As the market for travel nurses continues to prosper, small towns continue to resort to these methods to meet their staffing quota. This may seem like a great idea for the staff in need, but when the location of the contract is unheard of for veteran travelers, what can be done to ease the stress of interesting and unfamiliar territory? When your primary source of income comes from travel contracts, are you to wait for something more familiar to come along? Let’s say you do wait, and it still doesn’t happen. What next?
Let’s explore a very common challenge for an adventurous travel nurse, a contract to a location yet to be explored. Here’s exactly what adventurous travel nurses need to consider before traveling to unfamiliar cities.
Location: Work, Live, Play
Three of the biggest details to come to grips with for a travel contract that leads you to a brand-new location are the facility location, where you will be living, and where you will be spending most of your time away from work.
Your first priority should be to familiarize yourself with the location of your contract. Lucky for us, the internet exists. Even for small-town facilities, there are several resources to utilize in your research efforts:
- Location type
- Surrounding areas
- Facility reviews – both staff and patient reviews are useful
After you feel comfortable with where you will be working, the next step is to find a place to live. Understandably, this process will look different for agencies that supply housing and those that do not. If the agency you work with provides housing, make sure to consult thoroughly with housing management and leave the conversation prepared for what you are getting into. For those that are tasked with finding their own living situations, spend some time researching the topics below:
- Safety First – How safe is the area you are moving to?
- Commute – Make sure to have a reasonable commute in mind before choosing and stick with it!
- Community living – Are there any other travelers at this location, and are they open to building a bond for the contract? Do you have a travel buddy?
Another point of interest that should be a part of your research is where you will be spending the rest of your free time on the contract. Of course, if you are a homebody, there’s no place like (a temporary) home. For those that like to stay active, what kinds of organizations are in the area? Are there any Facebook groups to join before relocating? Will you have the opportunity to engage in any of your favorite hobbies? Having a good sense of what your contract might look like outside of work can be another deciding factor for you to consider.
Financial Preparation: Housing, Food, Fun
Finances are always a part of any decision in life. Not only does having a reasonable budget for what you are looking for in a travel contract give you some standards, but it can help the decision process progress smoothly. One thing to note for any travel contract that leads you to a new destination is that smaller towns can be a bit pricey because of the available living situations. Sometimes there just isn’t a lot to choose from, and that might lead prices to cost more than expected.
Food might be something you rarely consider when choosing a contract, but restaurant choices may be scarce in a small town. Are you willing to cook some meals? Will the housing you chose allow that? Are there grocery stores nearby? Spend some time weighing the food options for the location before committing. A best practice would be to understand what you take home each week, what your weekly living expenses come out to be, and what you want your savings to look like from a travel contract.
Can you bring a travel buddy?
Some of the strongest bonds come from traveling contract to contract with a familiar face. Not only does it relieve some of the financial burdens when it comes to housing and travel costs, but it gives you the sense of being on a team. Travel buddies can come in handy whenever you come across feeling like an “outsider” from the local staff and surrounding areas. Most facilities have more than one need to fill, and some agencies offer referral bonuses for anyone you bring along!
Share your experiences with others!
Nurses are a network who share the same healthcare goal – helping those in need. If you have traveled to an unknown location before, your voice matters! It can be good things that have come from uncomfortable situations that give hope to another nurse. Remember, we are all human beings who share a passion for healthcare. Don’t be afraid to share your experiences and give feedback. Strength comes from challenges and new experiences!
Need help finding your next adventure?
Medical Edge Recruitment is the premier travel nursing recruitment agency specializing in providing top talent to clients in the healthcare industry. We connect clinical and allied providers to their ideal opportunities, focusing on building long-lasting relationships through honesty and transparency. In travel nursing, bigger does not always mean better. While we have an extensive network of job opportunities, our experienced team is dedicated to making a personalized provider experience a priority. There are a lot of moving parts in getting set up for a new assignment, but we take care of all the details along the way. Adventure awaits for adventurous travel nurses; let Medical Edge Recruitment show you where to go next!