20 Tips for First-Time Travel Nurses We Wish We Knew

20 Tips for First-Time Travel Nurses We Wish We Knew

February 5, 2024

Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers out there. The dedicated professionals who work in this field often feel a sense of satisfaction from helping patients. There’s also the personal satisfaction of earning a license and subsequent certifications for more advanced nursing practice.  

After a few years experience, many nurses begin looking for ways to advance their careers. Some return to school for advanced degrees as a pathway to nurse anesthetist or nurse practitioner roles. Others pursue other nursing specialties that require less schooling, but another popular option is travel nursing. These tips for new travel nurses will come in handy for those of you getting a start in your travel clinician career.

Travel nurses work short term contracts in healthcare facilities that have a shortage of nurses. It’s a way to earn more money, travel the country, and put your nursing skills to the test. If you’re considering pursuing travel nursing, here are 25 travel nursing tips to help you transition into this new phase of your career.  

1. Find a travel buddy

Traveling can be lonely, especially if you don't know anyone in the area where you’re contracted. Finding a travel buddy can help you feel more relaxed in a new environment. A romantic partner, close friend, or another travel nurse make ideal travel buddies.  

2. Befriend the charge nurse

This seems like common sense but is a valuable tip for travel nursing newbies. The charge nurse on a unit you’re working in can be a great ally. They can get you up to speed on the software, workplace norms, and other helpful information to help you be successful in your temporary role.  

3. Create a packing list

It’s easy to forget to pack something when you’re traveling frequently. Create a list to help ease some of your stress while packing. Add to the list over time, and you’ll be less likely to forget things in the future.  

4. Avoid discussing your salary at your worksite

Travel nurses often make a lot more money than staff nurses. Avoid discussing your salary with nurses at your temporary worksite so you don’t create tension.  

5. Make a plan for your pets

Some travel nurses take their pets with them when they travel for work, while others leave them in a kennel or with friends and family. Whatever you decide, plan for it in advance so you’re not scrambling to figure out how to care for your pet while you’re on assignment.  

6. Focus on patient care

Workplace politics are everywhere you go and it’s easy to get wrapped up in it. Luckily, travel nurses are in temporary positions in which they don’t need to engage in that part of the job very much. Focus on patient care while you travel to help avoid dramait.  

7. Learn the dress code ahead of time

Some healthcare facilities have a very specific dress code that helps identify staff members by the color they’re wearing. You don’t want to show up wearing the wrong uniform, so ask what the dress code is in advance so you can pack appropriate scrubs.  

8. Earn miles if you’re flying to your assignment

Travel nurses often purchase their travel arrangements, temporary housing and other necessities ahead of time and get reimbursed later on. Take advantage of this by using a credit card when possible that helps you earn miles.  

9. Save money to pay your taxes

Some travel nurses are independent contractors instead of full fledged employees. This means they get paid in full and have to pay taxes themselves. If this applies to you, be sure to save enough money to cover your tax bill when it’s time to pay up.  

10. Make the most of your travel experiences

There are plenty of new experiences you can participate in while you travel for work. Take advantage of them when you’re not working to make memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.  

11. Try something new

Whether you try a new restaurant, activity, or learn something, prioritize doing something new that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to do at home.  

12. Post about your experiences on social media (without violating HIPAA)

So many travel nurses have taken advantage of the exposure social media gives them. Posting about your experiences without violating HIPAA or company policies can help you connect with other travel nurses and pursue other streams of income.  

13. Find a mentor

Don’t underestimate the value of a mentor in this business. The right mentor can help you find great travel opportunities, earn certifications, and help you climb the career ladder.  

14. Take advantage of nursing discounts

There are so many discounts for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Take advantage of them to get discounts on food, clothing, shoes, and more!

15. Network with other healthcare professionals

You never know who’s looking to fill travel nursing or other senior nursing positions. Network with other healthcare professionals, and you may find yourself under consideration for your next dream job.  

16. Invest in reliable transportation

Many travel nurses drive to assignments that don’t require flying across the country. Investing in reliable transportation can help you make sure you make it to your worksite each and every time.  

17. Buy comfortable shoes

Staying on your feet for several hours is par for the course for nurses. Pick out shoes that are supportive and reduce strain on your feet while you work.  

18. Let your family travel with you

If you have children, you might consider leaving them with a family member or close friend while you work a temporary assignment. Consider letting your children travel with you if you’re able to provide minimal disruption to their schooling. They’ll learn so much from traveling to new places and meeting new people.  

19. Get travel nurse tips from your recruiter

Your recruiter is one of the first people to learn about new assignments. Developing a good relationship with them can help you get a heads up about these opportunities and apply early on. They can help you plan and execute your travel career from day 1 on. Make the most of this important relationship.

20. Ask for help when you need it

Every healthcare facility is a little different. There are different electronic medical record systems, policies, and other differences. If you find that you’re unsure about something at your travel nursing assignment, make sure you ask the charge nurse or another experienced staff member.  

There’s no better place to be a Travel Nurse than Advantis Medical

Travel nurses with Advantis Medical have a great support system among each other and the recruitment staff. It helps ensure their success at healthcare facilities all across the country. We’re ready to set you up for success in a rewarding travel clinician career.

If you’re interested in embarking on your travel journey with Advantis Medical, we are eager to match you with your next dream job. You can experience firsthand the exceptional culture that clinicians all over the country are raving about! Browse exclusive, high-paying travel job openings from the #1 rated travel nurse agency today. You can choose to work with one of our dedicated Pro Recruiters to receive white-glove service or express your interest in specific jobs directly on our individual job pages. Start your next adventure today by searching for exclusive travel nursing jobs with Advantis Medical Staffing!

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