You’ve just landed your first travel nursing assignment; you’re relieved, excited, nervous, and probably wondering – what comes next? This could be your first extended stay away from home and you have to begin packing, finding an apartment and not only learning the area you’re moving to but also the job you’ll be performing.
But it will be okay. You can breath knowing there are tips out there to help find your way on your first travel excursion.
6 First Time Travel Nursing Tips
Being prepared is always the best option when getting ready to start any job. Travel nursing proposes its own challenges, and here are some useful tips you can take with you on your first trip:
1. Always. Pack. Light.
The typical travel nursing assignment lasts from four to 13 weeks. And once you know where you’re going and where you’ll be living, the dreaded time of packing arrives. As intimidating as packing can be, one of the best ways to get through it quickly is making lists. You’ll want to go through your house and grab the necessities from clothing, household items, electronics, and of course your work items. Lists make it easy to keep track of everything you absolutely need, so you’re not bogged down with storage boxes full of extra things you’ll never use while you’re away.
2. Crushing First Day Nerves
The first day of any job is stressful and travel nursing is no different, but you’ll make it through. Once you’re settled in your new, temporary home, sit down and take some time to breathe and prepare for your first day. Don’t be afraid to show up and ask questions; people will be expecting them. Also, make sure you know where you’re going and how to get there before you leave. You’ll be a lot more relaxed if you map out your route beforehand. And be confident! They chose you for the job for a reason, so be confident in your skills.
3. Make the Most of Your Free Time
Yes, while on a travel nursing assignment you are working, but you are also in a new area. The word travel is in your title, so travel around during your stay. It will help you relax into your surroundings and feel comfortable walking down the street to the supermarket. It may be a while before you return, so get to know your new “hometown,” and take a few tours. Not only will it help you learn your way around a lot faster, it will open you up to a new town’s history and amenities.
4. Combat Hidden Costs
Planning for a long vacation can be tough with all the hidden fees and costs to even get there. The world of travel nursing is similar. While most of the time you are reimbursed for the money you spend getting to your new location, sometimes it takes a while to see that money come through. Dodging the hidden costs requires a lot of planning and mapping out the next several weeks well in advance. This can include learning to cook more meals instead of dining out, finding a short-term roommate, or skimping on how often you go out to the movies. It may not seem like it at first, but saving more means you can experience more while you’re away.
5. Connect with Other Travel Nurses
Having other nurses to reach out to can make travel nursing a lot easier. Finding a great blog or joining a local Facebook page can be very beneficial in connecting with other travel nurses who are experiencing the same feelings you are. Many of these sites are a great way to share your pictures, thoughts, and feelings you’re having about your job, and make new friends.
6. Take Lots of Pictures
Like before, making your free time feel like a mini staycation can be very beneficial in helping you feel relaxed while traveling. Travel nursing can take you to some amazing places, so bring your phone or digital camera (if you have enough space in your suitcase), and take as many pictures as you can. When you finally get back home, you’ll have tons of conversation starters and memories to share with your family.