Everything You Need to Know Before Starting a Career as a Travel Nurse


Everything You Need to Know Before Starting a Career as a Travel Nurse

If you’re thinking about traveling for nursing assignments, it can be an exciting and scary prospect all at the same time.  One of the most r

If you’re thinking about traveling for nursing assignments, it can be an exciting and scary prospect all at the same time. 

One of the most rewarding parts of a nursing career is being able to travel to new places and meet new people. It also presents some unique challenges for any traveler who wants to find suitable accommodations that are secure, affordable, and close to their assignment site. 

Sustaining relationships with family, friends, and community ties can be another obstacle when planning extended travel away from home. 

Research the Location and Company You’ll Be Working For

To make sure you locate the right hospitals, community settings, and accommodations for your needs, you’ll want to be as informed as possible on the location of your assignment. You’ll also want to research the company you’ll be working for. 

Some travelers are uncomfortable with the idea of working for a specific healthcare provider, but most medical facilities and nursing facilities accept a variety of care providers. However, the settings that make up the hospital may be more comfortable to work in if you work for a particular hospital.


Create an Itinerary and Packing List

You’lll want to create a packing list and itinerary for your travel assignment. You’ll want to include items such as medications, electronics, toiletries, clothes, and important documents such as your passport and medical records. 

When packing for your travel assignment, you’ll want to make sure you have items that are versatile enough to be used in various settings. You may want to include items such as a thermometer that is easy to understand and read. 

A battery-operated fan that can be used to cool rooms down or provide some relief from the hot climate Airtight containers that can keep medications and other items from getting ruined in the heat.

What to Expect When Traveling for Nursing

In general, traveling for nursing is a great career change for nurses who want to get out of their lives for a little while and experience what it’s like to live in a different city and culture. Once you’re in a new location, you’ll be living out of a suitcase while you figure out a new routine.

 This can be especially challenging while you’re adjusting to new sleep patterns, eating patterns, and social schedules. While you’re on your assignment, you’ll be responsible for all your own expenses, including housing, food, and transportation. 

You’ll also be responsible for finding a job, networking with potential employers, and getting your own healthcare. This can be challenging at times because you’re not able to rely on your colleagues to help you through these tasks.

Things You Should Know Before Planning a Trip for Nursing

Before you start planning your first trip as a traveling nurse, it’s helpful to understand some of the basic things you should know. Before leaving home, be sure to have all of your necessary travel documents in order. This includes your passport, visa, any required health documentation, and insurance documents. 

When you arrive at your destination, have your travel nurse paperwork and any required vaccinations or other health documents ready to show the healthcare provider and any facility staff that you interact with. 

Try to get a lay of the land and feel out your community before you go too deep. This way you can get a sense of the flavor of the place, the people, and any events that may be happening. Be mindful of your surroundings. If you feel unsafe in any way, you should report it to the authorities or your boss and get out of that area as soon as possible.


How to Find the Best Accommodations for Your Assignment

When traveling for nursing, you’ll want to make sure you’re staying in safe and secure accommodations. One of the best ways to find great accommodations is to do your research ahead of time. If you have questions about the area or if you need recommendations for safe and secure options, you can always reach out to other travelers on online forums and through Facebook groups. 

You can also check out online travel resources like Expedia, booking.com, and TripAdvisor to look for accommodations. In addition to online resources, there are a few other things you can do to make sure you find great housing while traveling for nursing. 

Look for properties that are well-maintained, in a safe neighborhood, and that have clear property policies displayed in the lobby. Make sure the accommodations you choose are within walking distance of the assignment site and have enough parking options nearby where you can store your vehicle. Invest in wireless internet access so you can stay connected with home and family while away.

Stay Safe While Traveling as a Nurse — Don’t Dress Like One!

While many travelers and expats feel that they’re “more safe” and “more discreet” when they’re dressed in scrubs, this is not the case. In fact, you’re much more likely to be targeted by opportunistic criminals than to be injured or assaulted in an emergency situation while you’re dressed in scrubs.

Dressing like an ordinary traveler will greatly increase your chances of getting noticed by opportunistic criminals as well as being taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers or hosts while you’re traveling. 

When dressing while traveling as a nurse, you want to make sure you’re dressed in a way that suggests you’re not a threat to anyone. Some may automatically think you are a figure of authority due to the medical uniform and if you witness anything, you may be put in danger, 

Bottom Line

Traveling for nursing can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. That’s why it’s important for nurses to prepare for the lifestyle change that comes with traveling. This means understanding what to expect when traveling, how to find a safe living environment, and learning how to budget your finances while you’re away from home. However, in the end, it will be worth it to help people.