Orientation: Travel Nurse Orientation Questions Asked

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By The Gypsy Nurse

February 28, 2018



Ask A Travel Nurse: Travel Nurse Orientation

Travel Nurse Orientation:


I am a new travel nurse; I’ll be starting my first contract soon.  I’m nervous and excited, but most of all, I am curious to know what to expect during Travel Nurse Orientation?  Will It be like a normal hospital orientation?

New Traveler

Thank you for reading The Gypsy Nurse. You have taken the first step on your journey to becoming A Gypsy Nurse.

Travel nurse orientation is very unpredictable.  Do not expect it to be anything close to ‘normal’ hospital orientation.  As travel nurses, we are expected to jump in immediately and assist during periods of the high census of low staffing.  Because of this, orientation is not a priority.

Personally, I have experienced anything from a full-blown hospital orientation lasting 3 days to walking onto the floor my first day and give my patient load and told where to go to receive the report.  Each hospital is different.  Some things that you ‘may’ expect:

  • Computer Training – this can consist of nothing more than obtaining your passwords/IDs, a self-taught course, or days of classroom training.
  • Policies and Procedures – this could be as simple as finding the resources for full days of classroom general hospital orientation.  I’ve also experienced times where I received nothing and had to seek out these resources on my own while working on the floor.
  • Skills Testing – Many hospitals will require some sort of testing on arrival.  This may include dosage calculations, unit-specific testing, hands-on skills check-offs.  This varies greatly.
  • Floor orientation – Again, you may or may not receive floor orientation.  Most hospitals that I have worked in have given at least one day of floor orientation to work with a staff nurse and share a load for a shift or two.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to orientation is no matter how extensive, or non-existent the orientation is, make sure that you are willing to ask questions when needed.  I insist on a few items on arrival before accepting patients.  These items are needed to ensure the safety of my patients, and I refuse to accept a patient load until I am informed of the following:
  • Crash Cart
  • Emergency policies/procedures, codes, and numbers
  • Procedure for calling a code
  • How to reach MD
  • Tour of unit: med room, supplies, emergency exits, oxygen, equipment, etc.
It’s important to remember that you already ‘know’ how to be a nurse…this doesn’t change with location.  Learning the charting and the details will come with time.  Expect that your first week or two will be hectic and confused.  This is normal.  With a little time and patience on your part, things will settle in quickly.

I love hearing the opinions of my readers.  Your opinion could be the perfect solution for someone.  Please share your thoughts below in the comments.  Do you have a question for me?  Fill out the Ask A Travel Nurse form and submit your questions.  In addition, if you like what you’ve read here, don’t forget to SHARE.

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