CALLING ALL TRAVEL NURSES ! *A post for old pros, new travelers, and nurses looking to take the plunge*

One of the reasons I entered the field of nursing, other than the obvious desire to help others, was to embrace it’s limitless career opportunities. As an indecisive high schooler this seemed the ideal path to venture down. Early on in my time at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in the CICU, I was overjoyed to discover that an even greater adventure was at my fingertips.. Travel nursing! As nurses, we have an amazing opportunity to travel around the country (or even the world) experiencing new units, new hospitals, new cities, and often times new ways of caring for our chosen patient population. Nothing beats the feeling of arriving in a brand new city with a packed car, an address of your new home, and a start date! Along the way I have learned so much and worked alongside so many awe inspiring nurses. Experiencing cities/units/hospitals all over the country has been priceless and something I will always cherish.

As exciting as this career path is- there are most definitely bound to be bumps along the way. These struggles could manifest themselves in many ways: travel company or contract negotiation trouble, bad housing, unwelcoming units…. Because of this I wanted to compile a suggestion and tips list from experienced travelers like myself! It is always great to bounce ideas back and forth with other nurses that have been in your shoes!!

I have reached out via social media to find some  gems of knowledge from amazing nurses that have encountered these bumps ahead of you. We have also collaborated with @travelnursetakeover . They asked their followers for their best advice for travel nurses and even gave away a Nightingale Express box to one lucky winner! Take a look below and hopefully the following will make your adventure a little bit smoother!

 

“Be honest with your recruiter, if you are unhappy tell them! See if there is anything they can do to help."

 

“Don't be afraid to check out all your options. If you think you aren't being offered enough, call another travel company and see what they will pay/offer."

 San Diego.  @madsackett

San Diego. @madsackett

 

“Let me start by saying: I LOVE TRAVEL NURSING! but sometimes, it can be a struggle. You get to travel the country, meet amazing people, see great sights, and get to KNOW a city by staying there for more than a typical vacation. As a specialist in your field (I'm a PICU nurse), you get the chance to see how other facilities operate, bring fresh ideas to the table, as well as gain knowledge from other experts.  And hello! - a three day work week to top it off. I love it. I would never trade it for anything in the world.  Seeing Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and New York City were my dream! To say that I've been to all those places, and now have great friends that I will be in touch with for the rest of my life...come, on. That's awesome.

But, it's not always sunshine and Instagram worthy.  Let's be real. What I feel is very important to share with you all though is despite the amazing Facebook posts, Instagram, and twitters you see from other travelers--- sometimes it's raining, and you're tired... you don't feel like doing anything and THAT'S OK. Nursing is a hard job; it's draining and demanding. I know you're in a new city and there are 7000 things on your "must do" list, but it is perfectly okay to lay low and catch up on Netflix. I hope that every assignment for you is in an exciting place and you meet a ton of great people - But always allow yourself to take it easy!”

 San Francisco.  @travelnursebabes

San Francisco. @travelnursebabes

“Stay Positive! Remember you are there to help and if you don’t want to stay when your contract is up - you don’t have to! Focus on caring for your patients.”

 

“Since we are always on the go and need tons of documents at our fingertips for new assignments, the best way to keep up with all of these documents is to create a Dropbox account and store them all in there! I have all of my physicals, immunization forms, licenses, certifications, and identifications, etc. saved and organized on mine! The best part about it is that you can access it from any computer or from an app for your phone too! Don’t have a scanner to scan documents in? CamScanner is a free app that scans your documents using the camera on your phone.”

 

“My advice is to go in with a positive attitude, be flexible; it’ll help you integrate into the unit! But also know your worth! Traveling has helped me be more confident in my profession because I know I am comfortable with my skill set no matter the location!”

 

 Mount Defiance-WA.  @leesiedee

Mount Defiance-WA. @leesiedee

"Feel free to get creative with your housing! I've used AirBnb, company housing, staying with friends and family, and even Craigslist sublets. Sometimes when a contract is last minute it's best to have company housing arranged for you- but if you have time to do a little research, check out all of your options. It could save you a lot of money and be a much better living situation!" 

 

“Put yourself outside of your comfort zone to meet new people and try new things. I personally try and group my work days together so I can have long stretches off from work to explore. Other travelers you meet at work are easy friends to make as you have so many similarities and often have the same adventurous lifestyle! Have fun with it!”

 

 Badlands National Park.  @aishleenob

Badlands National Park. @aishleenob

“Travel nursing can get pretty lonely at times...so joining meetup groups or being open to different activities that you usually wouldn't do helps a lot {when it comes to} making new friends.”

 

“Follow the gypsy nurse network page on facebook. I got such great feedback from this site on housing, pay, and hospital pro/cons. Also, always find your own housing instead of company {housing} to help save you money!”

 Austin, TX.  @gypsytravelnurse

Austin, TX. @gypsytravelnurse

 

@gypsytravelnurse : “To any nurses thinking about becoming a travel nurse, my advice would be to try to be an expert in your specialty. Sounds super simple but if you only have a few years of experience, be sure to immerse yourself in the field. Every hospital has it’s own expectations to carry out, so the more experience, the better! Also, very importantly, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help! Good Luck!”

 

“Do it no matter what!! Don’t listen to what other people say- take the leap! And always try to negotiate your contracts! :)"

 

“My first {piece of } advice would be to DO IT! I prolonged doing it for a year because I was scared and comfortable in my permanent position but I absolutely will never regret doing it! Second would be to have at least two years of experience if in a specialty; you really just get thrown in and I was glad I actually waited that extra year! Third, avoid terms like “well in my old hospital we did this” or “why do you do that- I’ve never heard of it…” It’s important to keep an open mind and realize that every place does things differently! I think it helped me to build a better relationship with my coworkers to try to adapt to the way they do things or politely suggest other ways of intervening in a non-condescending way. Hope this helps :)"

 

 Mt. Si - WA.  @aishleenob  

Mt. Si - WA. @aishleenob 

“I work telemetry/PCU. One of the first things I do is have someone show me how to look up policies and I print the ones I frequently use (like heparin gtt, blood admin, and alcohol detox). Don’t be afraid to ask questions! We only get 2 days of orientation- they can’t expect you to know everything!”

 

“ My best travel nurse advice is to not take things too personally and know that you can do anything for x amount of weeks. Being the new nurse on the unit can be tough and people may not like you at first, but with time you should be able to prove {yourself} with your skills and outgoing personality.”

 Catalina Island.  @travelnursebabes

Catalina Island. @travelnursebabes

 

@travelnursebabes: “1. Be open to change everywhere you go. Be open to changing your habits as a nurse. Each facility is super different. What you think you may be doing right, is different at the next facility. 2. It’s very convenient to travel with a buddy. Don’t do it for money. Do it for experience.”

 

“My advice is to go in with a positive attitude, be flexible; it’ll help you integrate into the unit! But also know your worth! Traveling has helped me be more confident in my profession because I know I am comfortable with my skill set no matter the location!”

 

If you have anymore tips/suggestions you’d like to share - please email us at NightingaleExpress@gmail.com and we would LOVE to include your words of wisdom, or comment below!

 

HAPPY TRAVELS!