I am very interested in travel nursing but I am not sure how to figure out if I'm ready for it or if it's for me. I also have so many questions about traveling and so I have come to you all in the hopes that you can help guide me. Realistically, I'm thinking about starting traveling in about 7-12 months at the earliest. I would like to know what you all think I should do to head in the direction of traveling. How does one know when they're capable of travel nursing? How does one know if they're made for travel nursing before taking the leap?
Here is a little background on me:
So I've been an RN for 2 years on a med/surg oncology floor (really a medical floor with some onc patients and the rare chemo administration) at a small (~200 bed) community hospital right outside of a large city. This is a hospital that I was a volunteer at in high school for 4 years and then a year later started working on the same floor I work on now but as a nursing assistant and was there for 3 years during college. So I've been in the same place with the same people for 5 years, granted only 2 years have been full time. I used to love my floor and my hospital and have the best manager in the world, but as the past year has gone on, I've found more and more that I don't like about where I am. COVID has truly shown me that I need a change from my coworkers and workplace. Though, I'm worried that my facility is so small that I may start traveling and I might not have broad enough knowledge to be able to work anywhere and everywhere there is an assignment. Would going to a big medical center be impossible and not in my best interests?
I have a BSN and have taken the ONS chemo/immunotherapy course, but (d/t COVID) have never given chemo/immunotherapy. I have a decent amount of telemetry knowledge, but we really don't take care of true cardiac patients. My floor is the kind of floor that maybe gives IV metoprolol a few times a month and we don't touch IV dilt or anything similar, those would have to go to our PCU or ICU. We also really don't take surgical patients, unless it's someone who had been with us and had a toe or 2 amputated or a lap cholecystectomy. My coworkers are known to call the surgical floor RNs or the surgical PAs to drop NGTs, as we have so few of them. Very rarely do we see chest tubes. My hospital has an IV team who does IVs, but pre-COVID I planned on being trained on IVs and was unable to during this time. I plan on taking the CMSRN within the next few months. I have not done charge, but at my facility the charge also has an assignment. I do not have my ACLS, only BLS. My floor gets LOTS of hospice patients and I have a pretty good handle on CMO care and medications. My floor, as many others, was a COVID floor from the beginning of April until mid-June (and hopefully never again), so I do have a decent familiarity with respiratory patients. I have minimal Meditech experience (2 years of my nursing assistant years and 0 nursing time with it) and am very comfortable with EPIC.
Also, how exactly do the taxed/non-taxed stipends work when you live with your parents and they do not make you pay rent. Do you still get housing and meal stipends? Do you just get more taxes taken out or do you not get those stipends?
What are your must haves in a contract? What are things to look out for in a bad contract?
Thank you so much in advance!