Travel nurses form the backbone of healthcare systems worldwide. Wherever there is a shortage of nursing staff, the hospitals can apply for travel nurses or open up positions that traveling nurses can occupy.
There was a very severe nurse shortage in the 1970s. When hospitals and care homes were filled with patients needing care, there were no nurses to fill up positions. That’s when independent agencies started recruiting nurses by offering increased benefits, higher-than-average pay while also covering the costs of relocation and housing.
Now, thousands of nurses are affiliated with independent staffing agencies. These agencies provide nurses to cover the shortage, no matter where it occurs. Hospitals employ travel nurses across all states. Agencies often use them to aid in short-term employment gaps. Not only that but travel nurse agencies can also send them to work outside the US as international travel nurses. The charm and excitement of traveling and exploring are all there in this job. However, the best part is that the hospitals pay these nurses better salaries and improved benefits.
Packing As A Travel Nurse
If you are a traveling nurse, packing will be a common occurrence in your life. Every few months (sometimes even weeks), you will need to pack your belongings and head to a new city. You encounter different living arrangements in different cities. Sometimes, the luggage restrictions force you to leave behind half your stuff.
Being a travel nurse, it is essential to know which of your items are essential. Which are the ones you can do without when traveling to a new destination? With limited baggage allowed per person, it is impossible to pack everything.
On top of that, no destination is permanent. So, it is important not to carry too much stuff with you. Lugging it all back once your trip is over will be a hassle.
Here we will give you seven expert tips that will help you pack all the right things before embarking on your next nursing adventure. So let’s dive in!
Know The Duration
Travel nursing trips differ from one another in their duration. Most of the assignments are 13 weeks, but 4, 6, 8, and 26-week duties are also possible. Sometimes, agencies may ask some travel nurses to extend their trip. Meanwhile, other travel nurses might be jetting off to their next expedition. Travel nurses will pack depending on how long they will be away. It also depends on where they will be spending most of their time. Shorter trips need less packing as compared to longer stays.
Consider The Location
The location is another crucial aspect that you need to consider when traveling. If you are traveling to a warmer region, your scrubs and daily wear will have to be made of thin material. When traveling to colder areas, jackets, sweaters, scarves, socks, and boots will be occupying a lot of space in your luggage.
It is important to know the location you are traveling to. This will allow you to make informed choices regarding your wardrobe. There is nothing worse than reaching a new place and being stranded in the pouring rain in a breezy outfit meant for the sunny seaside.
You can also consider potential activities you might take part in when reaching a new location. Snowy, mountainous regions will need a pair of snow skis, whereas warm cities with sunny beaches will need swimwear and sunblock.
What Does The Travelling Agency Provide
Different agencies provide different housing facilities to their employees. Some agencies offer furnished housing complete with houseware and even cleaning packages. So, don’t worry about the place’s upkeep.
Such offers often include pots, pans, dinnerware, silverware, towels, linens, a broom, mop, vacuum, and other cleaning supplies. On the other hand, some agencies only offer the furnishings. Don’t rely on ambiguous statements like “fully furnished” or “turn-key housing,”. Sometimes, you may find appliances you expected unavailable.
For example, “fully-furnished” may or may not include a dishwasher. After finding out exactly the kind of accommodation your agency is providing, you can start making a list of items that you will need to take with you.
List Regular Use Items
The next ste p is to make a list of items that you use regularly. Everyone uses common items, such as shampoos, toothbrushes, towels, pajamas, and slippers. There may be some items that may or may not be present on every person’s list, such as yoga mats, alarm clocks, hot water bottles, etc.
Similarly, some nurses love the convenience of slow cookers to help them easily prepare meals that are ready to eat after a long shift. Others have never used a slow cooker and never will. Some of us exercise all the time, and others don’t. Some read books, paint, or play the guitar regularly, and others don’t.
Depending on your daily routine and habits, make a list of items you need to take. Humans are creatures of habit, and leaving something behind that you may want to use every day can make the trip uncomfortable.
Consider Second-Hand Goods And Thrift Stores
Often, travel nurse agencies expect travel nurses to hop from one location to another without getting a chance to return home in between. Packing can be a hassle for these people as the two locations could have completely different climates, or lugging around stuff for multiple nursing trips can get quite a lot. To avoid this, many travel nurses opt to purchase a lot of items at the local thrift stores and second-hand goods stores. This prevents them from carrying around too much luggage and not having to worry about their belongings getting damaged in transit. You can resell the items or donate them to The Goodwill and The Salvation Army when you are leaving.
While that is true, some travel nurses are opposed to this idea as they do not want to spend money every time they relocate. On top of being an expense on every new assignment, most nurses also avoid this as it creates too much unnecessary waste. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint and only want to use your own items, this approach may not work for you.
Use A Packing App
Numerous packing apps are now available to help you keep track of the things you need and make lists of stuff you will need to take along. They allow you to conveniently save your packing lists and create lists for different situations and destinations.
These Apps will even pre-populate with a list of recommended items that you can keep or discard at your convenience. They have the potential to help you save a lot of time in the long run. These apps also have features to suggest items to pack based on your previous lists.
The most popular Packing App that I’m aware of is called PackPoint. It’s available for both iOS and Android. If your phone does not have space or you do not want to download another app, you can use some websites. Those websites will generate packing lists for you based on the destination, weather conditions, duration of stay, accommodations, and other details.
Ask Your Travel Nursing Company For More
Most travel nursing companies have sufficient budgets to provide their nurses with appropriate housing. Monthly charges for items are usually low. The nursing company may be offering you the minimum package. For instance, if they don’t include cleaning supplies in the package, ask them if they can.
The furnishing services usually charge $35 to $50 per month. A large TV is mostly around $25-$50 more per month, while a housewares package is about $125 more. The prices may vary according to locations and housing, but it never hurts to ask. Doing so could save you tons of packing space if you’re successful.
How To Become A Traveling Nurse
A traveling nurse is a coveted position that many people want. There’s the obvious benefit of traveling around the world. Then, there are the additional advantages. Higher pay, better benefits, including better wages for working overtime, flexibility in schedule, shorter working periods in one place, and exploring new cities and states. To be a traveling nurse, there are some criteria that you need to fulfill.
A traveling nurse needs to be competent and outgoing. Shy and timid people often cannot thrive in this domain as you have to travel and meet new people every day. Travel nursing is not for you if you do not thrive in temporary positions and like to set roots.
A travel nurse should enjoy flexible work hours and wages, vacation time, and sick leave. As a travel nurse, much of your time will be spent doing new things. Learning new languages, skills, organizational systems, and techniques that you were previously unaware of should be your main skill. If you enjoy taking on new challenges and thrive on competition, travel nursing is the best possible occupation for you.
Are you interested in the specialty of travel nursing? You need to first pursue a nursing degree through a two or four-year university program. Obtaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing is the minimum requirement.
A BSN is not essential to be a travel nurse, but some health care facilities only hire BSN-prepared nurses. The staffing agency in which the nurse is employed then matches the nurse appropriately based on educational requirements. After completing an accredited nursing program, successfully completing the NCLEX-RN is required for licensure.
In order to be a travel nurse, no additional exams are required. However, if you are planning to pursue a specialty nursing, some additional certifications might be helpful. These include Basic Life Support (BLS), and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). Some agencies also require Stroke care certification, Telemetry certification, Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Critical care nursing certification. These certifications are for adult, pediatric, and neonatal units.
Travel nursing is a profession that is getting more and more popular with every passing day. Many nurses are opting for travel nursing. There is a huge number of benefits associated with it that make it a great option.
While the perks sound divine, many people do not take into account the trouble of shifting every few weeks or months and having to carry around your belonging at all times. If you pack sensibly, the chances of leaving behind essential items are significantly less. This way, your trip is bound to be more comfortable and fun.