Finding Your Fit: A Comprehensive Guide to Selecting the Ideal Travel Nurse Assignment

how to find the right travel nursing assignment

Finding your ideal travel nurse assignment is when the fun part starts, but it also involves a lot of decision-making and soul-searching. Several factors play into this decision, like pay, location, shift, and the reputation of the facility you’re considering. 

First, you have to decide what your deal breakers are and what determining factors are important to you. You must also effectively communicate those to your agency and recruiter early on. I started travel nursing mainly for the experience and adventure aspect of it, but as life events would happen, I would often shift my focus to taking some that offered a higher compensation package. That is the wonderful thing about travel nursing: you can change your “why” as your goals change over the years. 

How To Find Your Ideal Travel Nurse Assignment

Choosing where to go as a travel nurse involves considering several factors. Here are some steps to help you pick your desired destination:

Assess your preferences

Start by considering your personal preferences. Consider what environment you enjoy. Is it a bustling city, a serene rural area, a scenic coastal town, or something else? Consider factors like climate, proximity to family and friends, recreational activities, and cultural attractions. Start a list and add to it as you go!

Research the demand

Investigate areas with a high demand for travel nurses. Look for regions or facilities experiencing staffing shortages or frequently hiring travel nurses. Your agency or recruiters can help you find this information.

Licensing and certification requirements

Travel nurses frequently move between states, and each state can have specific prerequisites or processes to complete before you can practice as a travel nurse there. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the licensing and certification requirements for different states or countries where you might be interested in working. Having a compact state license will give you an advantage in this regard. Some states offer temporary “walk-through” licenses, enabling nurses to obtain short-term licenses swiftly. Talk with your recruiter to see if your agency provides support with the license and certification process.  

Mentor Pro Tip

Consider licensing early in the process, as it can take some time. You don’t want a delay to prevent you from getting your dream assignment!

Consider the cost of living 

It’s important to factor in the cost of living in the areas you’re considering for travel nurse assignments. Research housing costs, transportation expenses, taxes, and other relevant factors. Ensure that the compensation offered aligns with the cost of living in the location.

Consult with reputable staffing agencies

Reach out to trustworthy travel nursing staffing agencies. These agencies have knowledge and expertise in matching travel nurses with suitable assignments and help guide your decision-making process. They also should know who takes first-time travel nurses if this applies to you so they can get you submitted to jobs quickly as they pop up. Time is of the essence here. Be sure to communicate your preferences, goals, and any specific requirements you may have. 

Reflect on your career goal

To strengthen your resume, consider your long-term career goals and how different locations may align with them. Consider the diversity of patient populations, exposure to advanced technologies, specialized training, or professional development opportunities. 

Red Flags

Trust your gut! If something doesn’t feel right, trust that and move on. Make sure to include everything in your contract in writing. Be wary of pay packages that seem too good to be true. In my experience the higher paying the assignment, the harder you will work. Also, be wary of pay packages that seem off; ask an expert, and seek a tax professional if needed.

Don’t overcommit yourself

There are many adjustments at the beginning of your travel nurse journey. Work the amount of hours that you are used to at your home hospital. You don’t want to be locked into working a bunch of overtime, and you will likely have the option to pick up extra hours at your discretion. One of the best perks of travel nursing is exploring a new, exciting city when you aren’t at work, so taking time to enjoy yourself and your surroundings is incredibly important.

Get Started on Your Travel Nurse Adventures

By considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can decide where you want to go as a travel nurse. Remember that flexibility and open-mindedness can also enhance your travel nursing experience as you explore with a purpose. Some of the places I loved the most were those I least expected to. Happy Travels!

Are you interested in travel nursing but don’t know where to start or if it’s the right career choice for you? Book a complimentary mentorship with me and get answers to your most pressing questions!

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