If you’ve decided it’s time to make that career transition you’ve been pondering, now is the perfect time to get into travel nursing. The demand is higher than ever, not only to provide COVID-19 coverage, but also to replace burned-out nurses who have left the profession at least temporarily.

    If you’ve ever worked alongside an experienced travel nurse, you’ve probably gained some idea of what the work entails, but your first assignment can pose challenges you might not have expected outside of work. With good planning and preparation, you can make that transition with ease. Here are a few things to help bring you up to speed:

    Selecting Your Agency

    Select your travel nursing agency carefully to assure you’re signing on with the company that’s the best fit for you. Look for a company with contracts nationwide, and check out its website to see what kinds of jobs and locations are available. Also carefully review the benefits, support, and perks the agency offers. For instance, in addition to competitive or better salaries, your agency should be your friend, advocate, and “nurse to the nurse.” Look for an agency like Freedom that keeps track of required licensure and certification — and offers reimbursement for any additional certification you are required to obtain.


    For most nurses, housing is the number-one consideration after the actual work assignment. After all, your quarters will be your home away from home for a significant period of time, so you need to feel comfortable and secure on your time off. Ideally, your agency will handle all travel and housing arrangements for you and will have a selection of vetted accommodations available wherever they operate, such as fully furnished apartments (including household items and linens) with paid utilities and other amenities.

    Personal Management

    Make sure all personal details are taken care of before you leave. Make sure all your registrations, licenses, immunizations, prescriptions, and other essentials are current. Also, have mail forwarded and notify neighbors or other responsible parties where you’re going and how long you’ll be away so they can keep an eye out on your home. You might also want to have routine, recurring transactions like utility and credit card payments and paycheck deposits handled automatically so you won’t miss any important deadlines.  

    Be Flexible

    For your first few assignments, don’t be too selective. It’s a good idea to try different types of nursing jobs, settings and locales to expand your professional reach. Like every other profession, travel nursing has a learning curve, and the more experience you can gain in different areas, the more likely you are to have jobs offered to you as you progress in your career. A well-rounded generalist is always in demand, and in time you can be more selective about particular specialties.

    Plan a Recon Mission

    If possible, arrive a day or so early at your destination so you can get the lay of the land in your new location. Check out essentials near your lodging like gas stations, grocery stores, and coffee shops. Scope out the best route to the hospital, arrive early, know who to ask for when you get there, and above all…RELAX! You’re embarking on a new and rewarding part of your career and you know your worth as an experienced nurse, so focus on what you can bring to the institution and your colleagues. Be friendly, approachable, and willing to learn and share your knowledge. Your colleagues and patients will appreciate and welcome you.

    Experience the best that travel nursing has to offer.

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