Where to Start Travel Nursing?
Sometimes this is the most intimidating question. Some travelers are completely open to location and willing to go wherever there is a need. Others want a specific location for a variety of reasons. There is no right or wrong place to start travel nursing.
Know your Restrictions
If you have some restrictions on where you can work as a travel nurse, or a specific timeline, you have a little planning to do. Keep in mind that for your first assignment, you might have to be a little more flexible. Being open to locations will make it easier to find your first contract.
Do you want to avoid extreme weather? That would mean no Minnesota in the wintertime. Many travel nurses will follow ‘summer’ and will not accept a wintry destination. On the flip side, others love winter sports and will choose locations that provide the maximum possibility of enjoying them. If you aren’t sure where to start travel nursing, a winter contract in a colder state will be sure to have higher rates and openings!
Now that the nursing compact is much larger, a lot of nurses have more options on where they can start travel nursing. If your home state is not compact, you will need to take that into consideration when you are planning where you will work as a travel nurse.
Another consideration might be family. If you are a non traditional travel nurse and travel with kids or have kids at home, where you can work as a travel nurse might be more limited. Once again, remember that your first compact might not be quite as close to family as you would prefer, but most of the time you can get within several hours of anywhere you need to be.
The type of hospital may also play a factor. Will you work for a rural hospital? How about a teaching facility? Is Magnet status a factor? Do you prefer a Level II Trauma hospital? Depending on your experience, it might be more or less scary to start travel nursing at a certain type of facility.
Perhaps you have an ailing family member and want to be close to a major airport if a family emergency arises. Will you be unhappy if you’re in a small town and don’t have a major shopping mall? Does small town living drive you to madness? Cities make you dizzy and disoriented? Only you know where you are comfortable.
Always try to keep an open mind! You might not check all of your boxes, but every assignment is a new experience, and somewhere you didn’t think you would love might surprise you.
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