7 Essential Tips for a Good Experience as a Travel Nurse
- 12 02
People choose to become travel nurses for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you want to see the country or even the world, and you’re comfortable working in any kind of environment. Maybe you’re struggling to find a good job close to home, so travel nursing seems like the right way to gain some experience.
Working as a traveling nurse can be fantastic way to jump-start an exciting career. You’ll have the chance to see multiple hospitals in action, and you can make new friends and have eye-opening adventures in the destinations of your choice. To make your assignments go as smoothly as possible, keep these seven tips in mind.
Choose a Good Recruiter
Even when you’ve chosen an agency with a spotless reputation, your individual recruiter is the person who will make or break your chances for success. First, make sure your recruiter has some familiarity with the location where you want to work. If other nurses haven’t had good experiences at a particular facility, then you need a recruiter who will steer you away from those jobs. Second, choose a recruiter that can walk you through travel arrangements, housing issues and any workplace quandaries that you may experience. Finally, make sure that your recruiter returns your calls promptly and doesn’t leave you waiting after you’ve signed your contract. Most situations will go well, but if one doesn’t, then you need to know you have someone who can help you.
Make a Financial Plan
Taxes can be tricky for travel nurses who work in different states or countries. Before leaving, choose a certified public accountant (CPA) that has experience with tax preparation across state lines. Many expenses are tax-deductible, so track your spending and confer with your CPA. Also, set up an account with a bank that has branches both at home and in the places where you want to work. Take advantage of online banking and mobile banking options.
Know What You’re Worth
Research nurse pay rates in different parts of the country so that you know approximately how much you should be receiving for your work. Keep in mind some agencies pay lower wages, but provide better housing benefits or expense reimbursements, so look at more than just the salary when making your choice.
Try some of these packing tips from experienced travel nurses:
• Use plastic containers instead of boxes. Keep the containers in a closet or other storage area, and repack them when you head to your next assignment.
• Travel light.Before you leave for your next position, donate items that you don’t need to a charity. Keep the receipt and take advantage of the tax deduction.
• Ask what you’ll need to bring.Some apartments have dishes, linens and small appliances; others don’t. Know what you’ll need ahead of time.
Get There Early
If at all possible, you should arrive at your destination a couple of days before the job starts. Get to know your neighborhood, find the nearest grocery store, scope out public transportation and hook up your utilities. Also, take a practice drive to your workplace so that you can budget the right amount of travel time.
Jump Right In
Your first week will be chaotic. Bring healthy, quick snacks that don’t require refrigeration, such as granola bars and nuts, to combat hunger and flagging energy. If you’re filling in for a staffing shortage, then anticipate that the current staff members may be exhausted from stress and overwork. Learn the other staff members’ names, and keep a positive attitude. Have three focuses your first week: patient safety, required paperwork and how you’ll be paid. During the second week, bring a treat for your co-workers to thank them for making you feel like part of the team.
Many travel nurses think of their assignments as working vacations. If you’re working near any national parks or other attractions, then make sure you schedule time to enjoy what your area has to offer.
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