What to Bring On Your First Travel Nursing Assignment

Packing for any trip can be a hassle because you never want to pack too little or too much. However, packing for your first travel nursing assignment can be very stressful because you’ll likely be gone and living out of your suitcase for an extended period of time. To figure out what you need to bring and avoid leaving essential items behind, here is a travel nurse packing checklist you can reference before hitting the road.

Items to Bring on Your Initial Travel Nursing Assignment

Personal documents

Official identification documentation is essential when traveling. Without them, you may risk a delay in your starting date. Before heading out to your first assignment, you should check with your travel nursing recruiter to find out what exact documents you need. For instance,  you will probably need to bring some or all of the following: 

  • Driver’s license
  • Certifications 
  • Proof of vaccines
  • Social security card
  • Proof of your physical exam from the past year
  • Front and back copies of all your active professional licenses as some states haven’t gone paperless
  • Proof of car insurance and registration, if driving
  • Contact information for the travel nurse company you work for

Electronic devices

In this day and age, fewer people forget their electronics at home. However, when you’re rushing out of your home to catch a plane or get on the road, you can easily overlook these essential items. Make sure you pack your cell phone, laptop, camera, or tablet and all their respective chargers in your bag.

Household items

Some temporary housing will provide you with a short supply of the household items you will need, such as cleaning supplies, silverware, pans, and bedsheets. However, these items will vary from location to location. It is important to ask what items your housing will provide so that you can bring or buy what you need for your temporary home.


The scrubs you bring are just as important as your regular clothing items. Check with your recruiter to see if the facility you go to will require specific scrubs you need to purchase or if what you have is good to bring. Aside from scrubs, pack clothes appropriate for the climate of the state you are traveling to. Make sure you pack a good mix of casual and formal items, but not too much so that it weighs down your luggage.

After a few travel nursing gigs under your belt, the packing process will be a breeze. To get started on your path to becoming a successful travel nurse, contact the professionals at HealthCare Support.

Prepare for Your First Travel Nursing Assignment With Us

If you are thinking of pursuing a career as a travel nurse, HealthCare Support is here to help you unlock your potential and place you in the ideal situation for your career. We are a premier national staffing resource for the healthcare industry, interested in supporting passionate healthcare professionals. Our professional network is vast, and our dedicated team of subject matter experts provide customized staffing solutions, dedicated advocacy, and compassionate guidance. 

To learn more about our open jobs and services, please call us at 888-219-6285.

Tips for Working a Rotating Schedule

Rotating schedules can have you wondering whether it’s time for your shift or time for bed. Within a week, you can be working 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. one shift and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. another. 

While rotating schedules give you the opportunity to learn what the job looks like at any time of the day and night, they can take a toll on you, especially if you’re a travel nurse living and working in a completely different location than you’re used to. Here are some tips for working a rotating schedule. 

Create a Pre- and Post-work Routine 

A solid routine can help you fall asleep or wake up. To keep your mind and body in good shape, we recommend incorporating the following into your day or night:

  • Move your body – From full workout routines to simple stretches, regular movement is essential to your wellness.
  • Be mindful of screen time – If you need to fall asleep at a good time and limit yourself from any distractions, use the do not disturb feature on your phone and unplug from the digital world by a certain time in the day or night. 
  • Tune into a good show, movie, game, or book – Whatever it is that gets your mind out of work mode, enjoy it.
  • Explore the city – Take a walk, try a cafe or restaurant, and enjoy the time you have as a travel nurse in a new city. 

Practice Your Non-Negotiables

As you figure out a solid routine for yourself, incorporate any necessary self-care and recovery activities. Whether it’s eating all your meals, working out a certain number of times a week, or carving out time to enjoy what you love to do, your non-negotiables are what you must do to take care of your body and mind. They’ll be what keeps you energized and ready to take on your upcoming shifts. 

Stick to a Sleeping Schedule That Works for You

To best take care of your patients, you need to take care of yourself. That includes getting enough sleep throughout the week, so set up hard rules around your sleep schedule. For example, if you operate best on seven hours of sleep, keep your body and mind used to those seven hours, even when you aren’t working or if you need to sleep during the day. 

As a travel nurse, you’ll likely have to go through your own adjustment period, whether it’s you getting used to a different time zone or home. To best help you get the hours of sleep you need wherever and whenever, invest in a good sleep mask, fan, and earbuds.

Take Breaks 

If you’re working consistent night shifts and getting ready to switch into day shifts, try to give yourself time in between to adjust. For instance, if you’re on schedule to work days after working nights, take time off between switching shifts to ease yourself into a sleeping schedule that works for you. 

Additionally, make sure you take your breaks at work. Working long shifts is tough as it is, and doing so when your routine has changed so much is even more challenging. Give yourself a mental break at work and take the time to eat a nutritious meal or go on a walk around the new city you’re in. 

Ask For Help 

Rotating shifts can get taxing on your mind and body. To avoid or minimize burnout, do the best you can to rest and recover, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You can ask other nurses or travel nurses for tips on working a rotating schedule. You can also reach out to your recruiter.

Lean on HealthCare Support for All Your Travel Nursing Needs 

From professional tips to support for your career growth, your recruiter can help you thrive in your travel nursing career. Our recruiters at HeathCare Support are dedicated to championing the professional, personal and financial goals of passionate healthcare professionals across the nation. Our network is vast and we’re ready to help you unlock your potential.

To connect with our compassionate and highly responsive team, please give us a call at 888-219-6285.

Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Nurse Pay

As healthcare professionals who work in short-term roles in facilities all across the country, travel nurses have the potential to earn high salaries wherever they go. If you’re looking to fill a role in areas that need extra nursing support, take a look at what will go into your travel nurse pay.

What Makes Up A Travel Nurse Salary? 

When non-taxable reimbursements are factored into earnings, travel nurses have the potential to earn more than nurses in a permanent position. However, the amount of money you earn is dependent on your individual situation. The following often factors into your paycheck: 

  • Schedule – If you take on many shifts, work overtime, and are available on call or come in on holidays, you can earn more money. 
  • Specialty – Certain specialties typically pay more than others. For example, ICU travel nurses can make more than medical surge travel nurses.
  • Location – Facilities in northern states tend to pay more in the winter months to incentivise more applicants. In contrast, facilities usually pay less in highly sought after cities, such as New York or Miami, to level out the competition of a larger applicant pool. If you’re open to temporarily living in a small town, you may end up earning more. 
  • Demand – If a new unit opens or if there’s an increase in demand, those positions will offer a higher compensation. 

How Do Travel Nurses Get Paid? 

Salaries aren’t the only way travel nurses build their income. When you’re on assignment, you can anticipate receiving stipends for housing, meals, and travel costs. Travel nurses will usually get these payments through direct deposits. However, those payments, and how often they come through to your account, ultimately depend on your staffing agency. For example, your agency will work with your facility to determine if you get paid weekly or biweekly with or without the addition of your stipends.

Are Travel Nurse Agencies Necessary?

Travel nurse agencies take care of many financial responsibilities, including stipends, salary negotiation, and billing. While it’s possible to handle all of these tasks on your own as an independent contract travel nurse, keep in mind it’s an entire job in itself. It’s hectic enough for a travel nurse to balance assignments every 13 or so weeks. To make your job as a travel nurse easier, work with an agency that will support your financial goals.

Be a Well-Paid Travel Nurse With HealthCare Support

Whether you’re a first time travel nurse or a seasoned one, working with a recruiter that cares about you and your goals can make your next assignment the best one yet. 

HealthCare Support is a national staffing resource that supports the professional, personal and financial goals of passionate healthcare professionals. We’ll help you throughout the placement process and advocate for your financial wants and needs. With compassionate guidance and highly responsive support, our dedicated team can help you get the compensation you deserve. 

To connect with our team, please give us a call at 888-219-6285.

Consider Extending Your Travel Nurse Assignment

Travel nurse assignments typically last 13 weeks. With part of it spent training and adjusting to a new facility, you’ll reach the end of your assignment before you know it. If the length of your assignment was too short for your liking and you want to extend it, you can ask your recruiter for more time or for help on finding similar opportunities in the area. 

Here are a few reasons why you may want to extend your travel nurse assignment and the benefits of doing so. 

You’ve Found a Work Environment You Love

Your experience might have exposed you to your ideal work environment. Whether you clicked with your team, enjoyed working in your unit, or both, extending your travel nurse assignment allows you to continue working in a positive and fulfilling space. As you take on more assignments in the future, you can always look back to when you extended your assignment to see if any upcoming opportunities align with what you know feels right. 

Additionally, the people you’ve connected with are now part of your network. In the same way you’d help and support them, they’re there to help and support you as you move forward in your career. 

You’ll Have More Time to Enjoy Where You Are

Perhaps what you loved most about your assignment was the location. Whether it’s the weather, scenery or local hot spots, you enjoy where you are, and that’s as good a reason as any to extend your stay. Even if the work itself gets stressful and winding down around town is what you love most about your travel nurse assignment, then extending your assignment is still worth it. 

It’s a Practical Decision to Stay Longer

You don’t have to have an emotional connection to where you work and live to want to stay. Sometimes extending your assignment is the move to make because it makes the most sense. Below are practical reasons to stay where you are longer:

  • You want more stability. If you don’t have an assignment lined up that you’re passionate about and would rather stay in your current position, then extending your assignment is a safe and practical option.
  • You’re comfortable where you are. If you don’t want to start over at a completely new facility, unit, and location, you can stay where you are.
  • You can see yourself building a life here. If you love where you are and want to see if the feeling is still there longer term, then test the waters for longer. After an extension, you can see if you want to pursue a more permanent position. 

If You Want to Stay, Know You Have Support

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of staying and want more professional insight on extending your travel nurse assignment, a recruiter can help. HealthCare Support is a national staffing resource that supports the professional, personal and financial goals of passionate healthcare professionals. With compassionate guidance and highly responsive support, our dedicated recruiters can help you thrive where you are. We’ll help you throughout the extension process to make sure your situation aligns with what you want. 

To connect with our team, please give us a call at 888-219-6285. 

Questions to Ask a Travel Nurse Recruiter

Recruiters educate and mentor travel nurses before, during and after travel assignments, so reaching out to one is a great way to have support as you take on more assignments and grow in your career. To have a successful partnership, it’s important to learn if your recruiter and the agency they work with align with what you’re looking for. You can find out by doing your  research and asking your travel nurse recruiter specific questions that pertain to your  career.

Ask About Your Recruiter’s Experiences

You can get a general understanding of a recruitment agency through your own personal research, but what you learn online can be different from what you learn through a conversation. Asking your recruiter about the company culture, their experience and approach on placements, and any available opportunities are great questions to ask during your initial conversation. 

Learn if Your Recruiter Can Serve You

Remember, recruiters are here to support you and your career, so ask questions that will help you understand how they can serve you. When you first connect with a recruiter, consider asking these questions:

  • How long have you been a recruiter with this agency? 
  • What’s your experience been like?
  • Do you have any testimonials from previous clients? 
  • Why should I work with your agency? 
  • What opportunities are available to me as a travel nurse? 
  • Why are these facilities looking for travel nurses instead of permanent staff? 

Get to Know How You Will Be Supported as a Travel Nurse

If you feel you’re at a good place to move forward with your recruiter and next placement, learn what you should expect throughout your assignment. These questions for your recruiter can help you figure out what you need to know:

  • How can I contact you while I’m on the job? 
  • Should I expect any training before I start my assignment? 
  • How will my housing and travel expenses be handled? 
  • How will you work to support my goals and career success throughout the assignment? 

Discuss the Details of Your Opportunity

On top of covering the basic details of your placement, such as its assignment length, it’s important to find out additional details so you know exactly what you’re signing up for. This includes compensation, benefits, and hours you’re working. To learn more about your placement, ask your recruiter the following questions:

  • What type of benefits do I have as a travel nurse? 
  • What insurance is included?
  • Should I anticipate any overtime pay, completion bonuses, or referral bonuses?
  • Will I be earning my money through a direct deposit?
  • Are there any opportunities for me to be reimbursed for my continuing education (CE) classes?

Bring Up Any Additional Concerns 

If this is your first travel assignment, don’t be afraid to share any hesitations or concerns with your recruiter. If this isn’t your first travel assignment, think back to any bumps in the road you’ve experienced in the past and ask your recruiter how they can support you if you run into any trouble. Some questions you can ask include:

  • If I get sick, have an emergency, or for some other reason can’t complete my assignment, what happens? 
  • What should I anticipate if I experience any problems with travel or housing arrangements?
  • If another opportunity arises while I’m on this assignment, how will you support me?

Connect With a Supportive Recruiter Today

Your recruiter should champion you through your entire assignment so make sure you work with someone who’s ready to be your advocate as you grow in your travel nurse career. HealthCare Support is a national staffing resource that supports the professional, personal and financial goals of passionate healthcare professionals. With compassionate guidance and highly responsive support, our dedicated team can help you thrive in your new job and home. We’ll place you in a role and location you’ll love and be there for you every step of the way as you take on your assignment.

To connect with our team, please give us a call at 888-219-6285. 

What’s Included in a Travel Nurse Housing Stipend?

When you’re working from place to place as a travel nurse, you may find it difficult to figure out where you’re living next. With temporary housing, you typically have two options: allow the agency you’ve worked with to provide housing or accept a stipend and find your own place to live. Stipend sizes vary, but they’re meant to help you pay for your temporary living arrangement, which can include rent in a fully furnished apartment. 

What Are the Benefits of a Stipend? 

Going with the agency-provided living arrangement certainly makes it easier to find housing. However, you can choose your own place with a stipend, which may be beneficial if you factor commute times to and from work or adventures you want to go on that are close to home.

Additionally, the amount of money you would get on your stipend will depend on many factors, including where you live and the time of year of your assignment, but 

you can gain some extra cash from your stipend. For example, if rent costs less than the stipend, you can take home the difference. 

What Should Travel Nurses Consider in Their Housing? 

You may have to factor in a few considerations if you’re leaning towards accepting a housing stipend on your next travel nurse assignment. As mentioned earlier, commute times to work and other lifestyle activities are worth thinking about. When deciding where to live with your stipend, you may also want to consider: 

  • Means of transportationAre you bringing a car or will you be depending on public transportation or a rental vehicle? Is everything you need within walking distance?
  • Appliances and furniture If you plan on cooking often, does your new home have the appliances you need? Do you need to bring your own entertainment, such as a TV? How homey are you willing to make your own space?
  • Length of the lease Will your new living arrangement align with the length of your assignment? Can you break your lease? How much will it cost you if you do? 

How Do You Know if a Housing Stipend Is Best for You? 

If you’re still unsure about your options, or if you’ve realized finding housing on your own is no small feat, we can help you figure out the best path forward. HealthCare Support is a national staffing resource that supports the professional, personal and financial goals of passionate healthcare professionals. With compassionate guidance and highly responsive support, our dedicated team can help you thrive in your new role and home. We’ll help you throughout the placement process and walk you through stipend living if that is best for you. 

To connect with our team, please give us a call at 888-219-6285. 

How to Go from New Grad Nurse to Travel Nurse

You’ve turned your tassel right to left and now it’s time to trade in the cap and gown for some scrubs. While it isn’t impossible to go straight from new graduate to travel nurse, it’s much easier to pursue the competitive career path when you have specific experiences under your belt. To set yourself apart, take a look at our timeline for tips on how to go from new grad nurse to travel nurse.

First Month: Prepare for the Job Hunt

First thing’s first: Update your resume. You have a new, well-earned degree to add to your resume as well as notable in-school shadowing or volunteering experiences. As you refine your resume, consider adding the following specifics under your experiences: 

  • Location, unit, and charting system of the facilities you’ve worked in
  • Specifics on unit sizes and nurse-to-patient ratios
  • Relevant certifications or licenses you have
  • References of the charge nurses or management you’ve worked with 

First Year on the Job: Try Float Nursing

Some nurses know exactly what unit they want to work in right when they graduate. Other nurses like trying different units before committing to a specialty. If the latter sounds like you, consider floating as your first nursing role. Float nurses are nurses who move from one unit to the other. They have the opportunity to learn which units they thrive in, connect with a wide variety of patients and healthcare professionals, and gain invaluable experience by adapting to whatever units they’re assigned to work. Remember, as you float, start to land new roles, and gain more experience, update your resume.

One to Two years in the Field: Find Your Specialty  

Once you find a unit you enjoy, try to stick to it for at least two years. Travel nurses typically start their career by gaining acute care experience in units they want to work, such as the emergency room, intensive care, or cardiology units. More time in a specialty means you’re seen as an expert in that field and you’re more likely to stand out in a competitive talent pool. 

Beyond One to Two years: Make the Jump To Travel Nursing

You can typically pursue your travel nursing career once you’ve been working for at least a year.  However, many facilities prefer you to have more than a year of experience in specialty areas like the operating room, neonatal intensive care unit, or the labor and delivery unit. 

If you have the right amount of experience and you’re ready to pursue a role that lets you take care of diverse communities, work alongside healthcare professionals in a new facility, and explore a different city off the clock, we can help. HealthCare Support is a premiere, national staffing agency that helps passionate nurses like you make the transition to travel nursing. Our dedicated team will help place you in a role and location that aligns with your goals—personal, professional, and financial.

To learn more about our open jobs and services, please give us a call at 888-219-6285.

Recognizing Healthcare Innovators This Black History Month

There are many great ways to celebrate and recognize Black History Month this February. Educating yourself is a foundational step to honoring those who have made a significant impact in our history and in the healthcare industry. From developing vaccines to fighting for health equity, Black healthcare professionals fought prejudice and injustice to change the health and wellness space. 

Here are four inspiring individuals who changed the course of healthcare and race relations in the United States. 

Mae Carol Jemison, Physician, Engineer and First Black Woman in Space 

Before becoming the first Black woman in space, Mae Carol Jemison helped people all over the world as a medical officer in the Peace Corps. With her engineering background, she also formed the Jemison Group, an telecommunication organization that improves healthcare delivery all over the world. Today, Jemison is committed to her work at the BioSentient Corporation. As president and CEO, she oversees the medical device company as it designs equipment that monitors the autonomic nervous system. 

Mary Eliza Mahoney, First Black Licensed Nurse and Women’s Rights Advocate

In 1878, Mary Elizabeth Mahoney earned her nursing degree at one of the first nursing schools in the United States. She became a private nurse for families where she found it was easier to care for the needs of her patients without overwhelming discrimination. Throughout her nursing career, she also championed women’s rights and was one of the first women to sign up to vote in Boston after the 19th Amendment was ratified. 

Dr. Jane Cooke Wright, Surgeon and Cancer Researcher 

The daughter of one of the first Black graduates of Harvard Medical School (Dr. Louis Wright), Dr. Jane Cooke worked alongside her father at the Cancer Research Foundation in Harlem after earning her medical degree. When her father passed, Dr. Jane Cooke Wright took the lead at the Foundation and continued her father’s research. Her findings helped transform cancer treatment by discovering how chemotherapy can be a viable treatment instead of a last resort. 

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, Scientific Lead of the Coronavirus Team

Dr. Kizzmekia “Kizzy” Corbett was a lead researcher in the COVID-19 vaccine development at the National Institute of Health’s Vaccine Research Center. Her research on spike proteins and mRNA encoding was foundational for creating the COVID-19 vaccines, including Moderna. Years of research led her and her colleague Barney Graham to design the basic structure of the lifesaving vaccine in just one weekend.

Additionally, to combat the historical hesitations Black communities have had on medical practices, Corbett worked to build trust by addressing the community’s concerns and increasing education on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. On top of being an advocate for health education, she also advocates for more diversity in her field, and we do too. 

Honoring Our Industry’s Past By Helping Shape Its Future

We understand how crucial it is for people from all backgrounds to take care of others everywhere. That’s a big part of why our talent pool is so diverse. HealthCare Support is a national staffing resource that supports the professional, personal and financial goals of passionate healthcare professionals and places them in roles they’ll thrive in. With compassionate guidance and highly responsive support, our dedicated team helps healthcare workers take steps towards growing in their career.

To connect with our team, please give us a call at 888-219-6285. 

The Benefits of Nursing Compact States for Travel Nurses

If you’re a nurse, or are interested in becoming one, you likely already know you have to be licensed in the state in which you practice. But did you know you can get a multistate license? 

The Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to practice in various states across the country where the license is accepted—making it a particularly helpful license for travel nurses to have. Here are a few benefits that nursing compact states and the NLC can offer to travel nurses.

Nursing Compact State License Benefits

  • You Have More OpportunitiesAs of December 2021, 39 states have enacted the NLC or are pending implementation. Not only do you have the potential to practice across the majority of the United States, including some territories like Guam and the Virgin Islands, but you can also open the door to experiencing an adventure in a place you’ve always wanted to visit. The following states have NLC legislation:
ColoradoNew Hampshire
DelawareNew Mexico
FloridaNorth Carolina
GeorgiaNorth Dakota
IndianaSouth Carolina
IowaSouth Dakota
Louisiana (RN & LPN)Utah
MarylandWest Virginia 
  • Nursing Compact States Save You StressOne of the more stressful parts about travel nursing is ensuring you have work lined up after your current contract ends, which is typically after 13 weeks. Once you find an assignment you want to commit to, the process of getting there may take longer than is convenient. If you’re looking to move quickly from one assignment to another, an NLC license allows you to work seamlessly between the states the license is accepted. 
  • Save Time and MoneyDepending on where you claim residency as a nurse, you typically need to renew your license according to the requirements of your home state or apply for licensure in each state you work. However, with an NLC, you won’t have to worry about multiple renewal requirements, licensures, and fees. All you have to do is keep track of one license. 

How to Get Your Multistate Nursing License

Eligibility for a multistate license starts with residing in one of the 39 compact states noted above. However, since there are some exceptions on how to get your multistate license depending on where you live, having help can make the process much easier.

A national staffing resource for the healthcare industry, HealthCare Support helps talented, passionate healthcare professionals, like you, find a job or assignment they’ll love. Our dedicated team is ready to help you get what you need to make your role easier and succeed in your travel nursing career . 

To learn more about our open jobs or how we can help you obtain your multistate license, please give us a call at 888-219-6285.

Am I Too Old to Start Travel Nursing?

If you think you’re too old to be a travel nurse, think again. It’s common for nurses to want to try something new in their career, and while it may seem that younger adults gravitate more towards travel nursing, nurses of any age can be travel nurses.

If you’re a seasoned nurse considering making the switch to travel nursing, then here are a few reasons why this role would be perfect for you.

Why You’d Make a Great Travel Nurse

  • You Have the Experience Since travel nursing has grown in popularity through the years, the talent pool is more abundant and competitive. Your established nursing career will help you stand out and land you your dream role.

As an experienced nurse, you’re likely used to working in different settings with various team structures for all types of patients. Plus, you may even have special certifications and skills (as mentioned in our blog post on tips on how to make your travel nurse resume stand out) that will further prove that you’re qualified for the new travel nursing role.

  • Travel Nursing Knows No Age Limits – Just because you’re an older nurse doesn’t mean you won’t get anything less than what younger travel nurses experience. Regardless of your age, you’ll still have the chance to explore a new city, help a new community of patients, meet new people, and grow in your career.

If anything, being an older travel nurse may grant you more opportunities for where you are in life. For example, if you have a retired partner, you can bring them along on your travel assignments. Or, if you’re an empty nester, then now may be the perfect time to adventure, travel, and temporarily live somewhere new.

  • You Can Share Your Knowledge – Travel nursing gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences with different people all over the country. As a more accomplished nurse, other nurses in your unit have the opportunity to learn from all you’ve experienced throughout your career. For example, since hospital policies vary from location to location, you’ll get to teach each new unit the best of what you’ve learned in your past experiences.

Know That Our Team Will Support You

As a national staffing resource for the healthcare industry, the team at HealthCare Support believe it’s never too late to start your travel nursing career. Our recruiters are ready to listen to your goals as a travel nurse and place you on assignments that align with what you want in your career. Through dedicated advocacy, compassionate guidance, and highly responsive support, we’ll get you started on the travel nurse career you desire.

To learn more about our open jobs and services, please give us a call at 888-219-6285.