First Steps, Big Adventures: Preparing for Your First Travel Nurse Assignment


Chloe’ Sizer | March 11th, 2024

The thrill of adventure, the freedom of exploration, and the opportunity to make a difference – these are just a few of the perks that come with being a travel nurse. But for first-timers, the excitement can be mixed with a healthy dose of nerves. Fear not, intrepid traveler! Here’s a comprehensive guide to prepare you for your first travel nurse assignment:

1. Secure the Essentials:
Licensure: Ensure you have a valid RN license in the state where your assignment is located. Some states require a compact license, so research and complete any necessary paperwork beforehand.
Credentials: Gather and organize copies of your resume, certifications, proof of immunizations, and any other documents requested by the facility or agency.
Housing: Research and secure suitable housing in your new location. Consider factors like proximity to the hospital, your budget, and desired amenities.

2. Pack Like a Pro:
Professional attire: Pack enough scrubs, name tags, and professional attire for unexpected situations.
Essential supplies: Bring your stethoscope, a good quality watch, comfortable non-slip shoes, and any specialized equipment you might need depending on your unit.
Personal items: Don’t forget essentials like toiletries, medications, and comfort items from home to help you feel settled in your new environment.

3. Get to Know the Facility:
Research the hospital: Familiarize yourself with the facility’s website, patient population, and the structure of their nursing units.
Contact your manager: Reach out to your manager or preceptor beforehand to introduce yourself and inquire about any specific procedures or protocols.
Review policies and procedures: Review the facility’s employee handbook and familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures.

4. Embrace the New Environment:
Be open-minded: Be prepared to adapt to new workflows, protocols, and even different medical terminology used at the facility.
Ask questions: Don’t hesitate to ask questions whenever you’re unsure about anything. Your colleagues and preceptors are there to guide you.
Build relationships: Make an effort to connect with your colleagues and build positive relationships with them. This will create a supportive and collaborative work environment.

5. Take Care of Yourself:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Prioritize healthy sleep, nutritious meals, and regular exercise to manage stress and stay energized.
Explore your new location: While work is important, don’t forget to explore your new surroundings and experience what the city has to offer.
Stay connected with loved ones: Schedule regular calls or video chats with family and friends to maintain a sense of connection and avoid feeling isolated.

Bonus Tip: Pack a small “care package” from home with your favorite snacks, photos, or a small sentimental item to bring a touch of familiarity and comfort to your new living space.
Remember, being a travel nurse is a rewarding yet challenging experience. By being prepared, adaptable, and open to new experiences, you can make the most of your first travel assignment and set yourself up for a successful and fulfilling career on the road.



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