Once you verbally accept a contract, your recruiter will immediately send a confirmation of acceptance to the facility to confirm your spot. Your recruiter will then put all of the details that you verbally agreed to into a contract and send it for you to sign. The details should be exactly what you discussed over the phone or email and should include information such as pay, start date, shift, etc. Print a copy for your records, then sign!
Depending on how quickly you’re starting, you should receive an email or phone call from someone in the compliance department. They will be giving you all of the requirements of the travel agency and the specific facility. While you’re waiting on the requirements, you can get a head start and get all your ducks in a row. Start making copies of all your important paperwork—certifications (front and back), RN licenses, diploma, transcripts, driver’s license, passport, immunizations, PPD, physical, other medical records, etc. Think about all the stuff you had to get done for your staff position and go ahead and get a copy if you’re able. Read our Tips & Tricks to Staying Organized.
Once you receive the list of compliance requirements, get started on them ASAP! Most hospitals will require your full compliance file to be sent in 7-10 days before your start date. Hospitals have been known to push back start dates because of compliance. Most facilities will not release your first day information to your recruiter until your complete compliance file has been reviewed and cleared! Check out this quick video for more assignment prep details.
While you’re getting your compliance done, you’ll also need to find housing if you’re taking the housing stipend. Talk to people you know in the area, join some travel nurse blogs and Facebook groups, and talk to your recruiter about suggested housing sites! You could also plan to use the housing stipend to stay in a hotel for a week or two so you can check out the area and housing options in person. You may even meet people at the hospital or in orientation who may have housing suggestions for you. Here are some helpful housing websites.
As soon as you have your assignment lined up, start making a list! You’ll need a list of items to bring with you on assignment and a list of things to wrap up at home. Does your car need an oil change or new brakes before you hit the road? Do you need to make a hair or doctor appointment at your favorite place? Will your utilities be shut off? Will someone collect your mail? Make the lists early so you can add them when those things pop into your mind (usually at the most inconvenient times—like the middle of the night)!
Start networking! Try to find other travelers that will be in the area at the same time. Going to a new place won’t be as scary if you have someone to meet up with once you arrive. Reach out to family and friends you haven’t talked to in while. Or jump on those social media sites or talk to your recruiter to see if he or she knows anyone or any other travel nurses in the area.
Start researching the area you’ll be in. Find fun things to do while you’re there. Get recommendations and make a list of things you want to do or see. 13 weeks will fly by and you’ll want to make sure you experience everything the new city has to offer!