Now that you have sharpened your skills in your field as a Registered nurse, are you ready to travel to other parts of the country?.Travel nursing is good,it allows you to experience other hospitals and meet various people. As I was sitting in the nursing station as the charge nurse ten years ago on one faithful morning. A young man just began his career in our facility as a Registered nurse.
After three months he came to me and said I want work as a travel nurse with my girlfriend, who is also a Registered nurse. So I have turned in my resignation letter to human resources. I looked at him and said Pupindo, you don’t even have enough experience why do you want to do this?.He replied, thank you for all your help and closed the case.After that incident, I became interested in traveling assignment. If this 22years old man with limited experience can do this.I can even do better. I have never done a traveling job in the past but all that I can think of is traveling assignment. I think that he came into my life for a purpose ,to wake me up and get me out of my boring routine job that I have done for years and years. Nurse of the month, nurse of the year, charge nurse,certification upon certifications, Ceu no career ladders to climb, case manager ?.assistant manager?,manager?. It is just too crowded.
So two years later I resigned from my job and pick up a traveling assignment.It was the best decision that I ever made.
So many travel Nurses from the East coast still kept their jobs in their various states while working as a travel nurse. I don’t know how they did it but they did and are still doing it. Kudos to all of them.
Things that you need to know as a Travel nurse.
1.Find your agent when your are ready to travel. There are so many of them.For example Medstaffing,Nursefly ,RNetwork .
2.Negotiate your contract. The pay,the package,number of weeks, eight or twelve hours shift,the health insurance, 401k and what have you. Accommodation?.Will they pay for your accommodation or find you a place to stay.Stipends?.That is your living expenses.
3. Knowledge and skills, that is your nursing skills. Your ability for example to do basic things such as insertion of saline lock,Foley catheter placement, ngt placement,admission and discharges. And also very important is your interpersonal skills. That is your ability to get along with others.
4.Be Patient because you will be tempted. So learn to be patient because you are the guess and most often you might not win the case.So try to get along.Smile like you mean it.But please do not laugh too loud.It is unprofessional. The way I understand this is that if you have a peculiar way of laughing. You might easily be targeted and labeled. I remembered a nurse that laughed too loud some patients didn’t like her.They claimed that she has “Southern accent”.I don’t know the meaning of that.
5.Get organized. Do your scavenger hunt to know were things are.For example find out the clean utility room, soiled room, linen room, kitchen. (pantry)
6.Floating : Be prepared to float to other department. If you are minority the nurses there are prepared to label you easily,the general assumption is that you don’t know what you are doing .So do not let them.Don’t be lazy because they will label you and request for you not to return. Be smart.
7.False accusations: Keep your nose clean. Once you’re a travel nurse, they will blame you for every little thing. For example the blood pressure machine is missing, okay ask the traveler,where is accucheck strips. Oh the traveler.” Ever since the travelers started to work here many things are missing “.I recalled that I once disagreed and said no it is not true that blood sugar strips was misplaced by one of our staff,and not the traveler. Be polite.
8.Break time: Each facility break time is different. ARROWHEAD Medical Center, Regional Medical Center Riverside, LAC-USC,Regional Medical Center San Jose will give 30minutes, 15minutes and 15 minutes separately. Kaiser Permanent Hospitals will give one hour break and their pay is better too.So do your research. If you are not sure ask questions.
9.Be assertive: Show some confidence in what you are doing. But do not do what you are not sure about. For example most patients with new tracheostomy cannot swallow so do not give them a whole pill by mouth.They will choke. It should be crushed mix with water and given via peg tube.Unless contrary indicated. Follow doctor orders.
10.Beware of back stabbers: These are the nurses that are not willing to help you but will quickly report you.Pay attention and focus on your job.
11.Cell Phones: Some travelers spend so much time on their cellphones. You can call your love ones to check on them but not for all eyes to see.Certainly not in the nursing station. You may have the right but it might be offensive to others.
12.Traveling nursing has lots,and lot of benefits. It is flexible and very enjoyable. You get to see new cities and meeting new people. Make it your best travel experience,enjoy,and rock the travel assignment.
13.No attitude. Be ready to serve. Know your patients and the people that you are going to be working with. For example identify who is the charge nurse,the resource nurse, the unit secretary,the nursing assistant and possibly the manager’s office.Because you might need these nurses to survive your shift. As your day progresses you will meet the other nurses.
14.Please find out about flights, Airbnb, hotels, and rental services in case you will need them.
Please don’t get mad but be happy. Follow the directions on your travel assignment. This is my experience not an instructional manual or direction for anyone to follow. If you love it please enjoy it.