Being a travel nurse involves... well, traveling.
No surprise there!
The surprises usually creep in when you're in the midst of looking for a temporary apartment in the new location you've been assigned, and you become aware of how complicated the process can be.
Maybe the stress comes from a time crunch, or the fact that you're a first-time traveling nurse, or because you're trying to do it all alone, or you didn't read the fine print before letting a relocation service handle your move.
The medical profession can be high-stress as it is. Your relocation should be less stressful than the job, not more. Here's your guide to make sure that's the case.
If you don't plan ahead, you certainly wouldn't be the first travel nurse to make that mistake—nor would you be the last. You'll likely end up doing the same things most nurses who don't plan do.
You might find yourself driving across the country overnight to get to your destination in time to start your first shift. Or, you might catch yourself signing a lease for the first housing opportunity that popped up because it was the only option available at such short notice. On the other hand, you may find temporary housing that seems perfect in every way, but due to your fast approaching move-in date, you don't have enough time to research it or tour the space, and you end up living somewhere that's nothing like what you expected and far below your standards.
Long story short: Plan ahead so that you're not forced into a living situation that's unfavorable or one that hinders you in starting your new job.
Pack only what you need.
If your employer or travel nurse agency is making your housing arrangements, then your nurse's packing list just got a lot shorter. If not, then you'll need to figure out your housing situation before you decide what to put in your suitcase or perhaps a moving truck.
Most traveling nurse assignments last about 13 weeks, so if you don't like the idea of renting a moving truck and transporting your furniture to a new location for 90 days or so, we don't blame you one bit.
Furnished apartments are a much more realistic way to go, not just because they're convenient but also because you're a professional healthcare worker who needs to be able to put the majority of your mental and physical energy into your work. You don't have bandwidth to waste on managing a complicated and demanding move to a new apartment.
Get comfortable with the commute.
When you're going through the process of planning where you want to live for your temporary nursing assignment and when you want to move in, take into account your commute to and from the hospital. Of course, you don't want to have to travel too far and deal with the stress of traffic every day, but we're not just talking about your daily commute.
It's best to move into your new furnished apartment several days before your first day of work. This will give you time to drive to work a few times and determine the best route. Anything from rush hour traffic to parking at the hospital could potentially throw off your day if you're not prepared. You don't just want to be on time for your first day on the job; you want to arrive early so that you're in the right frame of mind to dive into your first shift, no matter how demanding.
Network with other traveling nurses.
When you get to your assignment, talk to other traveling nurses while you're there. They can give you tips about everything from the hospital and city where you're working to helpful apps and social media groups that traveling nurses frequently use. You'll be surprised how many practical tips and tricks you'll pick up from your fellow colleagues just by talking to them.
Stay organized but flexible.
Only someone who is both organized and flexible can simultaneously adapt to and prepare for a lifestyle that involves moving every 13 weeks. When you're spending such a short amount of time in one place, you end up looking for your next temporary apartment shortly after moving into your current one. At least, that's the organized way to manage the lifestyle of a traveling nurse.
One of the most organized decisions you can make as a travel nurse is to work with an agency that specializes in relocations. If the agency has experience working with healthcare professionals, that's even better! You know you'll be in good hands with a relocation company that understands your work and can keep up with your pace.