Flu season is upon us, and this means travel nurses available for temporary work shifts are in high demand at hospitals and clinics around the country. Annual illness fluxuations, unexpected outbreaks, labor strikes, and any number of other reasons create openings which can be as short as one week. With a turnaround time this fast, nurses who fill these roles have to be light on their feet and at the top of their game.

Rapid response travel nursing positions come with a unique set of challenges that set them apart from longer term gigs. Below is a summary of everything you need to know to make your next 1 week travel nursing assignment work for you. 

Rapid Response Travel Nursing

It’s exactly what it sounds like: rapid response travel nurses go where they are needed most at the drop of a nitrile glove. 

The typical travel nursing assignment seems leisurely by comparison: nurses should be able to start in 4-8 weeks, and are generally contracted for 13-week jobs, or around 3 months. A rapid response shift, on the other hand, requires nurses to start in 2 days – 2 weeks, and a contract can last between several days to 3 weeks, depending on the cause of the opening. 

Reasons for rapid response need may include:

  • Electronic Medical Record (EMR) conversions — hospitals often choose to use temporary staffing solutions to maintain quality care during administrative and technological overhauls. 
  • Surplus of remote or “hard to fill” positions — temporary staffing shortages caused by a lack of locational desirability may result in hospitals or clinics offering short-term assignments to compensate. 
  • Extreme fluctuations in patient load or staffing — seasonal illness such as the flu, novel outbreaks such as the current 2019nCoV, natural disaster emergencies, etc. can simultaneously reduce nursing teams and increase the number of patients visiting hospitals. 
  • Labor strikes — while nursing strikes are an important tactic for soliciting fair wages, illness and injury wait for no one. In the interest of patient care, it may be necessary for organizations to open rapid response positions during critical protests. 

What to Expect on your 1 Week Travel Nursing Assignments

You don’t need to be a career rapid response travel nurse to make these shorter assignments work for you. One of the major benefits of working a 1 to 2 week assignment with a fast onboarding process is the ability to fit it in between other jobs, or using it to replace a contract that fell through. These “filler” positions can keep you earning in leaner times, if you’re willing to keep moving.

Additionally, many rapid response gigs offer greater flexibility in their contracts. A 1 week travel nursing assignment can easily become a longer-term job if necessary. 

If you as a nurse are finding your rapid response assignments through a reputable staffing agency, you should expect free, private housing for the duration of your job, as well as reimbursement for all travel expenses. (The latter point is especially important, as last-minute flights, car rentals, or train tickets can be extremely expensive.) 

Pay rates fluctuate depending on the severity of the need at your given assignment. Your staffing agency may additionally be able to negotiate for a guaranteed 48-hour work week for you. With all this in mind,  a nurse working a rapid response contract may earn a 50 – 70% increase in wages over a traditional travel nursing assignment.

How to Prepare for your 1 Week Travel Nursing Assignments

Are you itching to apply for your next rapid response job? Before you start booking flights, you should make sure that you are absolutely ready to take the plunge. 

  1. Know your limits. Rapid response travel nursing assignments are intense. The nurses who take on these jobs must be experienced, preferably in multiple fields of nursing. They have to know exactly what they’re doing, and must be able to hit the ground running in any new situation. In addition to this, they always have to deal with being the new kid at their next position. If this sounds like you, you might be ready.
  2. Get your paperwork in order. Travel nurses who frequently change states for positions have this one down already. You should either have active licenses in multiple states, or a compact license, allowing you to work in a variety of places. New licenses can take up to 10 weeks to be delivered, so if you have your eye on a particular state, start your license applications as early as possible.
  3. Do your research. Perform your due diligence and make absolutely sure that you’re finding assignments through a reputable nurse staffing agency. They should be joint commision certified; have proven experience and a history of rapid response staffing; have a responsive support staff in place to help you navigate to your next position.

Final Thoughts: I Week Travel Nursing Assignments

For travel nurses who are experienced, knowledgeable, and ready to run to their next gig, a rapid response assignment might be the perfect next step. Make sure to reference this article before filling your next application. 

Medely is like Uber for nurses, minus actually calling the Uber. Book open travel positions at a moment’s notice, and make money while you’re on the road with contemporary staffing platform designed for the digital age. Sign up for free with Medely today.