3 Tips of Travel Nursing Advice for Success and Happiness

January 2, 2023
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Although some nurses start their careers with travel nursing as a goal, few plan to do it their entire lives. The desire to live close to family and "settle down” has the typical nurse staying put. This was not the case for Jessica Fox, who has worked as a travel nurse for more than 10 years. She once enjoyed the consistency and predictability of a permanent job but says her "gypsy soul" ultimately could not be tamed. "I just kept seeing advertisements for travel nursing and knew it was my time to explore this option," she says.

Her love for autonomy and adventure made her a great candidate for this nursing role. She admits that over the past decade, there have been times she questioned her decision to stay on this path, but eventually discovered helpful habits to make it work. Here, Jessica shares her travel nursing tips for being a successful and happy long-term travel nurse.


Born in Hayden, Colorado, in the mid-1970s, Jessica Fox always loved caring for people. When she decided to make a career out of helping other people, travel nursing was the furthest option from her mind. She enjoyed the security and certainty that her work brought. After becoming a single mom, she needed a bigger paycheck to make ends meet, and that's when she pursued travel nursing. "At first, I traveled locally, so I could safely test the waters and determine if this was going to be something I liked. I didn't want to uproot my son and leave my friends and family for a new job I hated", she recalled. After completing several travel nursing assignments close to home, she decided to branch out and travel to bigger cities further away.

Feeling assured that travel nursing was her newfound calling, Jessica took the leap and accepted her first assignment in another state. "The ability to choose assignments close to home at the beginning of my travel nursing career really helped me gain the experience and knowledge I needed to feel comfortable moving from home. It was also easier for my friends and family to say goodbye, seeing how happy I was. If you’re unsure of this role, I encourage starting off small, then committing to larger assignments later – it was a game-changer for me," she explains. Nearly 11 years later, Jessica occasionally takes travel nurse assignments near home. "At least once a year, I will work closer to home. It fills my cup just enough to keep going."  


Investing in technology is an important tool for success as a long-term travel nurse. Jessica highly encourages nurses to have updated smartphones and laptops. She states, "Having good technology is non-negotiable. You absolutely cannot be a long-term travel nurse with outdated equipment, period!" Video chatting with loved ones is crucial to stay connected to your family and friends. Without those connections, you can feel isolated and alone. "I have PJ parties and movie nights with my son each weekend I'm away from home, and it's so much fun," Jessica shares with a wide smile.

Jessica explains that “being able to effortlessly read and sign your travel nursing contract, provide documents via email, and communicate effectively with your travel nurse recruiter makes travel life much easier.” Since many hospitals require communication software to be downloaded to your personal device for HIPAA compliance and encrypted communication, having updated equipment is key. There are also a variety of apps for medical reference, which is useful when you are traveling from place to place. "I never considered myself to be tech-savvy, but after 10 years of being a travel nurse, I could probably float to the IT department," Jessica laughs.


Traveling nurses, by nature, have an adventurous spirit. However, Jessica shares that sometimes “we can get into a work ‘rut’ if not careful.” She advises that it’s crucial to make time for fun activities. "I once agreed to go on a fly-fishing trip even though I knew nothing about tying flies, but it was a great time! Some of the best moments in my life have happened by stepping outside my comfort zone and doing something new," Jessica says. Taking advantage of everything your destination offers is one of the best parts of being a travel nurse. Your recruiter at HCTN will help you with the technicalities of your travel nursing assignment and act as your virtual tour guide, giving you first-hand knowledge of your city's must-see attractions and activities.

As you get to know your co-workers, you will receive invitations for dinner parties, book clubs, and family gatherings. Jessica highly recommends you accept all the offers! "It's not just about doing all the fun things, but about the relationships you develop while doing them. I formed many friendships as a long-term travel nurse and have remained in contact with most of them. I have been part of unique holiday traditions, attended interesting churches, and eaten food I didn't know existed. It has been an amazing experience!"

Let Us Help Your Travel Nurse Adventure

Are you excited to start your journey as a travel nurse and speak to a travel nursing agency? Let us help you on your next travel adventure. Speak to one of our travel nurse recruiters today to get you started.


Next, let’s review some frequently asked questions of travel nurses.

What should I know before traveling nursing?

Before you become a travel nurse, make sure to do your research. Research where you want to do your first travel nursing assignment, hourly pay, and decide if you want your own housing or use the corporate housing provided. Also, if you decide to accept a travel nursing job outside your home state, make sure you have that state’s nursing license or a compact nursing license. Before signing any or even your first travel nursing contract, ensure you understand all of the terms. Ask your recruiter if you aren’t sure about something, like stipend amounts, pay, or benefits.

How can I be a better travel nurse?

Travel nursing agencies and healthcare facilities often choose flexible travel nurses with a solid background in nursing. Often, a travel nursing agency likes to see at least two years of experience in your specialty. Another way to be a better travel nurse is to precept nursing students. This can be before starting a travel nurse role, so you have this experience on your resume. It shows you are willing to help others and most likely have mastered your nursing area of expertise.

What should a travel nurse not do?

Most travel nursing agencies have you complete paperwork shortly after signing your travel assignment contract. One of the most important things is to submit this required paperwork as soon as possible, or there may be a delay in starting your assignment. You want to start your travel nurse job quickly, so have your nursing license and medical records portfolio in order.

Do travel nurses get treated badly?

Travel nurses do not get mistreated. For most travel nurse assignments, travel nurses receive fair patient care loads. However, this depends on the healthcare facility, so be prepared for anything. Do your own research before signing any travel nurse contract. There are plenty of travel nursing sites, blogs, and groups where you can chat with fellow travel nurses about their experiences with hospitals.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand

Get Started Now


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand

Find the Travel Job that’s Right for You

Interested in how the pay stacks up in other states not on this list? Our trusty Super Nurse sidekicks are standing by to answer any questions you have. Click below to get information on opportunities in other states!

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