That first assignment!
You decided to get out of the prison that is your perm position, you’ve got a good thing going with your company and recruiter, you’ve slogged through the required skills list and paperwork. Now, now it’s time to find a place to go.
My advice for the first assignment? Go somewhere that you know people.
I’m from West Virginia, but my first foray into traveling took me to the lovely city of Boston.
Why not closer? Why not Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, or Ohio? All familiar states, all close.
I wanted an adventure and I wanted a safety net so I chose Boston. Far enough away from my family to feel like I was a true traveler, but a place I had a built in support system of friends. I could navigate a new city without feeling lonely because I had trusted, familiar faces around to give me a boost.
I’m LDRP trained, but landed a nice assignment at Brigham and Women’s on one of their postpartum floors. I could get acclimated back into regular floor nursing without the stress of doing straight labor just yet. I also lived with my best friend so I had someone to hang out with and show me the city.
I thrived that first assignment!
Something to add here. Most places want travelers who have experience traveling. There’s that double edged sword we some times get in nursing. “You need experience, but we don’t want to pay to give it to you.”
My advice here? Be flexible that first one. Maybe it’s not the exact hospital or city you want, but it’s a good place to ease into traveling. They’re traveler friendly and understanding that you’re not used to their way of doing things. Pressure off.
After that first assignment, I felt much more comfortable slipping back into labor and delivery as well as branching out to states where I would be a solo traveler.
The first assignment set the tone for how well I’ve handled every assignment after. They’ve not been perfect experiences, but I’ve learned so much in each place.
I still struggle with picking assignments a year and a half in. Most people advise you to start looking 4 weeks before the end of your current assignment. At the earliest. I get too impatient and start far earlier. Nothing wrong with that, but be aware that you may not get good pickings if you jump too early.
I actually already have my next assignment for January. See? Impatient. I’m feeling pretty good about my choice so we’ll see. More on that in a future post.
I agonized over it though. I’ve gotta spend 13 weeks at this place and if I pick wrong it’s a loooooong 13 weeks!
But you’ll learn, you can endure
almost anything for 3 months.
So know your limits, be open to learning, be flexible, keep your recruiter informed, and keep a smile on your face. It’s only 13 weeks and the beaches are stellar! 😉
Travel on, road warrior