4 Tips to Secure the Best Travel Nursing Assignments
By Melissa Wirkus, contributor
Landing that first travel nursing assignment is an unforgettable moment in every traveler's career; landing a contract at a prestigious teaching hospital or other facility that you’ve been hoping for can be just as sweet. Both are exciting times, filled with anticipation and even a few nerves about stepping into a new career adventure.
The question is: how can a nurse continue to secure his or her chosen traveling nurse jobs?
Although it is not an exact science, experienced nurse recruiters reveal that there are a few tips to help increase your chances of getting the most-sought-after travel nursing assignments.
4 tips to get your top choices for traveling nurse jobs
1. Be proactive, and be bold.
Nurse recruiters will help find the most appropriate jobs and set up interviews, but Holly Pharr, senior recruitment manager for NursesRx, said that travel nurses need to be prepared to sell themselves and distinguish themselves from other candidates.
"They need to have confidence and be assertive--make sure that the manager you speak to clearly knows that you really want the job," she explained.
GET our free resource: The Travel Nurse’s Guide to Interviewing
Being proactive relates to being prepared in other ways, as well.
2. Showcase your skills and specialty expertise.
Making sure you have the right certifications, skills and experience the facility is looking for are obviously important to securing your top travel assignment choices. And keeping your references, medical records and skills checklists up to date are all things that can help your chances.
Pharr suggests that travelers not only stay up to date on what’s required of them, but go above and beyond what's expected in terms of nursing specialty certifications. Anything that sets a nurse apart from other candidates will be beneficial in the hiring process.
Look at what certifications other nurses in your specialty have, not just what one hospital requires.
3. Get a quick start on state nursing licenses (Luckily, you’ll have help).
Nurse licensing is a vital part of travel nursing. Once you have set your sights on a state where you would like to take an assignment, you should immediately begin the process of obtaining your nursing license in that state; this is one area where your nurse recruiter can help steer you in the right direction.
If you hold a license in one of the nursing compact states and are applying to work in another compact state, the process will be fairly straightforward. If not, recruiters can tell you approximately how long each state is taking to process nurse licenses, and help you get started.
Many travel nursing agencies, like those that work with TravelNursing.com, will also cover your new nurse licensing fees.
4. Flex your attitude.
Although having the right nursing license, specialty certifications and other paperwork is important, the secret to landing the best travel nursing assignments may very well rest on your attitude.
"Flexibility and open-mindedness are probably two of the most important parts to the job search,” said Pharr. “It does depend a bit on how much experience you have and whether it’s your first assignment or not, since those can result in limited options.”
“The more experience and travel assignments you have under your belt, the more choosey you can be about where you look for an assignment.”
Pharr believes that it’s best to have more than one “ideal” traveling nurse job. "If you have several locations or settings in mind, you’ll not only have lot more fun but you’ll ultimately get to your ideal assignment and learn a lot in the process. The greater the variety and experience you have, the better position you’re in to move up in your career.”
Working with an experienced nurse recruiter can help you find the opportunities that are right for you and guide your career to the next level.
What happens when you do land your dream travel assignment?
Once the contract is accepted, your nurse recruiter will help you with next steps and everything that is needed to get you on your way. And you can start planning your adventure.
Stephanie Gilliland, senior recruitment manager with American Mobile Healthcare, advises travel nurses to do some research and decide on a few fun things to do in their new location—before they arrive. Being prepared is half the battle, especially since travel nursing assignments tend to go by quickly.
"Go online, look at events coming up, what to do in the area, see if you have any friends or friends of friends in the area," she said. "You are traveling for the adventure, so make sure you have some good ideas of what you want to do once you are there."
TravelNursing.com partners with the nation’s top nurse staffing agencies to give you more choices for your travel nursing assignments.
APPLY for access to thousands of traveling nurse jobs.
Updated April 15, 2017