7 Ways to Overcome Your Fears About Travel Nursing
“Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain
Travel nursing jobs are all about exploring new destinations, meeting new people, gaining new skills, and doing what you love. It’s an exciting field, and can offer extraordinary opportunities.
Yet the thought of leaving everything familiar behind to take a temporary RN job in a new town or a new environment can cause some nurses to hit the pause button.
Worries and “What ifs?” begin to creep in.
So, what can you do?
The nurse staffing experts at Onward Healthcare offer the following seven ways to help you face your fears, take one step at a time, and embrace the possibilities of travel RN jobs—with no regrets.
7 ways to overcome your travel nursing fears
1. Talk to other travel nurses.
If you have any travel nurses in your current facility or know travelers in other locations, take the time to ask about their experiences: “How do you like traveling?” “What’s different about travel RN jobs?” “Do you have any advice for new travel nurses?”
Most travelers love to share their stories about travel assignments and road trips and what they’ve learned along the way. They can even tell you how they got over their fears about travel nursing and took that first step.
You can also read stories and testimonials from real Onward travel nurses.
2. Find a recruiter you trust to guide you along the way.
A supportive nurse recruiter can make your transition from staff nurse to first-time travel nurse incredibly easy.
Recruiters take the guesswork out of the recruitment process by finding the right travel RN jobs for you, setting up interviews, helping with your nurse licensure and other documentation, and assisting with your free housing and relocation.
Onward Healthcare senior recruiter Brandi Gallegos says that her job is all about getting to know each first-time travel nurse and then building and maintaining a partnership.
“After I receive an application, I reach out to the nurse to find out what their goals are, for example, what they want to accomplish, where they want to travel to, where they want to work, etc.,” she explained. “I want to make sure that I match them with a perfect destination, an ideal working environment, and an amazing experience.”
Recruiters provide details about the assignment facility, tell you what to expect, help remind you of what you need to do and serve as your career consultant. They are also available to help handle any issues or problems you might encounter, or to simply lend a listening ear.
3. Ask lots and lots of questions.
If you’re unsure of something, ask. Knowledge can help calm any travel nursing fears.
Ask your nurse recruiter for more details about specific jobs, housing options, what to pack, assignment contracts, travel RN salaries and benefits, and anything else you’d like to know.
When interviewing for a travel RN job, ask the hiring manager what he or she expects of travel nurses, how much orientation you’ll receive, what the nurse staffing ratios are on the unit, and other key factors that can help you decide.
FIND answers to travel nursing questions from the experts at Onward.
4. Consider bringing a travel companion.
Many travel nurses go on solo adventures—but you don’t have to!
In fact, having someone to share in the adventure and be there when you get off shift is a great way to make the transition and ease any fears about travel nursing.
You can bring a pet, your spouse/significant other, your kids or your best friend.
Just let your recruiter know if you are planning to bring a companion as soon as possible, especially if you need pet-friendly accommodations or a larger apartment. (Note that pet deposits are often required, and anything larger than a 1-bedroom apartment will require you to cover the extra cost.)
You may also need extra time to find your own accommodations if you choose the housing stipend instead of the free, company-arranged housing.
5. Visualize all the fun you’re going to have.
Spend some time researching the parks, museums, restaurants, sports venues, concerts and other attractions in your soon-to-be temporary hometown. Close your eyes and picture yourself relaxing on those sandy white beaches on the Gulf Coast, touring through shops in the city or hiking that mountain peak on your bucket list.
You can also invite friends and family to visit while you’re on assignment, which will give you even more to look forward to.
The more you focus on the fun and adventure in your new location, the less you’ll worry about any changes you’ll have to make as a first-time travel nurse.
RELATED: 7 Stress Management Tips for Travel Nurses
6. Get packed and prepared.
Preparation can remove a lot of stress from any change process, including your first travel nursing job.
Find out from your recruiter what is provided in your travel nurse housing, and ask if they can provide you with a packing list. Or prepare your own packing list, using a mobile app or other online resources.
You should also get a packet of first-day instructions from your recruiter on where to report, what to bring, etc.
Then give your car a tune-up and safety inspection, plot out a fun road trip, and plan to arrive early enough to unpack and settle in your apartment before you have to begin work.
Do a test run to your assignment facility, accounting for commuting traffic, so you won’t get lost and will be able to arrive early, prepared and calm on your first day.
7. Remember, this is only temporary.
If long-term commitments make you nervous, or you’re worried that you might not like something about your travel nursing assignment, remember this is only a short-term contract.
Travel nursing jobs usually range from 4 to 13 weeks. That means you can take a chance and try out a new city or a different job with little risk.
If you really enjoy your travel RN job, you may be able to extend your contract. If there’s something you don’t like about an assignment, you can still make the most of it, knowing you only have a few weeks before you can move on.
Your Onward recruiter can help you get lined up with a new gig before you know it, and keep you working as much as you want.
ARE YOU READY to take that first step toward an exciting travel nursing career?