Rookie Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Travel Nurse Contract
Starting your first travel nurse contract is a very exciting step in your healthcare career, but it doesn’t come without a little nervousness about what to expect. Here are six rookie mistakes to avoid when on your first travel nursing contract.
Being Too Narrow-Minded
If you have a compact license and are eager to explore nursing opportunities throughout the USA, it’s always a good idea to consider places that might not be at the forefront of your mine. While it is great to have a specific location in mind for your first travel RN contract, it is important to be open-minded and carefully consider all the opportunities that your recruiter may show you. Many new travel nurses have discovered that limiting their options too much can make it difficult to get hired. Being open and taking risks is what being a travel RN is all about, so make it a priority to talk to your recruiter about your dream placement but be flexible enough to consider other possibilities.
Skimming Your Travel Nurse Contract Instead of Carefully Reading It
Your contract is the most important document of your travel nursing assignment, so it is crucial that you read it carefully before signing. Check for completeness and accuracy, including your assignment dates, pay rate, shift hours, etc. Your recruiter should be able to answer any questions you have and make corrections if necessary.
The life of a travel nurse is one that requires you to be smart with what you bring with you to your assignments. Over-packing is a common mistake for new travel nurses, but you’ll quickly learn the benefits of a more minimalist lifestyle. To avoid bringing more clothes than you need, think of layers and pieces that can serve multiple purposes. Research the average temps for your new home during the time you’ll be there and pack accordingly. Once you have your essentials packed, you can add a few touches of home to your suitcase, like family photos or your favorite cozy blanket.
Not Asking Enough Questions
Every travel nurse who starts in a new facility must learn where things are, who to call, what procedures to follow in certain situations, etc. Even after your travel nurse orientation, there will be times you need to ask for guidance, so don’t be afraid to turn to the staff nurses or administrators for help. Getting all the answers you need when you need them is a great way to boost your confidence and deliver exceptional patient care.
Not Being a Team Player
While travel RNs, by nature, are not permanent members of the hospital staff, you should try your best to be part of the team. Travel nurses are not simply hired because a vacancy needs filling: the staff and patients are counting on you to give your best. Always show up with a good attitude and be prepared on your travel nurse contract. Give extra assistance, remember that you’re there to help the unit, empathize with your co-workers’ concerns, and follow through. Act like you are part of the team, and you will be treated as such.
Keep in mind that you are probably making more money than the staff nurses, so always be courteous and respectful of your co-workers, even though you won’t be there forever.
Having too Much or too Little Fun on Your Travel Nurse Contract
When exploring a new city and meeting new friends, some travel nurses have discovered that there is no such thing as having too much fun! It only becomes a problem if you’re overextending yourself, overindulging, and/or neglecting the golden rules of self-care. Schedule your off-time activities wisely so that you’ll always feel rested and energized when you arrive for your shift. But the reverse is also a problem – all work and no play is not a formula for success. Travel nurse contracts are just a few weeks long (usually 4-13 weeks), so after a few days of settling in, start planning excursions with some fellow travel nurses or staff, so you don’t miss out on the fun. Take time to see the sights, sample the local fare, and enjoy the unique and wonderful things your new location has to offer.
Travel nursing is a great way to challenge yourself as an RN as well as experience life in many different parts of the country. Fill out the form below to start a travel nurse contract with Premier!