This entry is part 24 of 28 in the series Treatment Plan: Hypertravelosis
In the course of this “Treatment Plan for Hypertravelosis”, I’ll show you how to become a savvy and well-prepared travel nurse in a user-friendly, step-by-step process.
Following these steps will prepare you for success in your travel nursing career, and I recommend that you complete the Treatment Plan in the order in which it’s presented.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to add them in the comments section at the bottom of this page, and I’ll be sure to address them in a timely manner.
Step #24: Travel Nurse Contract—8 Weeks to Go
As a travel nurse, it’s important to remember that your next job search is never going to be very far in the future. It’s generally at about week five of my travel nurse contract—with about eight weeks to go—that I begin to explore the options for my next contract.
There’s a certain process and timing that I go through when on contract. Yours may be similar or totally different from mine, or perhaps you’re a new traveler and don’t even know where to start. I’ve mentioned before that there’s an acclimation phase to the start of every contract. Everyone acclimates differently and on a different time frame.
Generally speaking, by week five (with eight weeks left on contract) most travelers have acclimated to the hospital environment and are beginning to explore and have some fun outside of work. If you’re not….GET OUT of the apartment (and the hospital) and explore!
But What’s Next?
Now is the time for you to start asking yourself these questions:
What about the next contract?
Do you want to stay where you are?
Are there openings?
Do you hate the location or facility and want to search out something new?
Perhaps you’ve realized that travel nursing isn’t for you and you’re ready to go back to a staff position.
There is no one “right” answer for the above questions. It’s really all about how the position “fits” you. Begin looking closely at the job and determine if it’s indeed a good fit, bearing in mind that there are no decisions that need to be made at this point. Right now, I just want you to be aware of the upcoming job search. I guess you could consider this a “friendly reminder” that, as a traveler, you always need to be looking a bit into the future.
Here are a few questions to keep in mind:
Are there opportunities to extend where I’m currently working?
Do I like the job and location well enough to extend my stay?
Are there any important life events coming up that would occur during the next contract? Is there anything that might require you to be in a certain area of the country or perhaps off contract entirely?
Are there enough local activities to keep you entertained if you extend your stay?
During the next few weeks you should give these questions some thought and have a general idea of your next direction. I recommend that you touch base with your recruiter and give them a vague updates (ie: “I really like it here and might consider an extension” or “I’m really looking forward to working with you on the next contract and __________ sounds like a great area to explore.”)
The Next Most Important Thing…
Before you leave your current place of employment, obtain a reference or two. By this time, your manager and coworkers should have a good feel for the type of work you perform. If you’ve picked up an extra shift or went above and beyond in some way, this will only help your cause.
I normally attempt to obtain a reference from a direct coworker or supervisor (someone that actually works with me) as well as from my nurse manager.
When requesting references, I utilize a generic reference form that I simply make copies of and ask my references to complete. The form utilizes a 1 to 5 rating scale on items like attendance, attention to detail, professionalism, clinical knowledge, etc. At the bottom of the form, there’s room for comments and I encourage this section to be filled out since nothing is better than a personal statement about your work performance. The form also includes the hospital name and address, as well as contact information of the person completing the form. I inform the person filling it out that this is for my personal records and that the staffing agency will likely have them complete an official evaluation for the agency.
You can also connect with colleagues on Linked In and exchange recommendations.
These references are a valuable addition to your portfolio, so hold onto them and keep them up to date.
A Final Word
The current market for travel nurses is staffing about 2-4 weeks in advance, but there are the occasional contracts that finalize earlier than this, so it’s never too early to start looking.
Even while you’re working at your current assignment and enjoying the sights of the area (like searching out the best cupcakes in town or deciding if you have the nerve to skydive for the first time), keep in mind that the next contract is never far away and your eyes also need to be on the future.
So, enjoy the present moment (both personally and professionally) while simultaneously planning for your next adventure, and you’ll be one satisfied travel nurse!
Congratulations on completing another step in the process of becoming a savvy and well-prepared travel nurse! You’re now one step closer to success and a new, exciting career path! Now, continue to the next step and let me know if you have any questions, concerns or comments.
To your success!
The Gypsy Nurse
Step #25: Travel Nurse Contract—Four Weeks To Go!