Travel Nursing with a Family

Travel Nursing with a Family

Travel nursing is a fantastic opportunity for nurses to gain new skills in various facilities, learn new treatments and procedures for different medical conditions, receive excellent pay packages and benefits, and cross cities off their bucket lists as they travel around the country. There will never be a demand shortage for a diverse range of skilled healthcare workers. However, as lucrative as travel nursing is, many married nurses and those with children don’t consider it a viable career path.

Some registered nurses consider travel nursing to be a niche profession. Still, more and more professionals are joining the field every year, and nurses can take advantage of opportunities in states where healthcare systems need nurses to meet high demands. This year alone has seen a 19% growth rate in travel nursing jobs, providing numerous opportunities in today’s healthcare environment for exploring new locations while pursuing your passion.

Even so, there is still a misconception that traveling nurses are always on the go and can’t make time for their loved ones. But with some tips and tricks of the trade as resources to guide potential travelers through the process, even the wariest of nurses will understand just how much flexibility and control travel nurses have to make their careers work for them—regardless of their familial circumstances.

If you are still determining if this career path will suit your lifestyle, keep reading to see if travel nursing is the right fit for you and your family.

Why More Families Should Consider Travel Nursing

For travel nurses, having family around means feeling supported while entering new and sometimes uncertain environments. But it isn’t just valuable for the nurse. Family members of travel nurses gain the travel benefits of travel nursing when they accompany their family members on assignments, and with remote workstyles becoming the norm in many industries, traveling together is more possible than ever before

With a little advanced planning and creativity, you can unlock amazing opportunities for your With a little advanced planning and creativity, you can unlock incredible opportunities for your family to experience your career’s best moments. Travel nursing puts the power back in nurses’ hands, helping them prioritize their professional and personal lives with their families right by their side. While travel nursing might not be the ideal fit for every family, it’s undoubtedly an incredible option for many.

Preparing Your Family For The Traveling Life

Whether traveling with a significant other, with children, or both, there are a few things to consider and set up in advance to ensure you all have an amazing adventure.

Ensure Your Family Is Ready To Travel. Think of them as patients and have their health checked before you start traveling so you know they’re fit to join you on the road. Consult your primary care doctor or pediatrician to assess and double-check if family members have the green light to travel and ensure you will have access to prescription refills even if you are out of state and away from your regular pharmacy.

If you’re traveling with children, consider any events they may be missing. If you’re taking a long-term contract, consider how that can impact their education. Will they need to be enrolled in a different school? Can you set them up with a tutor or a virtual school option? Travel nurses often take assignments near home during the school year and assignments away from home in the summer when their children have more flexibility. On the other hand, nurses can take a long-term 24-month contract in a new location with great schools to give their children more educational opportunities.

Regardless of the ages of your family members, be sure to consider how being away from home will impact them, and make sure to gather all paperwork and necessities, including identification, up-to-date vaccination records, medications, food, and water.

Plan The Journey With Them In Mind. Whether driving or flying to your next travel nurse assignment, having your kids, significant other, or all of the above changes the dynamic. The journey, while doable, can be exhausting for everyone, especially young children stuck in a car going cross country! Research your route and incorporate a few entertaining stops to take a break, stretch your legs, and get them excited about traveling. If you’ve signed up with a traveling nurse agency, they might have a few ideas of what to do depending on where you’re headed. Fun activities are also great to keep everyone refreshed, relaxed, and excited about traveling.

Will They Be Comfortable? Like your patients, your loved ones will want your attention if they accompany you during your travels. Being in a new location together calls for some quality time exploring—this is where research comes in again. There are guaranteed numerous family-friendly events and activities in your temporary place for your family to enjoy. Scoping out the area as soon as possible helps everyone feel less like a stranger in new territory. The last thing you want to do is leave them home alone in new surroundings before they’re comfortable.

Every family is unique, so your additional preparation depends on the scope and size of your family, but traveling together is very doable. Again, communicating with your agency about what your family requires will make the process smoother for everyone.

Make Your Location Work for Your Family

There are a wide variety of options open to travel nurses, and you can take ownership of your contract schedules to suit the needs of your loved ones. A standard assignment is 13 weeks, but there are many out there for shorter or longer periods, including 8 or 26 weeks. So, for example, you can choose shorter contracts over the summer when your kids aren’t in school and create a memorable yet sustainable summer vacation for the whole family in an area you want to spend time exploring.

And while you can select a wide variety of locations, you don’t have to go thousands of miles from home to find good opportunities (contrary to what many believe). Travel nurses can even find assignments within driving distance of their homes, so they can have all the benefits of travel nursing without having to relocate entirely. In addition, if you sign up with an agency, they can help you streamline your search by destination to find the perfect accommodations.

Accommodations and Childcare

In addition to the location, when you sign up to work with a travel nursing agency, they’re always ready to help however they can. Your recruiters—or “traveler advocates” as we call them at Nurse First—usually find travel nurse housing. However, these options usually only lodge an individual or a couple. Luckily, you can request a housing stipend instead. You can use this stipend to rent an apartment or other accommodation (like an Airbnb) that will suit your needs. But keep in mind that this could require some out-of-pocket expenses. Your travel nursing agency can help connect you with local resources to find the best housing options..

Before signing your contract, explore local schools, childcare centers, and pediatricians. Suppose you are travel nursing during the school year. In that case, some families opt to homeschool their children to maximize their time in each location, enriching their kid’s education with local history, libraries, museums, and other exciting sights. Likewise, bringing your kids with you on your adventures opens them up to cultural experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have, enriching them and their education.

Tips for Single Parents

Being a single parent isn’t impossible as a travel nurse, but it requires some extra planning. Most travel nursing assignments let you choose what hours suit your schedule. Having control of your schedule means you can plan to work while your children are in school and be off the clock when they finish their day. More local assignments are another great option, so you get the benefits of the travel nursing experience only a short drive from home.

No matter what the scenario is, communication and planning are key. Make sure your kids understand your schedule and give your agency as much notice as possible to extend your contract or switch locations. But if you’re looking for an adventure and your kids are older, enjoy a summer break in a brand-new location and let them explore during the day while you work, then meet up in the evenings and on weekends for some fun in the sun!

Maintaining Family Relationships While On Assignment

Establishing your routine on your new assignment and work-life balance are vital aspects of travel nursing with your family. There’s a common misconception that travel nurses must always be on the go, ready to leave everything behind at a moment’s notice. This is certainly not healthy for family dynamics; luckily, it simply isn’t true when it comes to travel nursing. Of course, some things may look different when you’re away and unable to take the family with you, but travel nursing’s flexible nature allows you to make the best of every situation.

Some travelers only work during a specific season or in a particular region, and others are open to more significant changes. In the end, you need to choose what works for you. Extended or short-term assignments allow travel nurses to determine how long they want to be away. Most agencies and recruiters are more than willing to help nurses find the best option to accommodate whoever travelers bring with them.

Travel nursing has many career and lifestyle benefits. So don’t let misleading information about travel nursing stop you from trying something new. When you bring your family in on the fun of travel nursing, you can form memories that will last a lifetime. Just be sure to check with your agency to secure the appropriate accommodation for your needs and get packing! Your next adventure is just around the corner.

What Travel Nurses Taught Us About the Staffing Crisis

What Travel Nurses Taught Us About the Staffing Crisis

For the last two years, hospitals have been reliant on travel nurses, with the demand for travel nurses skyrocketing. However, turnover has recently begun to increase, and hospitals and health systems are facing a turning point in addressing the staffing shortage crisis.

Minority Nurse chatted with Beth Brooks, Ph.D., RN, FACHE, and Clinical Advisor to Vivian Health, about how travel nursing is changing the nursing workforce and what hospitals can do to reconfigure the work environment to optimize the existing workforce.

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Beth A. Brooks, Ph.D., RN, FACHE, and Clinical Advisor to Vivian Health

How is travel nursing changing the nursing workforce?

There have been travel nurses in the 30 years I’ve been a nurse. Of course, there have always been nurses who have chosen a full-time travel career path because they either wanted to travel the country or wanted the challenge of building robust clinical skills in a particular specialty. But for the most part, these travel nurses primarily filled temporary vacancies during past nursing shortages or labor strikes.

There are currently 4.4 million RNs in the U.S. nursing workforce. Between 2020 and 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 55% increase in travel nursing (from 43,160 to 66,790 RNs), representing 2.34% of the RN profession. Because travel nurses were all over the country working for different health systems during COVID, they are in a unique position to speak to how prepared (or unprepared) employers are to support nurses in their careers and mental health. As travel RNs consider permanent work, they are looking for employers to prioritize their mental health and well-being and provide flexibility, autonomy, career progression opportunities, and higher compensation to feel supported and respected.

Hospitals and health systems face a turning point in addressing the staffing shortage crisis. So what can we do to bring nurses back to nursing?

The industry has been facing many challenges. Recent research reveals that 600,000 Boomer RNs are expected to retire by 2030. The latest American Nurses Foundation (ANF) Workplace Pulse survey revealed that nearly half (49%) of direct patient care nurses intend to leave their position, 19% intend on leaving in the next six months.

That said, there’s some good news: 18-29-year olds remain interested in nursing careers. The National Nurse Work Environment study by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses indicated that 75% would recommend nursing as a career, and interest in nursing school remains high. Rebuilding the workforce with these nurses is crucial, but the need to reconfigure the nursing workforce is equally important. This means adjusting how hospitals address staff churn and changing the care delivery model to ensure nurses are working at the top of their licenses. In addition, increasing the focus on mental health and well-being support, improving compensation, and reducing the complexity gap as more veteran nurses leave the profession and are replaced by newer, less experienced RNs.

Another interesting trend we’re watching is the new careers available to nurses. ANF’s Workplace survey indicates that 18% of RNs intend to find a nursing position outside the hospital setting, showing a growing interest in career pathing among nurses to build their career so it’s tailored to their specific lifestyle and interests.

During the pandemic, travel nurses tripled their pay by moving from job to job. But many see the short-lived boom as a temporary fix for a long-term decline in the nursing profession. So, do you think the travel nurse gold rush is over?

Travel nursing is not for everyone. It is its specialty, like pediatrics, critical care, peri-operative, medical/surgical nursing, or nursing leadership. Every nurse chooses a specialty area to focus on at some point in their career. Travel nurses feel that a higher salary compensates them for ever-changing patient assignments and adapting quickly to new organizations, making travel nursing their specialty. Some generational cohorts, such as millennials, are also drawn to travel nursing, but typically for a finite period.

Nurses attracted to travel nursing for the first time did so because early in the pandemic, they wanted to assist in regional COVID “hot spots.” Certainly, the salaries were a big draw. Still, these new travel nurses enjoyed control over their schedules, more autonomy, and flexibility, but whether these factors outweigh what they gave up – being part of a team, knowing the system, and professional development opportunities – remains to be seen.

We don’t know how many RNs will return to permanent roles or choose travel nursing as their specialty.

What has been the impact of travel nurses treating COVID patients for two traumatic years?

The pandemic has impacted every nurse – research studies of stress, fatigue, anxiety, moral distress, burnout, and some post-traumatic stress disorder reveal these findings. And let’s not forget that most of the 100,000 RNs who left the workforce during the pandemic were 49 years old or younger – not retirement age, as many assumed. What has been interesting is looking at the years of experience of travel nurses data: RNs who decided to travel for the first time during the pandemic report slightly higher stress, fatigue, and burnout levels than experienced travel RNs.

Do travel nurses feel like they answered the call and raced to help COVID patients, and now they’re being cut? Are the cuts attributed to federal and state funding drying up or something else?

During the early phases of the pandemic, permanent staff nurses were less tolerant of the initial drastic nurse staffing cuts when elective procedures were canceled. Then, during COVID surges, it was all hands on deck. This was hugely unsatisfying and may have fueled the interest in travel nursing (in addition to high salaries).

Nurses understand that when patient census decreases, there is less need for RNs, so their unit assignment or work schedule may change. This is true of permanent RN and travel RN staff. A lower patient census for RNs on travel contracts has led to a flurry of travel contract re-negotiations with hospitals. Negotiations to either end a contract early happened because patient census has decreased, or, where travel RN agencies benefited from federal and state funding by drastically increasing their billing rates, hospitals have been re-negotiating contract rates.

What can hospitals do to reconfigure the work environment to optimize the existing nursing workforce?

There are two areas to highlight: The first one is toxic cultures. Bullying, incivility, and violence perpetrated by patients and families towards nurses and hospital staff occurred at alarming rates. In acute care settings, 65% of RNs reported bullying or incivility, and 40% of RNs experienced violence. Nurses must have safer and more secure workplaces to provide the best care.

The second is to use more sophisticated math for nurse staffing and scheduling. Some savvy hospitals now view nurse staffing and scheduling as a logistics problem. Using a logistics management approach enables hospitals to use the science of operations research and more powerful math like linear programming. Predictive modeling is used to deploy the right number of staff with the right skills, at the right location, at the right time, with the appropriate patient assignment, and factor in the lowest cost with the best patient outcomes. This complex problem requires big data and sophisticated math, which is different from how nurse staffing and scheduling is typically done today. Nursing staff budgets are based on the “flaw of averages,” using rudimentary math to base nurse staffing on the census at midnight (Average Daily Census) and Nursing Care Hours per Patient Day (HPPD). This inevitably leads to some shifts being overstaffed (a nurse is sent home or floated to another unit) and some understaffed (not enough nurses during the day when the patient census is higher than at midnight). It is very dissatisfying for nurses.

Nurses are looking for scheduling flexibility and control. Health systems should consider creating different scheduling options like 8- or 10-hour shifts. Since nurses are familiar with gig economy-type jobs or travel nurse positions, they should also consider implementing these or similar options, which will be particularly attractive within large, geographically dispersed health systems.

Please discuss Vivian Health’s State of the Healthcare Workforce Survey findings. For example, why are nurses willing to trade the higher pay of travel nursing for a stable job with a strong employer?

Travel nurses learned to enjoy the sense of control and greater flexibility they had over their schedule while traveling during the pandemic. As a result, some want to continue traveling to see the country or build a robust clinical skill set. In addition, the pandemic created numerous work-at-home options. Those nurses with a partner who can “work from home” may choose to remain a travel nurse to continue enjoying greater control and autonomy regarding where and when they work.

It is becoming clear that while some first-time travel nurses want to return to permanent positions, they are demanding healthier work environments, flexible schedules, a sense of control, better staffing, more autonomy, and more significant compensation. Vivian Health’s recent survey asked travel nurses about their future career plans. Fifty-five percent were seeking a permanent position with a median salary of $65 per hour and being part of a team.

Why are nurses willing to trade the higher pay of travel nursing for a stable job with a strong employer?

Travel nurses learned to enjoy the sense of control and greater flexibility they had over their schedule while traveling during the pandemic. As a result, some want to continue traveling to see the country or build a robust clinical skill set. In addition, the pandemic created numerous work-at-home options, so those nurses with a partner who can “work from home” may choose to remain a travel nurse to continue enjoying greater control and autonomy as to where and when they work.

It is becoming clear that while some first-time travel nurses want to return to permanent positions, they demand healthier work environments, flexible schedules, a sense of control, better staffing, more autonomy, and greater compensation. Vivian Health’s recent survey asked travel nurses about their future career plans. Fifty-five percent were seeking a permanent position with a median salary of $65 per hour to be part of a team.

What about global nursing? What is the value of an American nursing degree internationally? What role do travel nurses play abroad?

First, there is a global nursing shortage. While we usually see nurses from abroad coming to the U.S. to work, many U.S. RNs travel abroad to work. There are a few interesting differences: First, travel contracts are for 1-2 years, not 13 weeks. Second, RNs traveling overseas need a U.S. Passport, an active, unencumbered RN license from a U.S. state, vaccines, and perhaps a work visa. Third, a language proficiency exam and board certification in a nursing specialty may be required. Finally, RNs who want to travel overseas must check each country’s regulations since they differ.

And yes, the value of an American BSN degree is significant. Unlike the U.S., where the minimum requirement for nursing is an AS degree, the BSN degree is the minimum requirement to be licensed in European countries.

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The Risks to Travel Nurses During the Pandemic

The Risks to Travel Nurses During the Pandemic

Travel nurses are in great demand right now, as they are helping to relieve frontline workers during COVID-19. While health care facilities are doing everything they can to make environments safe, there are still specific risks that travel nurses are dealing with during this pandemic.

Georgia Reiner, Senior Risk Specialist, Nurses Service Organization (NSO), gave us the latest information about what’s happening with travel nurses, what the risks are, and what they can do to protect themselves.

Are hospitals throughout the country calling on travel nurses to relieve frontline workers? Is the main purpose to alleviate burnout of the frontline workers?

Travel nurses are in high-demand across the United States as hospitals work to treat surges of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. This crisis arrived at a time when nurse staffing was already a concern due to a multitude of factors, including the growing health care demands of an aging population and nurses aging out of the workforce. Therefore, the demand for travel nurses seems to be primarily driven by a need to build up hospital capacity to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients.

Data from different staffing platforms show that throughout the pandemic, travel nurses are in highest demand in areas most impacted by the coronavirus, like New York and Washington State, and certain nursing specialties like ICU/Critical Care, ER/Trauma, and Med/Surg.

Certainly, as the pandemic continues, the sense of burnout among health care workers will intensify, and travel nurses will likely play an important role in helping to alleviate burnout.

This is a different situation for travel nurses. One risk is checking licensing in different states. What can travel nurses do to be sure that their license transfers? If it doesn’t, but frontline workers are still needed, are exceptions being made?

Before deciding to accept a job, nurses need to ensure that their licenses will allow them to practice in that state/jurisdiction. Multi-state licenses are available for nurses who meet the requirements, which include elements like background checks and education criteria. Temporary licenses are also an option—these are generally reserved for travel nurses who have accepted a job in another state and are awaiting their permanent license.

During the nationwide public health emergency due to COVID-19, some statutes and regulations regarding licensure portability may be relaxed or waived, so it is important for nurses to be aware of what the requirements are both during and following the emergency period. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has compiled information about the nurse licensure compact and emergency action taken by states, which is a great starting place for information.

When travel nurses are thrust into an unknown situation in a hospital/medical center that isn’t familiar to them, and they are working with systems they’re not familiar with, what’s the best way for them to cope? How can they avoid burnout themselves? Please explain.

Working in a new environment is inherently stressful. Getting used to new processes, technologies, hospitals layouts, and new people can be overwhelming under normal circumstances, and can be amplified during a crisis like COVID-19. Travel nurses should make sure to take time for self-care to preserve their mental health. This is a stressful time for everyone, so don’t be afraid to reach out to colleagues with questions and for support. Failing to make an effort to cope with these rapid changes can have a negative impact on personal wellness and patient care.

What about a nurse’s scope of practice? what can nurses do to make sure that they are acting in the scope of practice? What if the facility allows them to do more than their own state? Does their scope of practice relate to the state they’re in or the one they’re licensed in, or both?

As the COVID-19 crisis rapidly evolves, travel nurses may be given patient assignments outside of their typical practice areas and locations. When faced with situations that exceed the scope of practice for the state in which they are practicing, or the skills or knowledge required to care for patients, travel nurses, like all other nurses, should develop and implement proactive strategies to alleviate unsafe patient assignments. Nurses need to advocate for patient safety and for their nursing license by speaking up if an assignment does not fall under their scope of practice.

When the assignment is within a nurse’s scope of practice, but not within their realm of experience or training, saying “no” to the assignment could lead to dismissal. At the same time, if the nurse does not feel they are equipped to handle the assignment, they could potentially put patient safety at risk. In these scenarios, nurses should tell their supervisor that they have very limited experience in that area and should not be left in charge. The nurse should describe the task or assignment they don’t feel equipped to handle, the reason for their feelings, and the training they would need to be more confident and better prepared.

What changes have occurred during COVID-19 regarding travel nurses and the risks they face that you think should be permanent either for the near future or forever?  

Currently, there are certain state and federal regulations, declarations, and orders that extend liability immunity in the fight against COVID-19. What’s not clear at this time is the breadth and scope of these regulations and orders.

For example, it is not clear if these orders and declarations extend to all providers in all areas of service or if such immunity will be limited and specific to certain types of health care providers. Since there is lack of clarity in terms of immunity, it is prudent for nurses to not presume they have any immunity.

Further, plaintiff’s counsel can file a lawsuit, immunity or no immunity, if the plaintiff’s counsel believes the client was injured and that injury was the direct result of the nurse or other health care professional providing or failing to provide professional services. In the best-case scenario, the suit brought against the nurse will be deemed baseless and their malpractice insurer will work to get the suit dropped/dismissed.

Is there any other information that is important for our readers to know?

The COVID-19 pandemic is still evolving, and there is much we still do not know about the virus. All nurses should continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for updates and guidance to help prevent the spread of the virus and protect themselves and their patients.

Can Travel Nurses Help the Nursing Shortage?

Can Travel Nurses Help the Nursing Shortage?

With nursing shortages a pressing issue throughout pockets of the country, one branch of nursing could help remedy the solution, says Marcia Faller, PhD, RN, and chief clinical officer of AMN Healthcare. Travel nurses can fill short-term needs while organizations are able to assess, stabilize, and hire permanent nurses without compromising patient care during a staffing shortage.

Faller says travel nurses can help fill the gaps while providing high-quality, reliable care. She points to a study slated for summer publication in the peer-reviewed journal, Nurse Leader, that reveals that patient outcomes for travel nurses and staff nurses are no different. In fact, the study asserts, travel nurses might help ease the staffing burdens and contribute to less error and nurse burnout. Using data sources from Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) and National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI®), the study looked at a U.S. hospital to assess patient outcomes when using both core nurses and travel nurses.

According to Faller, most travel nurses work in temporary job assignments of three months at a time. After their rotation is done, they might stay for another three months, sign on for a permanent position, or move on to another assignment in a new location.

It’s very appealing,” says Faller. It’s a quick and easy way to get a new job and gain both professional experience in a new area while also having the chance to travel. Some nurses want to shift their location for a life event—a child is getting married across the country or has a new baby, for instance. Or a nurse from a smaller community might want to gain experience in a larger academic center, Faller says. Maybe they have a list of places they want to see and travel nursing will help them do that while also working at a job they enjoy.

Travel nurses only account for two percent of all nurses, says Faller, but they offer both a distinct nursing career opportunity and a boon for organizations who need more nurses.

Different organizations find travel nurses help their staffing needs in varied ways, says Faller, and help keep the quality of care high. “Travel nurses give them the ability to fill vacancies where they are finding themselves short staffed,” Faller says.

Organizations can fill the positions while continuing to focus on recruiting. Travel nurses are also especially helpful when it comes to covering non-productive hours, says Faller. For instance, known times when nursing staff members are taking PTO, jury duty, has a leave of absence, or even needs educational time off are all good times for travel nurses to fill in. Travel nurses can also help offset overtime costs and hours. “Those have to get covered somehow,” says Faller, and helping ease up on too much staff overtime can also help offset nurse burnout and eventually retain nurses and keep turnover down.

If an organization is launching a new event, like electronic medical records, travel nurses can help cover staffing while regular staff is undergoing training.

And Faller notes that travel nurses are held to the same high standards as staff nurses. They need to have the same credentials as other nurses for whatever location they are going to, she says. And while approximately 25 states are part of the multi-state contract that allows nurses to use one license for many states, the rest of the states do require independent state licenses. Travel nurses also must pass background checks, drug screening, and any other requirements for hiring. And travel nurses are well-educated, she says, with 64 percent of travel nurses having a BSN or higher.

A nurse with a couple of travel experiences under his or her belt has some valuable skills, says Faller. These nurses are adaptive by nature, learning quickly how an operation is run and how to find what they need to do their jobs well.

As the demographics of the country continue to change and become increasingly diverse, travel nurses can help fill a gap and provide a service that many organizations need. Nurses who speak multiple languages or who fit with the cultural background of the patient population being served are especially valuable, says Faller. “There is a large demand for that cultural matching,” she says, noting that even a familiarity with a certain culture can help organizations align with their patient populations in a way that helps everyone.

Whether you are considering travel nursing for a career move or are an administrator assessing the best way to fill in the gaps, travel nursing is an option that’s both viable and valuable.

5 Things That Can Make You a Successful Travel Nurse

5 Things That Can Make You a Successful Travel Nurse

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.

To Conclude

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.

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