If you’re a new travel nurse or just starting, there are some things to remember. These tips will help you transition smoothly from one assignment to another.
Staying in contact with your recruiter makes transferring to a new location easier. They will ensure your housing, transportation, and licensing are all covered.
Arrive a Day or Two Early
Depending on the location of your next travel nurse assignments in Texas, arriving a day or two early may be best. This will allow you to get familiar with the area and find your way around. It will also allow you to get settled in before your first shift.
Arriving early also allows you to test your commute from home to work. You’ll want to ensure you have the fastest route figured out to avoid traffic delays. Plan to walk to the hospital a few times before your first shift to understand how long it will take and how far you’ll have to reach your floor.
Be bold and ask questions, especially on your first day. No one expects you to know everything on your first day at a new job, and the good thing is that most people will be happy to help. Ask other travel nurses, your preceptor, or even the managers at the facility for guidance if you need help with what to do.
Find a Mentor
Nurse mentoring is a great way to help nurses learn a new position and succeed in their roles. It also helps build community within the nursing profession. Travel nurses can find nurse mentors by connecting with their coworkers or searching for networking events that cater to travelers. Often, permanent nurses are happy to take a travel nurse under their wing and share their knowledge and experience with them.
Even seasoned travel nurses may need help navigating a new hospital’s policies and procedures. Fortunately, top travel nurse agencies have clinical liaisons available 24/7 to assist with any challenges during a contract.
Asking for help is difficult for many people, especially in a professional environment. However, it’s important to realize there is nothing wrong with asking for assistance. It will help you feel more confident and capable of performing your job well.
The first assignment is always a learning curve, but you will become more familiar with the process as time passes. Use the tips above to minimize anxiety and ensure that your first assignment is a success. Then, when it comes time to find your next travel nurse assignment, remember that you will have a leg up on other candidates by having extensive nursing experience. This will help you find the perfect job matching your skills and goals.
Get Out and Explore
Travel nursing can be an exhilarating career, but it can also feel a bit isolating. If you struggle with homesickness, try to get out and explore your new location. Take a hike, grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant, or go shopping in your new city. These activities help create a sense of community and ease your homesickness.
Another way to ease homesickness is by establishing a healthy work-life balance. Set aside time each day to spend with family or friends and keep up with your hobbies and interests. This will give you something to look forward to once your contract ends and allow you to feel more balanced as a travel nurse.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that only some travel nurse assignments will be exactly as planned in your first interview. Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances or facility shortages can change how you’re expected to perform your job. Staying flexible and having a positive attitude make these changes easier to handle.
Staying organized can help keep you on track to complete your assignment. It may seem like a chore, but it can make your assignment experience much smoother. Keeping all your documents, contracts, and important phone numbers in one place can help you save time looking for them when it’s time to move on. Backing up all your information on an external hard drive or using an app that syncs across devices can also be helpful.
Ensure you have a budgeting system that helps you stay on top of your travel nurse salary. It can be easy to spend more than you are making, especially if you’re working on multiple assignments back-to-back. Creating a budget can help you see how much you need to save and still have money left over for fun activities.
Another thing to remember when you’re on an assignment is that the facility’s policies and procedures will differ from what you’re used to. Take time to familiarize yourself with the new systems, charts, and policies to work at your best.
Finally, remember that the permanent staff will likely view travel nurses as a temporary addition to their team rather than a replacement. Be respectful and patient, and the permanent staff will quickly come to appreciate your skills.