A Hidden Benefit to Travel Nursing

by Howard Gerber on March 14, 2013

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Maybe you’ve considered travel nursing, but don’t think it’s for you. You want to build a solid career, working your way up in a respectable hospital, being that nurse who knows everything and everybody. The go-to authority on all things in your department. It’s certainly an admirable goal. But how to achieve that?

If you’re early in your career, travel nursing can have some unexpected perks. There’s the obvious, getting to travel and see different areas of the country or the world; making your own schedule; choosing your assignments; bonuses and perks; but the real career benefit may be in opportunities and contacts.

Making the A-List
Have you ever dreamed of working at Johns Hopkins? It may be hard to get a job there without impressive references unless you have a degree from a premier school. But how do you get references from the movers and shakers in medicine? Travel nursing may provide those opportunities.

The first thing to do is research potential assignments. Choose hospitals where doctors are making the news in your specialty. Medicine is never stagnant, and when you expand your education, you also enhance your career. Take every opportunity to attend lectures, to meet and impress specialists, and to be helpful to people who attend and assist those specialists. Know enough to ask an interesting question or offer an informed opinion if you are presented with an opportunity. Make sure that every doctor, nurse, and administrator you meet along the way remembers your name…in a good way.

Always be networking
I can’t say it often enough. Even if there’s no chance for a personal discussion with an important person in the field, introduce yourself, shake hands, and ask for a business card. You can always attempt to engage later by sending an email with an intriguing subject line or joining a forum where doctors and nurses interact. The important thing is to persevere, and to be engaging, so people will want to know more about you. You may even try friending people you admire on Facebook or LinkedIn. Be careful about going overboard; you don’t want to cross the line into stalker territory. Just keep your communications efforts interesting, light, and lively.

Who’s your rockstar?
If you could have a personal conversation with anyone in your field, who would it be? We’re so connected today that engaging people in any line of work is no longer out of reach. You may have to do a little digging to find people you admire online, but you can be sure that they are somewhere. They may hang out in a forum or on a discussion board, on their own websites, or on Facebook or Twitter, but anyone with a viable career is online somewhere. And so are you. Think about it. And while you’re at it, think about how positive name recognition can open doors.

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