Preparing for Your First Travel Assignment

by Howard Gerber on March 21, 2013

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If you have decided to pursue your first nursing travel assignment, you may be both excited and a little nervous. It’s normal to have a bit of apprehension before starting a new job, especially one which will take you to a new area to live. Preparing for your first assignment by getting organized will help you relax and enjoy your new experience. Consider some of the suggestions below to help get you started.

 

Confirm Details
Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure you have read through your contract. Keep in mind, there may be room for some negotiating. For instance, if you are primarily interested in living alone, but were assigned a roommate, determine if an alternate living arrangement is possible. Some of the other details of your contract and assignment to consider include the following:

• Determine if health, dental and life insurance are included. Also, find out if you are given any paid sick time during your contract.
• Ask if housing is completely furnished. Accommodations can vary. Find out if you need to bring household items like linens, cookware, and towels.
• Make sure you know what shift and hours you will be working. Some hospitals offer 8, 10, or 12 hour shifts.
• If you plan to bring a pet, make sure your housing allows it, and find out whether you need a pet deposit.
• Decide if you will be using an exciting account and direct deposit for your pay. Another option is opening up a bank account at your new location.
Paperwork
As with the start of any new job, a traveling nursing assignment will require you to fill out paperwork. The staffing agency will likely help you with the process of obtaining a nursing license in the state where your assignment will be. You will also need a copy of your immunization record, a negative TB test, and copies of certifications, such as BLS or ACLS. The staffing agency will likely have forwarded all needed paperwork to your new employer, but it never hurts to bring extra copies just in case.

Packing Up
Depending on your current living situation, packing up may be as easy as filling your bags and hitting the road. In other instances, you may need to lease your apartment or secure your home. Make a list of things you need to do, such as shutting off utilities, forwarding mail and cleaning out your refrigerator. If you own a home and it will be empty while you are gone, it’s a good idea to let a trusted neighbor know you are away in order to keep an eye on things.

If you’re trying to decide what to bring, you may be limited by whether you are flying or driving to your new destination. In addition to clothes, you may want to bring items, such as a laptop, books, and personal items. A few small items from home including pictures, candles and pillows, may make your new space feel homier.
There may seem like lots to do before your first day, but the better prepared you are for your assignment, the smoother it may go. Keep in mind, even with preparation a few unexpected situations may arise. Be flexible, stay in touch with your staffing agency and enjoy your adventure.

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