Did you know your next vacation might offer insight into your next career move? Travel opportunities give you a chance to see how other nurses might work in the field– in a location thousands of miles from your home or even in a different country.image of a plane flying around the globe for travel

If you have ever entertained “what if” thoughts about a new area, travel can give new perspectives to see what’s available. You might just want to find out more about the location and what it offers or you might be looking for a career switch. Maybe you’re thinking of an advanced degree and want to see what the campus is like or visit a faculty member.

Set aside a few hours on your next trip to learn more. Here are a few ways to start the process.

Start with the Research
Decide what your primary goal is and work from that. Maybe you’re a nurse up in New England wondering what it would be like to work in a warmer climate. A trip to south to sunny Anna Maria Island in Florida or west to San Diego, Calif. can give you a perspective on working with a seasonal community. Before you travel, start looking at a few job listings to get a sense of what’s available and where. Do you want to be in a nearby city like Sarasota or on the island with a smaller population? Is the San Diego area what you expected or do you want to look at the surrounding communities?  What are the housing options like? What else does the area offer?

Visit a Workplace
If you are looking for a job change and thinking a new location is in the cards, take the time to find out if it’s really as appealing as it seems.  As you look at job openings and organizations, build in time to visit an organization that’s particularly appealing. Maybe you want to visit a major hospital or a small healthcare facility. Get a sense of the populations served and the top community health needs.

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Check Out a Campus
Thinking of a new degree? When you travel to a new area, plan to visit a campus and call ahead to see if you can chat with someone in the nursing school or with a faculty member. For that Anna Maria Island trip, you can visit the nearby University of South Florida College of Nursing in Tampa or the State College of Florida in Sarasota. In San Diego, the San Diego State University School of Nursing and the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science are two options. Wherever you go, a campus visit gives a good feeling for the institution.

Make a Connection
Not really sure what your next steps will be but just want information? Find a nursing organization in the area and get in touch. The importance of a community can’t be overstated, so finding someone who can give you important details like how hot it really gets or what the population shift in the winter is really like is important. The Florida Nurses Association is like other state-based organizations and is an excellent resource for nurses. In San Diego, the San Diego National Association of Hispanic Nurses can offer resources and perspectives that are essential to hear about.

Soak Up the Environment
This is a vacation, after all, so you’ll spend most of your time just enjoying your time off. But pay attention to what your gut tells you. Maybe your vacation was a break to figure out what you need to do next.  With just an afternoon, you can take in a few important details that can help with your decision.

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Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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