Travel nursing has always been a volatile market in comparison to permanent employment options. Jobs open and close, sometimes within minutes and there are so many different staffing companies who all have different positions, in different locations, and at different pay rates. It’s chaotic, overwhelming, and scary (especially when you’re experiencing it for the first time), but don’t let it stop you from taking the plunge!
The benefits of travel nursing in 2021 are big. With adequate preparation, navigating this environment is easier and will make you more successful. Here are some guidelines for setting yourself up for success as a travel nurse in a hot market:
Know your motivations.
Why do you want to be a travel nurse in the first place? What are you searching for? Common motivations for travelers fall into a few buckets; Which one are you in?
Identifying “why” behind your motivation to be a travel nurse is important to at first, expose, and then hold on to throughout your career. Having it as your “North Star” will ensure you make the right-for-you career path decisions quickly when you hit a fork in the road (and you will often as a traveler). Holding onto the “why” will also help you keep motivated when the going gets tough (and it will).
Find and hold onto your North Star.
Get & Stay Organized
Once you dip your toes into the travel healthcare world, things will move quickly. Get your ducks in a row or you’re going to miss the best opportunities. It’s no surprise that a contract you think is perfect is also catching the eye of other qualified candidates. The better the contract, the greater the competition. See below tips for how to get organized as a travel nurse and ensure you present yourself with your best foot forward:
Play it Safe
Lastly, don’t be reckless with your data. You’ll be encouraged by recruiters to quickly email or text your personal-sensitive info. Would you do that with patient data? So don’t do it with your own! Some agencies have a secure portal for uploading sensitive documents (ask for it), either way, your Kamana Profile is equipped with the power of encrypted sharing (and un-sharing) so you can protect your data while providing access to who you feel needs it.
Broaden your options. Realistically, no single recruiter or staffing agency can land you a contract in every city and always guarantee a higher paying contract than all their competitors. One recruiter does not have it all, you gotta work with a few (I suggest 5). It sounds overwhelming to maintain more than one recruiter relationship (and even unfaithful in a strange way) but you can do it tactfully and in a manner that respects your recruiter relationships and everyone’s time. Recruiters spend many hours finding and connecting nurses with facility needs. When you’re open about working with other agencies, organized with your documentation, and clear with your expectations – it will allow them (and you) to quickly identify if they have a match.
Get after it. You're entering the travel healthcare world for a reason (money, control, career advancement, adventure/exploring) so whatever the reason - make it your part time job to be the best traveler for you, and for your own success. Just like in the nursing practice there are so many resources out there to help us navigate, learn, and grow in this career path. Check out some of the best ones here.
Written by John Modica, RN
John Modica, RN and Kamana co-founder, has over a decade of experience in healthcare, spending the majority of his career working as a travel nurse in hospitals across the United States. Having seen first-hand the inefficiencies of the industry, he fully understands the frustrations and dissatisfaction held by the healthcare workforce. John is customer zero. Kamana is his solution.