5 Questions You Should Be Asking As A Travel Nurse

March 6, 2022

As a travel nurse, you are your own boss. With this new responsibility, there are myriads of things you're expected to know. I've compiled a list of questions that every beginner and "seasoned" travel nurse should ask before signing a new contract to ease the transition.

  1. What is the start date? - Every travel contract I have taken has started on a Monday. Most hospitals have new hire orientation sessions every 2 weeks. This gets tricky when you start trying to schedule time off in between contracts. Sometimes it's more ideal for me to start in the middle or at the end of the week but it's not always feasible.
  2. What kind of unit will I be working on? - The job posting may say ICU but it is a COVID ICU. The job posting may say ICU float pool but you'll routinely be floated to step-down. Be sure to get clarification in your interview to avoid taking a position that you are not comfortable with.
  3. What scrub color will I be wearing? - In Georgia, I wore Navy scrubs. On my first travel assignment in Colorado, I also wore navy. Travel Assignment #2 we were allowed to wear any color. On my current travel assignment, we were supplied scrubs by the university. Depending on your agency you can be reimbursed up to ~$250 if you're having to come out of pocket for a new work wardrobe, so ALWAYS ask!
  4. What are the staffing ratios on this unit? - How many patients will you be taking on this unit? In California, I've been blessed to never take more than 2 patients. If we're doing TTM the patient is 1:1. If the patient is on a paralytic, I'm 1:1, If you're running ECMO or CRRT, the patient is 1:1. In Georgia, it's expected you'll take 2-3 critical ICU patients. Unions are a beautiful thing.
  5. What is the parking situation at this facility?- Some hospitals have free parking for all staff. Some hospitals only offer free parking to night shift or staff working on the weekend. On my current travel assignment, I'm paying $8/day and $32/week for 4 shifts per week. It is first come first serve and the "lottery" opens daily at 1600 for the following day. So should you forget to book parking for the next day, you're out of luck. There are parking lots that cost $35/month but they are 1-2 miles away from the hospital. Depending on your agency you may be able to get this reimbursed. Prior to this assignment I worked night shift and had never paid for parking. Another thing to consider, some hospitals have designated parking lots for staff with a shuttle bus that comes every 20-30 minutes - another thing to factor into your daily routine/commute.

Hopefully, you found this helpful! That's all I've got for you today. Let me know if there's any topic you want me to cover in an upcoming blog post!

Until Next Time,

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