4 Interview Tips for Travel Nurses

Travel nurses interact with many different parties throughout the interview process. You work with an agency to connect you to hospitals or medical facilities. You also work with the medical hiring staff. That means your interviews can seem complex and even a bit confusing. By keeping a few ideas in mind, you will make a positive first impression.

Don’t Ask About Pay Packages at the Hospital

When you get to the interview with a hospital’s hiring manager or a medical facilities hiring staff, do not talk about your pay package. The pay package goes through your recruiter. If you have questions about the pay package or your benefits, then you want to talk to the recruiter or a representative of the agency connecting you to the medical facility.

Listen to the Other Party

Whether you are interviewing with a recruiter or the staff at a medical facility, allow them to talk. They will discuss your role at the hospital or facility. They also want to make sure you have listening skills. Do not talk over the other person. Allow them to talk and wait until they ask a question before you respond. Do not anticipate questions, since that may result in making a negative first impression.

Prepare for a Phone Conversation

A travel nurse does not always have the luxury of an in-person interview. Depending on the location of the position, you may not be close enough for an interview in person. That means you will usually have a series of phone interviews before you travel to the hospital or medical facility.

Prepare for phone interviews. Practice talking on the phone with friends or family members. Ask them to ask interview questions over the phone so you have a chance to practice for your interviews. You want to make sure you do not rush your answers or get nervous while talking on the phone. You also want a friend or family member to help you identify areas of weakness when you talk on the phone. For example, if you talk too quietly, then you want to practice speaking up to avoid miscommunication.

Ask Questions

Travel nurses face a variety of challenges when they move and start working in a new location. Before you agree to a new contract, take the time to ask questions about the medical facility. Ask if the facility has an orientation process and how the orientation process works. Ask if the facility has parking or if you must pay for parking. Ask about the size of the facility. Focus on questions related to the hospital or medical facility to ensure that you are a good fit for the role.

Interviews are the foundation of getting a new job. As travel nurses, you will go through several interviews as you take on new roles and exciting positions across the country. The key to making a positive first impression is ensuring that you ask the right questions and you prepare for the interview by practicing.

3 Loose Ends to Address Before Taking a Travel Nursing Assignment

Moving to a new location for a travel nurse position means you will have a few loose ends to tie up. You do not want to face undue challenges or problems because you forgot to handle an important detail before the move. Fortunately, you can reduce your stress as you travel by taking a few key steps before the move.

Get a P.O. Box

A P.O. box is an easy way to handle your mail when you go on an assignment. Change your mailing address to the P.O. box and pay for the box for the duration of your trip or an entire year. You will not need to worry about important mail getting lost or stolen from your house or a previous apartment when you have a P.O. box with your mail.

Talk to Loved Ones

Do not ignore your loved ones. Talk to them about your itinerary and plans. Make sure they know where you are planning to arrive and the time of your flight. You can also keep them up-to-date with the assignment and your expectations after you complete the assignment.

Take Care of Your Bills

Do not leave your bills sitting around until you return. Make sure you inform any companies that give you a bill about your plans. You may need to change your phone service or ask the company to change your location to avoid roaming charges. You also want to make sure you stop a newspaper delivery to your home and stop services like electricity, water or other utilities. Inform the company that you are moving for a short time and will contact them when you return.

Travel nursing means you will move regularly for your job. By tying up loose ends before you leave, you can focus on the needs of your patients without unnecessary distractions.

As always, remember that 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.

Ways to Maintain Circulation During a Long Shift

Working as a travel nurse means you will spend time on your feet. Depending on the job and your hours, you may spend as much as 8 to 12 hours a day on your feet. That means you need to take measures to keep your body healthy during a long shift.

Opt for Comfortable Shoes

The foundation of any job where you stand or walk for hours is wearing comfortable shoes. Forget those trendy and fun shoes. Opt for comfortable, non-slip shoes. Practical shoes play an essential role in your job as a travel nurse. It helps you stay comfortable during a long shift, so you can focus on your patients.

Wear Compression Socks or Stockings

Blood circulation is a major problem with standing or walking for hours each day. As a travel nurse, you have the added complication of regular driving and flights to each new job. That means you want to take measures to maintain your blood circulation. It will not help your patients if you struggle with your own health. By wearing compression socks or stockings, you improve your blood circulation to your feet and legs. That helps reduce your risk of varicose veins and spider veins.

Stretch During Your Breaks

Take breaks when you can and sit down. You also want to stretch during your breaks to help maintain blood circulation and keep your body in good health. Take a few minutes to stretch your muscles before you sit during your lunch break.

Good health is vital for any nurse. You need to care for your body, and that means taking measures to protect against poor circulation. By taking the right steps, you keep your feet, legs, and body healthy as you travel to different locations and you work long shifts as a 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.

Tips to Choose a Destination as a Travel Nurse

Travel nursing gives you a chance to explore new locations. Choosing the right location for your career can seem daunting when you have so many options. The key is focusing on the factors that are most important in your life and for your situation.

Consider Your Interests

The first factor to consider when looking into your options as a travel nurse is your personal interests. You will have free time during your stay in a new location, so you need to consider what you want to do on those days off. If you enjoy artistic ventures, then you want destinations with art museums or fun artistic endeavors. if you prefer outdoor adventures, then an area with hiking trails and access to nature may appeal to your interests. Narrow down your choices based on your interests and preferences for your explorations.

Look into Licensing Requirements

Licensing requirements are not the same in every state. You need to make sure you qualify for a license in a specific state before you apply for a travel nursing position in the state. If you do not meet the standards of a specific state, then you may need to take a few months to qualify for a license and obtain a license before you apply for a travel nurse position.

Factor in the Competition

Competition for a position varies for each location. A position in Hawaii may have more competition when compared to a position in Colorado. If you do not have the time to wait for a travel nurse position, then focus on locations with less competition.

Finding the right location for your role as a travel nurse may seem complex. You have multiple factors that impact your decisions. The key is focusing on the factors that are most important to your goals and then applying for the job.

Floating and Travel Nursing

When you take on a role as a travel nurse, you may find that hospitals and medical facilities expect you to float. They may ask you to adjust to a variety of changes throughout your time in the facility or hospital. By preparing in advance, you will not find yourself facing undue challenges when you start a new job.

What is Floating in Nursing?

When it comes to nursing, floating is a tool a staffing professional may use to help with staffing shortages at a hospital. It means that you are taken from your scheduled unit to work with a different unit in the hospital or medical facility. You may move around a few times during your stay at a specific hospital, but the rate of floating depends on the staffing shortages in the specific facility.

Expect Floating in Travel Nurse Roles

As a travel nurse, you are likely to be asked to float in some medical facilities. Travel nurses work for a hospital or facility on a short-term basis. Your role in the facility is to handle staffing shortages for a set time frame. It allows the hospital or facility to hire new professionals or to handle other challenges while you work with the patients.

Due to the temporary nature of your position, the facility may ask you to float to keep up with changes in staffing. If they hire a new nurse for a long-term role in their hospital, then you may find yourself working in a new unit. Travel nurses are the first professionals who may be asked to float, so expect the changes to avoid any confusion or problems during your work hours.

Floating is part of nursing. It allows the medical facility to provide for the needs of their patients. The key is preparing for the changes before you move into a new location so that you are not caught unaware when the hospital asks you to work with a new unit.

Factors that Impact your Job Search as a Travel Nurse

Taking on a new job is always exciting. When you enjoy traveling and want to incorporate your travel plans into a nursing career, a travel nurse position may seem like the best solution for your goals. Although travel nursing is an exciting career opportunity, you should be aware that it may take time before you actually start working in a job.

Licensing Requirements

The first factor that may impact your ability to start working as a travel nurse is your license. A travel nurse needs a nursing license in multiple states. Even if you are offered a position, you may find that you lose the job or need to wait to start the job until you finish any paperwork to get your license in a different state. Before you start looking into job opportunities, you will want to get a license for the states where you want to work. That will simplify the process when you are offered a position.

Specialty Skills

Your skills as a nurse also play a role in the job search. If you have specialized skills, then you may have fewer challenges with your search. General skills mean you will have more competition for positions and may find that it takes longer to get started in a new job. Although you can start working as a travel nurse while you obtain specific skills or further education, you want to focus on specialization as part of your long-term career plan.

The process to become a travel nurse differs slightly from traditional nursing. You will need a license for multiple locations and you need the right skills to appeal to potential employers. By taking the time to specialized in nursing and getting your paperwork in order, you will find that more employers show interest in giving you a new job.

3 Ways to Reduce Stress at Work

A travel nurse takes on a myriad of responsibilities. You take on paperwork, provide care to your patients, and you deal with unhappy and depressed individuals throughout your day. The added stress of working in a new environment on a regular basis means you need to take active measures to reduce your stress levels for your health. 

Take Deep Breaths

In an emergency situation, you do not always have time to deal with your own stress levels. A fast and easy way to cut back on stress in a high-intensity work environment is through deep breathing. Take a few seconds to slow down your breathing and take a deep breath. Breath in a for a few seconds, hold the breath and then exhale slowly. Repeat the process five to ten times. You will notice that your stress levels reduce and you are able to focus on caring for your patients.

Ask for a Break

Travel nurses may be asked to work long shifts. That means you are at the hospital or medical facility for an extended period. That can weigh on your mind, especially in high-intensity units like emergency care or the intensive care unit. When you feel overwhelmed by the stress, ask for a break. Even a five-minute break will give you a chance to step away from the situation and give your mind a break.

Talk to a Supervisor

Stress is not always in your control. If your stress relates to the actions of your co-workers or other situations that are not in your control, then talk to your supervisor. Ask for an adjustment to the schedule or for the supervisor to talk to the other party. Do not ignore problems until they get out of control and impact your health.

Stress management is a key part of any career. As a travel nurse, you will face stressful situations. By taking the time to address your stress levels, you can focus on your patients and their health.

3 Nursing Resume Mistakes to Avoid

A travel nurse spends more time looking for a job when compared to other nurses. That means you need a stellar and updated resume that catches the attention of potential employers. The key is avoiding mistakes and bad advice that will make it harder for a future employer.

Leaving Your License Number Off the Resume

As a travel nurse, you will have a nursing license number in multiple states. You do not want to leave your license number off your resume because it will complicate the process. A hiring manager does not always have the time to look up your license number in a state database. That means you get skipped over for the job because a hospital or medical facility may ask for a background check using your license number.

Avoiding Your GPA

Resume writing advice will often suggest that you ignore your GPA. As a nurse, this is not always the best idea for your resume. An excellent GPA can be the deciding factor between two potential candidates. It shows a willingness to put in the work to learn the skills and information a nurse needs in a clinical setting. 

Ignoring Your Contacts

When you look at advice related to resumes, you may notice that you are often told to follow the chain of command. While this may apply in some careers and fields, it is not great advice for a nurse to ignore his or her contacts. If you met a hiring director at a conference or another event, then send your resume to the individual and ask for consideration for a position. It may not result in a job every time, but your network plays an important role in your career opportunities.

Your resume is the first impression you make on a potential employer. As a travel nurse, you want it to stand out without giving up on simplicity. By taking the time to list relevant information, you help a hiring manager finalize their choice to give you an interview.

Tips for Traveling as a Nurse During the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a complicated time of year for many professionals. As a travel nurse, you may pick up new job opportunities as nurses and medical staff takes a vacation and break from their normal careers. The challenge is making the most of holiday traveling without risking your health. Simple tips to help you!

Prepare for Sickness

The winter season means you have a higher risk of getting a cold or flu. While you can get a flu shot to reduce your risk, you will still face a crowded environment at the airport. That means you want to prepare for the possibility of exposure to bacteria or viruses. Work on building up your immune health before you plan your trip. Bring a travel-sized hand sanitizer you can keep in your carry-on bag and use to keep your hands free of bacteria.

Go to the Airport Early

The holiday season is also a popular time for travel. That means you will spend more time at the airport trying to get through security and any other check-points that may exist. Plan ahead and leave early to get to the airport for your flight.

Pay Attention to Your Contract

A travel nurse may need to work on a holiday. Expect to have holiday hours, especially when you pick up an assignment that focuses on peak vacation time frames. You will want to look at the details of your contract to determine if you will have work on the holiday.

Travel nursing gives you a chance to enjoy unique aspects of a new location. That does not mean you will want to ignore the potential of health risks from the travel process. When you plan to work at a new position during the holiday season, you should take measures to prepare for your trip early and limit your risk of catching a cold or the flu.