June 19, 2010

Basics of Travel Nursing

Posted in Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 2:31 am by Nursing Tales Team

Being a nurse can be an exciting adventure.  In this occupation, you can specialize in many different areas and find the niche that best suits your personality and natural talents.  As a nurse, you have the ability to spread your wings. Sometimes to the point of flying to faraway lands to mend the sick in another country.

Yes, travel nursing is a popular choice for nurses who have been bitten by the travel bug.  What a way to see the world, help the sick and wounded, and grow in your profession (not to mention earn great money)!  Here are some of the basics of travel nursing.  When you know about this budding niche, you can consider whether or not this is a job that you may want to delve into at some point in your career.

According to Wikipedia, the Travel Nursing Industry was developed in response to the nursing shortage.  In this nursing niche, nurses travel to work temporary short-term nursing positions.  Besides the incentive of higher pay, there are other reasons why some work as a travel nurse.  There is not only the draw of adventure; but also a nurse can grow both professionally and personally as they travel from city to city.
The need for travelling nurses is great, and has been increased due to the recent severe shortage of nurses in the U.S.  As of 2009, there are over 340 travel nursing companies in the United States.  These companies recruit qualified Registered Nurses, LPN/LVNs, and Allied Health professionals and offer incentives such as higher wages, relocation assistance, furnished housing, and bonuses.
Nurses who travel oftentimes work with several agencies at once in order to reach more employers and increase their opportunities for regular work.  The challenges of travel nursing are there, but they do not outweigh the immense benefits that come with it.  As a travel nurse, you must learn new cities and new facilities.  You are endlessly dealing with new people and new requirements.
The good news is that the challenges of travel nursing are easily overcome.   Before you travel to a new city, do your research.  Make sure to pack appropriately so you have the right wardrobe for the climate and weather conditions.  You can find out a lot about a city on the internet through that city’s chamber of commerce or through sites like city-data.com.  Also, if you arrange to arrive to your new destination a day or two before your assignment begins, you have time to check out your new city and determine the best way to get to work each day.  Oftentimes the agency will find you lodging as close as possible to your work facility; however, you may not be close enough to walk so be sure to explore public transportation.
Arriving a few days early also allows you to pay a visit to your new facility before the first day of work.  Be sure that you have all the necessary documents required before you set foot on the road or on the airplane!  Make a call to your new employer when you are settled in and ask if it would be appropriate for you to come by and take care of any paperwork so you can get to work sooner.  This shows your determination and sets you up for success right off the bat.

As a travel nurse, you have ample opportunity to expand your knowledge through flexibility.  Facilities want to make the most of their extra help, and it goes over quite well if you are willing to try new things.  Not only does this bring you success in your current placement; but your new knowledge can increase your opportunities for other placements as well.


Packing for your Job Away from Home

Posted in Nursing Career, Nursing Tips tagged , , , , , at 2:28 am by Nursing Tales Team

Being a traveling nurse has its perks and also has its specifics that may require some getting used to.  The traveling part is probably one of the biggest.  It’s not like you’re taking a vacation, after all; but you do want to make sure that you pack all of your necessities to keep you comfortable for the duration of your stay.

Because lodging is typically set up for you through your agency, you have little to worry about except ensuring that you take all that you may need without OVER-packing.  For convenience sake, it would be best to fit everything within one suitcase and one carry on.  Here is a list of recommendations for packing as a traveling nurse.

Most nurses, even traveling nurses, may find it more convenient to wear scrubs on the job.  This way your personal clothing isn’t subjected to possible stains or other hazards of the job.  Of course you want to look nice; and this is easily accomplished with well fitting scrubs and the right accessories to show off your personal style.  Wearing scrubs is great for the traveling nurse, as this eliminates the need for extra clothes that may be unnecessary.

•    Pack 3 to 4 pairs of scrubs in mix and match patterns and colors.  Just how many you pack could depend on the length of your job.  Just remember that there are Laundromats in all cities so you don’t have to pack a fresh pair for each day.
•    Also plan for extra activities such as exercise or entertainment.  To accommodate this, pack 2 to 3 pairs of exercise shorts or pants and 3 to 4 t-shirts.  Also be sure to pack workout shoes (don’t exercise in your work shoes).
•    For times out on the town, pack a pair of jeans and 1 or 2 nice shirts. Also pack a sweater; you never know exactly what the weather will be.  1 nice pair of shoes should get you through any time you spend off work.
•    Speaking of weather…be sure to check up on the weather for the town you will work in.  This will help you to determine if you should also pack a warm jacket.
•    Socks and undergarments are pretty easy to come by.  When packing for your job away from home, there is no need to unload your entire underwear drawer into a suitcase.  Pack only a few pairs of socks and undergarments.  You can always buy more when you arrive at your destination.
•    Clearly, you do not need (or want) to pack necessities such as toothpaste, shampoo, etc.  These items can be purchased once you are settled into your hotel or apartment.  Traveling without them is far easier.

Traveling for work can be so rewarding.  In fact, many nurses are catching on to the joys of traveling nursing.  However, with all benefits there are also negatives.  Not knowing how to pack properly can set you up for needless frustrations.  When you are moving around from one city to the next, the more streamlined you can get the better you will feel.