Starting a job as a travel nurse can be an exciting time. While you may look forward to seeing a new city and making friends, there are a lot of things to consider. Although two of the most important factors to consider are salary and benefits, there are other things to take into account. Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to ask some of the following questions.
What shifts are available?
Since nurses work around the clock, make sure you know what shift you will be working. Some nurses may be open to any shift while others may be averse to working overnights. In addition, you may want to ask if shifts are 12 hours long or eight.
How is scheduling done?
Some hospitals may provide you with a permanent schedule while others change it up every month. If this is important to you, find out in advance how scheduling works.
Is overtime available?
If you are hoping for extra hours and increasing your income, you may want to find out how often overtime is available. Although most hospitals may not be able to predict how much OT you will get, they can provide you with information on their overtime policy, such as whether OT has to be approved by a manager.
What is the cancelation policy?
When the hospital census is low, it is common for nurses to get canceled from their shift. As a traveler, you may be guaranteed a certain number of hours each week.
What is involved in orientation?
Hospital orientation for travelers may vary by facility. Some people are comfortable jumping right in. But others may prefer a thorough orientation. Determine if you are assigned a preceptor and for how long. Travelers often do not get the same type of orientation as permanent employees. The hospital may be short staffed, and you may be expected to jump right in.
Do travelers float to different departments?
You may be hired to work in a specific unit, such as the emergency room. But in some situations, healthcare travelers may be asked to float to another department, such as the intensive care unit. This may or may not be a big deal to you, but it is helpful to know what to expect before you start.
Have there been travelers there in the past?
A hospital that has hired travelers in the past may have a better understanding of the process. They may already have an orientation program in place for travelers, which can ease your transition.
How large is the facility?
You may already know how many beds the facility has when you first learned about the job, bt now is the time to get more details about the hospital, such as: the size of the ER, the number of critical care units, and how many buildings are part of the campus.
Are there educational and training opportunities for travelers?
As a traveler, you may be interested in learning new skills and getting additional training. If this is important to you, ask about opportunities to enhance your skills.