First of all, isn’t that sunset gorgeous?! I took that photo literally 1 mile from my Airbnb.
I completed my travel nursing assignment on May 14th and made the 11-hour drive back to FL the following day. I am SO happy to be home. Truth be told, I was counting down the days since the halfway point. But that was only because I was anxious to get back to my fiance, friends, and the sun.
About My Travel Nursing Assignment
The assignment overall was better than I could have expected. I was already semi-familiar with the area since it is only 3 hours away from where I lived nearly 28 years of my life. Being able to drive home some weekends to visit my family or have them come visit me was a lifeline.
The job itself was an absolute cakewalk. My first 2 weeks were busy with Covid-19 testing as cases rose and administering vaccines as they arrived. But this took a sharp decline quickly. Positive cases started to fall and fewer people were left that could or wanted to be vaccinated. There were honestly more nurses than there was work. I spent most of my 8-hour days shopping online and checking social media way more often than I’d like. I’m certainly not complaining; getting paid the most I ever have in my career and doing next to nothing is a dream. This is the exception and not the rule with nursing, especially travel nursing. I just got lucky and I’m so grateful for this opportunity.
The Most Important Aspects of Travel Nursing
I’ve now completed 5 travel nursing assignments in my career and I’ve been fortunate that they’ve all been great experiences. (Except for one local assignment, but at least I got to go home every night). Being in new, far away places can be scary. Especially for those that are new to travel nursing and aren’t sure what to expect. After reflecting on this last venture, these are my three suggestions to make your travel nursing career as stress-free as possible.
- Housing. This is a huge one, guys. Yes, you’re at work anywhere from 36-60 hours a week (depending on OT) but that time you aren’t there needs to be comfortable. You need a place to refresh not only your germy body but your exhausted mind. Choose where you live during this time wisely. I know you want to pocket as much of your housing stipend as possible, but don’t do it at the expense of your mental health or safety. Don’t share a space with sketchy strangers, in high-crime neighborhoods, or without basic amenities.
- Live a little. Explore the new state/city/region you’re in. Ask your co-workers for recommendations on restaurants, activities, and site-seeing. Get out of your comfort zone and do things alone. Sure, exploring with other travelers is awesome, but don’t let the fear of solo-exploring keep you stuck in bed watching Netflix. You’re basically getting paid to travel and you should take advantage of that. These are memories you’ll cherish forever.
- Do your research. This should actually come before both of the above-mentioned points. When your recruiter offers you a contract make sure you research the hospital and area before committing. I know the high weekly rates can be tempting, but don’t let that distract you from the possibility of a hospital that is a nightmare to work for. Get the best insider knowledge from other travelers by searching Facebook groups or checking the hospital ranking. You want to also make sure the hospital isn’t in the middle of nowhere (unless that is your preference) or in an unsafe area.
As for me, I’m home with no plans on leaving. Prior to this one, I thought my traveling days were behind me, so I won’t say never again. Who knows?! I’m creating a life I love with each decision I make that allows me to do more of what I want. Isn’t that the ultimate life goal?
Whether you’re new to the traveling game or trying to decide which city you want to explore for your 10th assignment, I wish you the best. If you have any questions about navigating recruiters, bill rates, or housing, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Happy Memorial Day weekend!