What to Expect Once You Get a Job As a Travel Nurse

what to expect once you get a job as a travel nurse
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If you’re a first time travel nurse, you may think that once you actually get a travel nurse job, the hard part is over.  And it is!  For the most part.  You’ve picked a company, got a recruiter, interviewed with a hospital, and signed a contract!  But what’s next?  Here’s everything that you can expect once you get a job as a travel nurse.


What to Expect Once You Get a Job As a Travel Nurse

Once you actually get your assignment, there’s a lot that needs to be done before you start work.  It’s important to make sure that you’re doing everything in a timely manner, as if you don’t complete your “pre-work duties”, you won’t be able to start on time.


If you’re reading this before you land a travel nurse job, the most important thing to know is that you need to pick a recruiter that will aid you in landing your dream travel nurse assignment.  For information on companies and recruiters, don’t miss:

Why it’s Important to Work With More than 1 Travel Nurse Recruiter

Travel Nurse Agencies Ranked by Travel Nurses

Why Picking a Travel Nurse Recruiter is More Important Than Picking a Company

How to Pick the Right Travel Nurse Recruiter For You


Completing Your Paperwork

Once you’ve signed your travel nurse contract, your company should send you a plethora of emails regarding all of the paperwork you need to complete before your assignment starts.  This includes, but is not limited to…

  • I-9 form
  • Background screening consent
  • RN license information
  • Certifications (PALS, BLS, ACLS, NRP, etc)
  • Immunization records
  • New hire paperwork
  • Paperwork required by the hospital

As I mentioned earlier, it’s imperative to make sure you’re sending all of these things in in a timely manner.  For starters, your recruiter/compliance officer doesn’t want to chase you around; and secondly, this will determine whether or not you will be able to start on time at the facility.


Seeing the Doctor

Another thing you’re required to do before you being your travel nurse assignment, is you’ll be required to see a doctor to make sure that everything checks out and you’re in good health before you start work.  What is usually required, but not limited to is the following…

  • A physical checking your vitals, height, weight, eye sight, balance, hearing, etc
  • Any vaccines you’re missing (COVID, flu, etc)
  • FIT testing
  • TB test
  • Drug screen

After you’ve become a travel nurse, some of these things like you’re physical and FIT test only need to occur once per year.  I recommend making copies of everything so that if you change companies during the year, you can send your previous paperwork to your new company and you won’t have to repeat the same requirements.

For every assignment, with the exception of an extension, you will need to provide a drug screen.  I’ve also worked at a facility where I was drug tested at my regular appointment, and then was given a drug test on my first day of work.

Your company should be paying for your doctors visit!  If it’s your first time as a travel nurse, make sure that this is covered by the company before starting your assignment.


Taking Tests

The third thing that you can expect to happen is that you’ll need to pass a variety of tests before starting work.  This will all depend on which hospital you’re at and what unit you’re working in, but here are some tests you can expect to take…

  • HIPAA/OSHA testing
  • Medication calculation
  • Heart arrhythmia/Interpreting EKGs
  • Core exams for your unit

Some facilities require testing before arriving, while some facilities also require additional testing during travel nurse orientation.  If the facility requires testing upon arrival, make sure to clarify whether or not you will be eligible to work at the facility if you fail your test and if you can get study material before arriving.


If you’re looking for more guidance on taking the leap from staff nurse to travel nurse, purchase The Ultimate Travel Nurse Bundle where I walk you through exactly what will happen and give you actionable tips each step of the way!


When you think about the amount of things that you have to do before starting your travel nurse assignment, it can seem overwhelming at times.  As long as you’re working with a good company, you should be able to reach out for help or anything else that you might need.  Just stay organized, get your stuff done in a timely manner, and make sure to keep all receipts for reimbursement.


For next steps, don’t miss:

10 Tips for First Time Travel Nurses

Travel Nurse Health Insurance – What’s the Best Choice For You?

How to Acclimate to Your New City As a Travel Nurse

The Best Housing Options for Travel Nurses

Tips for How to Make Friends As a Travel Nurse

How to Deal With the Anxiety of Starting a New Travel Nurse Assignment


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Kylee is a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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