How Soon to Start Planning Your Next Assignment
One of the best things about being a travel nurse is the number of options you have available to you. You have choices aplenty. You can work a 13-week assignment and immediately head off to a new assignment. You can choose to extend in your current location if that option is available to you. You can even take time off as needed in between travel assignments to fit your lifestyle needs. Being a travel nurse is being empowered to control your career in ways that others can only dream about. Choosing your next travel assignment is based on your lifestyle choices so let’s take a look at how soon you should start planning your NEXT assignment and answer a few questions about the process.
First, have a plan! – Unless you are a “free-bird” who is fine with following the wind and taking whatever assignment is available next, you don’t need to worry too much about lead time. Your recruiter will keep you on track. For those of us who don’t have quite that much freedom in our choices, it is best to have a plan of what destinations may interest you, how much does climate matter to you, and do you want to have minimal downtime between assignments. This plan should be thoroughly discussed and revised with the assistance of your recruiting professional to ensure you are both on the same page.
I’m on assignment, how soon should I start preparing for the next one? – This is a very popular question (hence, the reason for this posting). The timeline truly depends on that plan you discussed with your recruiter. If you have your heart set on an assignment in Florida during the winter and you started an assignment in the fall, then it is a good rule of thumb to start working with your recruiter about one month to 5 weeks into your current assignment. This gives your recruiter an opportunity to find your best fit in the location you are looking for. Another consideration is whether or not you want to extend your time in a specific place. Many travel nurses enjoy an assignment or location so much that they extend their contracts and stay awhile.
Does the time of year play a role in finding a new assignment? – In many areas, if the need for staffing is so great, the facility may be more flexible in how much lead time they need for onboarding. Other considerations are during certain times of the year, the needs are greater. For example, hospitals want to boost travel nurse staffing in advance of heavy permanent staff vacation periods or in advance of historic busier times (flu season, etc.). By looking for an assignment early, you are helping them with their staff planning process and may have a better chance of landing the facility or location your desire the most. Timing is important, and another good reason why working closely with your recruiter is the most efficient way of getting the assignments you want.
The most important advice to consider is the role that your recruiter can play for you. These industry professionals are there to work for you and are trained to find you the best fit in accordance with your skills, career goals, and travel plans. Relying on your recruiter is one of the best ways to keep your mind on the care you provide your patients while they do the worrying about finding your next great assignment.
What are your tips for planning the next travel assignment? Help your fellow travelers by posting your thoughts in the comment section below or dropping us a line on our Facebook page.