You crushed your interview, signed your offer letter, and confirmed your start date. Now, all you need to do is prep your home and pack your bags. But what should you take? Even seasoned veterans can get stumped when organizing for their next travel assignment. You may want to pack an extra pair of dress shoes if you’re flying to Chicago but swap them out for hiking boots if you’re driving to Denver. Location, season, and the length of your assignment will help determine what you NEED to bring versus what you WANT to bring.
“Your typical assignment is going to be 13 weeks, but some can be as short as eight weeks,” said Jessica Madgey, Associate Vice President of Nursing, MedPro Healthcare Staffing, an industry leader in placing travel nurses and allied professionals. “It’s important to do your research and prepare accordingly to ensure a positive and rewarding travel assignment.”
Each assignment varies, and needs and wants change over time. So, even if you have a list, it’s important to update it for each new job. Check out these tips for prepping and packing for your next travel nursing or allied health assignment.
1. Home Preparation
If you rent or have a mortgage, make sure you prepay or have automatic payments set up for all of your bills. You don’t want to return from a 13-week assignment to find your power cutoff. Even if you have a home security system, have a designated person to check in on your home regularly. You can also have them pick up your mail if you choose not to forward it or put any deliveries on hold until your return. Provide friends and family contact information for your travel residence and work location in case of an emergency.
It pays to do your research. The more time you spend planning on the front end, the less time and money you’ll waste on the back end. Get familiar, if you’re not already, with the city or area you’ll be working in. Look up average weather temperatures to know if you can get away with sweaters and a light jacket during the fall months or if you’ll need to bring a heavy coat. Find out about popular local recreational activities and entertainment so you’ll know if you should bring your golf clubs or pickleball racquet or leave them at home.
Ask if there are any amenities where you’re staying, such as a pool, fitness center, and laundry facilities. Are you flying or driving? If flying, will you be renting a car, or can you use mass transit? If you’re driving, will you have a place to park? Will you be parking on the street? Will you need a parking permit?
Once you get all of the details, you can start packing, but be sure to start off with the essentials before including any luxury or extra items.
3. Paperwork and Documents
- Nursing contract
- Any paperwork required for your facility
- MedPro Placement Guide contact information
- Nursing license and credentials
- Driver’s license, insurance, and registration (if using your car)
- Social security and birth certificate
- Immunization Records and any other important medical documents
- Resume or CV
4. Personal Items
- Scrubs or work uniform
- Off-duty clothes and shoes based on weather and activities (Choose clothes and shoes that can be used with multiple pieces. When packing, roll clothes instead of folding, and fill spaces or openings with items, such as placing socks in shoes.)
- Stethoscope (or other personal equipment)
- Toiletries and Beauty Items (hair dryer, brush, haircare products, skincare, soaps, toothbrush, floss, deodorant, perfumes, razors, lotion, nail grooming, sunscreen) Depending on space, you may want to buy some of these items upon arrival.
- Medications and Prescriptions
- One to two hobby/entertainment Items such as golf clubs or photography gear
- Items to hold you over until you can shop (roll of toilet paper, bottled water, disinfectant wipes)
- Cellphone (multiple chargers for home and car)
- WiFi router or hotspot (if not provided)
- Small mobile wireless speaker
- Power bank
Pack as efficiently as possible and have a shopping list for when you get to your destination. Each assignment is like restocking your home, so budget accordingly. Of course, everyone has their must-have items, such as a favorite blanket, juicer, or slow cooker. Don’t leave behind an item that will impact your daily quality of life or your emotional or mental well-being.
- Laundry and dish soap
- Iron, ironing board
- Pillow and bedding
- What size is the bed?
- Is your living space stocked with pots, pans, and utensils?
- Is there an iron, ironing board?
- Is there a coffee maker?
- Is there a microwave?
- Is there a TV, a radio?
7. Animal Companion
- If your four-legged companion is coming along, be sure to bring:
- Paperwork (health records, license, microchip information)
- ID, tags, leash
- All medications
- Food and dishes
- Litter, box, or baggies
- Favorite toys
- Local veterinarian info. (Ask your Vet for a recommendation before leaving)
8. Arrive Early
Give yourself a few days before your official start date to acclimate to your new destination. Arriving early will give you a chance to unpack, shop for groceries, and pick up any items you couldn’t bring with you. You can do a test run of your commute to work and give yourself a day to adjust to a time change. For those bringing their animal companions, you’ll have a chance to help familiarize them with their new surroundings before taking off for work. And be sure to get a good eight hours of sleep the night or day before your first shift.
Starting a new assignment is exciting, but it can also be stressful. Make sure you’re prepared and take the necessary steps to ensure a smooth and confident transition into your new position. And remember, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. “Nurse and allied health professionals can contact their Placement Guide any time they need assistance,” said Madgey. “Plus, MedPro’s credentialing, nurse liaison, payroll, housing, and MedPro Experience® teams are available every step of their MedPro Journey.”