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Choosing the Right Travel Nursing Assignment

This is definitely a loaded topic because the answer is different for everyone.  When we first started traveling, we chose assignments almost solely on location. We had a list of places we wanted to live in during our travel nursing career and that dictated our decision making.

Last year, however, we became pregnant and decided we wanted to get out of debt fast so we made our decisions solely on pay rate. We literally lived in a location that I said we would never live because the pay was great (it ended up not being so bad of a location after all). And now this year, with a baby, our decision making process has shifted yet again.

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The Many Factors that Play into Choosing the Right Travel Nurse Assignment

For us, the two main factors when making a decision on how to choose the right travel nurse assignment are 1) location and 2) money . Of course other factors come in to play too. For instance, my husband (Skyler) only works day shift CVICU or ICU – period. So being that specific off the top automatically weeds out many potential job opportunities. At first, recruiters hated working with him on the day shift only thing because it is very limiting. But we stuck to our guns and accepted that being that specific did limit our opportunities significantly.

But for us, it was worth it. We don’t even consider night shift positions anymore. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we know many nurses that only work night shift contracts because it can pay better. Obviously contract dates also play a role in choosing an assignment. Whatever job you take has to fit into your schedule. We were looking at a position just today actually that we were very interested in but the start date overlaps with our current contract so unfortunately, it’s was a no-go.

Other factors that can play a role would be the hospital itself and/or agency loyalty. We have turned down contracts just because of the reputation of the hospital before, so that does have some pull. Likewise, maybe there is a prestigious facility you have always dreamed of working for.

That could certainly sway your decisions. Also, some travelers are loyal to one agency and/or recruiter, so they only choose assignments that that particular agency offers. We work with several agencies so that isn’t an issue for us, but if it comes down to a couple of different positions to decide between, we do have agencies and recruiters we prefer working with, so that can sway our decision.

Money Talks

But like I said, location and money are the biggies for us. I am a numbers oriented person. I keep our budget on an Excel spreadsheet and with that I have figured what our minimum weekly take home pay can be for us to live the way we want to live. If an assignment doesn’t stack up to that minimum pay, no matter how bad we want to go to that location, we pass it up.

And likewise, a contract that pays exceptionally well will be weighted more heavily than one that does not.

Location, Location, Location

For us location plays a very important role. We started travel nursing to see the country. Others travel with the intentions of making lots of money, so their guidelines for choosing an assignment are quite different from ours I would say (although ours are shifting a bit these days too).

For us, we typically email our recruiters when we are looking for our next assignment with a list of locations we are interested in moving to. For instance, right now we are looking for Raleigh, NC or Charleston, SC as our first choices; but would consider Chicago, IL or maybe Nashville, TN or anywhere that pays exceptionally well. So I guess you could say that is our starting place when seeking out a new assignment.

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From there, our recruiters will email/call us with possibilities and then we weigh each of our options out and make a decision on which assignment(s) to apply for. Our current assignment was actually about to end and so we were going through this process but nothing was currently available that we felt was better than our current assignment, so we chose to extend here a few more weeks to give us more time to keep looking.

We are hoping that in the next few weeks either one of our preferred locations will open up or something very high paying will become available. In the meantime, we keep looking…

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Q: What are some things to consider when choosing an assignment?

A:  When choosing a travel nurse assignment, you first need to figure out what is important to you. Why have you chosen to travel? Is it money? To see Hawaii? To live near family? To work for a particular hospital? You need to have a clear understanding on what motivates you to uproot your life and begin this nomadic lifestyle.

Q: What are some things to avoid when choosing an assignment?

A:  Don’t let a recruiter pressure you into making a decision you don’t feel comfortable with. Of course, you have to be flexible to be a travel nurse, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon all of your goals for doing this in the first place. Be very clear about what is important to you and stick to that. There is a fine line between being flexible and being a push over.

When we were seeking out our first a travel nurse assignment our recruiter at the time told us about an opportunity that we weren’t really interested in. She tried telling us that nothing else would come along and that since he was a first time traveler if he didn’t take this one she wouldn’t be able to place him, blah, blah, blah. We said that it’s okay and that we still weren’t interested and to let us know if something else did open up. And go figure, something we were interested in became available the following week.  Don’t be afraid to turn down an assignment, another one is right around the corner.

Q: Can I request certain assignments (location, specialty, etc)?

A:  Absolutely! Not only can you, you should! You will have to have significant experience in your specialty so that is a given. Skyler is a CVICU nurse; however he will take general ICU jobs and the occasional Neuro ICU position. Other than specialty though, you can request whatever it is you are looking for. It may or may not be available, but it is always a good starting place. Maybe they don’t have the specific city you are requesting but one an hour or two away. Maybe that will work for you, maybe it won’t. It’s all up to you really.

Q: Are there any red flags I should be on the lookout for when offered an assignment?

A:  Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right to you, trust that and move on…something else will become available. Also, make sure to get everything in writing. That way if once you do get to an assignment and it isn’t what you were promised, you have some recourse. Also, be weary of pay packages that seem off . I am not a tax expert, but some companies play with their pay packages (what is and isn’t taxable) too much to make us comfortable. If you are weary about something ask an expert and/or pass up that particular opportunity.

Q: Is the length of an assignment negotiable?

A:  Most of the time, yes. Most assignments will have a specific length of time they are looking for a nurse to commit (often 13 weeks).  This typically isn’t set in stone. We have asked to have the length of a travel contract adjusted several times and I don’t think it’s ever been an issue. Also, extensions are almost always a possibility. But say you know you only have 10 weeks available before you have another commitment, or you really would like to stay 16 weeks to get you through to a certain date, it can’t hurt to ask. If they want you they will usually work with you on assignment length

Something else you can do is ask for time off mid-contract (during the negotiating process). Last spring we knew we wanted to fly home for Mother’s Day to tell our moms that we were expecting. So in our extension contract we negotiated that week off (and even worked out an interim travel bonus to help pay for the trip).

Q: What can I negotiate in a contract? What are some uncommon things that can be requested?

A:  Almost everything is negotiable, in theory. The pay package is just that, a package. So your recruiter can often shift the numbers around for you to tailor a package more toward your needs. Say your recruiter presents you with an assignment and you like it but there is something about it you would like to adjust; talk to your recruiter about that and s/he will either tell you 1) s/he can fix it for you, 2) s/he needs to speak with the account manager to see if it can be changed, 3) tell you to talk to the nurse manager about it during an interview, or 4) tell you it is non-negotiable. Here are some things we have negotiated in the past.

  • Housing Upgrades – W/D in unit, 2 bedroom, TV in package, assigned parking space, etc.
  • Shift – Sometimes a job is posted for D/N rotate or night shift only and Skyler will speak with the hiring manager about the possibility of a day shift position. Usually they can’t change this because they post what their specific need is. But occasionally if they really like him and they have some wiggle room they will take him on as a day shifter.
  • Start/End Dates – As I said above, we have negotiated this many times. Although end date is usually easier to negotiate than start date.
  • Time Off During Assignment – If you know in advance you will need specific dates off during an assignment it is very important to negotiate this into your contract.
  • Pay Rate – My mom had some luck recently negotiating a higher hourly rate. We have never had luck with that, but some higher demand specialties might.
  • How the Pay Package is Allocated – Our recruiter knows that we don’t like bonuses. They are taxed very high, so we prefer to roll any bonus money into travel or housing which is tax free.

Communication is Key

When it comes to choosing ‘the right’ travel nurse assignment, there is no right or wrong way to do it. It all depends on your personal preferences as a traveler and of course, what is available at the time. When there are a slew of positions currently available for your specialty you have much more room to be choosy. But when the pickins’ are more limited, you are stuck with choosing from what is open. As always, just be honest and upfront with your recruiter about what motivates you to travel. If it’s to make a bunch of money, they know to only contact you about high paying positions. If it’s to live in specific locations, they know to keep an eye out for those cities. If you are wanting to be a local traveler and stay near family, they know to alert you when something near home opens up. Just be clear on why you are traveling and make your decisions based on that. 

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A Guide to Travel Nurse Assignments: Your FAQs Answered

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Table of Contents

Whether you’re a new travel nurse or a seasoned traveler, travel nurse assignments can be confusing and sometimes difficult to understand the terms. Let’s review the advantages of working with a travel nursing agency and some FAQs below.

Find Travel Nursing opportunities all over the United States

Registered nurses have the opportunity to become travel nurses at any point during their nursing career. Most of the time, travel nursing agencies require at least two years of nursing experience before becoming a traveler. However, this varies by agency and specialty. 

Just like a career in nursing offers a variety of specialties and job opportunities, so does the world of travel nursing. As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to work in your specialty while traveling the country. You get the opportunity to meet new people, work with a variety of patient populations, and expand your professional network.

If you’re interested in exploring what travel nursing opportunities are out there, many travel nurse agency websites offer job boards , including Health Carousel Travel Nursing. Most  job board postings detail the location, start date, assignment length, weekly hours, and expected pay ranges. Due to most job boards’ transparency in this criteria, it’s easy to compare agencies and nursing jobs.

Advantages of working with a professional Travel Nurse Agency 

There are several benefits of working with a professional travel nursing agency. Get to know your recruiter first. Your recruiter should understand your needs, wants, and preferences in an assignment. Once they understand your assignment preferences, they can help you with your travel nursing job search . Oftentimes, they can better filter nursing jobs and may offer new jobs that haven’t been made public yet. 

Next, your travel nurse agency recruiter is your assignment advocate and liaison between you and the healthcare facility. They will prepare you for your interview by providing typical questions and prepping your responses. If you need any days off or a more flexible schedule, they will help you ask for these as well. 

Once you have an offer, navigating a compensation package can be pretty difficult to understand. An advantage of working with an agency recruiter is that they will help you through every step of the process. This can include benefits, sick leave, stipend amounts, etc. If you don’t understand an area or amount, or would like more compensation, then ask. Your recruiter will help you negotiate Your recruiter will help you negotiate your travel nursing contract with the healthcare facility, depending on their company policy. Typically, no two contracts will look the same.

Now that we’ve reviewed the advantages of working with a travel nurse agency, let’s detail some frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

How long are typical travel nurse assignments?

Travel nurse assignment lengths vary depending on the nursing demand, healthcare facility, unit, and season. Most assignments last 13 weeks but can be shorter or longer. Some crisis contracts are as little as two weeks. Other contracts start as 13-week assignments, but hospitals sometimes offer contract extensions of up to a year.

Do travel nurses get easy assignments?

Travel nurse assignments are based on nurse shortages and increased demands in the area and unit. Every travel nursing experience is different. There’s no way to determine beforehand if an assignment is going to be easy. We all know that one day at the hospital can be fairly easy and the next can be draining. 

To prepare, ask about typical unit assignments, patient-to-nurse ratios, and patient populations during the interview process. If the patient-to-nurse ratio seems high for your specialty, consider this before accepting an offer. 

How do I choose a travel nursing assignment?

Many travel nursing agencies offer nursing job boards for you to search for available assignments. Before beginning your search, write down a list of your preferences, including locations, units, and desired pay. This will help you filter your initial search. 

Many states are transitioning to the nursing licensure compact agreement . If you hold a compact license, this means you can practice nursing in that state without applying for a new nursing license. It makes it easier for travel nurses especially since they work in different states. However, keep in mind that you may only obtain a compact license if you reside in a compact state.

What type of travel nurses are most needed?

Travel nurses are  always needed. However, the demand for what specialty of travel nursing varies greatly, depending on the area, nursing shortages, and employers. Most of the time, there is a high demand for medical-surgical, intensive care, and emergency room nurses.

Is it hard to find jobs as a travel nurse?

Typically, it’s not hard to find travel nursing jobs. You may not get your first assignment choice, but there are always plenty of other options available. To make it easier during your job search, apply for several assignments and obtain your compact state nursing license if you haven’t already done so. 

Is travel nursing risky?

Working as a travel nurse comes with the same risks as working as a staff registered nurse. You will need to understand the state regulations, the scope of practice, and the healthcare facility’s company policies as you would with any other new nursing job. 

Is travel nursing worth the money?

Many registered nurses transition to travelers and make travel nursing their career. Most travel nurses find travel nursing worth the time and money. You get to travel the country, typically make higher pay than staff nurses, and make your schedule (for the most part). ZipRecruiter shows that the national average salary for travel nurses is $118,400, which is well beyond the average staff nurse salary.

Health Carousel Travel Nursing Boasts Travel Nursing Assignments To Advance Your Career

Health Carousel Travel Nursing has travel nursing jobs available for you throughout the country. Our recruiters work to understand your needs and want to keep you aligned with your career goals. We partner with top healthcare facilities throughout the United States, so you have many career options available. We also offer great benefits, including medical and dental insurance, and sick leave.

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What Is a Travel Nurse?

Alexa Davidson, MSN, RN

NurseJournal.org is committed to delivering content that is objective and actionable. To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers.

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  • How To Become

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

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How Long to Become 2-4 years

Job Outlook 6% growth from 2020-2030

Average Weekly Salary $2130/week for RNs

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Travel nursing is a unique way to transform your nursing career into an exciting adventure. As a travel nurse, you get paid to be away from home — while discovering new places, people, and healthcare settings. Find out what the life of a travel nurse is like and how to become one.

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What Does a Travel Nurse Do?

A travel nurse is a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) who works short-term contracts in various locations. Hospitals or other healthcare facilities hire travel nurses to fill shifts during periods of short staffing.

A travel nurse contract typically lasts 13 weeks, which is how long it takes to hire and train permanent nursing staff. Contract lengths may vary based on a facility’s needs and a travel nurse’s availability.

Travel nurses work for third-party agencies that match them with facilities based on their experience.

When they arrive at an assignment, their training period can be as short as three days compared to three months for a staff nurse. For this reason, a traveling nurse must be well-prepared to care for patients in their specialty. Travel nurses typically need at least 2-3 years in their specialty. This combination of preparedness and experience contributes to the higher pay they receive.

While on assignment, travel nurses perform the same duties as the permanent nursing staff. Depending on the unit they’re working on, a typical shift for a travel nurse may look like this:

  • Clock into work and check your assignment (or find out if you’re floating to another unit)
  • Get a report from the off-going nurse
  • Perform patient rounds
  • Collaborate with the multidisciplinary team and nursing staff to facilitate patient movement, including procedures, diagnostic tests, surgery, and higher or lower levels of care
  • Complete orders based on patient needs and the flow of the unit, like ambulating patients and monitoring intake and output
  • Give a report to the oncoming nurse
  • Clock out and get ready for the next shift

When their assignment is complete, the facility may ask travel nurses to extend their contract at a facility. Other times, they travel to other locations based on their preferences.

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Key Responsibilities

A travel nurse is responsible for following orders and protocols to carry out individual patient care plans. On a typical shift, their job duties may include:

  • Performing head-to-toe assessments
  • Giving medications
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Collecting labs
  • Participating in multidisciplinary rounds
  • Assisting with procedures
  • Managing IVs or central lines
  • Performing wound care
  • Admitting and discharging patients

Career Traits

A successful travel nurse is:

  • Confident in their nursing skills
  • Experienced in their specialty for at least 2-3 years
  • A quick learner
  • Not afraid to ask for help
  • A strong patient advocate

Where Do Travel Nurses Work?

Travel nurses can work in several settings, from hospitals to long-term care facilities. A travel nurse must have experience within their practice area to deliver the safest patient care.

Here are some examples of settings where a travel nurse might work:

Long-Term Care

A long-term care nurse may become a traveler and care for assisted living or nursing home residents. In these settings, a travel nurse’s key responsibilities include passing medications, assisting patients with activities of daily living, and collaborating with families.

Medical-Surgical Unit

Medical-surgical travel nurses care for hospital patients with various conditions, diseases, and therapies. They monitor vital signs, administer medications, and perform wound care. They have a wide skill set and are constantly learning about new conditions on the fly.

Intensive Care Unit

An ICU travel nurse cares for critically ill patients in the hospital. Intensive care nurses manage equipment like ventilators, cardiac monitors, invasive pressure devices, and continuous dialysis machines.

They’re ready to respond to emergencies anytime because their patients can take a turn quickly. A nurse must complete advanced competencies in an ICU before becoming a critical care travel nurse.

Why Become a Travel Nurse

Many nurses become travelers because they’re ready for a new adventure. Travel nursing allows you to see different parts of the country — and the world — while getting paid more than a staff nursing position.

But the travel nurse lifestyle comes with some frustrations, like always being on the move. Learn more about the pros and cons of being a travel nurse.

Advantages of Becoming a Travel Nurse

Disadvantages of becoming a travel nurse, how to become a travel nurse.

To become a travel nurse , you first need to become a nurse . Then, you need to get enough experience in a specialty to feel comfortable caring for patients in new locations with minimal training. Here’s what you need to do:

Get a nursing degree.

Complete nursing education to earn a bachelor’s, an associate, or a licensed practical nursing degree.

Become licensed.

Pass the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN and earn an RN or LPN license in your state of practice.

Get experience in a nursing specialty.

Most facilities require a nurse to have two years of recent experience in a specialty. However, this depends on the unit, facility, and travel agency.

Get licensed in other states.

If you have a compact nursing license , you can practice in any state it covers. If you plan to travel to a non-compact state, you must apply for licensure with that state’s board of nursing.

Get certifications.

Nursing certification requirements vary by specialty. Some requirements may include ACLS, PALS, NRP, and chemo certification.

Join a travel nurse agency.

After getting plenty of nursing experience, you’ll apply to a travel nurse agency to get matched with jobs. They’ll walk you through a hiring process and help you transition into working as a traveler at a new healthcare facility.

How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?

A travel nurse’s pay structure differs from a staff nurse’s because a travel agency covers their cost of living. When nurses accept an assignment, their compensation package determines their pay. The details like housing stipends, travel reimbursement, and hourly pay are set during contract negotiations .

The pay range for travel nurses depends on the location and specialty. For example, nurses skilled in a high-demand department may get higher offers at short-staffed facilities.

Travel nurse salaries change constantly due to healthcare industry changes and hiring demands. A recent market report shows a national average of $2,130/week for RNs and $1,479/week for LPNs. Another report shows an average hourly rate of $49 for travel nurses.

Many factors go into a travel nurse’s pay rate, like:

  • Nursing specialty

Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Nurses

What does a travel nurse do on a typical day.

A travel nurse assumes care of patients just like any other nurse on a unit. Examples of daily responsibilities include doing assessments, giving medications, monitoring vital signs, starting IVs, and dressing wounds.

In addition to performing standard nursing care, they may have to handle administrative tasks required by their travel agency. This might include submitting time sheets, compliance paperwork, and check-ins with a recruiter.

How competitive is being a travel nurse?

Travel nurse jobs may be competitive at locations with the highest pay — meaning there may be more than one nurse interested in an open position. Some travel nurse agencies have long-standing relationships with certain facilities, which gets travelers into interviews faster. An experienced travel nurse recruiter can help you get interviews at your desired location.

How long are travel nursing assignments?

A standard travel assignment is 13 weeks. However, a travel nurse contract can be as short as four weeks, and facilities may offer to extend the contract. If a facility has critical needs, a travel nurse may take a crisis staffing assignment to help quickly. Also called rapid response nursing, these assignments range from 2-6 weeks and often require nurses to work 48 hours or more weekly.

Why are travel nurses paid more?

A travel nurse’s compensation package reflects the costs of traveling away from home. Different factors go into their pay, including hourly wages, travel reimbursements, housing stipends, and benefits.

Page last reviewed on February 26, 2024

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10 Ways to Prepare for a Career in Travel Nursing

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As a travel nurse, working with Coast allows you to see the country and make a real difference in people’s lives during their most vulnerable times. Coast offers contracts in various locations across the United States, including major cities, suburbs, and rural areas, providing an adventurous experience. The agency prioritizes creating a remarkable experience for nurses and helps them achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals through matching contracts and continuous support. Whether nurses want to extend their contract or explore other options, Coast’s recruiters are dedicated to meeting their needs and ensuring satisfaction.

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Starting on the second Friday of your assignment

Starts after 90 days and carries over

Choose from ROTH or traditional. Available on the 1st of the quarter following start date

Temporary Housing Discounts

Personal Compliance Specialists to help expedite your credentialing process and Payroll Specialists to ensure you are paid timely and accurately.

Employee Discounts for theme parks, hotels, rental cars, movie tickets, and more!

Easy to Use Mobile App to submit time sheets, search & apply for jobs, submit credentials, and receive notifications of jobs matching your search criteria

Earn up to $1,000 for yourself & up to $500 for your referral upon completion of first assignment*

Travel Nursing Positions

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Angiography
  • Bone Marrow
  • Burn Intensive Care Unit
  • Cardiac Progressive Care (CPCU)
  • Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU)
  • Case Management
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Certified Registered Nurse First Assist
  • Charge ICU (Intensive Care Unit)
  • Clinical Decisions
  • Clinical Director
  • Clinical Manager
  • Corrections
  • Covid Testing/Vaccination Support
  • CVOR - Pediatric
  • Director - Behavioral Health
  • Director of Emergency Department
  • Director of Nursing
  • Emergency Room
  • Employee Health/COVID Testing
  • Home Health
  • Infection Prevention Specialist
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Interventional Radiology
  • Labor and Delivery
  • Med/Surg (ED Holds)
  • Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU)
  • Medical-Surgical
  • Mother/Baby
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Neuro Intensive Care Unit
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Occupational Health
  • Operating Room
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatric Emergency Room
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
  • Pediatric Oncology
  • Pediatric Operating Room
  • Post Partum
  • Pre-Op/PACU
  • Quality Improvement Specialist
  • Rehabilitation
  • School Nurse
  • Stepdown (PCU)
  • Stepdown (PCU) - Neuro
  • Stroke & Trauma
  • Substance Abuse
  • Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU)
  • Urgent Care
  • Utilization Review
  • Vascular Access Nurse

Travel Nurse Resources

As you begin your travel nursing journey with Coast Medical Service, here are some valuable resources to help you along the way!

What Our Nurses Say

Travel-Nurses--What-Our-Nurses-Say

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Refer a travel registered nurse to our agency and get paid up to $750 and your referral will also receive up to $250! Contact us to learn more about our referral program.

Privacy Overview

Charting a New Course: First-Time Travel Nurse Tips for Success

by Trusted Nurse Staffing | Oct 19, 2023 | News

first time travel nursing

Are you a nurse who is considering dipping your toe into the field of travel nursing? If so, you probably have a lot of questions.

Travel nursing is an exciting field, but it comes with its share of challenges — and there can be a big learning curve .

If you’re an RN wanting to become a travel nurse, check out our comprehensive list of first-time travel nurse tips. We’ll cover everything from what you should know before signing your contract to how to approach your first day.

Table of Contents

6 first-time travel nursing must-dos: what every travel nurse should know before signing a contract, how to prepare for your first assignment as a first-time travel nurse, great expectations: stepping up for your first-time travel nurse assignment.

  • Trusted Nurse Staffing: Ready To Help You Take on Your First-Time Travel Nursing Assignment 

If you’ve decided to transition from being a staff nurse to trying out the world of travel nursing, there are some things you should know.

Sure, the basics of the job are the same — but plenty of things will feel completely different. If you know what these are and prepare yourself ahead of time, you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

Here are some of our favorite tips for first-time travel nurses.

first time travel nurses

#1: Decide If You’re Going To Get a Compact License 

Licensing for nurses may be different in every state, which can make things tricky for a travel nurse.

Fortunately, many states are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact . If you live in a compact state, you can apply for a multistate license that allows you to travel as a nurse in many different areas without having to get a new license each time.

Having a multistate license isn’t mandatory for travel nurses, but it certainly makes things easier when you’re taking jobs all around the country.

#2: Have all of Your Necessary Documents Organized

Staying organized is one of the keys to success when you’re preparing to travel. The agency you work with and the healthcare facility where your potential job is located will have many required documents.

These may include:

  • License information
  • Employment records
  • Health and immunization records
  • Certifications; and
  • Any other relevant documents

It’s a good idea to have everything in order and at hand before your phone interview in case any questions come up about these documents. You may also want to have them with you for reference when you’re reading over your new contract.

#3: Do Your Research

You have your reasons for wanting to try travel nursing, but that doesn’t mean you already know everything you should about all aspects of the job. Fortunately, there are tons of travel nurse resources out there to help you learn about the job before you accept your first assignment.

Some of the things you’ll want to research may include:

  • Which company you want to partner with
  • Where you want to work (this applies to both facilities and parts of the country)
  • What fields/specialties you’d like to try
  • What experienced travelers have to say about the job

#4: Choose a Reputable Travel Nursing Agency

There are many different travel nursing agencies out there, so choosing the right one for you can be a big job. We may be biased, but we’re pretty sure Trusted Nurse Staffing has everything you’ll need and more.

With excellent pay/benefits packages, bonuses and stipends, and 24/7 access to your recruiter, you’ll feel both supported and rewarded in your new field. 

Our Pronto job search makes it easier than ever to find the perfect travel nursing gig. Pronto empowers you to take control of your career by helping you find great opportunities right when you need them.

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we love guiding first-time travel nurses through this experience — and we want to help you, too.

first time travel nurse

#5: Update Your Resume

If you have been working as a staff nurse for a while, make sure your current resume is up-to-date and that all your skills and expertise are on display! 

You may especially want to highlight any special talents or experience that will benefit you in the world of travel nursing.

#6: Understand the Ins and Outs of the Contract You’re Considering 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Your contract is one of the most important components of your job, and you should make sure you understand it thoroughly.

Read and reread your contract before signing it, and make sure you know things like:

  • Your pay rate
  • Opportunities for overtime and per diems
  • What benefits package you’ll be receiving
  • Cancelation requirements
  • Details of insurance packages

travel nurse first time

Once you sign up with a travel nurse staffing agency and have accepted your first job, here are some things you can do to make sure you’re successful when you arrive.

Review Your Assignment/Contract Information

When you have signed on the dotted line, make sure you know your contract inside and out so you’re aware of what’s expected of you.

Focus on important things like:

  • The length of the contract
  • Whether you will be floating or staying in the same department
  • If you have the option to extend your stay

The more you know about the specifics, the more you’ll be able to focus on your orientation and training when you arrive at your new travel nursing job.

Coordinate With Your Staffing Agency About Any Travel and Housing Details 

One of the great things about working with a travel nurse staffing agency is that they can help you find accommodations for your new gig. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the area and want them to completely take care of your housing, they can do that. If you’d rather find your own place and plan how to get there, they should offer stipends to cover travel expenses and housing.

Agency recruiters may even be able to connect you to someone who needs a roommate or wants someone to take over their lease.

Having a staffing agency handle all the details is a great way to ease the stress of a first-time travel nurse’s transition.

Get To Know the Area You’ll Be Working In

For your first travel nursing assignment, you may want to pick an area you’re already somewhat familiar with  so everything won’t feel quite so new.

If you take the plunge and sign a contract for a place you know nothing about, you should have some time to research it. You’ll want to find out things like:

  • The safest parts of town/if there are any places you wouldn’t want to live
  • What housing is close to your healthcare facility
  • The area’s public transportation
  • If ride shares are a good option
  • What you’d like to do on your days off

To help you feel comfortable transitioning from your home to a new city or state, get as much information as you can on things that will apply to your new life there.

Pack — But Don’t Overdo It 

Most travel nursing contracts are 13 weeks long, although yours may be shorter or longer depending on what you negotiate. So you’ll need more than a weekend bag, but you definitely only want to pack the basics.

That means you can leave your French horn at home — unless, of course, you just can’t go to sleep at night until you’ve played it.

When you’re preparing to pack, consider:

  • What you’ll need to do your job successfully
  • What you’ll need to live comfortably
  • What will be provided for you where you’re staying
  • What sentimental items you just can’t live without
  • What season(s) it will be during your stay
  • How easily you can get anything you left at home ( Amazon delivery is your friend!)

When packing, a strategy of “less is more” usually works well. Consider using a packing app to help you get started.

Set Up a Budget

Every area is different, and you need to be prepared for how you’ll pay your bills and spend money. Try to get an idea of what the cost of living is like in the area where you’ll be working. (If it’s on the higher side, your pay and benefits should reflect this!)

Set a budget for everyday expenses — but don’t forget to give yourself some wiggle room to go out and explore the area. After all, that’s part of what travel nursing is all about.

Prepare Your Pets

If you’re a first-time travel nurse with pets, don’t forget to consider them when you’re planning your departure. Call your vet and make sure their immunizations are up-to-date, and make any appointments they may need before you hit the road. 

You can also ask your vet if they have any recommendations for emergency care in your new city — just in case. You want to be prepared for anything that could come up while you’re on assignment.

first time travel nursing

If you’ve followed our recommendations thus far, you should be ready to walk through the door of your new healthcare facility and get to work. Here are some additional first-time travel nurse tips to help you experience those first few days with no problems.

Go In With a Good Attitude

You’re the newbie on the unit, so you want to make a great first impression with staff and patients. It’s okay to anticipate that there may be some chaos or overwhelming moments as you learn the ins and outs of a new facility and routines, but keep a positive attitude.

Show Off Your Skills — Respectfully, Of Course

You’re not there to show up other nurses — but don’t be afraid to get in there and help when it’s needed. You became a nurse because you care about helping people.

When appropriate, step up and demonstrate your skills while ensuring your new coworkers know you’re there to be a team player.

Arrive Early On Your First Day

Being late makes a bad first impression, so you should plan to arrive extra early for your first day of a new job. Remember that this area is unfamiliar to you, and you want to allow plenty of time for any traffic issues, parking, and navigating a new building.

You may even want to do a trial run of your route to work a day or two before your first shift if possible. This will help ensure that you can handle any hiccups that may arise.

Stay Flexible 

It’s fun to dream about all the places you’d love to work as a travel nurse, but you may not always get your first or even second choice of location. If you can be flexible about the places, specialties, and facilities you agree to work in, you may be able to find travel nurse jobs more quickly.

Once you build up your level of experience, you can usually be a little more selective about where you’d like to work.

Get To Know Your Coworkers

Take time to get to know your coworkers. They don’t have to be your besties, but they will be an important part of your life while you’re away from friends and family. Be friendly and try to find out what you may have in common.

Don’t burn bridges and never ghost on an assignment — the travel nursing community is small, and you don’t know when you’ll reconnect with someone in the future or want to use them as a job reference someday.

Travel nursing can help you make friends while building your community and your connections!

Trusted Nurse Staffing: Ready To Help You Take on Your First-Time Travel Nursing Assignment  

There’s a lot to learn for first-time travel nurses, and Trusted Nurse Staffing wants to help you every step of the way.

Our recruiters have loads of experience guiding nurses who are new to the field and helping them make the most of the traveling life.

The Pronto job search helps you easily search for available jobs by location, discipline, or specialty. You can also get important information, including weekly pay, assignment length, and shifts up front. 

Contact us today to get started.

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Aya delivers:

  • The most jobs in the industry. We have the largest and most reliable job database, which means the jobs you see are open, updated in real time and ready for you!
  • Competitive advantage over other agencies. Front-of-the-line access through our direct facility relationships — many with quick (even same-day) offers, giving you the best chance of securing your ideal opportunity.
  • Expedited licensing and streamlined compliance. An industry-leading on-time start rate and strong relationships with boards of nursing across the country to accelerate the process in all 50 states.
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  • A best-in-class support system and an exceptional experience. Enjoy accurate, weekly pay, and an entire team dedicated to your happiness on assignment, 24/7.

Plus, you get everything you expect from the largest healthcare staffing company in the industry:

  • Exceptional benefits, including premium medical, dental, vision and life insurance beginning day one of your assignment. Want to take time off? Keep insurance coverage for up to 24 days between assignments.
  • A generous 401(k) match.
  • Paid company housing (we'll help you bring your pets along, too!) or a generous housing stipend.
  • Paid sick time in accordance with all applicable state, federal, and local laws. Aya's general sick leave policy is that employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. However, to the extent any provisions of the statement above conflict with any applicable paid sick leave laws, the applicable paid sick leave laws are controlling.
  • The industry's only clinical ladder program for RNs on assignment.
  • Access to unlimited continuing education units online.
  • Licensure, relocation and other reimbursements, when applicable.
  • Pay listed above includes taxable wages and tax-free expense reimbursements.

For all employees and employee applicants, Aya is an Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") Employer, including Disability/Vets, and welcomes all to apply. Please click here for our EEO policy.

  • Bi-weekly weekend travel home.
  • A rental car and paid housing.

With Aya Locums you get:

  • Access to top hospitals and healthcare systems in diverse care settings.
  • Highly competitive, transparent locum tenens pay.
  • Dedicated application and assignment support.
  • In-house credentialing and licensing teams.
  • Full coverage of licensing costs.
  • Travel and lodging coverage.
  • Easy timekeeping and streamlined management of documents.
  • Malpractice coverage and risk management support.
  • Premium medical, dental, vision and life insurance beginning day one of your assignment.
  • Paid sick time. Aya provides paid sick leave in accordance with all applicable state, federal, and local laws. Aya's general sick leave policy is that employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. However, to the extent any provisions of the statement above conflict with any applicable paid sick leave laws, the applicable paid sick leave laws are controlling.
  • Generous 401k match.
  • Aya may provide other benefits where required by applicable law, including but not limited to reimbursements.
  • Aya coordinates all travel and lodging accommodations.
  • Travel information is received the evening prior to your scheduled departure.
  • Airfare is covered and, if driving to the assignment, reimbursement is available.
  • Once notice is received, communication from our team is sent via email and text to ensure you are kept in the loop as soon as information becomes available.
  • Your safety is Aya's top priority. We work closely with the facility to ensure additional security measures are taken onsite so you can focus on what really matters: patient care.
  • Licensure, relocation and other reimbursements.

Experience the Aya difference today

  • A dedicated recruiter who advocates for you every step of the way.
  • We'll ensure the hiring manager prioritizes your interest and schedules an interview quickly.
  • A streamlined hiring process means offers are often presented within 24-48 hours after an interview with a hiring leader.
  • Flexible start dates that work around your availability.
  • We make it simple with one point of contact the entire time.
  • University of Washington (UW) offers a wide range of benefits as part of your total compensation package. Choose from top medical and dental insurance programs; plan for your future with tax-deferred investing through the UW retirement options; enjoy generous vacation and sick leave policies; and protect yourself and your family with life and long-term disability insurance. For more information, follow the links shown below or explore the Benefits website at http://hr.uw.edu/benefits/

With Aya, you get:

  • Higher compensation - we negotiate on your behalf.
  • Work-life balance - contracts are up to 40 hours per week, with workdays ending mid-late afternoon and weekends off!
  • An employee advocate - our team ensures you have the support needed to be successful in your role.
  • Options post contract - extend, convert to a permanent employee or find a new job.
  • Paid company housing (pets are welcome to tag along) or a generous housing stipend.
  • If qualified, continued insurance coverage over the summer.
  • A generous 401k match.
  • A robust team to support you every step of the way.
  • A credentialing specialist to streamline the entire compliance process.
  • Freedom and flexibility around your current schedule.
  • The easy-to-use Shifts app. Select shifts anytime, anywhere.
  • Premium medical, dental, vision and life insurance.
  • Front-of-the-line access to exclusive jobs at thousands of healthcare facilities nationwide.
  • A robust team to support you every step of the way to ensure you start on time, have accurate payroll and an exceptional experience.
  • Certification and other reimbursements, when applicable.

Privacy Overview

IMAGES

  1. Preparing for your first traveling nurse assignment? We've got you

    on assignment nurse travel

  2. Try implementing these things on your next assignment to make the most

    on assignment nurse travel

  3. Time Between Travel Nurse Assignments 2021 Guide » Origin Travel Nurses

    on assignment nurse travel

  4. How To Pack For A 13 Week Travel Nurse Assignment

    on assignment nurse travel

  5. Looking for that Perfect assignment with a Travel Nurse Friend

    on assignment nurse travel

  6. How to become a traveling nurse

    on assignment nurse travel

COMMENTS

  1. on assignment nurse travel jobs

    26,582 On Assignment Nurse Travel jobs available on Indeed.com. Apply to Travel Nurse, Registered Nurse Case Manager, Office Nurse and more! ... on assignment nurse travel jobs. Sort by: relevance - date. 26,582 jobs. Occupational Therapist (OTR) 13 Week Assignment $70/hr | Luling LTACH/Rehab. PAM Health 2.9. Luling, TX 78648.

  2. Travel Nursing Jobs

    Enjoy accurate, weekly pay, and an entire team dedicated to your happiness on assignment, 24/7. Plus: Aya coordinates all travel and lodging accommodations. Travel information is received the evening prior to your scheduled departure. Airfare is covered and, if driving to the assignment, reimbursement is available.

  3. Travel Nursing Jobs

    The average salary for a Registered Nurse is $2,106 per week. Last updated on May 29, 2024. Based on 112,350 active jobs on Vivian.com in the last 7 days. Explore all travel Registered Nurse salary insights.

  4. Travel Nurse Across America: Travel Nurse Agency & Staffing Company

    TNAA is one of the top travel nursing agencies. Visit our site to find travel nurse jobs and allied health travel jobs. Looking for Travel nursing Jobs? TNAA (Travel Nurse Across America) has them. ... 5 Tips for Surviving the Holidays While on Assignment. Allied Resources. Life as a Travel Physical Therapist. Looking for COVID-19 Support and ...

  5. Best Travel Nurse Agency

    The best travel nurse assignments start here. For more than 20 years, Trustaff has been a leading force in healthcare staffing. We build lasting relationships with both the talented professionals looking for their next job and the companies that need their skills to succeed, offering the best travel nurse assignments all across the country. trustaff is about more than just great jobs—it's ...

  6. Host Healthcare

    Let Host Healthcare find your next travel nurse job. Refer a Traveler; Chat; Log In (800) 585-1299; Menu. For Travelers. Find Jobs; Travel Nursing; Travel Allied; Travel Therapy; Local Travel Contracts; ... We're talking day-1 medical coverage that stays active between assignments less than 30-days apart, plus day-1 401K, travel ...

  7. Travel Nurse Jobs

    For any questions about travel nursing, explore our Q&A page or call us at (800) 884-8788 to speak with our knowledgeable recruiters. They are available to answer any questions you have regarding our travel nurse jobs. Whether you're gathering information or ready to start an assignment, we're here for you.

  8. Browse Travel Nurse Jobs for RNs at Travel Nurse Source

    Looking for that exciting travel nursing job you've been dying to take? We've got you covered. Browse and apply for the industry's most sought-after travel nursing assignments in destinations from Honolulu to New York. Travel Nurse Source has jobs from the country's leading travel nurse agencies with some seriously handsome benefits.

  9. Finding the Best Travel Nursing Assignments

    The first step in finding a travel nursing assignment is selecting a reputable staffing agency, like AMN Healthcare, and starting to work with a recruiter. This step should include online research, asking nursing colleagues for referrals and doing your due diligence when contacting an agency. Gather information on jobs available, reputation and ...

  10. Picking The Perfect Travel Nurse Assignment

    For us, the two main factors when making a decision on how to choose the right travel nurse assignment are 1) location and 2) money. Of course other factors come in to play too. For instance, my husband (Skyler) only works day shift CVICU or ICU - period. So being that specific off the top automatically weeds out many potential job opportunities.

  11. A Guide to Travel Nurse Assignments: Your FAQs Answered

    Travel nurse assignment lengths vary depending on the nursing demand, healthcare facility, unit, and season. Most assignments last 13 weeks but can be shorter or longer. Some crisis contracts are as little as two weeks. Other contracts start as 13-week assignments, but hospitals sometimes offer contract extensions of up to a year.

  12. How to Become a Travel Nurse

    In many cases, you won't need to apply for separate licensure even if you go out of state on a travel nurse assignment. That's because of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), an agreement that allows licensed RNs to practice legally in other participating states. Currently, 39 states participate in, or are in the process of implementing the NLC. ...

  13. What Is A Travel Nurse?

    A standard travel assignment is 13 weeks. However, a travel nurse contract can be as short as four weeks, and facilities may offer to extend the contract. If a facility has critical needs, a travel nurse may take a crisis staffing assignment to help quickly.

  14. 5 Things to Consider Before Taking a Travel Nursing Assignment

    Travel nursing is full of possibilities. It offers great pay rates, schedule flexibility, and the opportunity for adventure. Some travel nurses prefer to work close to home, and others like to venture far and wide. The options are endless, so it helps to know what you want out of a travel nursing assignment before committing to a particular ...

  15. The Ultimate Travel Nurse Packing List

    Below is Soliant's ultimate travel nurse packing checklist, created for travel nurses by travel nurses. Print this list out and use it as a reference when preparing for your assignment. 1. Clothing. Scrubs (5-7 sets) Comfortable shoes (for work and leisure) Socks or compression stockings (7-10 pairs) Undergarments (enough for 10-14 days)

  16. Travel Nurses

    Coast offers contracts in various locations across the United States, including major cities, suburbs, and rural areas, providing an adventurous experience. The agency prioritizes creating a remarkable experience for nurses and helps them achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals through matching contracts and continuous support.

  17. From Novice to Nomad: A First Time Travel Nurses Guide

    Trusted Nurse Staffing: Ready To Help You Take on Your First-Time Travel Nursing Assignment. There's a lot to learn for first-time travel nurses, and Trusted Nurse Staffing wants to help you every step of the way. Our recruiters have loads of experience guiding nurses who are new to the field and helping them make the most of the traveling life.

  18. ER Travel Jobs

    Travel, per diem, permanent — we have the reach and access to get you the jobs you want, and the expertise to help you realize your long-term goals. A best-in-class support system and an exceptional experience. Enjoy accurate, weekly pay, and an entire team dedicated to your happiness on assignment, 24/7.

  19. Reasons to Start Your Career in Travel Nursing

    Flexibility and Variety. One of the most attractive aspects of travel nursing is the unparalleled flexibility it offers. As a travel nurse, you have the freedom to choose assignments that align with your interests, schedule, and career goals. Whether you're looking to experience different healthcare settings, travel as a nurse, or work in ...

  20. Mental Health Care for Healthcare Workers: The Importance

    Incorporating daily practices such as mindfulness meditation, deep-breathing exercises, or journaling can significantly reduce stress levels and improve overall mental health. You can also carve out time for activities that rejuvenate you, whether it's a hobby, exercise, or simply peace and quiet. Pay attention to your physical health through ...