After completing my first contract in Iowa City and now starting my second contract in Oakland, I have gathered some helpful tips to consider when signing your next contract- both from personal experience and from travel friends I have met along the way.
First at foremost, know what you want out of your travel experience.
Is it the money, the location or the work experience?
It is important to know what you are looking for so that you can make conscious decisions on who you sign a contract with. It’s also the first question your agency recruiter will ask you.
There are nurses that will take 3K a week no matter what hospital it is. Some will only travel to magnet hospitals where they know nurses are a priority. Some will take just enough money to make ends meet but are in their ideal location. That’s the awesome thing about this type of career path. It really is up to you.
BUT, just as much as you are interviewing for a position, you should also be interviewing the facility. It is important to know about the facility before you accept a position based solely on the pay and location.
Do your research.
It may only be 13 weeks, but it is also your nursing license that is on the line. Most facilities give 1-2 shifts of orientation and you are on your own so it is important to ask questions during your interview to make sure it is a good fit. From patient safety down to parking, all questions are important. To be well-informed about where you will work for 3 months before packing up your life is crucial and will save a lot of stress and anxiety once you arrive on your first day.
Questions to Ask About the Facility
- Is the hospital an academic facility? Magnet?
- What is the charting system?
- What is the medication dispensing system?
- What is the culture of the unit?
- Is the unit traveler friendly? If yes, how so?
- What is the nurse-patient ratio?
- What is the physician coverage like?
- What is the ordering process like? Electronic or written?
- What will my orientation be like? How many days?
- What color scrubs are permitted?
- How is the scheduling done? Is there flexibility?
- What is the weekend requirement?
- What units can I float to?
- What is the parking fee?
More often than not, your interviewer or recruiter will answer a lot of these questions without you even having to ask, but they are important.
So clearly I have a lot to say about travel nursing, huh? I will break up the information into a lil series action. The next post will talk about the most important part:
(dun dun dun)