Networking and Professional Development as a Travel Nurse
Does networking and professional development as a travel nurse seem like an overwhelming task? In fact, it’s never been easier—or more fun! From meet-up groups found online to making small talk in the breakroom with a fellow RN, your options to build a travel nurse network continue to grow. Professional development activities are also more accessible than ever, through both online and in-person options.
The avenues you choose to pursue for professional development may depend on your location, your access to resources, your personality, and the amount of time you can devote to this important aspect of your nursing career.
How travel nurses benefit from professional development and networking
You may find yourself asking, “Why should I worry about networking and professional development as a travel nurse? And how would I even get started?” Rest assured, we’re here to help.
Professional development for travel nurses comes in many shapes and sizes. It can help you stay up to date on the latest medical findings, healthcare trends and technologies. It can also instruct you on new techniques that you can apply to your nursing practice. Professional development can increase your value as a healthcare professional, and improve your job prospects and career growth.
Networking can work hand-in-hand with professional development. By building a strong travel nurse network, you can create opportunities for yourself, gain valuable insights into different healthcare settings, and stay connected with key people and trends. When future travel assignments or even permanent job openings become available, your connections may help you get an early chance to apply, and even serve as a reference for you.
Tips for building a travel nurse network
Join professional groups and attend events
In addition to larger groups like the American Nurses Association (ANA), nearly every nursing specialty and subspecialty has a professional organization that it is affiliated with it. These types of groups can be a great source of information for your career, with additional support and networking opportunities. You may even be able to attend local chapter meetings when you are in your new assignment city.
Whether you are a pediatric nurse or you work in adult oncology, attending conferences and events that are specific to your specialty can be a great way to meet other like-minded nurses. If you’re a getting ready to embark on a new travel nurse assignment, do a quick online search to see if there are any events coming up near where you will be.
Get to know your colleagues and stay in touch
One of the many benefits of a travel nurse lifestyle is the ability to make new friends and connect with colleagues at every assignment destination.
Don’t be afraid to start the conversation, just introduce yourself and ask some questions! You’ll find that most people love to talk about themselves and are willing to respond to someone who is friendly and attentive. Invite colleagues to join you as you explore the area. Make it a point to create a few long-term connections at every facility where you work.
Once you’ve established some rapport with a colleague, you can connect on social media or get their phone number or email so you can stay in touch once your contract is over.
Take advantage of social media
Ah, you’ve got to love the internet. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter have transformed the way we network and can be valuable tools for advancing your career. Also, more socially-focused platforms like Instagram and Facebook can be excellent for keeping track of nursing colleagues who may be spread throughout the country.
There are even nursing focused platforms, forums and chat rooms where you can connect with travel nurses who work within your same specialty or patient population.
Tips for travel nurses’ professional development
Attend CE courses, workshops and seminars
Continuing education (CE) courses can help you stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in your field. When you work as a travel nurse with a reputable agency like Onward Healthcare, continuing education courses are often provided for free! Onward is dedicated to nurses’ professional development and offers travel nurses the ability to earn free contact hours through our educational partners.
Professional workshops and seminars can also be a great way to improve your skills and learn new techniques. Many workshops are now done online through webinars and various online platforms, which can help you fit them into your schedule. Don’t forget to check if CE credits are available for attendance at your next event.
Nurse certification recognizes a nurse’s commitment to his or her specialty, expertise, professional accomplishments and skills. Today, more than 1 million nurses in the United States and Canada hold certifications, according to data from the American Board of Nursing Specialties.
Certification can help your job prospects and may even boost your pay potential, since hospitals and other facilities prefer to hire certified nurses—even for their travel assignments.
Seek nurse mentors
Seeking out mentors who have experience in your field can be a valuable way to learn and grow as a travel nurse. Sometimes your assignment facility will even assign a mentor to you at orientation who can help show you the ropes and answer questions. Whether this is the case or not, you can actively work to make a connection with an experienced nurse in your unit who is willing to share some of their valuable time and advice.
If you’re a new travel nurse, you may also want to seek out seasoned travelers who can share some of the lessons they’ve learned on travel assignments and give some insider tips. These travel nurse mentors can help you understand the nuances of this lifestyle, while helping you feel confident and prepared for any situation.
Build your nursing career with Onward Healthcare
Networking and professional development are essential for travel nurses who want to succeed and grow in their careers. That’s why we now welcome nurses like you submit videos about tips, tricks, and advice on AMN Passport. Download today and hear from your peers.
READY to get started? Just submit a quick application to connect with one of our friendly Onward Healthcare recruiters.