The Ultimate Travel Nurse Packing List

The days leading up to departure on your travel assignment are full of excitement and anticipation…and yes, packing. Packing for a travel nursing contract is more complicated than packing for a vacation, and you may be lost on where to start. We’ve compiled a list of essential items to bring with you on your travel journey. Behold, the Ultimate Travel Nurse Packing List. You can thank us later 😉.

1. Paperwork

At the top of your travel nurse packing list are your important documents. These include: your nursing license and credentials, a copy of birth certificate, your bank information and checks, and a copy of social security card. If you’re old-school and like hard copies, store them in a folder or binder to keep everything organized. If you’re looking for an even more compact way to store your documents, check out the Nurse Backpack to help organize your credentials on your mobile phone.

2. Travel essentials

A huge part of the travel nurse life is, unsurprisingly, traveling! Whether you’re road tripping, taking the train, or flying to your next assignment, your travel nurse packing list should include some essentials for the journey.

A nice memory foam neck pillow is a must-have for airplanes. It will help you catch some (much-needed) ZZZs while keeping your head supported in the plane seat.

Noise-cancelling headphones are a must for plane or train trips. Whether you’re listening to podcasts, playlists, or streaming a movie or show, you can use these ear buds to tune out the ambient noise (and crying children) for a more relaxing experience. Noise-cancelling headphones are also a great tool for a guided meditation on-the-go.

A reusable water bottle is every travel RN’s best friend. Not only is it great for the environment to avoid using plastic bottles, but it’s also a fantastic tool to stay hydrated. Not to mention, most airports and public transit hubs have filling stations for reusable bottles.

If your travel journey is a particularly long one, it’s smart to invest in a portable charger. This device is great for keeping your phone or tablet charged no matter where you may find yourself. This one is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

3. Home essentials

No matter where your travel nurse career takes you, it’s always important to make your temporary housing feel like home.

Having some portable exercise equipment of your choice is a great way to stay fit while on a travel nurse assignment. Check out our complete Travel Nurse Exercise Guide for fun ways to work out while on your contract!

Love cooking but don’t want to haul all your pots and pans along to your travel nurse assignment? This is the perfect kitchen companion for the RN who loves to chef it up. The Always Pan by Our Place is a fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucepan, spatula, and spoon rest all in one beautiful piece of cookware.

We all know that coffee is a nurse’s best friend. To avoid the expense of daily Starbucks trips, bring along a portable coffee maker to make those pre-shift hours a little easier. This single-serve coffee maker by Keurig is a great travel-friendly option.

A great way to customize your space (however temporary) is by hanging up some photos of your favorite people and places. To easily transform snapshots from your phone into beautiful, framed photographs, use Mixtiles. This way, you can turn any collection of photos into a stunning gallery wall. Not to mention, they are small enough to pack up and move from place to place.

4. Nursing essentials

Your travel nurse packing list would be incomplete without your RN basics. While you may already have all the nurse gear you need and these suggestions may be no-brainers, here are the nursing essentials you don’t want to miss bringing on your assignment.

A fun-yet-practical ID badge holder is a great way to inject some of your personality into your nursing garb. Since you’re jumping into a new facility and new staff, your ID badge holder can be a great conversation starter; and you can even customize one with your pet’s face!

Make sure you check with your new facility to find out if there is a certain color scrubs you should be wearing and bring multiple pairs. Some popular brands among RNs are: FIGS, Jaanuu, and Dickies.

Don’t forget about your feet! Invest in a high-quality pair of nursing shoes before starting your next assignment. A crowd favorite for 2022 are HOKAs.

An insulated lunch box is a must-have for your shift. This budget-friendly neoprene bag will keep hot food hot and cold food cold, so you can skip the hospital buffet line when dining at work.

5. Adventure essentials

No travel assignment should be all work and no play! Here are items to include on your travel nurse packing list to help you explore your new surroundings and enjoy the outdoors.

A fanny pack or belt bag is a great, compact carrier for everything from granola bars to dog treats. Whether you’re out on a long hike or just meandering around the city, a fanny pack is a super useful travel companion. This one from Lululemon is a viral favorite this year!

If you’re keen on exploring the natural beauty of your new surroundings on your travel assignment, purchasing a National Recreational Area pass is a must. This will give you access to the national parks, historic and natural monuments, forests, and lakeshores in your state.

Whether you’re a city slicker or backwoods explorer, a good pair of sunglasses is a must-bring for any travel nurse. To best protect your eyes, pick a pair of polarized lenses like these ones from Amazon.

The best parts about any travel nursing contract are the new people and places you get acquainted with while on the road. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the travel nurse life or debating starting your first contract, get in touch with a Premier recruiter to see where travel nursing can take you next!

Why Cultural Competence is Important in Healthcare

Cultural competence is growing a focus in all industries including healthcare. The American Hospital Association (AHA) defines a culturally competent healthcare system as one that “acknowledges the importance of culture, incorporates the assessment of cross-cultural relations, recognizes the potential impact of cultural differences, expands cultural knowledge, and adapts services to meet culturally unique needs.” Cultural competence is so important in healthcare settings because it aims to reduce racial, economic, ethnic, and social disparities when meeting a community’s health care needs.

How can I develop cultural competence as a nurse?

Developing a culturally competent healthcare environment starts with awareness of your own cultural background and experiences. No matter what your upbringing looked like, we all carry certain biases based on our cultural backgrounds. As a nurse, it is important to limit the influence of these biases when interacting with patients whose identities and life experiences differ from your own.

Beyond this starting point, cultural competence requires an understanding of and respect for other cultures. It is important to educate yourself and be open to learning patient’s backgrounds to effectively meet their care needs. For example, learning about a Muslim patient’s prayer schedule and planning infusions around their prayer times will allow them to feel seen and supported during their hospital stay.

cultural competence in healthcare

Focusing on Patients’ Cultural Needs

The American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics states that nurses must “practice with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person.” The only way to treat all patients with compassion and dignity is by understanding their cultures and responding appropriately to their needs. Unfortunately, this often does not happen in practice. The following three examples from a Regis College blog post demonstrate how a lack of cultural understanding may add to a patient’s stress:

● A Native American man tells emergency room staff he is following the “old ways” of dying and asks that his family be around him. Instead, he is transferred to an intensive care unit (ICU) hundreds of miles away for the extensive treatment he did not want, and his family cannot join him. He dies two weeks later, after being resuscitated twice, and his wife is the only family member with him.
● A Chinese patient admitted to the ICU after heart surgery asks the medical staff to allow his wife to cook a therapeutic meal for him that contains special herbs and that only his wife knew how to make. His nurses did not understand his initial request, after which he stopped asking because he was afraid of how they might view him.
● A newborn is too ill to be discharged with his Vietnamese mother, and the nursing staff becomes concerned that the mother appears not to be bonding with her new baby. A specialist in transcultural nursing care explains to the staff that in rural Vietnam, many people believe spirits are attracted to and may harm newborns, so they try not to draw attention to babies. What had seemed to the staff as uncaring was in fact a reflection of the mother’s love for her child.

Important Skills for Cultural Competence

Nurses with strong leadership and communication skills are needed to successfully implement cultural competence in healthcare settings and avoid these situations. Addressing the needs of underserved communities requires that nurses recognize and adapt to the social, ethnic, and linguistic needs of the people in these communities. This includes:
● Participating in lifelong learning to understand the cultural preferences, worldview, choices, and decision-making processes of patients.
● Communicating with appropriate language and behaviors, including the use of medical interpreters and translators.
● Educating fellow nurses and colleagues about cultural similarities and differences patients, families, groups, communities, and populations.

Cultural Competence Beyond Healthcare Settings

RNs are on the front lines of integrating cultural competence not only in healthcare settings, but also in their communities. Nurses have the opportunity to promote cultural competence principles in their communities through initiatives to improve healthcare access and equity (defined below) for vulnerable groups. Informed by their work in hospitals and clinics, many RNs are invested in the uplift of marginalized groups. Culturally competent nurses are the key to making change at the ground floor, which is why they are becoming increasingly important in the healthcare world and beyond.

5 Tips for Travel Nursing with a Pet

If you are thinking about travel nursing with a pet, there are many factors to take into consideration before taking the plunge. Whether your best friend is a seasoned traveler or new to the nomad life, bringing your pet on travel nursing assignments is a big step for both of you. Here are a few tips to make the transition easy on your pet and keep the stress levels down for you as an owner.

Tell your recruiter!

When travel nursing with a pet, the very first thing you should do is tell your recruiter that you plan to bring your furry friend with you on your contract – and the more advance notice the better. This will allow your recruiter ample time to research pet-friendly housing options for you. Housing resources are great travel nurse benefits, but most rentals will require a pet deposit. Some housing options may also have restrictions on pet size or breed, so be sure ask your recruiter for details.

travel nursing with a pet

Pack accordingly

Packing for your furry friend is crucial to ensure a smooth transition into travel life for your animal. Make sure you select a proper carrier for your pet: one that is spacious enough for wiggle room but compact enough to feel safe for them on long car rides or plane trips. Portable, collapsible water and food bowls are great to bring along while traveling. It is also important that your pet is equipped with an updated I.D. tag with their name and your phone number clearly visible on it. Travel nursing with a pet can be super rewarding, as long as both you and your animal are calm, cool, and collected. If your pet is prone to car anxiety, make sure to ask your vet about medications that can help so your pet can feel comfortable on the ride, and you can keep your eyes on the road.

Stick to a routine

It is no secret that all pets thrive on a steady routine. A lot can change when you begin a new travel assignment, and it is important to keep your pet’s needs in mind. Make sure you take time to help them adjust to your new schedule by keeping exercise, bathroom breaks, and meals consistent. For example, if your dog is used to a morning walk before work, but now you are working a night shift, wake up a few hours before you need to leave in the evening and make sure your dog gets their walk in then. As long as there is consistency with routine, your pet will adapt to your new schedule in no time.

travel nursing with a pet

Get to know your local vet

Before you begin travel nursing with a pet, get in touch with a veterinarian in your new town. Give them all the important information on your animal (age, breed, medical history) and let them know that you will be living in the area for the next few months. Establishing a vet in your new neighborhood is a great way to ensure that your pet will have access to proper care while away from home.

Make it feel like home

The best way to make your pet feel comfortable anywhere your travel nursing career takes you is to adorn their space with all the creature comforts of home. Dogs are very scent-oriented, so instead of going to the store to get a new bed, bring the old one that smells the most like “home” to them. This will immediately make them feel at ease. Keep in mind that going from place to place is sometimes tough for pets, so don’t forget to bring their favorite blankets, toys, and treats with you wherever you go.

Premier pup, Mia, loves that her owner, Meaghan, brings all her favorite things along when she comes to the office.

Do you and your pet travel together? Send us a photo of your travel nursing companion here!

Why You Should Try Contract Nursing in Your Hometown

When discussing contract nursing, the trope that usually comes to mind is a travel RN who moves around the country from one far-flung location to the next. While a travel journey is great for some RNs, contract nursing is not a one-size-fits-all career. Lots of nurses are taking up contracts at facilities right in their hometowns. Local travel nursing is a growing sector of the contract nursing world, and there are many reasons it is attractive for certain RNs.

You’ll save time and money by avoiding travel

Traveling provides wonderful experiences, but at a greater expense than staying close to home. Contract nursing in your hometown is great because you’ll save money by avoiding air travel and long car rides (not to mention being more eco-friendly). The nomadic travel RN life isn’t for everyone, and one big draw of staying close to home for your next contract is that you don’t have to spend all that time condensing your life into a carry-on and a checked bag and having to find short-term housing every few months.

contract nursing commute

Friends and family are accessible

When travel RNs are asked why they chose contracts in their hometowns, they often say that that being near friends and family was the biggest reason. Contract nursing close to home means you’ll never have to miss a family function (but you can still use work as a good excuse if you don’t want to go). Travel nursing on the road can sometimes cause feelings of loneliness, and some RNs would much rather have the security of their community rather than a new set of coworkers every 13 weeks. Your hometown comes with a built-in set of familiar faces, which is a great reason to take up a local contract.

contract nursing family and friends

You’re already familiar with the area

Contract nursing in your hometown also means easy access to all your favorite places. Craving a slice from your favorite childhood pizza joint? It’s right down the road. Can’t wait to see your favorite local band? They’re playing at your neighborhood bar next Tuesday. All the creature comforts of home are within arm’s reach for a local contract nurse. Familiarity is a huge reason local contract nursing is gaining popularity in the travel RN community. Not to mention, contract nursing in your hometown gives you the opportunity to explore new spots in your city or home state…there’s nothing like playing “tourist” in your own town!

contract nursing local restaurant pizza

No need for additional licenses

One massive barrier to entry for travel nurses is the fact that many states require a compact license to work there. If you are already licensed to practice in your home state, you won’t need to go out of your way to acquire an additional license. This makes contract nursing locally a lot more attractive for some RNs.

Gives you the opportunity to decide whether travel nursing is the right career for you

If you are new to the contract nursing world and are debating whether a travel career is right for you, starting out with a contract in your hometown is a great way to build confidence in the field while staying local. You can still make travel nursing money while staying close to home, and the experience will help you decide if you’re ready for a travel career.

Looking for contract opportunities in your hometown? Apply with Premier!

How to Be Eco-Friendly as a Travel RN

As a travel RN, you’re constantly on the go, moving from one facility to the next. Unfortunately, long drives and airplane trips also means burning lots of fossil fuels. According to the EPA, a typical passenger vehicle emits 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, and a single cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles emits about 20% of that. Of course, travel nurses still need to get from point A to point B, which leaves many wondering what they can do to be eco-friendly while traveling. Here  are five easy ways you can help the planet on your travel assignment!

1. Invest in Reusable Water Bottles and Tote Bags

One of the easiest swaps for a travel RN trying to be better to the planet is cutting down on single-use plastics like water bottles and grocery bags. Instead of buying plastic bottles of water, use a reusable water bottle and bring it with you everywhere. Many hospitals these days have water bottle filling stations which make it easy to stay hydrated on the job.

Another way to reduce plastic waste is to switch to reusable grocery tote bags. Next time you hit the supermarket, instead of filling up many flimsy plastic bags, use a tote bag to carry your goods. Not only are they superior grocery receptacles (no breakage or holes), but they will also cut down on your plastic consumption which is great for the planet. Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. If you make the easy switch to reusable bags, it will not only benefit Mother Earth, but make your grocery trips a lot better too.

2. Eat and Drink Local

When you and your travel RN friends are out and about looking for places to eat and drink, try restaurants and bars that utilize locally sourced ingredients. The concept of the farm-to-table restaurant is growing in popularity, and many restaurants across the nation are adopting this style. Farm-to-table is a trend that many dining establishments are adopting because it allows customers to have access to fresh, healthy food all year round as well as supporting local economies. Food waste costs about $220 billion per year in landfills, and farm-to-table can drastically reduce that cost as well as the amount of waste going into the earth. In addition, try to buy local, responsibly sourced food, and only buy fruits and vegetables when they’re in season. To do this, check out your local farmer’s market!

3. Try One Day of Meatless Eating Per Week

While going vegan or vegetarian is not for everyone, a small reduction in meat consumption one day a week can prove to be extremely beneficial for the planet. The meat industry uses vast amounts of Earth’s fossil fuels, water, and grains to feed livestock, which is extremely unsustainable. In fact, about 1,850 gallons of water is needed to produce a singular pound of beef, comparable to only 39 gallons of water per pound of vegetables. Meat production also is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which has proven to contribute to the climate change crisis. If you are looking for a way to do your part in encouraging sustainable food consumption, try participating in Meatless Mondays! One meatless meal a week can save 133 gallons of water. Not to mention, plant-based meals are often more budget-friendly, which is great for the travel RN trying to save some money as well as the planet.

travel nurse burrito bowl

4. Practice Energy Conservation at Home

It’s easy to forget that the power you use in your home costs more than what you see on your utility bill.  Electricity, water, and gas all have an impact on the environment, so being conscious of what you’re using is important. Unplugging electric devices when they’re not being used, using only necessary lighting sources and LED bulbs, and using water sparingly are ways to save energy at home.

5. Volunteer with a Local Environmental Group

One of the best ways to reduce loneliness on a travel assignment is volunteering. Local environmental groups offer myriad ways to get involved in the betterment of the planet such as trash pick-ups in county parks, community garden tending, and advocacy events for climate change. Getting involved in these efforts not only help the planet but will help connect you with other like-minded people in your town.

Looking for a new travel nurse contract? Apply with Premier!

How to Avoid Loneliness on a Travel Nursing Assignment

There’s nothing quite like discovering a new place on your own. It is one of the most exhilarating parts of travel nursing: moving around the country completely untethered. However, many travel nurses report missing their friends and family back home, and suffer from feelings of loneliness. Humans are inherently social creatures, so it is completely normal to feel lonely in a new place. While there are endless activities to do and places to explore on your days off, it may seem daunting or awkward to do these things by yourself as a new traveler. Here are some ways to avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment and make the most out of your contract.

Check Out Social Media Groups and Apps

Many nurses on assignment use social media and apps to meet new, like-minded people. Bumble, the dating app, has a “BFF” function where you can meet potential new friends.  It’s simple: you create a profile, list things you enjoy doing and your personality type, and swipe until you match with a new friend to enjoy your new city with. A big plus is that if you meet someone who has been in that city for a while or grew up there, they can help show you around and get familiar with the town.

avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment

Bumble BFF makes it easy to connect with potential new friends.

Facebook groups are also great for meeting new people. There are tons of groups out there for people with specific interests that live in your new town. For example, when I moved from my hometown to New York City, I joined a Facebook group of NYC residents who were fellow listeners of my favorite podcast. After posting that I was looking for people to explore the local live music scene with, I found a couple new friends in that group who I started going to concerts with. It was such a great tool to find people with common interests as I adjusted to life in my new city.

Join a Local Recreational Sports Group

If you’re more of a “Sporty Spice,” rec leagues are amazing places to meet new people and avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment. Recreational sports leagues provide opportunities for adults to play at beginner, intermediate and competitive levels in many athletic games. Simply Google rec sporting leagues in your new town and take a look at the local offerings. Whether you’re into bowling, volleyball, baseball, or even kickball, there’s a league for you. Rec sports are great at bringing people together, and you’re bound to have a blast while bonding with your team.

The Bradford Beach rec volleyball league in Milwaukee.

Take a Class

Signing up for various classes is one of the best tips on how to make friends in a new city. The freedom you have when it comes to choosing what type of class or classes to attend is what makes this piece of advice great. Whether it’s painting, dancing, improv, or working out, classes naturally bring people together around whatever activity sparks your interest. Not only does it help bring you out of your shell, attending a class regularly will allow you to surround yourself with consistent group of people. This will usually help foster new friendships, or at the very least, help you gain proficiency at a new skill or introduce you to a new hobby.

Atlanta Clayworks offers pottery classes to the community.

Reach Out to Coworkers

Being sociable and accessible at work is one of the best ways to make friends in a new city and avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment. Think about it – you already have something in common with your co-workers: nursing! Not to mention that you already interact with them on a daily basis. In addition to having meals with them in the break room, you could always invite them to watch a sports game or go to that great local brewery after work. Nurses tend to have a special bond with one another that can only come from being on the job, so it’s often super easy to connect with colleagues if you reach out.


Without a doubt, the noblest way to avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment is to volunteer at charitable organizations in the area. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, and it’s one of the most rewarding things a person can do in life. There are many ways you can volunteer your time depending on your interests and beliefs. First, pick a cause you’re passionate about. For example, if you love animals, then you should consider becoming a volunteer at the local animal shelter or humane society. If you’re passionate about the environment, join a local trash pick-up effort. There are tons of ways to give back while also being part of a group and meeting new people. Check out to see volunteer opportunities with organizations near you.

A volunteer helps walk dogs at the Humane Society of Missouri.

Interested in traveling with Premier? Fill out an application today!

Debating a Travel Nursing Contract Extension: Factors to Consider

There’s a lot of fun to be had in the nomadic lifestyle of travel nursing. It can be exhilarating to pack your suitcases and head to a new destination every 13 weeks. But what if you’re loving your current facility, or just need extra time before jumping on the road again? Securing an extension for your current travel healthcare contract can keep you out and about while still giving you a breather, and it’s mutually beneficial for both you and your healthcare staffing agency. Check out some of the things you should consider when debating a travel nursing contract extension, and why it could be a good next move for you on your journey.

Benefits of a Travel Nursing Contract Extension:

Extending your contract is advantageous to you, your staffing agency, and the facility. There are a lot fewer unknowns when extending a travel contract. You can skip packing up the car and relocating because you are already established at your current destination. Less time and effort will be spent in all aspects of your traditional travel RN or LPN job search, as you will already be fully credentialed and fingerprinted, trained for the current position, and have housing. All that’s left for you to do is chat with your leadership and your recruiter, review the contract extension, and keep on working!

Your bank account will also benefit by not incurring the added expenses of moving to a new location. You will also avoid time off without pay like most travel nurses do between contracts. It is also quite common for travel nursing contract extensions to be more flexible regarding the length of the contract. There are several reasons for this. First, because you’re already oriented and acclimated to the unit, the hospital recognizes that 100% of your time will be productive. Moreover, they understand that bringing on new people is always more expensive, so they’d like to keep experienced people on the schedule for longer periods if they have the need.

When to Start Inquiring About a Travel Nursing Contract Extension:

Most agencies and recruiters will tell you that discussing extensions shouldn’t be done until 4 to 5 weeks before the contract is scheduled to come to an end. This advice is based on the widely held belief that hospitals won’t consider an extension until 4 to 5 weeks before the current contract ends. However, if you’re passionate about staying at that facility, it never hurts to inquire sooner. Letting your recruiter know your interest in staying on the staff will go a long way in getting the ball rolling for an extension.

travel nursing contract extension

Factors to Consider When Debating a Travel Nursing Contract Extension:

  • Do you like working at the facility?
  • Is the work-load manageable?
  • Do you like your coworkers?
  • Are there still things that you want to explore/do in the local area?
  • Do you have any family or other obligations that will require you to be in a different area?
  • Are there upcoming holidays that would affect a possible extension?

Negotiating the Contract Extension:

There are costs that occur at the start of a contract that aren’t valid on a travel nursing contract extension. These additional costs can add up to money in your pocket for an extension.  There are a few items that you can and should consider when negotiating an extension:

  • Bonuses
  • Flight home (travel stipends)
  • Housing changes
  • Length of extension

Keep in mind that it is most likely that the bill rate will be the same for the extension contract as it was for the original contract. This may not be true if the first contract was offered at a crisis rate and the extension is offered at the lower standard rate, but that is rarely the case.

Many amazing nursing journeys begin with a contract extension. Extending your contract is a great way to build your rapport with a facility and expand your skills. Considering starting your travel nursing career? Fill out an application below!

5 Qualities of a Great Travel Nurse Recruiter

In the world of travel nursing, there are few things more important than a strong recruiter–traveler relationship. Recruiters are the guiding light of any travel journey, whether it’s your first contract or your 50th. But how do you distinguish a top-tier travel nurse recruiter from all the rest? How can you be sure you are working with someone who has your best interests at heart? As it turns out, there are several qualities that set the best recruiters apart. Here are five characteristics to look for in a travel nurse recruiter.

1. Stellar Communication Skills

You travel nurse recruiter will be your first point of contact as you start your contract nursing journey and someone you will stay in close contact with throughout your traveling career. It can be an overwhelming experience deciding what city to move to and choosing your new place of work, which is why your recruiter should always be available to answer any and all of your questions.

Travel nurses will tell you that the importance of a recruiter’s communication skills cannot be stressed enough. Katie F., an RN who traveled with Premier, noted the importance of communication with her recruiter Sarah: “Sarah spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with me answering all of questions/concerns I had prior to taking the leap into travel nursing.” Not only is it essential for your travel nurse recruiter to be in touch and communicative during the submission, interviewing, and onboarding processes, but you should also expect them to stay in touch during your contract. RN Tatonesha remarks of her Premier recruiter Rebecca, “she always follows through and stays in contact with a weekly hello or ‘how is everything going’ which lets me know that she and the company care about their clients.” Continued, long-term communication is key when working with a recruiter, as they can help you work toward your goals as a travel nurse and walk you through changing or extending your contract.

travel nurse recruiter

2. Honesty

A good recruiter tells it like it is. Whether you are trying to decide if a travel nursing position might work for you or dealing with a situation while you are already on assignment, you want to work with someone who will relay the facts and portray all information as accurately as possible.

But that type of honesty should be two-way street. To build a successful working relationship, you as the nurse candidate should be open in communicating your wants and needs.  Recruiters are not mind readers, and it is essential that you are upfront and honest about your expectations from the very beginning.

3. Personal Attention

A travel nurse recruiter should always make you feel like a priority. Individualized attention is key to a great recruiter-nurse relationship and will put you at ease while transitioning into a new contract. Although I’m not new to travel nursing, I consistently feel on edge when trying to decide on my next assignment,” says Premier RN Richelle, “I can always count on my recruiter Nicole to find the right fit for me. Her one-on-one personal attention makes the whole process flawless.”

travel nurse recruiter

4. Well-Researched

One attribute that separates good travel nurse recruiters from great ones is that they will do their homework and research a wide variety of contract opportunities that will fit your needs. “She goes the extra mile by figuring out what my true needs and wants are,” says RN Katie of her Premier recruiter Lauren H. Top-notch travel nurse recruiters will always keep your preferences in mind while also presenting you with multiple options, some you may not have considered before. A travel nurse recruiter who digs deeper to present you with the most contract options is one that definitely wants to see you succeed.

Meet Premier’s team of travel nurse recruiters here!

5. Patience

Patience truly is a virtue, and in the fast-paced world of nursing, it is more important than ever. A patient recruiter takes the time to listen, answer questions and provide reassurance. Your travel nurse recruiter should never make you feel like a burden and should always be available for your needs. A good travel nurse recruiter will never rush you through any process and will meet you where you are.

Want to travel with Premier? Get matched with one of our experienced recruiters:

How to Manage Pre- And Post-Shift Anxiety

Whether you are fresh out of nursing school or a seasoned professional, you may struggle with anxious feelings and thoughts before or after your shift. It isn’t uncommon for nurses to deal with pre- and post-shift anxiety, which can contribute to compassion fatigue and burnout. You may harbor fears around making mistakes, rejection by a patient, and inadequacy. We’re here to tell you that you’re not alone in feeling this way. In fact, many nurses report anxiety connected to going to and from their facilities for work. Here are some techniques to help reduce anxiety levels before and after shifts.

1. Incorporate Regular Exercise into Your Routine

Exercise plays a significant role in stress reduction. In the nursing profession, it is inevitable and impossible to completely eliminate stress, however, you can learn to manage it. One of the best-known tools to cope with stress and anxiety is exercise.

Aside from the obvious physical benefits, the mental benefits of exercise include:

  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved concentration
  • More restful sleep
  • Increased mood

Exercising is a great way to show up for yourself, whether you find time for some 15-minute yoga on your lunch break or go for an outdoor jog before your shift. Even light exercise is reported to help lower feelings of anxiety. For some tips on how to incorporate exercise into your nursing routine, check out this blog article.

2. Create an Uplifting Commute to Work

The hours before work can sometimes be the toughest to navigate as a nurse. Those pre-shift jitters can lead to fear, and without proper care, they can lead to panic.

Consider keeping a list of inspiring and thought-provoking podcasts that you can listen to on your commute. You can also put together a playlist of your favorite mood-boosting tunes and play it on your way to work. Try making time on your commute to grab a special treat, like a fancy Frappuccino at the Starbucks drive-thru or a little bag of your favorite candy from the gas station. These small touches to care for and reward yourself can completely transform your pre-shift attitude.

shift anxiety

3. Keep a Journal

Many nurses recommend keeping a journal to jot down details of your workday when you get home from your shift. When you engage in journaling or other types of writing, it can help you process your emotions and allows you to put your anxious thoughts on paper instead of letting them swirl around in your head. Try to set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes to write, and then do a few breathing exercises when you’re finished. Putting your thoughts down and telling your story can lessen the stress you’ve accumulated during the day and give you a sense of clarity.

shift anxiety

4. Create a Calming Environment to Come Home to

Coming home from a stressful shift to a chaotic home environment only builds on anxiety you are trying to reduce. Maintaining an organized and clean home allows you to better relax after a long shift. If you are coming home to laundry on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink every night, try getting those chores done before your shift so you can come home to a nice, calming environment to unwind in after work.

Consider cultivating a calming atmosphere in your bedroom. This can help improve your mood and lower your anxiety. For example, using a sound machine or an essential oil diffuser after your shift can help your mind transition into a restful place instead of dwelling on the anxiety of work.

5. Try Mindfulness Meditation Exercises

Practicing mindfulness meditation can be an effective way to manage feelings of stress and anxiety. Mindfulness mediation combines traditional meditation with the practice of mindfulness, which can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. This meditation technique can help you slow down racing thoughts, decrease negativity, and calm both your mind and body. Try some of these mindfulness meditation exercises before and after work to keep pre- and post-shift anxiety at bay.

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The Travel Nurse Exercise Guide

Fitting in any kind of self-care on a travel nursing contract can seem challenging at times, especially when it comes to exercise. Moving your body can have wonderful benefits for your mental and physical health – which can be great in helping combat burnout. You’d be surprised how many options there are for incorporating exercise into your travel nurse routine, as long as you keep it simple and set attainable goals. Here are a few pro tips for staying on top of your fitness game while on a travel contract.

1. Pick up one (portable) piece of exercise equipment

If you do nothing else, consider bringing just one favorite piece of equipment with you on your travel assignment. It could be a set of dumbbells, a kettle bell, a pair of ankle/wrist weights, or a resistance band. You will be amazed at how effective a workout can be with just one piece of equipment. Take the trusty resistance band for example: from squats to leg raises to lunges-in-place, the possibilities are endless.

2. Rent a bike

Hopping on a bike is a great way to fit low-impact, high-reward exercise into your routine. Many local bike shops offer rentals by the month, and there are even pay-per-use bike stations if you’re working in a bigger city. Biking is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while seeing the sights of your new town.

3. See if your facility offers exercise resources

Did you know that some hospitals have an on-site gym for employees? This makes fitting in a workout easy for RNs to exercise on their lunch breaks, or before or after their shifts.

If your facility doesn’t have an on-site gym, check in with employee wellness or HR about what kind of fitness resources are offered–you may be able to snag a temporary free pass to a local gym or access some at-home fitness apps to help you stay on track. Your insurance company may have some fitness benefits you can tap into as well, so be sure to check what benefits they offer too.

4. Plan ahead

Most travel nurses want to make the most of each assignment by taking advantage of exploring each new area on their days off; and days off can fill up fast when you have a bucket list of things you want to see or do in thirteen weeks. If you know you have some travel or exploring planned on your days off, take some time to look ahead and figure out how to get a workout in around all your adventuring. This could mean getting up a little early and squeezing in a 15–25 minute workout or hitting the gym before or after a long shift on one of your workdays so you can enjoy the rest of the day. Regardless of how you make it happen, set a realistic goal of how many days you want to work out each week, so you have something to shoot for that allows for life to happen as well.

5. Don’t forget to have fun

One of the most common reasons people fail at changing their exercise routines is they take an all-or-nothing approach. They go all-in: eliminate anything “unhealthy”, make a plan to exercise six days a week, and refuse to make room for actually enjoying themselves.

Travel nurses choose their lifestyle because it is, at its core, fun. Adventuring across the country while working in a career you love opens you up to so many unique opportunities to explore. Approaching an exercise routine from an all-or-nothing perspective drastically limits your ability to go out and enjoy your time off. From sampling local fare to touring wineries and breweries, taking time on days off to get out and explore is imperative to getting the most out of your travel nursing career. Living a healthy lifestyle and getting to enjoy these experiences can go hand in hand, you just have to be a little more mindful of your choices when also working towards fitness goals.

A great tool for finding some places to get moving while also exploring is the AllTrails app. You can find anything from a rugged mountain trail to a historic walking route through town. You get to experience so much more of an area when you are walking through, and at the end of the day it’s crazy to see how far you can walk when you are out having fun.

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