Travel nursing is a great and exciting way to develop your nursing career and gain experience. It might also just be the change that you need if you have been experiencing burnout. However, we have all heard horror stories about inadequate housing, confusing paperwork, overly stressful work environments, and much more. Here are some helpful tips to know before you start the process to ensure that you have a good experience. Knowing these things might also help you to decide whether or not travel nursing would be right for you. This is your travel nurse assignment checklist.
1. You Will Likely Need Some Experience
Sadly, it is difficult to jump into travel nursing right after nursing school, and travel nurse positions will likely require that you have at least some experience. This experience may involve specific training or have broad requirements depending on the assignment. If you are brand new to the field and are looking to gain experience that will be good for travel nursing, ICU and ER experience are among some of the best options. Travel nurse agencies will help you with finding the right assignment for you if you get overwhelmed or confused though.
2. Do Your Research
After having experience, doing relevant research is the first item on your travel nurse assignment checklist. If you have been looking into travel nursing for a while then you probably already know that there are plenty of both good and bad travel nurse agencies. As a result, it is important that you do thorough research before you sign on with one. You can do your research by looking for reviews on the internet or asking other travel nurses about their experiences with the company. Luckily, we live in an era that is full of social media groups. This is an excellent resource for you to get the full scoop on a travel nursing agency that you are interested in.
3. Get EVERYTHING In Writing
Nothing is ever set in stone until you get it in writing. Therefore, it is crucial that you make sure that verbal agreements make it onto your contract and don’t get forgotten about. It is unfortunately not unheard of for certain travel nurse companies to make false promises in order to get you to sign a contract. Therefore, you should make sure that the important perks of your assignment are actually possible. Some agencies might be more notorious for this than others, so this could be a good thing to keep in mind when doing your research on travel nursing companies.
4. Go Through Your Contract Thoroughly
You may be already looking closely at your contract to make sure that your previous agreements are present, but you should be extra careful to go through and look at the whole thing closely. This is important for a couple of reasons. Possibly the most obvious thing is that you definitely don’t want to have unknown or surprise work requirements and policies that you discover last minute. This adds a lot of unnecessary stress and potential problems. Another thing to keep in mind when going through your contract is to make sure that everything to do with compensations and stipends are correct and accounted for. This should be done before you start getting ready to go for your assignment.
5. Find Your Own Housing If You Can
You may already know some of the horror stories circling the internet about problems with housing assigned to travel nurses by their travel nurse agencies. A way to avoid this is to find housing yourself and just ask for the housing stipend to cover it. This will help you make sure that your temporary housing is safe and comfortable, and you might even have the chance to save some money this way as well as an added bonus.
6. Hire Someone To Help You With Taxes If You Need Help
A common misconception is that your salary as a travel nurse is much higher than the average RN’s salary. It may come as a surprise that this isn’t the case, and all of the extra money you earn comes in the form of stipends and tax returns. Taxes can feel overwhelming even without complex additions like travel nursing compensation, so it may be beneficial for you to hire someone who specializes in filing taxes for travel nurses. This will ensure that you get all of the money that you earned, and it will save you a lot of hassle.
7. Talk To Seasoned Travel Nurses
Although all of the above tips are very important to remember and are sure to help you along your travel nursing path, there may have been some things that have been forgotten or overlooked when making our list. For this reason, it is important that you include some other sources while doing your research. There is possibly no better source than nurses who have done travel nursing in the past. As mentioned before, there are numerous groups over social media that can get you connected to these nurses, and it is a great space for you to ask questions, get advice, and hear travel nurse stories before getting started yourself. Even if you have already talked to a travel nurse, it is a good idea to do this at least one more time as an end to your travel nurse assignment checklist.
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