10 Essential Tips for First-Time Travel Nurses

10 Essential Tips for First-Time Travel Nurses

May 10, 2024

Travel nursing is more popular than ever. With the nursing shortages that have impacted the healthcare industry and an aging population in the United States, most healthcare settings are feeling the strain. Travel nursing has become the solution. 

If you’re a new travel nurse and getting ready to take on your first assignment, the prospect can be exhilarating—and a bit frightening. To help you manage, below are 10 tips to remember as you jump into the world of travel nursing.

Be flexible

Being able to adjust to different settings and people is an essential skill a travel nurse has to possess. Be ready to encounter many different hospital policies and procedures. Even the equipment and programs are bound to be different. 

Don’t assume that the way you may have done something before is the best way. Instead, learn from the various other options. If you encounter challenges, adjust to them and try to embrace them as educational opportunities. 

Communicate with your recruiter

If you encounter issues with your assignment, you should let your recruiter know as quickly as possible. Your recruiter can help you address any problems so that you have a more positive experience. They’re there to support you. 

Consider each assignment a permanent one

When you consider each assignment like a permanent one, you’ll be offering the kind of thorough and consistent care a patient needs. To achieve this, you’ll want to do your best to integrate yourself into the work environment.

Not only is this better for your patients, but it will also demonstrate a high level of professionalism and improve your reputation, which can set you up for better positions in the future. 

Stay organized

You should have your licenses, records, and certifications organized at all times. This can be tough to do when you’re traveling, but it’s crucial if you want to be able to quickly move on to the next posting. Whether you keep your records digitally or on paper, it’s always a good idea to regularly update them and check that they’re in order. 

Steer clear of any drama

Your work environment is bound to have some form of office politics and drama. Whether there are issues between nurses, administrators, or others, don’t get dragged into the problem. It could be emotionally draining and even affect your reputation as a travel nurse. 

Four smiling healthcare workers huddle with their heads together.

Build a support system

Travel nursing is rewarding, but it can sometimes be lonely and stressful. You need to have a strong support system you can reach out to for some help. It can be helpful to get to know other travel nurses who understand exactly what you’re going through. 

There are plenty of forums and sites where you can meet travel nurses, and taking part in conferences and other networking events is also helpful. 

Budget wisely

Although you receive a stipend and travel nursing generally pays well, you should be smart about saving for emergencies. Some postings may not pay as well, or you may have extra expenses. Either way, by thinking ahead and planning for future assignments, you can save yourself a lot of stress. 

Invest in continuing education

Even as you work, you need to stay current on all your clinical skills, and you can do so by turning to continuing education. There are even paid educational opportunities that can boost your expertise and pad your resume. 

Learn to pack

Having to pack on a regular basis is one of the hassles that comes with travel nursing, but you can make it easier on yourself by learning some efficient ways of packing your belongings. 

First, you need to be strategic with what you carry with you. Make a list of the essentials, and only bring those items with you. Think about the various items you can buy once you’re in a new location and try to buy them there rather than travel with them. This will make it much easier for you to pack again for your next assignment. 

A female nurse holds her stethoscope up to the camera and smiles.

Be friendly

It’s essential that you make a good first impression with your performance, but it’s also important to be friendly. Remember that most of the locations you’ll go to have been struggling with staffing issues, so the team can be stressed and overworked. A bit of kindness and a willingness to help can go a long way. 

Start your travel nursing journey

If you’ve been looking to add more excitement to your nursing practice while offering services at locations where they’re most needed, travel nursing can be a good choice. 

At Prolink, we provide travel nurse opportunities that can take your career to the next level. We’re here to walk you through the process so that you can focus on what you do best. Contact Prolink today to get in touch with our dedicated team of recruiters, or search travel nurse jobs by clicking below.

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