Things to Know Before Taking a Travel Nursing Contract

Travel nursing offers great pay rates, schedule flexibility, and the opportunity for adventure. Learn More.


To help you with this process, we’ve created a list of things you should know when considering a travel nursing contract. We spoke to GIFTED recruiters who have found assignments for travel RNs with a wide range of preferences and needs, and they provided tips based on common conversations they’ve had with dozens or hundreds of RNs.

Read on to learn more!

Know Yourself

The first thing to ask yourself is if contract work is the right fit for your schedule, professional expectations, and personality. While travel nursing contracts vary widely, there are a couple of things you can expect no matter what your assignment may be.

Travel nurses often move from contract to contract, meaning that once your 8, 13, or 26-week contract is up, it’s time for you to move on. For most travel nurses, this is an exciting proposition. It provides a variety of experiences, clinical settings, and destinations in a fast-moving industry, and great pay rates often allow for more time off than staff nursing.

In addition, travel nurses are often hired due to staffing shortages, seasonal fluctuations, or spikes in patient census. In this scenario, you’ll be expected to fill in quickly, provide support and remain adaptable on the floor. Again, this is often a source of excitement for travel nurses, as they can gain valuable clinical experience and find a sense of purpose caring for patients in these situations.

Are You Willing To Float?

“Floating” means moving from one unit to another. Sometimes, facilities require nurses who are permanently assigned to a specific unit to float to another unit.

Because travel nurses are filling in for staff, they are often the ones required to float when there is a need for it. A travel nurse that is willing to float is seen as an important resource. Floating will provide you with invaluable experience, make you adaptable, and give you a more comprehensive understanding of your clinical environment.

Versatility is an essential quality of a great travel nurse. While gaining clinical experience, remain open to floating. Cultivating this skill will open doors to more jobs in more locations.

Are You Determined To Find Your Ideal Contract?

As you search for your next travel nursing assignment, cultivate relationships and show initiative wherever you’re working. This will improve your chances of finding useful mentors and getting great references.

Get in touch with units that interest you and schedule facility tours. Make direct connections with staff and unit managers. Connect with clinicians and facilities on social media to learn about important information and events.

Finally, be prepared for interviews. Projecting confidence and knowledge with ease is a priceless asset when searching for your dream job.

Check out our list of great interview tips for travel nurses.

Are You Ready To Be a Team Player?

Travel nursing requires commitment and a team mindset. Before you arrive at your assignment, the staff may have been pushed to their capacity. Remain aware of this and do what you can to show that you’re there to help.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If a coworker is helpful, show gratitude. Talk to your teammates about their hobbies and favorite restaurants in town. Or, bring everyone snacks or coffee before your shift.

While some staff members will be happy for the extra help on the floor, others might take longer to warm up to you. Whether you love all your coworkers or just get along with a few of them, treat everyone with the same level of respect.

To learn more about teamwork and adjusting at your new assignemtn, check out our tips on adjusting to new facilities as a travel nurse.

Travel Nursing Is a Fast-Moving Industry

In order to secure the assignment you want, be prepared to communicate and move fast. The industry moves quickly, so you may have to remain open to accepting a job within 24 hours of an offer.

Another thing to know is that verbal acceptance is the standard of the travel nursing industry. You will always receive a contract to confirm details and provide a signature, but once you verbally accept, the facility will count on you. Most RNs consider this to be a worthwhile tradeoff to the many benefits of a travel nursing career!

Begin a Travel Nursing Adventure with GIFTED Healthcare

From travel to per diem assignments, GIFTED Healthcare provides nurses with exceptional, high-paying career opportunities.

Apply now to join the GIFTED Family today!