Career Traveling for the mobile registered nurse; the importance of doing your homework before you start traveling.
You’ve got your RN certification. You’ve worked for two or more years in your clinical specialty. Along the way you may have had the opportunity to work with a mobile professional. You see advertisements for RN’s with your career experience to work in faraway places. What’s your next step to perhaps broadening your career and professional experience?
By performing a detailed self-assessment and research into the travel health care industry you can first decide if traveling is for you and what prospective company is best for your career.
In your self-assessment analyze your strengths and weaknesses? Is your confidence level high? How about interpersonal skills? Do you enjoy meeting new people? Do you enjoy or embrace change? Do you adapt easily to changing circumstances? Are you independent? Are your nursing skills above average? Do you enjoy solving problems? Are you flexible?
If you answered yes to these questions you may be ready to take the next step and become a travel nurse. Now what are your main reasons for hitting the road? Is it the pay and benefits? How about the contract facility’s reputation? Or maybe it’s the thought of getting away from hospital politics and working under different management styles and medical environments.
In determining which company is right for you first collect appropriate employer information from a variety of agencies. Call managers at prospective employers to get a feel of the working environment. Get the names of two or more travel nurses who are currently working at the location, or recently worked there and call them to get their impressions of working at that particular location.
Weight different types and features of benefit packages. Pay particular attention to expense reimbursements, cash incentives or bonuses, and length of assignments. Will you be guaranteed 40 hours a week, and what shifts will you work, will overtime and on-call be mandatory are all important questions to be answered.
Other important considerations to determine are why the contract facility needs travel nurses? Are the travel nurses temporary or are they trying to manage a high patient load?
Will there be penalties if you fail to complete your assignment? Will you forfeit bonuses or have to pay back travel reimbursements or housing costs if you go home early?
Larger employment agencies many times offer a greater variety of assignments. They may also offer a wide range of benefits. Smaller agencies normally provide more personalized service and possible unique practice settings. In determining the agency that’s right for you the key is to choose the one that will work with you to meet your career and personal goals.
Finally, you don’t want to forget to evaluate the hospital. Many have seen the advantages of adding supplemental staffing through the hiring of travelers. Some even have their own travel divisions and offer state of-the-art pay and benefit packages. Assignments can range from seasonal to as short as thirteen weeks or less. Also, they may offer opportunities with other facilities within their health care system.
If you spend the time carefully evaluating and comparing potential employers and agencies you can make your first travel experience one that will broaden you career experience. Additional benefits include increased income and the opportunities to meet many exciting personal and professional challenges.