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There is not a single traveler out on the road who hasn’t gone through the transition stage of leaving a full time job for that very first travel assignment. And while any travel nurse or recruiter can discuss the positive aspects of starting travel until they are blue in the face, it really is a scary reality. How does a full time nurse face leaving their comfort zone – be it a full time job, family, a location – for the unknown?  When talking to someone that is considering travel, the biggest concerns are usually job stability and financials. What happens after the first assignment is over? Will I be able to keep working? Can I afford my current finances if I hit the road, and what about if I find myself waiting for that next assignment? Standing on the edge and deciding whether or not to take that jump into travel is no doubt a scary thing. However, with the right preparation, it can not only be a financially-rewarding steady income, but a great way to change up your nursing career as well. We’re taking a moment to give some helpful tips to first time travelers to help jump-start their travel career, and to make taking that initial jump a smooth one.

î Start your Research. Call your travel recruiters with all your questions. Talk to a few different companies, and start to get your name out there as a potential traveler. Explain your situation, your goals, your nursing specialties, and what makes you nervous. Talking to a few different people will begin to make your dream a reality. Ask your Fortus recruiter to speak to a current travel nurse – we are more than happy to connect nurses looking to start with seasoned travelers that can share in your current situations.

î Make Yourself Marketable. In order to keep yourself working, make sure you are as marketable as possible. Beef up your experiences. Get licensed in a few different states, and keep an open mind as to the places you would consider going to. The more places you can and are willing to travel to, the increased likelihood that you will be able to keep working straight through. (See 4 Big Ways to Make Yourself Marketable for more ideas)

î Get Ahead on your Paperwork. One of the biggest hassles of getting into travel with a few different companies is also the most important part. In travel, timing is everything – the traveler with the paperwork in and can start the quickest gets the first phone calls. Take the time, fill out the paperwork, and get yourself established with your travel companies. This way, when you are ready to hit the road, your name is at the top of the list to get called about the job opportunities.

î Cover Your Bases at Home. Don’t burn any bridges – put in a notice to your current employer and leave on good terms. On top of that, question about being able to pick up per diem work when you may be home in between assignments. If you plan on taking a few weeks off at some point, it may be nice to be able to work “here and there” in your hometown. Put in for per diem at some hospitals or clinics in your area for when you’re home. Even if you may end up waiting for that perfect next assignment, you’ll have something to fall back on for in between jobs.

î Make Yourself Available: Phone calls from your travel recruiter are not just to chat – they are to let you know about a job. If you spot a missed call from your recruiter, call them back as soon as you get a chance. The travelers that take a few days and then call back at their leisure often miss out on that perfect travel assignment. In a first come first served industry, being prompt will pay off tremendously. (Check out 7 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Competition to help you)

î Make a Timeline: When do you want to start traveling? When CAN you start traveling? Set a goal for yourself, and a day you want to start your first travel assignment. Make sure your timeline has enough time to accomplish the rest of the “To Do’s” on your list. Put it in writing, on a calendar, and start getting excited! You’re about to take the next big step in your nursing career…and the rewards are waiting for you!

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