For the last several months the travel nurse job market has been less than predictable. Some specialties are seeing tons of crisis contracts and great rates, while other areas of nursing have seen an overall decline in the number of jobs. This uncertainty has made even seasoned travelers more heightened in their awareness of the job market, which in turn means jobs are moving fast. A lot of travelers are taking jobs with start dates two weeks or less in advance, which can make coordinating everything a lot more stressful.
Even if you are on top of your organization with all of your paperwork and credentials, to start a new assignment at the bare minimum you will have to go get a current urine drug screen, and very likely a TB test. Plus, there might be some computer work that needs to be done prior to your arrival. Between these to-do list items, packing up your possessions, and the drive time to get to your new location, you may have very little time to work out other details of your contract. Next thing you know, you are headed to your new job and frantically trying to secure housing at rest stops on the side of the highway.
Take a deep breath
The first thing to do is to take a deep breath. I promise you are not the first travel nurse to hit the road without having housing secured, and it will work out. In fact, some people prefer to look for housing once they get to an assignment because they can explore the area where they will be living and working and see where they would feel most comfortable. In the meantime, work on having a short term solution to get a roof over your head.
This is where websites like Furnished Finder can be a great tool to have on hand. Because there are listings for hotels and private homes, you can easily compare prices between your different options if you are in a hurry. In a pinch, you can even book a hotel for the first part of your stay while you look around for a better option if hotel living is not your style.
Reach out directly
It is also handy to be able to reach out to landlords directly. If you are pressed for time and worried about being homeless when you first get to your assignment, don’t be afraid to reach out to owners who have listings that look appealing to you but are not “quite” right. For example, if they are listed as booked, they might have a last minute cancellation and haven’t updated their calendar. Or perhaps they are not listed as “pet friendly” but would make an exception if you kennel your dog when you aren’t home and schedule a dog walker for long shifts. When time is not in your favor, it never hurts to explore options that might not seem viable otherwise.
Not ideal, but doable
Although setting out for a new travel nurse assignment without housing secured is not an ideal situation, it can be doable. As long as you are prepared to pay a little extra upfront while you find a more permanent housing situation and you go in with great resources and an open mind, you will be able to navigate this stressful situation and perhaps even end up with better housing options than if you had had to search for a place long distance!