Letter to Hospitals Using Travelers: Advice from Travel Nurses

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By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

December 7, 2017



Letter to Hospitals Using Travelers

We recently asked our group of Travelers the following Question: “If you could give a hospital one piece of advice on working with travelers what would it be?”  

The responses were overwhelming! We come to your facility to help you in a time of (sometimes) dire need of staff. We have left our families, friends, and all support behind. We truly want to do our best to provide excellent patient care, but we could use your help. Let us help you help us by following these few simple suggestions.      

Provide A Cheat Sheet:

A small booklet or folder with just the most pertinent information we are going to need to do our jobs. This should include:

  • List of Physicians with Privileges –  Organized by group/practice/specialty including extensions/answering service phone numbers and any ‘other’ names that the Physician goes by. 
  • Frequently Needed Numbers –  Including a list of floors/units/dept (lab, blood bank, security, pharmacy, etc). The unit director/manager and numbers for co-workers in case we need to try and switch a shift, etc.
  • Step-by-step instructions and necessary documentation for admits/discharges (by unit) and charting requirements by department (i.e., ICU charts this, this, and this q 2 hours; tele charts this, this, and this, q4 hours; med/surg, etc.).
  • Access codes for all med/supply rooms, mobile computer storage drawer codes, on ALL units so we can get around.
  • Access to the facility’s online policy and procedure page (If it’s not included in our orientation, we need to know where/how to find this information).  

Give us Fair Assignments:

Don’t always give us the worst patients or the patient that no one else wants. We don’t mind ‘taking our turn’ but when we are given the worst patients all the time, it wears on us physically and emotionally and we won’t be able to perform to the best of our ability. Share the load.  


We know that as ‘the traveler’ we are going to be expected to float. Please give us at minimum a week to acclimate to the facility and then feel free to float us just like you do your staff (unless we’ve been hired as a float position). Give us at least one-day orientation on any floors that we may float to prior to having us work them.  

Orientation Streamline it, geared toward the traveler.

We don’t need another lecture on HIPAA, corporate compliance, or benefits that we aren’t even eligible for. Give us the information that we need to do the job at hand. Consider documentation, policies on the administration of blood products, restraints, etc. as items that we need. Anything that might be different from the hospital to the hospital is a good item to be educated on.  

Give us a Tour

Knowing where the Lab, ER, Pharmacy, Etc. are located makes running for that unit of blood much easier. Show us around and provide a facility map for reference.  


Please remember that you have (generally) not included the travelers in your facility email. So when you keep referencing to check your email for updates and changes it doesn’t mean anything to the traveler. Remember to communicate with your travelers any important information.  

Give Access

Please make sure that we have a badge and the access we need on day one or as soon as possible. Access to computers, medications (Pyxis, Omnicell, etc). Having this set up on our arrival makes a much more effective orientation since we can focus on learning the charting, med systems, etc. instead of running around trying to gain access.

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