Here, we will go over how to go with the flow as a travel nurse.
Being a travel nurse is a stressful, fast-paced job requiring you to get up and go on short notice. When you have such a physically and mentally demanding career, you may wonder what you can do to make your job easier on the mind and body.
Luckily, there are many things you can do to give you the ability to go with the flow when a hospital calls in need of your services. So let’s jump right in.
Determine your desired salary, hours, and location, and don’t take less. The demand for travel nurses is high, so if there comes a time when you are being offered less than your standard, turn it down or negotiate the terms. There will always be other offers from companies that meet your needs. If you are offered a position that works for you, go with it.
You want to be flexible and willing to “go with the flow,” but you should never head out for the job until you have negotiated and signed the contract. If you start traveling before the job is set in stone, you risk the chance of wasting your time, money, and energy on a contract that could be canceled. That cancellation would be a significant inconvenience and the exact opposite of going with the flow.
You can make your travel nursing career easier to roll with by having some bags packed and ready to go. However, you don’t want to have all of your most used belongings sitting in suitcases all the time. So, you should consider purchasing items that are specifically for your travels.
Purchase extra items like toiletries, a hair dryer, scrubs, socks, etc., to have in your to-go bag in case a company calls in need of your services on short notice.
Yes, you are a travel nurse that follows the beck and call of hospitals; however, you still have a personal life to tend to. Therefore, if you know that there are certain days that you need off, you must schedule them in your contract. Otherwise, you will probably end up working those days. It’s not that the hospital’s management doesn’t care about your plans; it’s just that they care more about having enough staff.
Avoid the time off issues by structuring your contract around the days you need off. For example, if you have a wedding to attend from Wednesday to Saturday, have your contract end on Tuesday at midnight and restart on Sunday morning. The hospital has no way to force your attendance if you are technically not on contract during those days.
Finding adequate housing as a travel nurse can be a significant task, and if you’re trying to go with the flow, you don’t want to have a wrench thrown into your ability to flow with the wind. Therefore, if your decision to be a travel nurse is not temporary, you may want to consider buying an RV.
Typical housing may cost anywhere from $700-$1200 each month. If you can’t afford to purchase an RV straight out, you can finance one for about $200-$400 per month. If your house is mobile, you don’t have to worry about not finding a place to rent or the cleanliness of your temporary home during the pandemic.
If you don’t like the RV life or do not plan to be a travel nurse long-term, you should still choose your own housing. Sometimes hospitals can be a bit sketchy with their housing by charging their nurses more for accommodations than they are paying themselves. Also, some hospitals will throw travel nurses into any affordable rental they find regardless of neighborhood and quality.
Instead of going with the company’s housing, you can work with travel agencies or sites to find great last-minute rentals. Then, when you choose your own accommodations, you get to select the location, type of house or apartment, and amenities you want.
You never know when you will be sent off on a job, so you should have plans in place in case your departure is unexpected. For example, when you leave, you may need someone to take care of your pets, plants, mail, etc. Consider hiring house and pet sitters in advance so that when you leave, there is no need to stress over making these plans.
Family, friends, and pet care companies are good options for helpers. Preferably, you would not want strangers coming in and out of your house, so pet care companies should be a last resort unless you decide to use pet boarding. However, for your friends and family, always choose trusted loved ones who will not be inconvenienced by helping you out. For example, you can pay a younger niece, nephew, cousin, or neighbor to help teach them responsibility or someone that travels near your house on their way to and from school or work.