travel nursing

Refreshing the Wanderlust: Dealing with Travel Nurse Burnout

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It’s that time again. Another contract is signed. You’re saying goodbye to new friends
and leaving to go off on your next adventure in travel nursing.

Sure, it’s awesome! I am currently on my 5th travel assignment , and I’ve had my share of great times. But, I also know how physically and emotionally taxing travel nursing can be. Frequent travel is tough on anyone, but the constant changing work environment can eventually wear out even the strongest travel nurse.

But there’s good news! There are ways to prevent your wanderlust from running cold. Here are a few.

Get some rest! It’s grueling to start a new assignment, especially during the first 1-2 weeks. New time zones can be a beast! Catch up on as must rest as you can while adjusting to your new surroundings.

Evaluate your goals. What are your reasons for travel nursing? Do you want more experience? Do you want to see new places? Do you want to enhance your resume? If you notice your excitement about travel nursing starting to wane, reevaluate your reasons for traveling. It may be time to change courses, and that’s okay.

Try a new activity! Look for new and fun things to do while on your assignment. It could be just the thing to re-energize your travel nurse experience.

Stay stress and drama free. One of the great benefits of working as a travel nurse is the ability to remain un-involved in hospital drama.  Is there strife between staff and management? It’s unfortunate, but not necessarily a concern of the traveler. You’re there to help, so you have to stay balanced. Of course there are situations that may stress you out, (frequent floating, various patient populations, etc.) and if it ever gets to be more than you can handle, talk to your recruiter.  Also keep in mind that if your assignment is not enjoyable, it is temporary.  Learn what you can from the experience and move on to the next adventure.

Happy stress-free, energy-filled traveling! Feel free to ask questions or leave a comment.

 

Whatsapp: My Favorite Apps for Travel Nurses!

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My smart-phone is the most crucial piece of luggage that I take along with me on travel nurse assignments. Why? Because my apps are amazing! They seriously help to de-stress my travel nurse life. I have come to depend on them when I need to know the best route, photo, nearest gas station, restaurant or hotel. There are always alot of app options, but I will share the quick, fun and stress-free apps that have helped  make my life on assignment that much easier!

 

1. Around Me: This is one of my favorites! This app lists nearby gas stations, bars, coffee shops, hospitals, hotels, movie theaters, taxis, etc. Even if I am looking for a specific place, I can search for it and map it with this app. It’s wonderful for road trips to my travel destination. Honorable mention: Wikitude is amazing! In addition to bars/nightlife, this app also shows nearest sights and live music.)

 

 

 

 

2. Diptic: What travel nurse doesn’t want to capture the sense of fun and adventure when on assignments? Pic collages are an excellent way to that.  Diptic is my favorite collage app. I can use many pics from one experience ( sightseeing, ball games, hiking, etc.), edit them the way I like and either save or share them. It also has a great variety of layouts, both classic and fun, to load pics to.  (Honorable mention: Pano is a great app for capturing panoramic views of those beaches, cityscapes and mountains. No collage pics with this app, but still awesome)

 

        

 

 

3. Urbanspoon: Okay, so I am a complete foodie when I am on assignment :)  What better way to explore a city than to try its cuisine? Urbanspoon is a foodie’s best friend. It sorts the city’s restuarants by cuisine, open tables, price and most popular. It also lets you reserve a table at your restuarant choice.  (Honorable mention: Eat24: If you are in the mood for delivery or pick-up, just put your address and cuisine choice in this app, place your order and voila!)

 

 

 

More and more apps are created by the day, so there’s no doubt even more great apps for travel nurses. Do you have any favorites? Feel free to share with me!

Travel Nursing 101: A Solid Contract

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Let’s talk about your assignment contract! This is the single most important document of your travel nurse assignment. It’s ironclad and often non-negotiable. You and your recruiter will discuss requested time off, overtime, etc. But, if you remember nothing else, remember that if it is not in your contract, it does not exist! In the best-case scenario, your recruiter will thoroughly explain everything your contract should have in it in order to make your assignment smooth and hassle-free. Since that may not be the case, especially during your first assignment, I’ll highlight some things you want to make sure are spelled out in clear, concise terms before you sign on the dotted line. Ready? Here we go!

1. Pay: Your pay rate is sure to be included on your contract, but here are a few things you want spelled out. Should you want to pick up overtime, how much is the pay rate for overtime? Is it higher than the regular pay rate? What portion of your pay is untaxed? Is there a per diem rate? Are there shift differentials? Meaning, will you get more money for working night shift? Is there extra money for floating? For being the charge nurse?

* Note: Does your assignment have a sign on or completion bonus?? Be sure the amount and payout dates are in your contract. Does your company reimburse you for licensing fees? Travel expenses?? Again, be sure the amounts and pay out dates are detailed. One thing I didn’t realize when I did my first assignment was the importance of having travel and licensing expenses available before your assignment begins! It can be expensive to travel to and from your assignment, so it’s important to know when your company will reimburse you.

2. Time Off: Now this one’s tough! Your contract will include your start and end date of your assignment, but unless you specify what dates you want off, you are not guaranteed any time off during your assignment! This is very important, because you may want to have family or friends visit. You may want to go home briefly during your assignment. I have had friends denied time off to go home for family emergencies, so I cannot stress the importance of this enough!  Be sure to discuss with your recruiter exactly when and under what circumstances you would like to be off. If you don’t, the travel agency will leave your requests up to the hospital/facility schedulers. Some facilities are traveler friendly and will work to accommodate your request; but, try not to leave your schedule requests up to chance.

Also, know exactly when your contract obligates you to work. Is your assignment schedule for every other weekend? Rotating between day/night shift? Will you be required to float? If you are floating, what kinds of patients will you be caring for? Get.It.In.Writing. Okay?

3. Housing: I’ve read blogs that advise travel nurses to not sign contracts until they have housing details worked out. I have not had any major housing issues, but here’s my advice.  If you opt to have the travel company secure housing for you, know what is included in the standard furniture package. If you have to rent any devices/appliances, make sure the rates are included in your contract.

 

 Stay tuned and as always, questions/comments are welcome!

Travel Nursing 101: First Things First

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Okay, so you’ve decided to become a travel nurse, or at least you’re expressing interest. That’s great! It is a wonderful, rewarding opportunity.  I’m currently into my 3rd travel nurse assignment (like the shot of the bridge?) and I often get asked many questions on what travel nursing is like. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet  and befriend fellow travelers along the way. Through our conversations and my own experiences, I’ve learned quite a bit of helpful information.  So, I’m taking the next few blog posts to give some tips on how to make the most of  a travel nursing career.! Here it goes……

Travel Nursing 101: First things first.

The first thing I will tell anyone considering an assignment as a travel nurse is this: have a clear purpose for starting a career as a travel nurse.  Are you most interested in earning extra money? Are you traveling for the experience alone? Are you willing to work various shifts/units? Holidays?   Trust me, having the answer to these questions in the back of your mind will help you determine which assignments are best for you. Some assignments have great pay rates, benefits, etc, but aren’t necessarily in the most fun places and vice versa. Some assignments may require you to float to various units, work holidays and rotate between day/night shifts. Before you choose an assignment, decide which details you are willing to negotiate on.

Now that you’ve decided to travel, you need to choose an agency to travel with. Choose the right travel company. I repeat, choose the right company!! As travel nursing has expanded, agencies are expanding and becoming more competitive.  Truthfully, in terms of communication, contracts, housing, benefits, customer service, etc., some agencies are better than others. Pay close attention to an agency’s reviews before signing on with them!  There are several websites that can give you agency rankings. I like both www.highwayhypodermics.com and www.travelnursingcentral.com.

Use all the tools you can to get reviews. Do your homework! If you know a traveler, talk with him/her about their experiences. Do they like their company? What companies would they stay away from and why? Do they have a good relationship with their recruiter? Having a good recruiter can make all the difference in your travel experience. There are a lot of varied opinions about different agencies. You may have a great experience with a company while another traveler didn’t. Sometimes, experience is the best teacher. As a rule of thumb, though, if you notice several negative comments about an agency via word of mouth or web, pay attention.

Coming up in my next blog post,  I’ll tell you specifics about contracts. What needs to be detailed in your contract? What questions do you need to ask your recruiter? What questions do you need to ask when you interview for the assignment?  A good rule to remember: If it is not in your contract, it does not exist!

Stay tuned and all questions are welcomed:)