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Contract Nursing August 4, 2021

By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor

Short-term Travel Nurse? 3 Weeks to Get Familiar with a New City

Considering short-term travel nurse jobs? You’ll find a number of benefits, including flexibility, great compensation and the ability to grow your career with varied experiences. Crisis assignments and other short-term nurse contracts also offer the satisfaction of knowing that you are using your clinical skills to help healthcare facilities when they need it most.

At the same time you are enjoying the perks of a travel nursing assignment, the staffing experts at NurseChoice know that taking up residence in a new city can be a little overwhelming—especially if you are on a rapid response contract that allowed little time for preparation.

Never fear. Our guide to getting acquainted with your new city will quiet the jitters and help you feel fully prepared and confident to start on your new chapter. It will also help you take full advantage of all your travel nurse destination has to offer.

A 3-week plan for nurse travelers to get acclimated to a new city

Week 1: Research your travel nurse city and ask for advice

Getting to know your travel nurse destination starts with research, and the internet makes this easy! Even before you arrive, you can start looking at travel guides and forums that are dedicated to whatever city you will be living in for the next few weeks. TripAdvisor and Yelp are two great places to start reviewing the attractions, restaurants, outdoor activities, coffee shops/wine bars, farmer’s markets and museums that make up your city. Find out what makes this place unique and plan to embrace the opportunities it provides.

Your recruiter can be a great resource for recommendations, especially if he or she has had nurse travelers at the same facility or city. The agency’s housing representative may also be of help, providing information about transportation and nearby services for those staying in company-provided housing.

Other sources to consult are local bloggers and contributors to Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Simply search for the city using a hashtag or keyword. Don’t forget to ask your family and friends for recommendations, as well.

Your first week is also a great time to make a list of the places you want to visit and things you want to do, and then display the list in a prominent place like the fridge or the back of the front door. This can encourage you to check things off and add to the list as you get to know your city.

Since you only have a few weeks in your short-term travel nurse city, you’ll want to have a plan of attack. You might want to settle in the first few days and get used to your new work schedule, but don’t wait too long to make plans or your chance to explore will be over before you know it.

Perhaps the best source of information on your new city? Your fellow nurses and co-workers at your new assignment facility. Advice from the locals can’t be beat, and you might even strike up a friendship or two when you start by asking their opinions.

Week 2: Exploring your new travel nurse destination

Now that your plan is established and you’ve started your short-term assignment, it’s time to get out there and start having fun in your new city! If you are traveling solo, as many nurses do, it’s important that you get comfortable exploring on your own (while following basic safety precautions). Even dining out alone can take some getting used to, but most travelers find a renewed sense of personal energy and confidence when they step out of their comfort zone and take a leap into the unknown.

If you are looking for some companionship, however, ask a fellow nurse traveler or staffer if they would like to join you for an event, an excursion or a meal after work.

Plan on taking a guided tour throughout your city this week, if possible. Bigger cities like San Diego, New York City and Denver offer tours via a variety of mediums such as scooters, Segways, trolleys or the big buses! Use this time to get familiar with the city and find specific places to explore further. Then you can start checking off the places on your “must-see-and-do” list.

As far as navigating your new city, look no further than your smartphone. Google Maps is a simple way to help you find your way and even explore places to eat and things to do in your vicinity.

Week 3: Getting the most from your short-term assignment

Okay, it is now time to maximize your experience in your travel nurse city. Are there some places from your bucket list that you haven’t seen yet? Did you put yourself out there and ask a new friend or nursing colleague out to coffee or a hike? Now is the time!

At this point you are probably feeling more comfortable in your new neighborhood or section of the city, and it may be time to branch out to nearby destinations. You might want to plan a day trip or weekend to that national park or historic landmark that is just an hour or so away. Roadtrippers is a nifty website and app that helps you build out a road trip itinerary and find new destinations.

Whether your nursing contract is almost over, or you have a chance to extend for a longer period of time, make the most of every week in your new city. Try new things, experience the culture, engage in the community and see as much as possible. You’ll create lasting memories and be even more excited for the next adventure.

 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

 

NurseChoice offers a wide range of traditional and short-term travel nurse assignments with a comprehensive suite of benefits, including competitive salaries, free housing, health insurance, licensure assistance and more.
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