By Lee Nelson
Everyone has a dream location they would like to be a travel nurse at. Some want the ocean. Some want the mountains. Some want rural. Some like the big cities. There seems to be something out there for everyone.
“I don’t think nurses find it hard at all to determine what destinations they would like to pursue,” says Kat Griffin, senior recruiting consultant at Republic Health Resources. “With more and more states becoming compact, it’s also becoming easier for nurses to bypass licensing processes.”
She adds that some nurses find it hard to be flexible when the market changes.
“When there are no openings in the destinations they prefer, then often they have to look elsewhere. Or if the money isn’t good where they want to go, then it’s better for them to be flexible and look at other locations,” she explains.
“It’s is a little more difficult for a new traveler to decide on their first destination, but mainly because this is a new venture for them,” Griffin says.
There also is some hesitation on which hospital to work at, or how far to travel from home. Some new travelers are very adventurous and open to going anywhere for the first time.
But most times, a new traveler will stick to in-state or neighboring states, “in case things don’t work out.” This makes them more comfortable.
“As a recruiter, it’s my job to make their transition to traveling as smooth as possible. This is why I always try to suggest some of our more popular hospitals, whom we know are more travel-friendly and have great traveler reviews.”
This will vary. But for the most part, the older nurses and more seasoned travelers know exactly where they do and don’t want to go, Griffin adds.
They tend to be less flexible. Younger travelers and ones that don’t typically have a lot of family ties yet, seem to be more free-spirited when it comes to choosing a destination.
“When helping a traveler decide where they want to go next, I try to find out more about them,” she says. What weather they prefer, if they like rural or urban areas, and if they enjoy outdoor activities or social events.
She also questions them about what is most important to them when looking for their next assignment. Is it money, location or the shift they work? This helps her determine their motivation, and even how flexible they may be.
“If giving advice, I would tell the nurse to consider all the above. But they should remember that in travel nursing, you have to go where the jobs are. So, flexibility is key,” Griffin states.
It’s great if you can get all of the things you want including the money, location and the shift you prefer. But more often than not, you will only get two, she says.
Plus, nurses really should try to look at traveling as an adventure. There will be bad assignments. But you should always be able to learn something from each of them.
Flexibility always will play a huge role in choosing an assignment, Griffin says. Finding good assignments takes some research by both the nurse and recruiter. There are many sources available to find current feedback on hospitals. Recruiters will have an idea of where the good assignments are, too, based on their experience and feedback. But in the end, the less flexible a nurse is, the more challenging it is to find a good assignment.
“Most times, these bucket-list locations are more broad, like a whole state such as California, Hawaii, and Alaska,” she says. “From my experience, once a nurse has traveled for a while, they tend to circle back to where they’ve been before because they know the area, and they are comfortable with the hospital. With many, I think this becomes more important with time.”