If you’re preparing to start your travel nursing assignment search, or just wondering what you need to consider when deciding whether travel nursing is right for you, we’ve compiled three mistakes that travel nurses should avoid.
MISTAKE #1: THINKING YOU’LL MAKE MORE MONEY NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO
Travel nursing can be an extremely lucrative profession – if you’re smart about where you travel. Don’t expect to make more than a staff nurse, or take home more money through stipends, if you take a travel nurse assignment in Hawaii or Miami during the winter months. These assignments are extremely competitive, and they will often pay less than other assignments since hiring managers for these positions know many travelers would jump on the opportunity to work in these locations.
However, this also means that going to locations that aren’t as glamorous might net you more take-home pay at the end of the assignment. Check out the article here to learn more about choosing the right location for your next travel nursing adventure.
MISTAKE #2: GOING TO THE FIRST LOCATION YOUR RECRUITER SUGGESTS
Your travel nurse recruiter should be your trusty sidekick on your travel nursing journey – they don’t want to tell you what to do. If you’re struggling to articulate what kind of travel nursing assignment you’re looking for, your recruiter will throw out ideas to you, but they don’t want to pressure you to take an assignment you don’t want.
Although it’s true that agencies have lucrative contracts with different facilities across the country, your recruiter wants to give you the best possible experience rather than make the most money off you. What would the travel nursing agency rather have: a nurse who hates the assignment their recruiter pressured them to take and never takes another assignment with the agency, or a nurse who is happily placed on three or four contracts with the same recruiter where both of them have agreed upon what’s most important to the nurse? At Health Carousel Travel Nursing, we believe the relationship between recruiter and nurse is the most important part of travel nursing, and we want to give nurses like you the best experiences possible.
As a nurse, you should make your desires known in terms of the travel nursing search. Let your recruiter know what you’re looking for, so they can find assignments that match what you want, rather than guessing. Your recruiter wants to make you happy – so don’t take an assignment that you’re not head over heels for. It will benefit both of you in the long run.
MISTAKE #3: CHOOSING A LOCATION YOU’RE NOT LICENSED IN
Nurse Licensing for states across the U.S. can range from a few days to a few months. If you’re trying to become a travel nurse in a state that has a lengthy nursing licensure process, you’ll want to acquire this licensure before inquiring about a travel nurse assignment in this state. Recruiters need to get people hired within days or weeks, and if you’re not available for an assignment until you’ve received your license in 2 months, you won’t be considered for travel nurse assignments in that time. Take the time to plan where you’d like to go and get your nursing license in those states, then pick up the phone to talk to recruiters about an assignment. You’ll be a great candidate applying for a position with a license already in hand!
MISTAKE #4 NOT RESEARCHING HOUSING MORE INTENTLY
Another common mistake is not researching the available housing in the area before accepting your assignment. Research housing, such as hotels, extended stay hotels, AirBnBs, or corporate housing, so you can compare pricing. If you know any fellow nurses in the area, ask them where they would recommend staying. If you sign with Health Carousel, our Travel & Housing department offers services to help you find a housing option that’s right for you and your needs.
MISTAKE #5 NOT ASKING ENOUGH QUESTIONS WITH YOUR RECRUITER
When you finally decide to go with a particular agency, make sure your recruiter understands your needs and wants of your dream job. Before accepting any assignment, ask questions about your compensation package, required state nursing license, and assignment dates. You’ll also want to ask about the nurse manager’s contact information, travel nurse orientation dates, your schedule, shift hours, holidays, etc. Remember, there is no such thing as asking your recruiter too many questions! They are there to help guide you.
MISTAKE #6 MAKING TOO MANY ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT A LOCATION
One of the most common mistakes travel nurses make is not researching the location before accepting their travel assignments. Don’t assume that every travel assignment is located in a fun and glamorous place because it’s new. Remember, depending on your assignment, you will be there for 13 weeks. Research the unique and wonderful things the area offers and make sure they align with your interests.
When planning excursions, search areas within a two to four-hour drive surrounding your location as well. You can never have too much fun, but you will want to choose and prioritize your off-time activities wisely. Ask fellow travel nurses if they have traveled to the area because they might have some great activity or local fare recommendations.