A friend asked me today “How does one become a travel nurse?” I have given it some consideration and come to the following step-by-step instructions:
- Divorce your husband. If you choose not to divorce him, realize that he will probably divorce you before your finished with Nursing School.
- Give custody of your children to your parents or another responsible adult. If you think you’ll have time for Nursing School and KIDS….think again.
- Acclimate yourself to sleeping only 2-4 hours a day. Between the reading assignments, the studying for exams, clinical, and two to three part-time jobs…this is all the sleep you’re going to get. If you did not follow steps 1 and 2 then plan on 1-3 hours of sleep.
- Take a seminar on self-esteem. If anything can break a persons self-esteem its nursing instructors.
- Prepare for failure.
- Get two SOLID years of experience in your specialty before you even consider travel nursing. Your going to be thrown to the wolves when you arrive in a new hospital because “your making the big bucks” so everyone thinks you should work harder to “earn your pay”.
- Work as a car salesman for at least a year to get your haggling/negotiating skills in check; you’re going to need them when dealing with all the recruiters and different companies out there.
- Buy a good pair of shoes. This isn’t just for Travel Nurses, but nurses everywhere.
- Gather a good amount of emergency cash in your savings account. There WILL be issues with pay or banking or cancelled contracts.
- Go with an open mind and an adventurous spirit and enjoy your surroundings.
- Put your fears aside and take the leap.
- When things get hard, remember: IT’s only 13 Weeks!!
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Owner at The Gypsy Nurse
As a travel nursing educator, Candy aka Gypsy Nurse, RN has worked in healthcare for nearly 20 years, working up the ranks from CNA to LPN to RN. For the past eleven years, she’s worked as a travel nurse, allowing her to practice and live in 15 states throughout the U.S. Candy still works occasionally as a travel nurse but spends most of her time providing a supportive information and resources through TheGypsyNurse.com and it's affiliated social networks.
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