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Getting the Most Out of Your Travel Nursing Career

Posted by travel | October 1, 2012 | Travel Nursing Jobs

While travel nursing is not for everyone, it is interesting how frustrated some nurses become with the profession. Either they are not getting the assignments they want, dealing with long placement times, or wondering why the agency is not providing the assistance required to secure employment. The frustration is understandable; especially considering that finding opportunities that match goals, skills, and preferences can take a while.

However, travel nurses must understand that they play a major role in their success.  An investment of time and effort is required to get the placement, wage or other perks preferred. Here are a few tips to help nurses be more proactive in their placements so they can get the best job assignments.

Preparation is Essential Nursing placement agencies need copies of the licenses and certifications acquired including nursing, allied health professional, and operating room technician licenses. To get assignments that match your skills, you must prove you have obtained the required education and experience. You must be prepared to furnish the required documents to the requesting party at any time. This means digging out certifications, degrees, resumes, and other documentation from the dusty box in the attic. Nurses who are not prepared typically get positions that are less than desirable.

Communicate Preferences Placement agencies can’t give you the assignments you want if they don’t know what your preferences are. Take time to educate them on the types of places you prefer to work. Would you rather work in a large hospital or a small clinic? Slow rural areas or busy cities? If you notify the placement staff at the beginning about what you like, they will typically make an effort to place you in assignments that match your desires.

Plan Ahead The typical travel nurse assignment lasts 13 weeks. Some assignments are shorter and some are longer. Be aware of how long the assignment is make plans for the future. You should know within the first few weeks if you would want to stay at the facility or move on to the next assignment. Let the placement agency know as soon as possible so they can make the appropriate arrangements to extend your current assignment or place you in a new one.

Live in the Real World We all have dreams and ideals about how the world should work and then there is the real world. Travel nursing wages vary according to the job and there are various reasons for this. It is important to look at the big picture before accepting any particular assignment. One assignment may pay top dollar but there are disadvantages such as low nurse/patient ratios or long work hours. Another assignment may offer a low salary but the cost of living in the area is lower. Conducting research about a particular job before accepting it will help you make a more informed decision and avoid disappointment later on.

Read the Contract One of the biggest jokes in the tech industry is the end users’ propensity for signing user and license agreements without reading them. One company’s customers inadvertently signed away their souls because they did not read the license agreement which contained the provision. While this was obviously done for comedic affect, failing to read a travel nursing contract is no joke.

To avoid problems and legal fallout from misunderstandings, it is critical to read your contract before signing it. Take any questions you have to your recruiter and make sure any verbal promises or agreements are written in the contract. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes to be made if something is not clear or you don’t agree with a provision. Being proactive in this regard can prevent lots of problems in the future.

While you probably won’t get the perfect job every time, using these tips will increase the probability of getting the assignments you want. Take time to nurture your travel nursing career and it will take good care of you.