We have all heard the phrase, "the early bird catches the worm." This phrase is true for prepared travel nurses. An impressive portfolio can be the 'wow' factor that catches a recruiter's time and attention. Though burdensome, compliance documentation is essential for all travel nursing assignments, and a complete portfolio with all the required documentation prepared ahead of time sets travel nurses up for success when they are ready to sign a competitive travel contract.
Standing out in the crowd is not the only perk to having an accessible portfolio with easily accessed documentation. An organized and accessible portfolio produced at the speed of lightning will keep your stress level down by smoothing out the onboarding process. In addition, the ability to create legible, transparent, concise, and timely documents can make the difference between landing a timely assignment from the top of your list or getting your assignment canceled.
Certain documents are necessary to produce for every assignment, and having quick smooth access to these documents can make or break the experience. Travel nursing assignments can be pretty stressful if you are not prepared. However, experienced nurses and recruiters recommend having your documents accessible electronically and as hard copies.
An electronic portfolio will keep you ready at a moment's notice with minimal stress and anxiety as you produce the needed documentation for your travel nursing assignment. Some options include scanning documents to a file management system such as Google Docs, Google drive, or iCloud storage. Other options include digital portfolios or personal websites. Some nurses prefer to keep it simple and use a stick drive with labeled folders, and many travel nursing companies even offer educational opportunities to familiarize you with the process. The main objective is to have your documents accessible promptly. Experienced travel nurses have shared their tips and tricks for getting and staying on top of the paper trail.
Organize Your Files Into 4 Main Categories
1. Personal Identification
- Driver's license
- State issued ID
- Social security card
2. Active licenses
- An eNLC license
- Walkthrough license
- State-specific license
- Academic credentials/transcripts
- Current work history
- Liability insurance
- Emergency contacts
- Current certifications
- Contact Hours record
- Skills Inventory
- Nursing Specialty Certifications - ACLS, BLS, CEN, NRP, EFM, Tele, etc...
3. Communication & information trail
- Pay schedule
Travel agency computer access
- Sign-on ID
- How to access important information
4. Health & Vaccinations
- TB proof
Many nurses keep physical copies of all of their documents and electronic copies. Up-to-date information at your fingertips can mean the difference between a smooth, quick assignment or a long-drawn-out and messy process. Keep all digital information safe and password protected. Remember, the first qualified candidate is most likely the one to get the assignment because the speed, clarity, and completeness of an application is the one that gets the attention.
Dr. Leary-Schmitt has over thirty years of nursing experience and travel nursing now focusing on giving voice to nurses to promote, cultivate, and sustain healthier work environments and improve the quality of life for nurses and their patients.