What I Wish I’d Known: Advice for New Travel Clinicians

Job Seeker

Young girl hiking on a trail

By Elle Koris 

Embarking on a career as a travel nurse or allied health professional is an exhilarating endeavor, filled with adventures and growth. But like any new journey, there are things we wish we knew beforehand.  In this blog, seasoned travel nurse, Abigail Morgan, shares some words of wisdom and valuable insights from her own experiences. From embracing the learning curve to seizing unique opportunities, these lessons offer guidance to aspiring travel clinicians venturing into something new and exciting!

Give Yourself Grace

Starting as a travel nurse can feel like a lot; the pressure of excelling in a new facility where you don’t know the ins and outs of the hospital can be overwhelming. However, it’s essential to remember that it’s okay not to know everything right away.

“So many people say that when you travel you need to be ready to ‘hit the ground running’ and this is true in a lot of ways when it comes to basic nursing skills,” said Morgan. “It is impossible to memorize every policy, every shelf in the supply room, and every corner of the charting system.”

Instead, allow room for growth. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, research policies, and seek support. The willingness to learn and adapt is crucial to being a successful travel nurse.

Embrace Your Surroundings

Each travel assignment presents a unique opportunity to explore new places and try new things. Beyond the hospital walls, take time to immerse yourself in the community and enjoy your new home away from home.

“I have so far been on three assignments and in each place I have worked I have explored not only the local coffee shops and malls, but also the hiking trails, asked around for local favorites, and took advantage of unique local opportunities.”

Embracing the season of each location enhances your travel experience and creates lasting memories. From spontaneous day trips to neighboring states to savoring local cuisines, make the most of every moment.

Say “Yes” to New Connections

Building connections as a travel nurse can be challenging but saying “yes” to opportunities can create meaningful friendships, which was especially true for Morgan!

“The first friend I made on my assignment in Seattle ended up being my maid of honor at my recent wedding!”

Take the leap to hang out with colleagues and locals alike whenever you have the chance. These connections may become lifelong friends and support systems throughout your journey.

Financial Planning for Flexibility

Travel nursing allows for time off between assignments, making financial planning crucial. Start saving from your first paycheck so you have more freedom during your downtime.

“The beauty of travel nursing is being able to take time off in between assignments,” Morgan said. “If you’re good at saving, these breaks can be long if you learn how to save well!”

Being financially prepared ensures you can fully enjoy your time away from work, explore new destinations, and return to each assignment refreshed and rejuvenated.

Travel Nursing Is Worth It

Becoming a travel nurse is an extraordinary decision that can transform both your career and your life.  It can feel intimidating to start anything new, especially in an unfamiliar place, but it’s well worth it helping others all over the nation.

“Being a travel nurse – may not be for everyone, but if you have it in your heart to start this journey, I encourage you to do so,” said Morgan. “It has been the best decision I’ve made not only for my nursing career, but also for myself.”

Elle Koris is a content writer for Medical Solutions.