How to Make the Most of Short-Term Travel Nurse Assignments
Taking a short-term travel nurse assignment—which might range from 4 weeks to 8 weeks or more, compared to the traditional 13 weeks—is an excellent way to explore new cities and states, expand your nursing career and make lifelong friends from diverse backgrounds.
While these benefits are available of every nurse traveler, the time can go by so quickly that “short-timers” might miss out if they aren’t careful. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make the most out of each and every travel nurse assignment. All it takes is a little planning and preparation.
4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Short-Term Assignment
1. Tap into Your Recruiter
One of the best ways to maximize your time at each assignment is to build a strong relationship with your recruiter. Recruiters have a treasure trove of resources, information, and tips that they are happy to share with you. They may have travel guides for the specific city where you are going, mobile apps like AMN Passport to streamline your assignment details, and personal feedback and tips from other travelers to the area. They may even have current travelers in that city who could meet up with you or provide some insights. Leveraging your recruiter’s resources, knowledge and experience is a key to success.
2. Research, Research, Research
Every good travel nurse assignment starts with some online research! Luckily, we live in an age where you can find countless resources online that can help you make a plan. Start by making a list of some of your goals for the upcoming assignment. Are you into outdoor sports or other fitness activities? Be sure to check out the recreational centers and parks, fitness classes, walking paths or gyms that are in your city. If you’re a foodie, check out Yelp and Open Table to find the best restaurants and cafes in your area.
3. Plan Your Adventures
Get out there and have some fun! We love spontaneity, but planning a few things to do on your days off during a short-term travel nurse assignment will help ensure you have a great balance of professional work and some fun free time, too. Some attractions and events can sell out, so getting a ticket or reservation in advance with ensure you don’t miss them. Plus, putting events in your calendar can help you stick to a plan.
4. Make Time to Make Friends
Making new friends can be tough at times, but travel nursing allows you to have a built in network of contacts. Starting with your first shift, be sure to introduce yourself to the staff and start making those connections. You never know if your next shift manager or a fellow traveler could become a lifelong friend. Making personal connections might also help with future job prospects, as well.
Make the Most of Top Travel Destinations
Choosing a location that has more of the features that you want is another way to make the most of your short-term travel nurse assignments. The following states are high on many travelers’ lists for a reason. In addition to the official state visitors’ guides linked below, sites like TripAdvisor can help you schedule fun things to do, places to eat and other top places to visit in your chosen city.
Beaches, mountains, deserts…California really does have it all. One of the coolest things visitors can do is what they call the “trifecta” -- where you surf in the morning at the beach, head to the mountains to ski, and then wrap up the day with some skateboarding! If action sports aren’t your thing, there are a myriad of other ways to maximize your time. Fill in your days off with museums, theme parks, shopping or exploring the great outdoors. And when you have a few days off in a row you can take a trip to somewhere completely new. For example, an assignment in San Diego can translate to a quick trip south of the border to Mexico, or in the other direction to check out the sights of Los Angeles or Orange County!
Everything’s bigger in Texas, where there is no shortage of places to go or things to do. If you have an assignment in a big city like Houston or Dallas you can have your pick: check out a major sporting event, see a show, enjoy world-class dining, or take a hike in one of the nation’s largest urban parks. Smaller towns also have their own charm and visitors can usually find great barbeque, entertainment and fun community events. And travel nurses can always take a day or weekend trip to cities like San Antonio or Austin to enjoy historic sites, music and much more.
From historic landmarks and museums to extensive botanical gardens and the beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the state of Pennsylvania offers a variety of experiences for visitors. Of course, Philadelphia enjoys worldwide acclaim as one of the best places to visit (Time, 2021), but other cities have amazing attractions, too. For instance, Harrisburg sits on the scenic Susquehanna River and has become a hot spot for unique eateries and shopping.
From charming Southern towns like Savannah and Athens, to the big city of Atlanta, to a private beach getaway on Jekyll Island, Georgia is booming with opportunity and adventures for nurses on a short-term travel nurse assignment. If you happen to be on assignment in the spring, be sure to check out the world-renowned Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, which is celebrated in various events throughout the city. You can also play golf on pristine courses, enjoy water sports and hike the Appalachian Trail while in Georgia, or explore a number of amazing national, state and city parks.
Looking for a change? AMN Healthcare has hundreds of high-paying, short-term travel nursing jobs across a wide variety of locations and work settings.