The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Travel Nurse Assignment
Travel nursing is one of the most rewarding nursing professions. It is characterized by working on short-term assignments in different locations. This could be from city to city and even country to country.
This approach lets you do two things: you can combine work and travel, and you can also help in healthcare settings with staff shortages.
As the travel nursing industry becomes necessary daily, nurses must understand how to work in this field effectively.
Through this article, we want to provide better insights into finding the perfect travel nurse assignment. Let’s start!
Benefits of Travel Nursing Assignments
Are you attracted to travel nursing? Who wouldn’t? Not only does it provide you with an opportunity in different places, but it also brings huge benefits. These benefits are both professionally and personally rewarding.
Below, we dive into some of the advantages that come when choosing travel nursing assignments:
1. Financial Rewards
Did you know that travel nurses usually earn higher wages than permanent positions? If not, you need to learn more about becoming a travel nurse.
On top of the base salary, many assignments come with a few rewards:
- Sign-on bonuses
- Completion bonuses
- Referral bonuses
- Housing allowance
- Travel expenses
All these are part of agencies that can boost your overall compensation package.
2. Professional Development
If you’re looking for a nursing field to broaden your skills, travel nursing assignments are a fantastic way. Not only that, but you can also gain more clinical experience.
Since your job is to fill in for those with staff shortages primarily, you have to work in different clinical places. This is from teaching hospitals to rural community clinics.
Having this kind of exposure also makes you quickly adapt. It is a continuous learning experience approaching professional growth.
3. Flexibility Over Your Schedule
If not the most, the travel nursing field is relatively more flexible than the others. With your assignments, you can choose how long you want it to be. This is from 8 to 26 weeks. Of course, this is dependent on your agency contract and hiring facility.
Plus, you can take extended breaks between your assignments. This field offers a work-life balance. It’s more achievable than traditional nursing jobs.
4. Opportunity to Travel
Travel nursing is not travel nursing if it does not involve exploring different places. If you are on for an adventure, you can explore other parts of the world.
Your assignment lets you:
- Learn a new culture
- Explore popular attractions
- Make new friends
You can combine your passion for healthcare and adventure in one.
5. Building a Diverse Network
Most importantly, prepare yourself and open your doors to networking opportunities. You’ll be working with doctors, therapists, and administrators that lead to lasting relationships.
Not only that but you can:
- Advance your career
- Learn about job openings
- Get professional references
Travel nursing assignments offer a path that can be both fulfilling and rewarding.
How to Become a Travel Nurse
Being a travel nurse means being able to adapt to new clinical environments. But before you start your career path, you need to know how exactly to have what it takes to be one.
1. Educational Background
Here are a few ways to get a good educational background:
To start, aspiring travel nurses must have either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
After completing the degree, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
2. Gaining Experience
How to get this? You need at least one to two years of clinical experience in your specialty. This experience is really, really important. Travel nurses usually start working without an extended orientation.
Consider specializing in a particular area of nursing, such as:
- Critical care
- Emergency Nursing
These specializations can open doors to more travel nursing opportunities. Plus, it has potentially higher compensation.
3. Obtaining Licenses and Certifications
If you plan to work outside your residence, you may need to obtain additional nursing licenses for those states. The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows you to practice in multiple states with one license. All you have to do is check if your state is a member.
Depending on your specialty, you might consider obtaining certifications.
- For ICU nurses – take the Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN)
- For pediatric nurses – consider Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
These not only boost your qualifications but can also give you more career opportunities.
4. Preparing a Resume and Portfolio
To achieve this, you need to emphasize a few things to stand out in your application. For example:
- Highlight your skills
- Flex your past experiences (past assignments, specialization, etc.)
- Prepare a list of professional references (supervisors, colleagues, etc.)
- Organize your licenses, certifications, and education credits
With all these, you’ll be well on your way to exploring new destinations while significantly impacting patients’ lives across the country.
Researching Travel Nurse Agencies
Looking for the perfect travel nurse assignment is also based on the agency you partner with. Agencies help you gain experience and find the right compensation to satisfy you in your role.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? We can guide you to streamline this process as you find the agency for you.
Here are a few factors for you to consider:
We advise you to look for an agency that’s been in the industry for years. This usually means they have a strong reputation, consistent service, and positive feedback. You need to check if it’s recognized by institutions and they have good nurse reviews.
2. Benefits Offered
Some agencies provide advantages better than others.
- Some may provide a higher income
- Others have better health insurance
- Others give allowances for housing and travel
Consider the benefits most important to you and weigh agencies based on these offerings.
3. Support Systems
For every nurse in every field, there are unexpected situations that you might face. It might be housing issues or local regulations. You need an agency that strongly supports you. Make sure that both your professional and personal needs are met.
Now that you know these factors, engaging with them is the best way to decide on your agency. Think of it as give and take: while assessing your fit for assignments, you see them as a partner.
Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- How long have you been in the travel nursing industry?
- What’s the average assignment duration?
- How does your compensation package compare with industry standards?
- What kind of support do you provide nurses during assignments, especially in emergencies?
- Can I speak to one of the travel nurses who’ve worked with you for a reference?
By thoroughly researching and engaging with potential agencies, you’ll be well-equipped to find the perfect partner for your travel nursing journey.
Finding the Right Travel Nurse Assignment
Now that you’re set with the agency, it’s time to land that ideal assignment!
1. Maximize Your Agency Connections
We’ve mentioned earlier how to get a reputable agency because they can become your best ally. Aside from that, they can:
- Have wide access to nursing assignments
- Provide insights into every role
- Negotiate facilities on your behalf
2. Using Online Job Boards and Networks
There are several online job boards dedicated exclusively to travel nursing assignments.
Beyond job boards, consider joining:
- Online forums
- Facebook groups
- Other social media platforms.
These communities can offer insights, reviews, and firsthand experiences from peers. It can improve your decision-making.
3. Interviewing with Potential Facilities
Once you’ve narrowed down potential assignments, the interview process begins. This is not just a chance for the facility to evaluate you but also an opportunity for you to assess them.
Prepare questions regarding:
- Patient ratios
- Available resources
- Onboarding processes
- Other concerns
The more you understand the facility’s environment and expectations, the better you can gauge if it’s the right fit for you.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Travel Nurse Assignment
Travel nursing is more than just a job. It’s an opportunity to expand your horizons, both in a professional and personal sense. Here are careful considerations when choosing an assignment.
Think about the climate, cultural experiences, and recreational activities available. In addition, check how far it is from your family and friends. This is so you can anticipate how often you need your support system or do frequent visits.
2. Facility Reputation
Research the facility’s patient care standards, reviews, and recent accolades or issues. Speaking to current or past employees can offer unfiltered insights.
Determine what the standard patient-to-nurse ratios are. If they align with your comfort and capability levels. A higher percentage offers more compensation but also a more hectic schedule.
4. Available Resources
Before considering what you need for your first day, look into the training and orientation processes. Find out about the availability of necessary equipment and the supportiveness of the management and staff.
5. Terms of the Assignment
While some assignments might be short-term (like 8 weeks), others can span several months. Ensure you’re comfortable with the duration, like the expected overtime or on-call duties.
6. Compensation Package
Research about the entire package, including:
- Stipends for housing
- Travel reimbursements
- Health benefits
- Retirement plans
- Potential bonuses
Always compare packages from different assignments to ensure you get a fair deal.
Tips for a Successful Travel Nurse Assignment
At this point, here are essential tips that can pave the way for a successful travel nurse assignment.
1. Building Strong Communication
From understanding the terms of your assignment to discussing any challenges you might face on the ground, it’s crucial to:
- Regularly check in with your agency with all your concerns or updates.
- Seek clarifications on the details of your assignment to prevent misunderstandings.
- Foster a good relationship at your assigned facility. Make sure you’re on the same page.
2. Be Open to New Experiences
Every new assignment is a new adventure. Embracing change can make the journey smoother:
- Stay curious, and be open to learning from the professionals you’ll meet.
- Embrace the local culture and community.
3. Networking with Other Travel Nurses
- Connect with fellow travel healthcare professionals in your area. They can offer insights, tips, and support that you really need.
- Engage in online communities and forums dedicated to this field.
- Attend conferences or seminars to build your professional network.
4. Managing Work-Life Balance
- Allocate time for your hobbies or anything that makes you relaxed.
- Ensure you get enough rest.
- Maintain connections with family and friends back home.
5. Keeping Up with Continuing Education and Certifications
- Schedule regular periods for taking up online courses or attending workshops.
- Track the expiration dates of your certifications and licenses so you can review them.
- Engage with nursing associations to be informed about the latest trends in the field.
Common Challenges Faced During Travel Nurse Assignments
Below are some common challenges encountered and insights into each.
This feeling is one of the most common challenges affecting you emotionally. To help you overcome this, maintain your connection with your loved ones to feel connected.
2. Adjusting to a New Environment
You need to expect you won’t be too good at adjusting to different locations. Combatting this requires the willingness to learn and adapt.
3. Navigating Issues
Sometimes, some details in the contract are not according to your liking, and that’s normal. You have to clarify your terms and seek advice if any issues arise.
4. Unexpected Changes
There will be instances that things can happen in an instant. It could be a patient surge, an emergency, or schedule changes. Always maintain open communication with your agency for support during such times.
5. Work-Life Imbalance
Long shifts, being on-call, or even adjusting to night shifts can make it challenging to have a work-life balance. Make sure to find ways that can allow you to rest.
Resources for Finding Travel Nurse Assignments
While your agency plays a significant role in assisting with placements, continuously finding opportunities can help you find positions that align with your wants. Here are some resources to guide you in getting your ideal travel nurse assignment.
Through this site, you can familiarize yourselves with your new assignment’s local culture and attractions.
2. City Search
This is a valuable tool for nurses wanting to explore their new locale.
3. National Weather Service
This service ensures you’re prepared, come rain or shine.
A treasure trove of nursing experiences, tips, and advice from an experienced travel nursing agency.
A platform to find vacation rentals, ensuring a comfortable stay during your assignment.
2. VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner)
Similar to HomeAway, VRBO offers many vacation rental options for nurses seeking a home away from home.
Offers both short-term and extended-stay options.
4. Furnished Finder
Specifically designed for travel nurses, this platform offers furnished housing options, taking away the hassle of moving and setting up in a new place.
5. Corporate Housing by Owner
These properties are often fully serviced, ensuring convenience.
1. For Directions
- Google Maps
- Waze Map
2. Financial Information
- Travel Costs: Hopper, Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
- Bill Management: PAYTRUST
Navigating a travel nursing assignment can feel overwhelming, but everything can be more manageable with these resources.
In every assignment, travel nurses get to touch lives, learn from diverse work cultures, and truly understand healthcare across places.
However, the cornerstone to making the most of this experience allows you to thrive. This is where the Total Nurses Network can play its role. With our commitment to your welfare, you can rely on us. We prioritize placing you in assignments that can make you thrive.
Let us help and guide you into your travel nursing journey that is nothing short of exceptional!