If you’re a first-timer when it comes to travel nursing, you’re probably scrambling for resources right now. We wouldn’t be surprised if your recent Google search history was packed with queries like, “how to travel nurse?” 

Listen – we get it! Travel nursing is an ever-growing industry which attracts more nurses looking for flexibility and competitive compensation in their careers every year. You’ve made an excellent choice! We’ve written a failsafe guide with tips for first-time Travel Nurses like you so that your first assignment.


Tip 1: pack wisely 

Seeing as you’re going to be living out of a suitcase for the next thirteen or so weeks, it’s a good idea to pack properly. In our experience, it’s not so much about what you pack, but how you pack. First question: are you traveling by plane or by car? Because that will dictate how much you can bring with you. If you’re driving, that frees up a lot more space to bring bulkier items along. If you’re flying, you might want to pack light and buy or rent larger essentials in your host city. 

Once you have a better idea of the space you’ll have, you can start prioritizing which items you simply can’t go without. If you’re a home cook, that might be your grandmother’s cast iron pan. Maybe you’re a musician who can’t part with your guitar. Whatever it is that makes you feel more at home, it’s wise to bring it along to make settling in as easy as possible.

When it comes to clothing, remember that variety is your friend – yes, you’ll be working on assignment, but you might want to take the opportunity to explore your host city by going for a hike or checking out the local nightlife. Your wardrobe should allow you to do that!


Tip 2: stay organized 

There’s a lot of paperwork that comes with being a Travel Nurse. Remember to bring your updated license, your passport, identification, and copies of any essential documents that the hospital may need to keep on file. You’ll also be updating your CV pretty frequently as a Travel Nurse, so remember to take notes of all the new experiences, skills, and responsibilities that you take on during your roles at different hospitals. 

As we mentioned in the previous point, you’re likely to be living out of a suitcase – which means that small items tend to get lost really easily! It’s a good idea to purchase those detachable suitcase inners with different compartments for you to store those pesky small items that frequently disappear when you’re on the move, like charging cables, earphones, eyeglasses, and wallets. 


Tip 3: arrive early on your first day 

Travel nursing can be seriously disorienting. You’re in a new city, working at a new hospital, with a new set of co-workers and a new patient population. To ensure that you aren’t totally overwhelmed on your first day, do some prep work. Arrive a day early and travel your commute route so that it becomes familiar to you. During your orientation, take notes of doctors’ names, draw a map of the floorplan, and find out where the nearest vending machine or cafeteria is located. Do whatever it takes to familiarize yourself with the new space! 

On your official first day of work, make an effort to arrive early so that you have some spare time to meet your coworkers, get a feel for the ward that you’re in, and get a headstart on your responsibilities in this role. 


Tip 4: Ask questions 

No matter how long you’ve been practicing as a nurse, you simply can’t know it all. Travel nursing will quickly prove to you that things are done differently in every hospital, and you’re going to have to remain flexible and adaptable to new clinical environments. The best way to stay in everyone’s good graces and deliver the best possible care to your patients is to ask questions. If you’re ever unsure of something, swallow your pride and defer to your supervisor or a colleague. The beauty of travel nursing is that you’ll never stop learning new things. Lean into it! It will make you a better nurse. 

With these four tips in mind, you’re ready to enter the exciting world of travel nursing! To find your first assignment, use Corratel’s intuitive and innovative job search tool. Hundreds of fulfilling travel assignments are at your fingertips – all you have to do is follow the link below: