You’ve heard about the advantages of becoming a Travel Nurse, such as competitive pay often with sign-on bonuses, flexibility, and—of course—the opportunity to explore the country. But you’ve also talked to Travelers at work about some of the challenges they’ve faced, such as being away from family and reestablishing their support and social networks.

A travel nursing assignment may be the perfect fit if you love travel and adventure—but how do you know when it’s the right move for you? 

Since everyone’s journey is different, it’s hard to predict exactly how you’ll feel before you’ve tried at least a short-term assignment! However, there are strengths and soft skills that can help you be a successful Travel Nurse or Allied Health Professional. Here’s a look at five qualities thatwill make you stand out from the crowd and secure a great Travel Nurse assignment.

1.Travel Nurse must have: strong nursing skills and experience

Travel nursing jobs may introduce you to different work environments and new situations but you need to have a solid foundation in Nursing 101 to back you up. Baseline expectations for your first travel nursing position will typically include at least two years of hands-on clinical experience—and the more exposure you have the easier it will be to score the positions you want. 

So, there’s no need to rush. If you’re still growing in your current position, use this time to confirm common certifications, like Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). And get stand-out references lined up so you can quickly instill confidence during the hiring process that you have the knowledge you need to shine.

2. A Travel Nurse needs the ability to adapt to new situations and locations 

A lot can change between healthcare facilities—not just management styles, processes, and resources but also the dynamics across the workplace, the local culture, even the languages your patients will be speaking. 

A DON (Director of Nursing) wants to know that you have the professionalism and grit to adjust as quickly and smoothly as possible. You may have just a day or two to get up-to-speed—and you’ll be expected to work well independently.

You’ll also be on the move for each travel assignment. This can mean not just a new facility—with everything that entails—but also a new neighborhood, different friends, resetting what “home” feels like, and finding your bearings all over again. You may need a minute to feel grounded again and it helps to be able to choose your attitude and hit the ground running with enthusiasm. 

3. Flexibility and a willingness to learn

Some Healthcare Professionals thrive on routine and do their best work when they know what to expect. Travel nursing turns all of that on its head, at least while you figure things out. Being a successful Travel Nurse means being able to roll with the changes, keep an open mind, and ask a lot of questions as needed. 

Being flexible also gives you better exposure to all kinds of opportunities. While you have the power to find the contracts that work best for you—and you may have non-negotiables—it’s also easier to find a good match when you have fewer restrictions for where and how you want to work.

4. Excellent communication skills

Communication skills are an asset for any Nurse or Allied Health Professional, but for a Traveler, they can make all the difference between a great assignment and one you’d hate to repeat. You need to be able to connect with anyone and everyone, from colleagues who don’t trust you yet, to patients who’ve never seen you before, to the Healthcare Recruiter who helped set up the contract for you.

Being able to communicate effectively doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert. It means you have the confidence to ask questions when you need clarity as well as the empathy to understand what information is needed by others and how to deliver it in a way that’s clear to them.

5. A positive attitude with an adventurous mindset

Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly or “spring back into shape,” as the Oxford Dictionary puts it. It’s reflected in your ability to flex and adapt, but it’s more than that: Resiliency is also about choice, thinking beyond today’s difficulties, and focusing on what’s possible.

This positive mindset is essential for a Travel Nurse, not just because you need to be prepared for the unknown but because the healthcare industry is stressful! You can make a tremendous meaningful impact, but there will be challenges. Resolving to be friendly and holding onto a positive outlook can go far to help protect your mental health, the quality of your work, and your relationships with new colleagues. 
Being a Travel Nurse can be an incredible chance for growth, experience, and adventure. It may not be the right choice for every Nurse or Allied Professional, but it can be a lot of fun to try even if it isn’t your long-term strategy. Want to check out some of your options? Learn more about working with Medely today.