Travel nursing is an exciting way to experience travel, different cultures, and gain experience. After starting my first assignment in 2016, I was unaware of the many mistakes I made when choosing my assignment and I was not prepared to begin travel nursing. I have since learned from those mistakes and have made better choices; however, I still continue to find myself making mistakes two years later. Here are the Top 4 Mistakes In Travel Nursing I have made so far this year.
Mistake #1: Not Researching the Facility’s Location Prior to Accepting a Contract
You would think I would have learned this already! However, it wasn’t until this past contract that I learned how important it is to do your research. Upon arrival to this assignment, I learned that another very popular hospital was located directly across the street. I could see the hospital from my window at night and we were advised to park in the competing hospitals parking lot. Here are some things you should research prior to accepting a contract.
- How close another competing hospital is located within your assignment.
- Location demographics and economic studies.
- Shopping and grocery near the hospital and where you choose to stay. This is important if you don’t want to drive 45 minutes to the local stores.
- Housing locations prior to accepting any assignment. It’s important to know you will have options once it comes time to find housing, instead of the other way around.
Mistake #2: Not Packing Correctly
My husband and I stay in an RV when we travel so packing is slightly different for us. Instead of packing various boxes and suitcases between assignments only to have to unpack again once we arrive to the next, our RV houses all of our items in place without the need of unpacking. Meaning when we arrive to our next location we simply open our slide outs within the RV and were all set up. However, we did learn that we overpacked and didn’t pack out items correctly between each assignment.
- Do not over-pack. It’s normal for first time travels to pack almost everything they own prior to starting. I mean it’s better to have it than not to have it at all, right?! No. Only pack the priorities. Once you arrive, you can purchase silverware, plates and other necessities at your location
- Make sure what you pack is packed correctly. Between assignments my Nintendo Switch was our only casualty. It fell from where it was packed and was crushed by our slide in the RV. It’s important to make sure wherever you place your belongings, that they are safe from harm.
Mistake #3: Paying for your Housing in Advance
Contract cancellations tend to happen occasionally in the travel world. Recently, my travel nursing contract was cancelled immediately after my orientation. If you are interested in learning what happened and why, click here. We arrived at our housing the week before my assignment was to begin and this particular location wanted payment for the resort up front. Unfortunately, my contract was cancelled, and we were out of our housing money.
- Never pay for your entire housing in advance if there are other options. Look for housing/RV lot rent that allow for monthly payments.
- It is worth driving slightly farther than normal for safe, consistent monthly housing.
Mistake #4: Not Having At Least One to Two Months of a Financial Cushion
As a said previously, contract cancellations tend to happen. It is important to be prepared for the unexpected. My husband and I were not prepared to be cancelled from my assignment solely because we had paid for our housing in advance. Had we had money in our savings we would have been more prepared.
- Make a spreadsheet of your expenses each month and place a reasonable amount of money in saving.
- It’s easy to enjoy what each travel location has to offer, but it is also important to remember to budget those extra-curricular activities.