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Travel Nursing Guide for the Winter Season

The winter season is slowly approaching and travel nurses across the globe are preparing for new assignments. However, the journey is not always as smooth as a freshly ploughed road. Drawing inspiration from a real-life experience shared on Reddit, this article aims to shed light on some of the challenges faced by travel nurses and provide tips to navigate these icy obstacles.

An image showing a cold lonely road in the winter time

The Nightmare Was: A Travel Nurse’s Tale

In the mild season of July, a novice travel nurse took on her first assignment. Challenges, however, didn’t consider the season. Miscommunication about the start date forced her to depart in a rush. She had received information that she could start a week later than the official date, but the nurse manager expected her on the original date.

Upon her arrival, she faced another hurdle. An interference from a recent MMR booster left her TB test results pending. She couldn’t work and earn money.

Had this situation occurred in winter, snowstorms and icy roads would have intensified the already frantic situation. Moreover, the financial strain could have escalated with increased heating bills and holiday expenses.

These experiences impart valuable lessons about the complexities of medical procedures and the importance of completing all necessary tests well before your assignment.

On this journey, the nurse discovered that self-advocacy was her lifeline. She learned to voice her needs and concerns, whether about the start date or health checks. Standing up for herself and ensuring she met her needs turned her travel nursing experience into a positive one.

As winter approaches, this experience stands as a cautionary tale for all travel nurses. Learning from these experiences can better prepare you for your winter assignments.

Winter is Coming: Preparing for Travel Nursing Assignments

Travel nursing can be an exciting adventure, but it’s essential to be prepared for potential pitfalls. Here are some tips for travel nurses bracing for the winter season:

Plan Ahead: Schedule your assignments with holidays and winter conditions in mind. This includes considering the weather conditions of your destination, potential holiday-related hospital staff shortages, and your own holiday plans. If possible, communicate your preferences to your agency so they can find a placement that fits your needs.

Communication is Key: Maintain clear and consistent communication with your recruiter. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or express concerns. Your recruiter is there to support you and help ensure your assignment is a success.

Health Checks: Understand how different health checks can interfere with each other and plan them accordingly. For example, certain vaccinations may affect the results of other tests. Make sure all necessary tests are completed well in advance of your assignment.

Insurance: Ensure you have appropriate insurance coverage between contract periods. This includes health insurance, but also potentially professional liability insurance. It’s important to understand what is covered by your agency and what you may need to provide for yourself.

Embrace Local Culture: Every location has its unique traditions and celebrations. Embrace these local customs to make your stay more enjoyable². This could include participating in local holiday events or trying regional winter activities.

Education and Certifications: Keep your nursing education up-to-date. Consider additional certifications that could make you more marketable as a travel nurse.

Stay Flexible: Travel nursing often requires adaptability. You might be asked to work different shifts or in different departments. Staying flexible will help you make the most of your assignments.

Self-Care: Travel nursing can be stressful, especially during the holidays. Make sure to take care of your physical and mental health. This could include regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, staying connected with loved ones, or practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

Housing Considerations: Consider renting near the hospital where you’ll be working to reduce commute times, especially in areas prone to winter weather conditions. JustMiddies is a perfect place to hemp you in this effort.

Remember, preparation is key when embarking on a travel nursing assignment. The more prepared you are, the smoother your assignment will go.

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