Tips for First Travel Nursing Assignment
Travel assignments have tremendous perks. Why? You get to travel! Who doesn’t love that? However, there are some things you need to know before starting your first assignment. So, here are some travel nursing for beginners.
Research your assignment location
Researching your first travel nursing assignment will help ensure that you have a good time outside of work. We recommend looking into the following topics:
- How is the area? Researching the site will give you a sense of what to expect, including local culture and weather conditions. For example, if it’s typically cold and snowy, you’ll need to pack winter clothes and your scrubs.
- What are some local attractions? No matter where your travel nursing for beginners takes you, there will be some fun places to check out in the area. Look into tourist spots like museums or national parks and local gems like historical landmarks or city parks. If you have kids along with you on your travel nursing journey, consider bringing them to family-friendly activities
- How can I get around? The primary method of transportation varies from place to place depending on population density and infrastructure. Some cities prioritize public transport such as buses and trains for commuters; in smaller towns, people rely much more on driving their cars. Make sure the transportation method is safe and reliable.
Plan those days off
Before you arrive at your first job, you might be so excited. But don’t forget to plan for required off days.
- See the sights. Research the city or area beforehand, and think about what places are must-sees for you. You’ll want to know when they are open or closed; if there’s an admission fee, and if reservations are required (or recommended).
You may want to plan a few big trips with some downtime in between, rather than trying to see everything in one day. For example, maybe one day you go hiking at a national park and another day you visit three museums downtown.
- Visit friends and family. Everyone knows that people from other states have accents. Suppose any of your friends or family live near your travel assignment location. In that case, it is the perfect opportunity for them to come to visit you for a weekend trip.
- Relax! Don’t forget about taking time when you feel tired/burnt out from work or need some time away from the hospital setting. Preferably, taking a walk around town or reading at home in silence all day long helps.
Pack the necessities
When packing for your first travel nurse assignment, ensure you have all the essentials. For example:
- A small first aid kit is convenient because of certain medications like antibacterial wipes, sanitizer, and instant cold packs.
- For instance, if you’re prone to headaches and end up in a place without an open pharmacy when a headache strikes, being able to take some Advil would be extremely helpful.
- When you have travel nursing 8-week assignments, carry your meds. Pack prescription medications that you might need during your travel stint. If they aren’t already set up with an auto-refill program at home, contact your pharmacist at least 4-5 days before leaving so they can fill the prescriptions and give them enough time to ship them out before your departure date (if necessary).
- Pack contact lenses or glasses, and don’t forget the solution. If you use daily contacts, buy an extra box if anything happens during travel that causes delays beyond what was initially planned. Additionally, consider how long it usually takes for your eyes to adjust after changing brand names of contact solutions; if there is any chance this could overlap with the beginning of your first travel nurse assignment), pack enough liquid to help remove fungi, bacteria, and germs.
Get yourself a good travel nurse bag
Among the other travel nurse tips is a carrier. Not everyone has the same preferences, but some general rules apply to a good travel nurse bag. First off, you want a carrier. If you can’t pack light, purchase something large enough to fit everything without forcing it in or crushing delicate instruments beyond recognition. Next up is a selection of pockets and features. Have plenty of roomy pockets for pens, paper, clipboards, keys, power cords, and chargers. In terms of features for your potential travel nurse luggage, look for handles and backpack straps. Both will come in handy at different times (on-shift/off-shift) during your assignment.
Be ready to have a little anxiety about your first travel nursing assignment
It’s normal to be anxious about your first travel assignment. This whole new world of travel nursing is exciting, and the experience of changing jobs to different positions will keep you on your toes and learning new things often. Think about the feeling of accomplishing your goals; both short term and long term
Ensure you know any specific instructions for your shift, floor, or department
Your first assignment can be busy and intense, but it can also be a great experience. Here are a few ways to make your travel nurse hacks more enjoyable:
- Ensure you know any specific instructions for your shift, floor, or department. Ask someone right away if you don’t understand something, such as how to work a particular piece of equipment or where supplies are kept. It’s better to get some help on your first day than to wait until things go wrong.
- Ask questions if you’re unsure about anything, especially if it involves patient care. Take the time you need to provide care for patients and make sure you know the expectations for your shift before clocking in.
- Be prepared with items that will help keep you organized, like post-its or a small notebook and pen. Having these accessories will help prevent files from getting misplaced or lost. Similarly, they can aid in remembering daily, completed, and uncompleted assignments.
Trust in your training as a nurse
Trust in your training as a nurse. You may have questions, doubts, or make mistakes, but don’t doubt your abilities or judgment. Take a step back and remember the years of hard work and hours of studying that got you here. Nursing is a profession with lots of opportunities for growth and advancement. Once you’re done with your first assignment, there will come a time when another new nurse looks up to you for guidance.
These travel nurse hacks won’t be your way towards success, but should help you avoid some mistakes. And if you put them to work, you could make your first travel assignment a success.
At MLee Healthcare Staffing & Recruiting, we’ll help you start your new adventure. Call to Action with link to client page