Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
I am interested in travel nursing, but I’m a little worried about the stress that goes along with it and was wondering what I should do to get started. I am interested in working a few states away and am concerned about the housing part of it all. I think it may be easier for me to have the agency find the housing for me to help me not feel overwhelmed. What do you suggest?
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
The first thing I would suggest is to make sure that you are well read on the subject of travel nursing. I always like to make sure that people realize all the things that travel nursing entails.
To read up on travel nursing, you have obviously found a great site here, through which you submitted your question. But you can also hit the travel nursing forums at ultimatenurse.com, allnurses and.com, and the Delphi forum for traveling professionals (go to delphiforums.com, look for the box on the right that says “Explore existing forums”, type in “travel nursing” and the top result is a group called Travel Nurses and Therapists with over half a million members).
Pan Travelers is also another good site with a forum. They have a free section and also a portion where there is a charge to access information. You can subscribe to Healthcare Traveler Magazine for free on their website as well as read back issues. You can also join Healthcare Travelbook (healthcaretravelbook.com), which is a sort of Facebook style place for travelers, which also has a forum.
Once you are ready to take the next step, you will need to start talking with some travel nursing companies. Again, some online research goes a long way toward a successful start. Choose a few that meet your specific needs and try to find someone who can recommend a recruiter within the companies to which you wish to apply. The reason for this is whenever you call a company “cold”, you will simply be paired wit the next available recruiter. It’s kind of “luck-of-the-draw” when you do that and you can work with the best travel company in the world, but if they pair you with a recruiter who only has a month on the job, how good an experience do you think you might have?
I do offer anyone on this site the opportunity to be paired with the recruiters I use and trust for my travels. If you would like some assistance in getting started with some great people, feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (since these are my own personal recruiters, I prefer not to post this info in a public forum).
As for the stress you will experience with travel, there is no other way around it other than to minimize it whenever you can. Confirm details, get everything promised by your recruiter in writing, and READ YOUR ENTIRE CONTRACT before signing. While you want to confirm details of the contract, you also want to pay attention to sections that speak to anything that could occur on your assignment. The most frequently asked contract question I get is, “What happens if I need to leave my assignment early?” My response is ALWAYS, what does your contract say? A contract should spell out all the “what if’s”, and if it doesn’t, you need to clarify these things with your recruiter.
In regard to housing, go with a company that will arrange your housing for you. Three or four assignments down the road you can look into taking a stipend and finding your own housing if you like. Don’t do it in the beginning. It’s too much for a first-time traveler. I have been traveling over a decade and a half and that is still one aspect of travel that I am happy to let my company handle.
When your company arranges your housing, check out the apartment complex online and the surrounding neighborhood. Also, once you have your apartment or address, call the complex and check with them to make sure they are expecting you. The key to reduced-stress travel is to anticipate any issues you might have. Often, most can be avoided with a phone call or two by simply confirming information.
I hope this helps and again, if you’d like some help with getting hooked up with some great recruiters, feel free to email me.