Kay Slane, RN, BS, CGM has been a nurse for over 26 years and a traveler for 15 years. She is the author of the No. 1 travel nursing book on Amazon, Highway Hypodermics: Travel Nursing 2019. Check out her website, which provides the roadmap for today’s traveling nurse: highwayhypodermics.com.
For many travel nurses, finding new housing every 13 weeks is a challenging task. Fortunately for some, that tension and anxiety can be relieved by traveling in a recreational vehicle, or RV.
Although this is a great idea, it doesn’t come without complications. People are often hesitant to get into the RV life because they:
- Are nervous about driving or pulling a vehicle longer than their car;
- Are scared about driving and/or parking such a large vehicle in reverse;
- Worry about everything it takes to set up an RV;
- Or fear that they won’t be able to find an RV park close to the hospital.
As an experienced traveler who uses an RV, I can provide a few tips for getting started in an RV without a myocardial infarction:
1. Go to as many RV shows as you can.
Look at every RV that you think you would be even remotely interested in. After a while, you will get a sense of what you want and need in an RV.
2. Rent an RV for the weekend and go camping.
To truly get a sense of what it is like to be confined to a 20-foot home, go camping for the weekend or even a full week. Some people can’t handle this!
3. Buy a smaller, used RV to start with.
I would look for somewhere close to a 20-foot-long camper. This will allow you to test drive the lifestyle without breaking the bank. You will find out what you like and what you don’t like before investing in a new RV.
4. Get leveling bars and sway control.
If you are buying a travel trailer, make sure that you get the leveling bars and sway control. These items increase stability when pulling, especially on the highway.
5. Make sure that your tow vehicle can handle the weight of the RV.
To be safe, we usually tow at a 75-percent rate. So, if your truck can pull 10,000 pounds, then you need a trailer that weighs no more than 7,500 pounds. You also must remember that all your stuff will add to the total weight.
6. Consider your personal vehicle needs.
If you get a motorhome, make sure that your everyday car, or “toad,” can be pulled behind. Some car models can be towed with all four wheels down, some with two wheels down, while others will require you to purchase an additional trailer.
7. Check your brakes.
Make sure that your brakes and tires are good on both truck and trailer. You will need a separate brake system. If you purchase from a dealer, this will be done for you, but if not, you will need to do some additional research.
8. Allow plenty of time to get from place to place.
I drive no more than 65 miles per hour on the freeway. Also, make sure that you start looking for a gas station when you have half a tank of gas remaining.
9. Relax about set-up and take-down.
RV people are some of the nicest people on earth! I have never been to a park that someone was not available to help.
10. Take the leap!
Just like the leap into travel healthcare was scary, taking off in an RV can be scary. You will honestly never know if this is for you unless you try.
Traveling healthcare is a big step to take, but it is also a very rewarding career. By making that first step off of the porch and into your travel trailer, fifth wheel, or motorhome, you will be able to explore the United States and find out more about this great country that we live in. You can feel the freedom of a great career that is taking you places in the comfort of your second home.
Health Carousel Travel Nursing is a great place to get your foot in the door. They have very knowledgeable recruiters who will help you through the first assignment all the way to your 30th assignment. The best part about this deal is that you can talk to a recruiter free of charge to find out more about their great opportunities. They even have recruiters that can help you find your next RV park.
The entire HCTN team would like to thank Kay Slane for her insightful look into RV life as a travel nurse. Highway Hypodermics is a valuable source for both new and experienced travelers.