The bad news is that typically travel nurse companies and their client hospitals want at least two years experience in a hospital setting in your specialty first. So you are going to have to wait a bit.
But the good news is that there is plenty you can do now to prepare yourself for that travel nursing career in the future.
Future Travel Nurse Focus #1 – Choose your specialty wisely
As soon as you can settle on a specialty. You should focus on a specialty that you feel passionate about, but if you want a specialty that has travel nurse job security, ICU and ER are always in demand. This post has some good info on specialties for travel nurses.
Future Travel Nurse Focus #2 – Choose your first job wisely
If you want to be a travel nurse you need to get into a hospital setting as soon as possible. The bigger the hospital the better because it is going to be easier to get the good assignments if the hospital feels that you will be able to adjust to the size and or pace of their hospital and it is easier to go down in size and speed than up. Even then on your first assignment you may want to try going somewhere smaller just to get used to the different demands placed on a travel nurse.
Future Travel Nurse Focus #3 – Develop the traits of a good travel nurse
You can also start working on developing the traits that travel nurses need to succeed, traits like:
- Be Adaptable – Travel nurses experience new and different situations often so being open minded and flexible will be important.
- Being Confident – Travel nurses have to be able to step in and perform from the word go. This means that being poised and assertive, without being pushy or condescending, is imperative. You will need to be willing to admit where you need to continue learning and then find someone who can help you.
- Being Organized – A traveling nurse career will involve paperwork, but if you stay organized and keep everything up to date with some sort of organizer or filing system of some kind you will have less headaches.
- Being Friendly – Just the nature of the job, moving onto new assignments with new people on a regular basis, requires good interpersonal skills and an outgoing personality to not only succeed, but enjoy being a travel nurse.
- Being Eager – Being an enthusiastic learner who enjoys learning new skills and nursing principles is going to be an important trait for you in your travel nursing career.
Future Travel Nurse Focus #4 – Focus on your resume and references
Another thing you can do now is to focus on keeping your resume up to date and finding respected nurses to be your references when you apply with travel nursing companies. A good resume has complete dates and lists the duties of your job. Here are some previous posts on what makes a good resume for travel nurses.
Future Travel Nurse Focus #5 – Become the best nurse you can
You should also focus on being a great nurse now. Promotions and a great skill set will go a long way in showing that you are ready to be a travel nurse. Volunteer for good causes. Work extra shifts. Float if you can.
Future Travel Nurse Focus #6 – Start researching companies early
Finally it does not hurt to start researching traveling nurse agencies now. Even if it is just comparing them online or calling a recruiter just to find out more about their philosophy, pay and benefits.
And lastly, read this blog. 😉