Things I've Learned in my 3+ Years of Travel Nursing

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By Melissa Rissler

March 14, 2021

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Things I’ve Learned in my 3+ Years of Travel Nursing

One of our readers shares things learned about travel nursing from her 3+ years of experience.

things learned about travel nursing
Photo by Tabea Damm on Unsplash

Along the way, travel nurses pick up tips and tricks that make being a travel nurse easier or more efficient. Below you will find a fellow travel nurse’s tips learned along the way.

The Contract

  • Get your nursing license in hand before accepting a contract!
  • Please take pictures of all testing/ vaccination papers so you have them with you. Especially current flu shot if you don’t want to be forced to wear a mask!
  • Contracts are between you and the agency, NOT THE HOSPITAL! The agency has a separate contract with the hospital. 
  • Verify how payroll is handled before orientation. Do you clock in? Do you fill it out on paper and fax It? Does the hospital send in your time?
  • Make sure you have guaranteed hours in your contract.
  • Ask if orientation week is included before your start date!! You don’t get a full 36 during orientation for some assignments, but you still want your stipend and hours!!!
  • Don’t take less than $20/hour!!!!!
  • Don’t take less than $1500. TAKE HOME a week. Anything less is not worth your time.
  • Have enough emergency money set aside just in case of cancellation. 
  • Additional travel nurse contract tips.

During the interview

Discuss requested time off during your interview, not after!!!

Ask about orientation testing DURING YOUR INTERVIEW!!!! Most recruiters won’t know if you have to take a pass/fail EKG test, but the unit manager you interview with should.

Housing

Do not sign a lease or pay a large down payment on your housing until A.) You have seen the property. B.) you have made it through the 1st week of orientation. Extended stay hotels are a good option. There are horror stories everywhere of people who have paid money for housing and found they were canceled early or had to pass tests that they couldn’t pass and were not allowed to work.

If possible, get an RV of some sort… nothing better than coming home to your own bed!!! Usually


During the Assignment

Have fun and explore! Go on an adventure! Try new foods! My kids and I check out places that featured Diners, Drive-ins, and dives in just about every city we have traveled to. There is a pit BBQ place in Baltimore in the parking lot of a strip joint across the street from an adult bookstore in a very sketchy area, BUT THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!!!! 

Be flexible… very, very, very flexible!!

Try not to do the “well at my staff job we did…” or ” at such and such hospital we did….” you don’t work there anymore, and it makes you look bad to the permanent staff. Unless patient safety is at risk, then, by all means, correct the issue!!!

We hope you found these tips about travel nursing helpful!

Happy Travels!!

If you are a new traveler or looking into becoming a Travel Nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step by Step

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