3 Ways to Pack Light as a Travel Nurse

Travel nursing is a fun way to explore new locations and focus on your passion as a nurse. The key is packing light to maintain your flexibility as you work in different locations. You do not want to take more than you can handle on a flight, but you also need enough of your belongings to feel at home in a new location.

Check the Weather Patterns

Before you start planning your trip, check the local weather patterns. If you are planning a trip in the summer, then you will want light clothes that fit the environment. If you are planning to travel in the winter, then you may need a coat and other warm clothes to handle colder temperatures. Look at averages for the duration of your contract to ensure you pack to fit the location.

Pay Attention to the Schedule

Your schedule at the hospital or medical facility will impact your packing process. If you have four days of ten-hour shifts, then you will want at least four sets of work-appropriate attire. You may want one or two extras to handle any last-minute changes to the schedule. If you have five days of eight-hour shifts, then you need more clothing for work. Look at your contract and the expectations of your employer to ensure that you have enough work attire.

Roll Your Clothes

An easy way to fit more clothing into your carry-on baggage is rolling your clothes. It takes up less space than folding and you will have fewer wrinkles in your clothes. You can also roll your clothes in your checked baggage, but make sure you do not exceed the weight limits for the airline.

Traveling light means you only take the items you need for your travel nursing assignment. The key is planning for the weather and packing according to your schedule and the potential weather patterns so you do not bring unnecessary items that you will not use or wear during your stay in a new area.

4 Things to Check on Your Car Before a Road Trip

Planning a road trip to reach a new assignment as a travel nurse means you will spend hours behind the wheel of your car. Although a road trip is exciting and fun, you also want to make sure you check on your vehicle before you start the trip.

Check the Fluids

The fluids in your vehicle are a key part of your trip. You want to check the oil, coolant and other fluids before you start driving. Do not assume that you have enough fluids or that you do not need to change the fluids until you look under your hood.

Check Your Tires

The tires are essential for any road trip. Take a look at your tires before the trip and check that it has enough tread for the long drive. If you have any concerns, then change the tires. You also want to double-check that you have a spare tire in case you hit anything on the road that causes a flat tire.

Change the Wipers

Windshield wipers are a key part of driving. In ideal conditions, you will not hit any major storms during your drive. Unfortunately, you can end up driving through rainy or snowy weather conditions. By changing the wipers before the trip, you will keep your windshield clean during a storm.

Get Proper Maintenance 

Maintenance is part of any road trip. Get your car checked by the right professionals and have your tires rotated before the trip. Get proper maintenance completed to ensure that your car will handle the road without a hitch.

A travel nurse spends time out on the road, so a vehicle is an important part of your career. When you plan to drive to your next job, you should check your vehicle before the trip to avoid problems.

3 Ways to Show You Care When You Are on The Road

Relationships are challenging at any time. When you work as a travel nurse, you want to take measures to balance out the difficulties by taking measures to keep up with your relationship. Finding little ways to show that you care and to let your significant other know that you care is not as difficult as it might appear at first glance. The key is recognizing the challenge and then focusing on ways to address the situation.

Send Your Significant Other a Meal

Online tools make it easier to send a loved one a meal when you are on the road. Simply order a meal from one of their favorite restaurants through a delivery service. Have the meal sent directly to their door and surprise them with an unexpected meal.

You can also ask the restaurant to send a note to a loved one. Leave a comment on the order asking the delivery driver to inform your loved one that you sent the meal and you are thinking of your significant other. It will make the meal memorable and will give you something to talk about during your next conversation.

Make Your Communication Plans Clear

Before you move for your next job as a travel nurse, talk to your loved ones about the methods they can use to contact you. Make clear plans for communication during your travels. This is particularly important when you are not able to bring a significant other to a new destination due to a clash with your work schedules or career paths.

Set up specific times for phone conversations. Have a clear plan of action in case an emergency occurs and your loved one needs to contact you at a time when you are working. Make time for social media and ensure that your loved ones have accounts on appropriate social media sites. By taking measures to make communication easier, you will notice that your relationships improve despite the distance you travel as a nurse.

Make a Plan for Special Events

Perhaps the most daunting part of working as a travel nurse is missing a holiday with loved ones or missing out on a big celebration. You may not be able to travel home for a special event, but you can still plan for the event. Consider sending a gift through Amazon or a similar online website. Many shopping websites allow you to send a gift with a note to your significant other or a loved one.

You can also plan ahead for a video chat with your loved ones. While you may need to work around a long shift and plan the conversation early in the day or late at night, you can still participate in the event with a video conversation.

Travel nurses must prepare for the difficulties of leaving family and friends behind when taking on a new job. When you are leaving a spouse or a partner behind, it can seem even more challenging to keep up with your relationship. Fortunately, you do have options to show that you care by sending loved ones a meal, giving gifts on special events or even setting up a system for communication when you are on the road.

3 Ways to Stay Connected With Loved Ones While Traveling as a Nurse

This is for everyone that is thinking about traveling as a nurse on assignment, but are afraid to take the leap! These are some simple reminders that while you are off exploring, you can still be connected with family and friends back home.  A 13 week assignment away is not very long, but does give you an opportunity to meet new people, see new things and make a lifetime of memories.

When you travel as a nurse, you may find that you miss some of the big celebrations in the lives of your friends and family. You may feel disconnected from them as you focus on helping your patients. While it does seem difficult to stay connected, you do have options to make the process easier.

Take Advantage of Your Smart Phone while traveling as a nurse

A smart phone gives you a clear advantage when it comes to staying connected to your loved ones. You can use the phone to call, text message or even Face Time your loved ones during special events. You can also use the phone for social media.

Take advantage of your connectivity by keeping up with your phone plan. Contact your cell phone service provider and make sure that you will not pay exorbitant prices in roaming when you travel. If you have concerns about the cost of making a call or using your data in different states, then consider a plan that gives you more flexibility. A plan that does not have roaming throughout the United States will allow you to maintain your phone number while still keeping in touch with your loved ones.

Send Gifts Through Amazon

Online purchases give you a chance to give loved ones a gift on a special event. Whether you are looking for a gift that helps a new high school graduate move into college life or you want to send a loved one a birthday gift, Amazon and other online stores give you the opportunity to send a gift without a packing and shipping nightmare.

Order the gift online and mark it as a gift. You can even leave a short message to a loved one so they know you were thinking of them when you ordered the gift. Send the gift to their address and make sure it will arrive in time for the special event.

Make Use of WiFi

Free WiFi is available in a variety of stores, coffee shops, restaurants and localities. While you may not be able to send emails to your loved ones during work hours, you can make use of WiFi in your spare time. Enjoy the opportunity to send a message to friends or family members when you have time during a day off or when you are exploring a new location.

You can also use WiFi to connect to loved ones through social media. Post photos and comments on the local area. Explain what you like about the new location and keep your loved ones up-to-date with your current situation. Social media and easy access to online hotspots gives you a chance to keep up with your friends and family while also sharing the fun when you explore a new state.

Traveling as a nurse you will find a variety of challenges with their career path. You need the flexibility to keep up with the challenges of your work while maintaining contact with your loved ones. Fortunately, modern technology makes it easier to keep in touch and tell your loved ones that you are thinking about them during important life events and special occasions.

4 Tips to Handle Your Resume When You Transition from Travel Nursing to a Permanent Position

Travel nursing a complex career path. You take on a series of short-term positions in different locations. That means you want to focus on setting your resume apart without making it appear that you are not in a stable career. By taking measures to improve your resume, you can connect to the right medical facility for your career goals.

Focus on the Agency

The first consideration for your resume when you want to apply for a permanent position is the method you use to describe your work history. You do not always want to focus on each position. As a travel nurse, you may end up taking on four to six different jobs throughout a single year. Listing every position and your work in every medical facility does not always make sense.

A simple way to bring your experience into a cohesive whole and cut back on the size of your work experience section is focusing on the agencies helping you find a position. The agencies play a significant role in connecting you to a position. By focusing on the agency, you make your resume appear more stable.

Focus on the Facility 

If you are not comfortable focusing on the agency, then you can also list the medical facilities you worked with as a travel nurse. The facilities may range from hospitals to small doctor offices and medical care facilities. This is a useful way to highlight your experience without focusing on the travel aspect of your career. It is particularly useful when you work in facilities that have multiple locations and you worked in several of the locations over your career.

The downside of listing your experience based on the facility is that it will make your resume appear more choppy. That means you may end up near the bottom of a listing for a position. It is most useful when you have experience in prominent and well-respected hospitals.

Keep it Short

Do not fill in so much experience that your resume takes up several pages. A travel nurse takes on multiple roles over time. You may have experience in a large number of facilities. You want to keep your resume short to limit the risk of losing a position because your resume was too long. Ideally, you want the resume to be one page long. It is a quick overview of your experience, so focus on the last few jobs and your responsibilities.

Pay Attention to Your Address

Your address is important when it comes to finding a permanent job. An applicant tracking system, or ATS, may short candidates based on their proximity to the facility. Do not lie about your address. Use your current address, even if you are transitioning between locations at the time you submit your resume. Update your address regularly to avoid complications with your address.

Moving into a permanent position from travel nursing is a process. You want to make sure you update your resume to reflect the goal of working in a permanent facility. Avoid a choppy and unfocused resume by focusing on your experience with an agency. You also want to focus on concise language that keeps your resume short an

3 Tips to Enjoy Your First Travel Nursing Job

Starting out as a travel nurse is exciting and a bit scary. You may have some worries about starting a new job and your role as a nurse. You may even have concerns about the travel process. By taking time to address your concerns, you will adapt quickly to a new position and reach your goals as a nurse.

Keep Your Packing Light

A travel nurse does not stay in one place for long. That means you do not need your entire wardrobe, every piece of furniture or every pair of shoes. Expect to move after a few months. You want to pack light so you are able to keep track of your belongings. It also makes it easier to get to your destination when you only have a suitcase and a carry-on bag.

Pack your essentials and keep the rest in storage or in your hometown. You do not want to carry so much that it complicates your travel plans. Focus on filling up one suitcase for your clothing and essentials. If you need a few more items, then try to fit it into a carry-on bag or a small suitcase.

Connect With Other Nurses

When you start working as a travel nurse, you may feel alone. You are starting out in a new location and you expect to move after a few short months. That can lead to some loneliness as you adjust to the new job. Fortunately, technology makes it easier to stay connected and to meet new people.

Start out with connecting to loved ones by setting up social media accounts and adding loved ones to your friends. You can also look for social media groups that specifically focus on travel nursing. By connecting to other nurses who have experience in travel nursing, you will have support for some of your initial questions, concerns and goals. You can ask for advice or get extra help settling into a new location.

Set up a Friendly Relationship With Your Co-Workers

Even though you will not stay in one facility for an extended period, you do want to connect to your co-workers and develop a friendly relationship. It will help you adjust to the new environment and give you a chance to explore new friendships. Since you are not involved in the politics of the facility, you also have a chance to help out when others are unable to focus on specific jobs. You allow your co-workers to relax, which will help your patients by ensuring that the relationship between nurses and other medical staff is friendly. When you are friendly, your co-workers will also be willing to help you out until you settle into your new role.

Starting out as a travel nurse seems daunting. You will have questions and concerns that arise throughout your first assignment. Fortunately, you can take measures to enjoy your excursion to a new location while you also help your patients with their healthcare needs. The key is focusing on building up friendly relationships with your co-workers, building new friendships with other travel nurses and making sure you are not bogged down with unnecessary belongings that waste your time while you travel.

4 Stress Relief Tips for Travel Nurses

Working as a nurse means you face a variety of complicated situations. You work in a high stress environment and you need to handle the challenges of caring for your patients. A travel nurse has the added challenge of adapting to a new environment and taking on high stress shifts in a medical facility. When you work as a travel nurse, you want to take measures to reduce your stress and keep calm in the workplace.

Set a Routine

A routine is not always easy when you work as a travel nurse. You may face challenges with the work environment that relate directly to your work hours. By setting a clear routine, you limit the risks to your health and your mind.

Try to get up at the same time each day. Do not sleep in on your day off, since that can throw off your sleep schedule when you return to your normal work hours. Instead, get up at the same time and follow a basic morning routine. The more you stick to a routine, the easier you will transition into your new position and job.

Take Time for Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a simple way to calm down in a stressful situation. Take a long and deep breath in, hold your breath for a few seconds and then release your breath slowly. Repeat the process until you feel calm and can face the challenges of your work without feeling overwhelmed.

Even though it takes only a few seconds, you focus on your breathing. That gives your mind a short break from the stressful situation and helps you refocus on finding a solution. You can also use deep breathing for stress relief as part of your daily routine.

Consider Meditation

Meditation is shown to have a positive impact on your stress levels. While it is not always easy to meditate, you can benefit from a few minutes of meditation each morning. Start out with five to ten minutes of sitting in a quiet place and allowing your mind to clear. You want to focus on the present moment, so you can use a tool like meditation music, a burning candle or even a flower as a focus. Observe your focus without allowing other thoughts to clutter up your mind. If a thought enters your mind, acknowledge that you have a thought and then let it go. The practice will give your mind a break and help you organize your thoughts.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Diet is often overlooked in a high stress environment. As a nurse, you want to take care of your health so you are able to help others with their health. That means you need to eat a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein. Do not skip meals when you are able to eat a meal.

Stress relief is an on-going process for any travel nurse. Since you work in a high-stress environment, you want to take active measures to address your stress levels and maintain your health. The key is taking steps to give your mind and body a break while also giving your body the fuel to handle the challenges of your work.

3 Negotiation Tips for Travel Nurses

Taking on a travel nurse contract does not mean you must give up on your pay and benefits. Even though you take on a nursing role for a short time frame, you do have options to negotiate your pay, benefits or hours before you start a new job. The key is having the right strategies to ensure that you are asking for a fair adjustment to the contract.

Research the Area

Before you take any steps to negotiate with a potential employer, you want to research the local area. Find out about the pay a nurse receives in the local area. You want a per-hour rate as well as a salary rate to have a clear idea of the going rate for the local area.

This is particularly important if you have specialized skills and plan to work as a travel nurse in a specialized position. The pay rate for different areas may vary based on the local cost of living. You should also be aware that a stipend for your rent and other expenses is part of your pay package, so you want to add it to your hourly rate before you assume that you are not paid a similar rate to other nurses in the local area.

Find Out More About the Contract

Do not ignore the contract. Read the details of the specific contract and make sure you understand every detail of the current contract. Even if you have worked in a travel nurse position in other locations, the details of a contract may vary between medical facilities and localities. You do not want to overlook critical information when you ask for an adjustment to the contract.

Take your time and read the details thoroughly to ensure you know everything. You can then make notes about what you want to ask and what you are willing to accept in your contract. Make sure you understand the information if you have any questions or concerns about the original contract.

Give Clear Reasons for Your Requests

Negotiation is a process that focuses on benefiting both parties. You do not want to go into the process with the assumption that a facility is able to pay more for your work or that the requests you want to make will benefit your new employer. Before you go into the negotiation, clarify your reasons for the request. You want to show how the changes will benefit the medical facility. Use your research into the local area and your knowledge of the current contract to help support your requests.

Allow a potential employer to come back with a new offer. You may find that they offer more in some areas and have strict standards in others. The key to successful negotiation is focusing on a fair contract that benefits both parties.

Negotiating your contract as a travel nurse is a process. You want to make sure your prepare in advance to avoid unnecessary challenges with your requests. By taking the time to research the local area and setting up clear standards for what you will accept in your contract, you can get the position that fits your experience and goals.

4 Tips to Prepare for a Road Trip When Working as a Travel Nurse

A travel nurse spends time on the road or transitioning from one job into the next job. That means you want to take measures to prepare for your travel plans before you actually get into a car or get on a plane. It is particularly important when you plan to drive to your next job because you do not want to make your road trip an unpleasant experience.

Check Your Vehicle

This may seem obvious, but it is essential for any road trip. As a travel nurse agency, we have your back and want to help you have a successful and safe journey. You do not want to get on the Interstate only to have your car break down before you travel ten miles up the road. The situation gets worse when your vehicle breaks down at the halfway point between your original location and your new job.

Take the time to check your vehicle. Change your oil and check the other fluids in your car. Fill up your gas tank and get any weird sounds checked by a professional to avoid unnecessary delays in your travel plans.

Plan Your Route

Set a clear route for your trip. Do not assume that your vehicle’s GPS is the ideal tool for your route. The GPS may take you through a complicated route when you are not careful about your plan.

Get out a map and make sure you know your route. Use the GPS as a tool to assist with your plans, but make sure you already know the basics of your route to avoid getting lost or wasting time driving around in circles.

Give Yourself Enough Time

A road trip is a meandering trip. You will not reach your destination after a few short hours. Depending on the distance from your home town to your new travel nurse position, you may spend several days on the road. The trip will take longer if you stop for detours or to check out interesting tourist sites along your trip.

Plan your visits to tourist destinations and make sure you have an idea of how far you can drive each day. You also want to make sure you take stops for meals and short breaks to stretch out as part of your travel time. When you are clear on the time you need to drive the total distance, give yourself at least one or two extra days to account for any unexpected problems.

Pack Snacks and Beverages

Do not ignore your need to stay healthy and hydrated. Pack a few healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables or nuts as part of your trip. You also want to make sure you have some water in the car. Use your judgment for other beverages, but plan out a few snacks and water as part of your trip. It is not always prudent to stop for a meal and you do not want to get dehydrated during your drive.

A road trip is a fun way to enjoy the process of traveling to a new job. The key is preparing in advance to avoid unnecessary problems during your trip. By taking the time to plan out your drive and check on your vehicle, you can focus on the road and on to your career as a successful travel nurse!

Evaluating Taxable Pay in Travel Nursing

Travel nursing pay packages are a complicated process. You have different forms of payment and benefits. Although part of your pay is taxable, you also receive non-taxable income via housing stipends, travel reimbursement and funds for specific needs. By evaluating the package carefully, you can avoid complications with your taxes and prevent IRS red flags when filing your paperwork.

What is Taxable Income?

Taxable income as a travel nurse is the hourly wage you earn from your time in a facility or hospital. The hourly wage may vary significantly between positions and locations, so you should pay attention to the details when you look at your pay package.

Non-taxable income refers to the benefits you receive that do not require taxes. In travel nursing, the non-taxable benefits and income is usually travel reimbursement, a housing stipend and any other funds you receive that are not part of your normal wages. For example, if you receive funds to help with health insurance or health-related costs, then you do not always pay taxes on the funds.

When you file your taxes, you use your taxable income to calculate your tax bracket and your tax responsibilities. The non-taxable income, or benefits, do not require you to pay taxes to the IRS.

How to Recognize a Red Flag in Travel Nursing Pay

Although a travel nurse position gives you a chance to enjoy non-taxable income and benefits, you want to use caution when you look at available positions. You want to avoid any position that has a clear red flag in your payment structure.

A red flag is a pay package that will catch the attention of the IRS when you file your taxes. Essentially, it is a pay package that puts too much into the non-taxable income and keeps the taxable income at a rate that seems too low. The IRS has a large amount of data to draw on for comparisons. When a pay package seems to focus too much on non-taxable income, it may appear that you are not paying the appropriate amount of taxes. That results in the IRS auditing your taxes.

Your Personal Situation

Your personal situation also contributes to your tax responsibilities. If you do not have a mortgage or a property you rent in your hometown, then you may not qualify for certain non-taxable funds. You should also be aware that the IRS may audit you if you do not return to your hometown on a regular basis. A travel nurse has a complicated work situation. You travel to and from different locations, which means you do not spend most of your year in your hometown.

If you do not return home regularly, the IRS may assume that you moved. That may result in the IRS auditing you and requiring you to pay taxes on all of your income. Pay attention to the potential factors that limit your non-taxable income to avoid complications on your taxes.

Taxes are complicated, even when you do not work as a travel nurse. By working as a travel nurse, you want to evaluate your taxable and non-taxable income to find the right strategy for your financial goals. The key is ensuring that you do not lose your tax home by renting out your property, staying away from your hometown too long or giving up your rental property when you travel as a nurse.