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Travel healthcare professionals have it tough. When a new assignment rolls in, you’re faced with the dual task of starting a new job and moving to a new city all in the same week and sometimes, with little notice. Many people would freeze at the prospect of this much adaptation at one time but not you – you’re flexible and you’re in this for the experience, the challenge and the chance to make a difference.

Still, it’s a little scary. To help, we have rounded up seven preparatory tips for travel nurses that should help whether this is your first assignment or your fiftieth:

  1. Ask questions. You’re new, even if you’ve been doing this for thirty years. That means it is 100 percent okay to ask any question you do not know the answer to. Before you go – and even before you sign the contract – you should be privy to details about the role from patient-to-nurse ratios, policies for floating or taking on extra shifts, beds per unit, the dress code and anything else that comes to mind. Ask away!
  2. Prepare mentally. This is a major undertaking and while you’re all wrapped up in the logistics, don’t forget to pause and consider how meaningful your service could be to the hospital or facility you will be serving. It’s important to process the difficult parts of your upcoming assignment – the family and home you will miss, the newness – but don’t get hung up on the what-ifs. Everything always works out better than we anticipate. Focus on why you signed up for this.
  3. Arrange your trip. Before you can pack or plan anything else, you need to know if you’ll drive or fly. If you fly, consider what you can take and how to get your belongings to your destination as well as how soon you can arrive and how you will transport yourself to and from work, the store or anywhere else once you’re in your new town. If you drive, you should prepare your car for a hefty trip & have it serviced beforehand.
  4. Plan what you’ll pack Of course, you know you’ll need scrubs and off-duty clothes, your basic toiletries and a few good books, but don’t forget you’re making a temporary home happen while you’re gone. Especially for longer stays, don’t ignore the homeware items that you might need. Take anything you can that will make you more comfortable & save you from spending more money post-move.
  5. Know your living situation before you go. Will you live alone or with roommates? Where is your new place in relation to work? How will you get your mail? What bills will you take on while you’re gone (such as cable, waste disposal or a gym membership). What set up is required to set these things in motion?
  6. Arrange for the life you’re leaving at home. What are you leaving behind while you travel? Be sure your pets have a dedicated caregiver and a backup plan. And your home is seasonally maintained & secured if you’ll be leaving it idle. Plan for your car to be stowed safely if you’re flying.
  7. Research the area. Look online and check out the commute to work, the quickest ways to the grocery store and the pharmacy, and what to look forward to doing for fun on your days off. Remember: You will live your entire life in this new area, not just your work life. Make sure it will suit you for the duration of your contract, and find ways to make the most of it. Every city in the nation has something really cool to offer visitors.

These are just some of the most crucial ways you can and should prepare before you leave on your next – or very first – travel healthcare assignment. To find your next assignment in the travel healthcare industry, check out the listings at Management Registry, Inc. We connect travel healthcare professionals like you with meaningful assignments every day!

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