Before you can pack up and hit the road on a nurse traveler job, you have to interview for the position. The interview is a chance for the hospital to decide if you would be a good fit for their facility. But an interview should not only be about whether the hospital wants you. It is also a chance for you to determine if you want to work for the hospital.
When you decide to pursue a nurse traveler position, you are probably eager to get started. But taking a job, which does not feel like the right fit will not be good for anyone involved. Before signing your travel contract, there are some questions you may want to ask during your interview.
- Have you had nurse travelers in the past? A facility that has hired travelers in the past may have policies in place for training and orientation. If a facility has never used a traveling nurse, that does not mean they will do a bad job handling a traveler, it is just something to be aware of.
- What type of orientation do travelers receive? Even if you are an experienced nurse, every hospital or healthcare facility is different. Find out how long orientation is and what is involved.
- Are there other travelers on the unit? If the hospital uses a lot of travelers, it could be a plus. Hospitals may have experience dealing with nurse travelers. But, on the other hand, if a facility is always using travelers, it may raise red flags on why the facility does not have adequate permanent staffing.
- How long are your shifts? Some nurses have a strong preference when it comes to working certain shifts. Even if you don’t care, it is helpful to know whether you will be working 12-hour or 8-hour shifts.
- Do you extent contracts for travelers? It may be hard to know if you are interested in extending your contract before you even start an assignment. But knowing what the hospital has done in the past may give you an indication of what they may do in the future.
- What is your cancelation policy? Hospitals typically cancel staff when the census is low. As a healthcare traveler, you may be guaranteed a certain number of shifts per pay period. Most hospitals have a policy in place which states in what order they cancel staff shifts. If you need to work a certain amount of hours each week, knowing the cancellation policy in advance can be a deciding factor in whether you accept a position.
- Do nurses float to other units? Some nurses enjoy the opportunity to float to other nursing units if needed. Others may prefer not to float. If this is a concern for you, it may be a good question to ask.
Knowing what you can expect from a healthcare facility can help prevent any negative surprises when you start a position. Keep in mind, some questions may be better answered by your staffing agency.