First Year as a Travel Nurse: Tips for New Travel Nurses

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By Mynoucka

June 5, 2022



Reflecting on My First Year as a Travel Nurse: Tips for New Travel Nurses

I want to share with all of you a review of my first year as a travel nurse and offer some tips; This is my first full year as a travel nurse because I began traveling back in October of 2018. After several months of consideration and deliberation, I just felt like a change in my environment would be the move for me at the time. It has been a tremendous experience, but it’s come with its healthy load of challenges. 

Reflecting on My First Year as a Travel Nurse:

Remain flexible

So, whether you’re thinking about shifting your career from working as a staff nurse and transitioning to a travel nurse or you’re thinking about making a move to a different job or maybe a different location, you want to keep these things in mind. One of the biggest things I had to do was remain flexible; there have been many times I’ve gone to work and was asked to work on a different floor. Or I got into work thinking that I would have orientation on a certain day and found out that it’s getting changed around, but I didn’t allow those things to shake my life up or mess up my day. Because I understand and realize that our ability to be able to adapt can either make or break us, learning how to go with the flow and be open to change can relieve the amount of stress related to your job. Being flexible makes life a lot easier. Don’t be stuck to one plan and just realize that things are going to change, and that’s okay.

Remember your why

Another key point to keep in mind is to know your why. Why are you making the changes that you want to make? It doesn’t have to be some deep, profound reason, but you want to keep your why at the center because knowing your why will keep you grounded. And help you stay grounded when things just aren’t going the way you want. One of the biggest reasons I got into traveling was that I wanted more ownership of my time. I felt like I wasn’t getting that opportunity before. 

Like everybody else, I had a choice and the choice to do something that would allow me to take more ownership of my time. When I first got into the nursing field as a brand new nurse, I remember being told that I didn’t deserve a vacation after working so hard and graduating and feeling like I had completed a huge accomplishment. Those exact words were used. I remember feeling like after working so hard, not having full control of my time, and for me, it wasn’t whether or not the vacation was approved because I understand that as an employee, you’re not going to get every vacation approved. It wasn’t about that for me, but it was about someone else telling me what I didn’t deserve, and to me, it just didn’t sit well. From that point forward, it made me feel like I needed to view my job, and you work in a very different light.

Although the situation bothered me, I’m somewhat appreciative that it happened because it pushed me to think differently and feel like I had absolutely no control over my life. Even though, looking back, I still had control over my life at the time; I feel like I was losing control over my life. It made me think about wealth-building, it made me think about entrepreneurship, and just making sure that I’m being intentional with my choices. And the type of work that I choose to do. So, when I got into travel nursing, a part of the reason was knowing that I had the flexibility with my schedule, and that was very important to me. In a lot of ways, my time is more important than money because I can always work and make more money. I’m not some huge baller or anything like that, but as long as I have breath in my lungs and have strengthened my body, I can go to work and earn more money. But I can’t ever go back and reclaim the time that I’ve lost, so I really value my time with God’s people in my life. So, I wanted to do something that would, you know, that would offer me or afford me that opportunity to be flexible and to take time off when I needed to—just knowing your why can really really help. 

Negotiating Skills

I didn’t expect to get better at that. I surprisingly improved on my ability to negotiate. Again, being so far away from home, a dollar earned is worth a lot more than just a dollar because the longer I’m away from home, the more important it is to me to get compensated what I feel is a fair amount. With that being said, I can remember being offered an assignment and just feeling like I wasn’t being offered the proper amount, so I negotiated and I went back and forth. I wasn’t shy, and I didn’t shy away from stating what I felt was a fair amount. And walking away from that opportunity and what that negotiating experience taught me was that you can accomplish so much more when you’re not operating from a position of desperation. Because I knew that I had the experience to back me up, I knew what value I had, and I knew that my experience was working to my advantage. I knew that I can walk away from that opportunity and get something else. Just not feeling the pressure to choose just any old thing that was offered to me. I’ve been able to refine my negotiating skills and understand my value since I’ve been on the road, and that wasn’t something I expected. Because honestly, when I have been offered job positions before, whatever they’ve offered me has been the rate that I’ve accepted. I’ve never understood the art of negotiating, and the art of saying this amount does not work for me. But that has been something that I’ve been able to really hone in on, and I’m really appreciative of that. 

Traveling Solo

I can remember when that was a huge issue for me and embarking on this adventure solo has just given me some time to think and assess my past relationships and childhood traumas and just really understand the difference between being alone and loneliness. I really didn’t have to embark on this journey for me to understand all of these things, but I think just having that extra time in the extra space gave me the opportunity to sit back and really just dig deep and see what it is about being single that was bothering me. I realized it was expectations and timelines that I had placed on myself. Thinking things should happen at a certain time, and it didn’t happen at my time, and it was just very disappointing for me. Just taking this time to realize that if your timeline doesn’t work out the way that you wanted to, that is perfectly okay has really really helped me to say I want to stay sane and to just remain calm. Understanding that all things don’t happen the way that you want them to happen it’s okay. That means that something better is in store. That means maybe more things need to happen, but either way, just not taking for granted the time that I do have and just having this time to really think about that has really helped in the way I see things just moving forward. 

It’s really important to just take a good assessment of what’s going on in your life, what’s going on in your mind, what’s affecting you, what’s not affecting you, and just put things into perspective. So you can be a better version of yourself. That’s my first year as a travel nurse in review!

We hope you enjoyed this article on the first year of travel nursing and tips for new travel nurses. How did your first year as a travel nurse go? Do you have any advice for those just starting out? Comment below.

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