research the job description, organizational culture, and stay updated with important on-the-job skills. Even on the personal front, there are several factors you need to consider when embarking on a new assignment. You should be willing to adjust to a new area, use interpersonal skills to form cordial relations with new coworkers, and improve your nursing skills.
If you are a nurse planning to take up a new travel assignment in the near future, then you can make use of the following tips to make it a successful stint.
1. Complete the Paperwork
Amidst your excitement to start traveling, do not neglect the documentation required by the travel nurse staffing agency and the assigned hospital. Do not forget to submit all forms on time with complete and accurate information. Maintaining a checklist of the required documents can help you keep tabs on the process.
You will be asked to include application forms, skills checklists, license verification, and letters of recommendation from your previous employers. You may want to consult a lawyer if you are planning to travel to another country for your assignment. They can help you know about the laws that are applicable to travel nurses.
Make sure that there is no discrepancy in the details you provide as the staffing agency will use them for arranging for your interviews, placements, and onboarding with your new employer.
2. Be Adaptive
As the new nurse in the health care facility, you will have to make additional efforts to adapt to the new environment. It will be easier once you are acquainted with the rest of the staff. A good attitude and a positive approach can be helpful.
It is quite common for travel nurses to experience nervousness and face difficulties at some point during their assignments. Get in touch with fellow nurses and other staff members for solving your queries. The key is to treat others like you would like to be treated.
Remember that you were hired for your nursing skills, and these would remain the same across all geographical locations. So, even if you are facing initial glitches, keep your spirit up when dealing with patients.
3. Carry All Necessary Items
As far as possible, try to keep your luggage light and easy-to-carry. At the same time, do not leave important items behind. Among the essentials to take along are a copy of all your documents and the approved scrubs/uniform for your assignment. As you’d be living in a new location, you may not know much about the cost of living. It is, therefore, better to keep some spare money, your financial records, key emergency contacts, IDs, and credit/debit cards handy.
Make sure you don’t overload your luggage with excessive clothing items. Try to stick to a reasonable number of personal items and clothing, keeping in mind the weather at the new location. You may also want to take a few favorite photos and mementos to make the new place feel like home. It is advisable to ask your recruiter for a more detailed list of items that you should carry.
4. Let Your Learning Curve Grow
Try to use all the time you have during your travel stint to learn as much as you can. But, before heading to the new place, make sure you study about your assignment facility. You may be taken through a traveler orientation to know more on the facility’s management policies. Make sure you that you take enough notes, study procedure manuals, ask questions, and clarify all doubts.
You may be assigned a short-term mentor, who you can shadow for a few days, but make sure you know who you can contact on the floor with questions at all times. Some travel nurse staffing agencies, such as Onward Healthcare, also have clinical liaisons their travel RNs can get in touch with around the clock, if necessary.
5. Make Use of Technology for Assistance
Technology can be a great aid for travel nurses as they can use information from the Internet to learn more about their new location. Whether you want to find the route to the local market, read restaurant reviews, or locate the nearest health care facility, your laptop, tablet, or smartphone can help you find answers to these queries.
You can even store e-books on these devices for leisure or professional reading. This way you will be more prepared to live comfortably at the new place, which can help you focus more on your professional role and adapt to the new facility faster.
Many nurses are gradually warming up to the idea of traveling for business. The great thing about being a travel nurse is that you can blend fun and work and make the most of your professional stint. As long as you have the above considerations in place, you can look forward to a successful and prolific career as a travel nurse.