If you’re a travel nurse, you know the first few hours of your shift don’t really start at the hospital; they start at the hotel, apartment, or house you’re staying in. When you wake up in a new place, your morning routine can become unpredictable and hard to manage. When you add to it the slew of items you have to take with you, it can generate undue stress on your first few days as a travel nurse. To help offset anxiety, we have compiled a list of the perfect objects to place in your travel nursing kit. Check out our ideas below!
First Things First: Consult Your Recruiter
Before you travel to a new destination for work, make sure to ask your recruiter about the amenities that are included with your housing. For example, most residences will have basic appliances like a stove, but might not offer things like pots and pans. Ask about Wi-Fi, TV, bed size, bedding, and other key amenities like a gym or a pool. Once you have all this info, you can decide what to pack before you head out.
What to Include in Your Travel Nursing Kit
- Durable Suitcase in a Unique Color: This might seem like a strangely specific suggestion, but there’s a reason! When traveling by plane with a black, white, grey, or brown suitcase, it is harder to spot it on the carousel when you arrive at your destination. Pick a color or design that is bright, fun, and few people will own, so that you can make your first few minutes in a new city easier on yourself.
- Paperwork and Documents: Make sure you have all paperwork packed somewhere safe. This includes your license, ID, and badge (if applicable), plus any job or facility specific documents.
- Toiletry Bag: Having a small bag full of essential toiletries can save you a lot of hardship when travel nursing. Bring a toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste, floss, antiperspirant, nail clippers, cotton ear swabs, a shaving razor, hand soap, moisturizer, and any other products you use in your morning routine.
- First-Aid Kit: It goes without saying that emergencies happen! Be prepared by having a small first-aid kit. Remember that just because you’re a healthcare provider doesn’t mean you have to deprioritize your own safety. If you hurt yourself on your travels, it will be harder to perform your tasks effectively, so expect the best and prepare for the worst.
- Comfortable Shoes and Socks: Travel or not, nurses stand and walk for a large part of the day – up to four miles in a twelve-hour shift! Unless you have a specific position that requires a lot of desk or clerical work, you want a shoe that will support you and feel comfy during those long shifts. Check out Nurse.org for a great article on the best shoes for nurses.
- Water Bottle: Over 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Add to that the demands of nursing, and you get one very thirsty healthcare provider! This can affect your mood, energy levels, and even attention to detail. Just one of these factors being off can pose great risk to your patients. Make sure to pack a water bottle and refill it throughout the day. If your many tasks keep you from remembering to hydrate, check out our HidrateSparkPRO water bottle, which is customizable, comes in a wide range of colors and sizes, and pairs via Bluetooth with a state-of-the-art phone app. The best part? It glows to remind you to drink and helps you meet your goals based on your personal metrics. This feature could be a great help when you’re busy tending to your patients.
- Packing Cubes: Less of an essential for everyday shifts and more of an item that you pack in your suitcase before you travel, packing cubes are nevertheless useful for keeping your clothes, scrubs, and essential items organized. They’re also easy to repack, which is a boon when having to switch up locations, cities, or states.
- Books, Puzzles, Video Games, Movies: Whatever your guilty pleasure is, bring it with you! Though you’ll be working plenty, you will also have free time. Pick your favorite method to pass the time so you don’t get bored between shifts.
- Casual and Social Attire: Remember that half of your job title is “travel.” Make sure to pack some outfits for a special night out and some more casual ones for daily activities. Just because you are working doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!
You’ve Got This!
Jogan Health understands that traveling to a new city and working with a team you don’t know can feel somewhat overwhelming. Remind yourself that this is your passion and be confident in your skills. You’ve got this! If you’re still feeling a bit nervous, check out our article on the Gypsy Nurse about managing anxiety as a first-time travel nurse. If you’re unsure where to start looking for your dream position, we have an excellent recruiting team who is ready to help you every step of the way. Contact us today for more information!