Recently, I partnered with Fastaff to help them uncover helpful tips for travel nurses.  These are to be used by first timers and seasoned professionals alike.

For many nurses, their first travel nursing assignment is filled with both excitement and anxiety. One of the biggest causes for concern is the anticipation of orientation and fitting in with ease. Below are some guidelines I adhere to whenever I begin a new assignment.  These tips will help get your career as a travel nurse off to the right start.

  1. Know what to expect on your first day, before your first day. If you have not heard from your recruiter on Friday, ensure you get in touch with them before the weekend.  You should have clear instructions for the next week. You don’t want to find out at 8:30 a.m. on Monday that you are supposed to be orientation at 7:30 a.m.
  2. Know the dress code for orientation. This info is typically included in your first day instructions. Some hospitals prefer business casual, while others will want you to work the floor on the first day in your scrubs. If you’re unsure, always dress business casual and carry a set of scrubs with you.
  3. Know exactly how long it takes to drive to the facility by taking an initial run from your housing to the hospital. If you are in the city, research traffic patterns and busy rush hour times before your first day. It’s better to arrive early on your first day, but most importantly, do NOT be late.
  4. Expect to take a few competency tests. It is standard practice for new assignments and as nurses, our competence is always out there to be proven. Be prepared for basic math, basic telemetry, the BKAT (Basic Knowledge Aptitude Test), or even the PBDS (Performance Based Diagnostic System). Your recruiter should inform you of the latter two before you begin.
  5. Make a great first impression, because you only get to make one. From the first meeting with the education/orientation department, your department manager, and your fellow employees. Be yourself, be ready to jump in where needed and be part of the team.

By using these five tips, you can make your first assignment, and those that follow, the best assignment! Good luck and feel free to let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear what worked for you.


About Fastaff:  As the pioneer and industry leader of Rapid Response® travel nurse staffing, Fastaff has grown to become a premier staffing partner, providing urgent and crucial temporary nurses to hospitals in need while offering our travel nurses the highest pay in the industry. Fastaff partners with many of the nation’s largest and most prestigious healthcare facilities – as well as small community hospitals – to meet acute staffing needs and provide round-the-clock, unparalleled patient care. In 2016, Fastaff was voted the top eighth workplace in Colorado by the Denver Post, and ranked among elite staffing firms on Staffing Industry Analyst’s Largest Staffing Firm and Fastest Growing Staffing Firm lists. Visit for more information and connect with Fastaff on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

About the author:  Kay “Epstein LaRue” Slane, RN, CGM, is a traveling house supervisor who is the author of “Highway Hypodermics: Travel Nursing 2017,” the number one book on Amazon for travel nursing. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Travelers Conference. Find out more about travel nursing at her site: