When Should I Start Planning My Next Travel Nurse Assignment?


By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert

Aaron Moore
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I get a lot of questions from folks asking when it is appropriate to start planning their next travel nurse assignment, even if they just started a new travel RN job. I know this may sound like crazy talk to some of you, but for those of us who like to plan ahead, it’s a common question.

Several times I would be in my first week of a new assignment and ask my nurse recruiter about upcoming jobs. He probably thought I was nuts, but after a while I learned when to start looking ahead and when to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Most travel nurse assignments are 13 weeks, or three months. I always liked to break up my assignments into three parts. For example, when exploring a new place I always used the first month to see popular, tourist-type attractions. The second month was spent checking out local favorites and exploring more. Then the third month I always revisited my favorites and had people come to visit.

That was an awesome month because I didn’t feel like a tourist anymore, but more like a local.

I learned to treat my planning for the next travel RN job this way, as well.

I would spend the first month just getting used to my newest assignment. The second month was when I started opening conversations with my recruiter about my options. From the beginning, I was very open with my recruiter about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see. He knew me very well and that helped us avoid jobs that weren’t interesting to me. This made the planning process so much easier.

I always tried to have my next assignment locked in by the end of my second month--this way, I could sit back and enjoy that third month without any worries about where I was going next. As things happen, it didn’t always work out that easily, and a couple of times things fell through and I had to scramble some during my last few weeks to secure that next job. But it always worked out!

As you can see, I’m a plan-ahead, Boy Scout, always-ready type of person. You may not be the same way, but when it comes to planning your next assignment, it never hurts to be ahead of the game.

Planning ahead helps you get the best pick of travel nurse assignments. And, as always, if you have a great nurse recruiter, this should come with little or no work for you. Your recruiter tracks down the best jobs, and if he or she knows you well enough, then then he/she will be able to match you with the right positions.

So relax while you’re on assignment. Let your recruiter do the work and be open and straightforward about your plans. Don’t worry too much about your future assignments until its time. Have fun and enjoy the adventure that is travel nursing.

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