Hi everyone! I recently finished my first travel assignment in NYC and I know I been getting a lot of questions on how to get started so here’s my advice. I would recommend talking to more travelers to hear different perspectives and experiences and even a travel recruiter if you wanted to know more about the process.
- Get at least one year experience in your specialty (most hospitals want 2 years but I got accepted with one year).
- Get your ACLS, BLS, PALS (if you’re pediatrics) & NIHSS certifications and make sure they’re updated. Most hospitals only want BLS but anything critical care would require ACLS and having an extra certification makes you stand out if you have minimum experience.
- Update your resume and be detailed with your skills & detailed
- Start to ask your managers and supervisors if you can list them as your reference and have their email & phone number.
- Have copies of all your immunizations ready
- Hep B series
- Have copies of any lab work and tests ready Like PPD, Quantiferon Gold (TB), physical, N95 fit test (within past year) ready
- Have a 2×2 passport photo ready or take a picture with a white background. Some agencies ask you to send them this to use as a profile pic or your id badge
- Have copies/photos of your nursing license ready and know your license number
- Have copies/photos of your driver license, passport, and ssn card ready to send for compliance with the agency
- Research nursing agencies. There are so many out there but be prepared with certain questions to ask them so you can compare agencies (see below). You can always ask me and I refer you to my recruiters.
- Join travel fb groups. You can def ask me and I’ll invite you. There’s fb groups for support and advice, job postings and even housing specifically.
- Be prepared to fill out skills checklist and fill them out carefully and honestly. If you never done anything, say it. Don’t risk your license because you are lying on your actual skills. Take your time on them because managers carefully look at your skills to see if it matches what they are looking for.
Questions to ask:
- Would you be required to float? Some hospitals do float you and obviously, travelers float first. Honestly, floating is not bad because it gives you experience that would look good for your next travel assignment.
- Are there reimbursement for travel: flights, car rentals, mileage, parking, etc.
- If you get covid, would the agency pay for you to quarantine for 14 weeks?
- Health insurance and benefits
- Once you get your contract:
- What is the hourly pay, overtime pay
- If you pick up overtime, is there a bonus?
- What is the holiday pay?
- What’s the policy if your shift gets cancelled
- What color scrubs does this hospital require? Will they give you scrubs reimbursement?
- What’s the patient to nurse ratio?
- What is the weekend requirements?
- If you’re a first time traveler like me, you can’t really be picky with your assignment and location. You can settle on the first assignment to get adjusted to the world of travel nursing and get that travel experience.
- During your travel assignment, make sure to reach out and network with management so you can use them as reference for your next travel assignment if you want to use a different agency.
- If you know for sure you want to be a travel nurse in a certain state, you can start the application process to apply for endorsement. Most agencies do help you apply for it but if you wanna be proactive and have that state license already, it will def make the job application process much easier.
- Cancellations do happen and it’s part of the travel nurse world! I got cancelled on my first assignment in NYC and it took me 3 weeks to find a new assignment.
- The travel nurse process can happen SO quick. You can see a job posting and it’s gone within the hour. You can be submitted to a job and then be accepted the same day. New jobs get posted daily and the start date is usually ASAP, so if you can’t start right away, keep checking back.
- Take advantage of free resources like during COVID, there were free housing and car rentals for nurses.
- Housing: You get a weekly stipend but that starts when you start working so you have to find housing first. Try asking your agency for help. I used Airbnb for short term monthly rentals and you can always use “Gypsy Housing” fb group and Furnished finders.
- Orientation is usually real quick 1-2 days, one day classroom and one day on the floor so be ready to quickly move.
- Always ask questions and remember if you don’t know something, ASK!
I hope that helped a little bit. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me and reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to chat and talk about this more. I know it seems a lot with the process but think of it like applying for any other jobs.