Tips and Tricks for Your First Travel Nursing Assignment

11 Jan, 2024

Choosing to become a travel nurse is an exciting career path. Not only does it provide you with great benefits, but also it is an excellent way to grow and develop your career.

Whether you are deciding on where to start your first travel nurse assignment, or have already accepted an assignment, here are a few tips to give you a great head start:

Get Organized

Make sure all of your license information and health and immunization records are up to date. Carry copies of any necessary documentation with you, such as your passport, along with copies of licenses and certifications.

It’s All About Flexibility

Some companies will tell you that they can place you anywhere you want to go; however, this may not always be your first choice. Staying flexible with regards to location, clinical setting, and facility will not only help find you a contract quickly, it will help you stay gainfully employed with minimal time off. Once you have the required experience, you can be more selective about where you want to work.

Educate Yourself 

It is important to understand how the process works before you make a decision. There are a number of valuable travel nursing websites where you can gather information and ask your own questions. It can also be helpful to reach out to other travel nurses to get their insight and opinions.

Finding The Right Agency/Recruiter

As you begin to do your research, you will find some agencies are known for paying more, some for having the most openings and some for going above and beyond. Find one that will meet your expectations. Once you choose an agency, you will need to identify a recruiter within that agency with whom you want to work. It is best to find one who fits your personality and what you are looking for in an assignment. Do you prefer they call you or send you a text? How often do you want them to follow up with you? When you find a great recruiter, they will be with you every step of the way and do whatever it takes to find the right assignment for you. Be sure to communicate exactly what you want out of your travel assignment with your recruiter.

Handle Home Logistics

How will your mail be handled while you’re away? Will you forward it? What about deliveries? Can you arrange for someone to pick them up or have them put on hold? Electricity? Do you cancel it? Sometimes it is the little things that we forget about.

Have Two Bank accounts

This a good practice so you can keep track of expenses as well as input purchases on credit cards for tracking or taxes.


Most travel nurse agencies can provide lists of housing options. The choice is yours. Renting or staying near the hospital is a good idea in the event something happens to your car; you could walk or Uber to the hospital and not have to call off your shift. 

Arrive Early

There is nothing worse than being rushed, especially when it’s your first day. Allow plenty of time to arrive and be sure to arrive early. This is your one shot at making a first impression, so let it be a positive one. It’s a good idea to take a test drive before your first day if you can. Become familiar with where to park and how to get to your floor. Learn everything you can about the floor you will be working on. What is it like? How are things done? Where are the supplies kept?

Show Your Skills

As a first-time travel nurse, there will be a feeling of hesitation when working with staff nurses. You will find the majority of them to be courteous and professional. Once you are trained, don’t be afraid to jump in and start helping. They will view you as a viable part of the team. Keep a positive attitude during your entire assignment.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Prior to your assignment, you will go through an orientation. The policies and procedures of the facility will be reviewed with you at this time. Utilize this time to ask questions, especially if you don’t understand something. Ask them now, rather than later on in your assignment.

Get to Know Your Co-Workers

It is one of the easiest ways to settle in as a first-time travel nurse. Invite them out for a cup of coffee or lunch on your day off. Find out what you have in common. Having a few friends will help you have a successful first-time travel assignment.

Do some Sightseeing

Make some time to explore your new city. You are only there for a limited time, so make a mini-vacation out of it. Ask around for recommendations on attractions, restaurants, and activities. You can search sites such as Yelp for suggestions as well. 

Think About Your Next Assignment

You will be surprised by how fast 13 weeks goes by, and it easier to find a job when you have one. Around your 5th week, start thinking about where you want to go next. Do you want to extend? Do you want to try something else? Will you need to obtain a new license?

Now that you have read up on how to make your first assignment as successful as possible, it is time to take the leap and book your next adventure!

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