Starting your first travel nursing assignment is the initial step to becoming the savvy and cool travel nurse you always wanted to be.

Although you might be having butterflies in your stomach prior to the first day of your new gig, rest assured, it will be okay. It is perfectly normal to feel some level of anxiety and excitement when starting something new.

Here are a few things you can expect on your first day as a travel nurse.

How to prepare for your first travel nursing assignment

Before stepping on the unit as a novice (or even experienced) travel nurse in your new facility, you have to do some basic preparation. The night before your first duty, make a checklist of the following items:

  • Scrubs 
  • Documents including first-day paperwork, IDs, certs
  • Stethoscope alongside other nursing equipment
  • Backpack with phone, wallets, and keys
  • Lunch and water thermos
  • Medication prescription, if any
  • Notepad and pen 
  • Take a review of your schedule online
  • Set your alarms to have plenty of time to get ready for your first day.

Learn a bit more, and some travel hacks to be a happy travel nurse.

Try to be early on your first duty day…like extra early.

Additionally, it may be a good idea to do a recon of your healthcare setting a week or two before your start date to get a good idea of your location and its route. Of course, that’s only if this is possible.

Lastly, try to eat well and get a good night’s sleep ahead of your first shift to stay proactive and alert during your working hours. 

What to expect from your travel nurse orientation

You are more likely to have orientation and a tour on the first day of your travel nurse assignment.

The orientation is designed to help you feel more comfortable in your new surroundings and catch you up to speed with the facility’s policies. The tour will introduce you to the staff as well as critical locations, such as the breakroom, nurse’s station, and patient rooms. You might also be provided with a handbook that outlines the facility’s policies.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask your supervisor or the staff nurse during the tour or orientation. It is okay to admit that you are new to the place and need help finding your way around.

What to expect from your new colleagues

Try to engage and be friendly with the staff you meet at your new facility.

It would be a great idea to introduce yourself and let them know a little about you. You will find that some staff members are more approachable than others. There is usually a subset of people in every workplace who are willing to help newbies adjust to the environment.

During your first shift, feel free to ask your questions to the staff and get to know them better. Knowing your colleagues will make working together more enjoyable and enriching.

You might also want to ask your co-workers about their favorite places to eat near the facility, popular tourist spots, and any other insider tips that would make your travel nursing experience more comfortable and fun.

Additionally, you will find other travel nurses in settings that will share their experiences with you. 

In particular, try to build a positive interaction with your perm staff to get a better insight into your professional settings. Maintaining effective communication with your colleagues not only helps you to be a part of your community but will also nourish your skills as a nurse. 

The final word

Starting a new contract can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.

For travel nurses, the first day on the job can be especially daunting as there is so much to take in and get used to. This article provides some tips on what to expect on your first day, from orientations and tours to meeting your colleagues. It’s important to remember that everyone is new at some point, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Enjoy your time getting acquainted with your new workplace and make the most of your travel nurse experience!

To learn more about the travel nursing opportunity and cities across the country, visit Bestica Healthcare and start planning your next assignment today.


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