Helpful Tips for the Nurse Traveler - page 7

by Diary/Dairy

Hey there all, I just wanted to post a general thread about the basics of travel nursing for all those people who want to consider it. I know I asked a lot of questions when I was considering traveling and I see that a lot of... Read More


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    Quote from bagladyrn
    Good thread! From the voice of experience I'll add a few:
    Make sure you have enough money in the bank to cover unexpected emergencies before you leave home (enough to cover major car repair, or to get you home if your contract gets cancelled after you drive across country).
    Get road assistance service (AAA has saved me several times)
    You need to be somewhat outgoing to enjoy yourself in new places - introduce yourself to the neighbors, ask co-workers what is interesting in the area - and invite them to join you. Also learn to do things alone - you may surprise yourself and enjoy it.
    Try something new every place you go - whether it be new cuisine, a new activity, etc.
    At work, don't be afraid to ask questions. It actually can break the ice with staff nurses if you admit you don't know everything (not talking the basics here, but say I've never used that model of pump before, or I'm not familiar with that procedure, can you explain it to me?).
    Also at work, never talk about your pay rate, etc. If you are making more than others it sets up bad feelings and makes staff tend to dump on the traveler ("After all, that's what they get the big bucks for"). Or you may find you are making less than someone else and feel bad yourself - not realizing the benefits may not be equivalent. My standard answers when aked about pay are "It differs with each contract" or "Less than most people think - the agency gets the big bucks".
    I can think of lots more after 11 years of traveling, but I'll end it here for now.
    I liked the part of your reply where you said "Try something new every place you go - whether it be new cuisine, a new activity, etc". I like to think of myself as a temporary citizen of the community that I find myself in during travel assignments and challenge the "locals" to show off their town or area during my stay. You will find that community pride is a great entree into a conversation about your area that will help you enjoy your stay.
    WordWrangler likes this.
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    I would also advise new travelers to check out their new living quarters prior to the start of their assignment. Get an address and look up the area on the interet because I have had traveling friends that have been placed in some pretty rough neighborhoods and horrible housing. So just a little tidbit.....you need to make sure that you feel comfortable with where you are staying to make your travel assignment as enjoyable as possible.
    medsurgrnco likes this.
  3. 0
    Great thread! I'm exploring travel nursing and have some questions.
    1. Can you find out the patient:nurse ratio ahead of time so that you don't have more patients than you are used to caring for? I am used to 6 med/surg patients, but have worked with travel RNs who had 10.
    2. Do hospitals get upset if you have a lot of OT due to a new computer documentation system?
    3. I've worked in some very toxic nursing units. Can hospitals cancel your contract if regular staff try to get you in trouble?
    4. Are CNA's any more difficult for travelers than for regular staff?
  4. 2
    Quote from medsurgrnco
    Great thread! I'm exploring travel nursing and have some questions.
    1. Can you find out the patient:nurse ratio ahead of time so that you don't have more patients than you are used to caring for? I am used to 6 med/surg patients, but have worked with travel RNs who had 10.

    You can ask about their normal ratios. It doesn't mean that it's going to be that ideal number every time. You likely wouldn't get a position if you said you were only going to take "x" number of patients.

    2. Do hospitals get upset if you have a lot of OT due to a new computer documentation system?

    I don't really know the answer to this one. Generally speaking, it's probably not a good idea to have to stick around after your shift for a long time. You have to be able to manage your time effeciently.

    3. I've worked in some very toxic nursing units. Can hospitals cancel your contract if regular staff try to get you in trouble?

    Simply, yes. They could potentially cancel you for any reason. They may not be so willing to do that it there is a financial penalty for them, but then again.... I have heard of some pretty bad situations but I have never personally been in one.

    4. Are CNA's any more difficult for travelers than for regular staff?
    This may go to your question above. I have never had a problem, but I have heard of a few others that did.

    You might ask on this forum about a particular hospital if you get an offer and see if anyone has any advice.

    It's important to make your interview with the nurse manager count. Ask pertinent questions for you that would be a deal breaker. Don't make it seem like you aren't willing to do extra or that you are used to doing things a certain way and aren't flexible. If you feel that way, you probably shouldn't travel.

    Have you taken any local agency assigments where you live? That really helped me out to be able to make the transition to travelling.
    dragonflydani and medsurgrnco like this.
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    Thanks for the responses. I did a few agency assignments, with one hospital unit awful, which is why I am trying to obtain info here on this stuff.
  6. 1
    Quote from medsurgrnco
    Great thread! I'm exploring travel nursing and have some questions.
    1. Can you find out the patient:nurse ratio ahead of time so that you don't have more patients than you are used to caring for? I am used to 6 med/surg patients, but have worked with travel RNs who had 10.
    2. Do hospitals get upset if you have a lot of OT due to a new computer documentation system?
    3. I've worked in some very toxic nursing units. Can hospitals cancel your contract if regular staff try to get you in trouble?
    4. Are CNA's any more difficult for travelers than for regular staff?

    1. Yes- always ask the nurse manager about nurseatient ratios when you interview with them.
    2. Depends on the hospital- some will let you have as much OT as you want, others won't let you pick up any- ask when you interview. If they are requiring you to do extra for computer training, then they can't really get mad about it...
    3. Yes, unfortunately, hospitals can cancel most contracts, and I have heard of hospitals "finding a reason" to cancel travelers. Check out the hospital and talk to other travelers about it before accepting your assignment- some hospitals just have a bad reputation for this.
    4. I haven't had any problems with this.
    medsurgrnco likes this.
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    I have enjoyed what I have read tonight about travel nursing. I want to share with sime fellow nurses. I am an LPN and just completed my first travel assignment in Alaska. I started last fall and came home this past Memorial day. I had 2 weeks home before my last extension. Please do your research folks, I was out sick one day and lost over 400 dollars on my check, because they gave me 300.00 a week for a rent a car if I completed 40 hrs a week, well I only worked 32 that week due to one day illness. Travel nursing is okay, but do your research, talk to other travelers and understand what you are signing, these recruiters/companies are making a killing off of us nurses and smiling all the way to the bank. I know the next contract I sign I will have sick days. Every company has good and bad points, I always got paid on time, airlines and apartments were good, but no work at the present time.
  8. 0
    great advice, im highly interested in becoming a travel nurse...and i agree that 1 to 2 years of experience is best before pursuing it
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    I am from Chicago and considering travel nursing in San Fransisco- which would be an impossible city to rent in w/out getting the housing paid for. Does any one have the scoop on travel nursing in this city? What is the average housing stipend?
  10. 0
    This post was really helpful, thank you


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