Six Steps to Your First Travel Healthcare Job
Curious about a career as a travel nurse or allied traveler? You’ve come to the right place! Below are important things to consider as you embark on your awesome adventure to becoming a bold traveler.
The amount of experience needed can vary by facility and specialty, so check with a S1NGLEPOINT recruiter for information about your specific circumstances and to get the scoop on any specific assignment.
Depending on the specialty, having some staff experience can help. If you recently started your first staff position, use the time to learn all that you can. The more skills, knowledge, and confidence you acquire during that time and the more flexibility you demonstrate, the more opportunity you will have as a new traveler.
Whether you're a travel nurse, therapist, or allied clinician, you are in high demand, but opportunities and demand can fluctuate. As a rule of thumb, especially for travel nurses, there is a greater need for more specialized skill sets.
One of the many benefits of being a traveler is that you have more opportunities to learn and sharpen your skills with every new assignment.
Your ability to land a great assignment vastly improves if you widen your geographical options, and with new licensing compacts for RNs and PTs, many states now have a more streamlined licensing process.
No matter which state you're considering, it’s best to obtain your license before you start looking for an assignment and every state is different when it comes to the process. If you have a location in mind, check with that state’s board of nursing or other professional board, depending on your specialty, for information specific to the state.
Keep your certifications current! Most hospitals require a BLS and ACLS through the American Heart Association, so check out our Info Center for a link to an AHA class near you.
When you start your travel career, be as flexible as possible. Seventy-five percent of assignments are night shifts, so if you want the most options and you currently work days, it’s good to acclimate yourself to working nights. Once you have one or two assignments under your belt, you have a better chance of finding an assignment that is geared more toward your personal shift preference.
The more skills you have, the more marketable you are as a traveler. Make sure to document all your skills – and that goes for skills acquired after you start traveling. Also, inform your recruiter of any updates so they can revise your profile, especially updated EMR or charge experience. Also, experience at a teaching or trauma hospital looks great on your profile.
You and your recruiter are your best advocates - it's an important part of the traveler life. The most successful travel nurses, therapists, or allied clinicians are the ones who hit the ground running and require little handholding. Every new skill helps you edge out those who don't have the experience and pushes you higher up the list of exceptional candidates.
Flexibility in location and shift and limiting demands for days off and blocked schedules will also help you nail a great assignment.
If you go in as a flexible candidate rather than someone who is demanding before you even start, the relationship between you and the facility will be stronger. Once you have your foot in the door and gain rapport with your manager, that's when you can start asking for other perks.
My advice to new travelers would be to ask questions. I have found that many are afraid to 'not know something.' It’s ok to not know! We have all been there before. Healthcare is an environment where you will forever learn! ~ Whitney, ER RN