My First Travel Nurse Contract: My thoughts and experiences

Wow! I really can’t believe 13 weeks have passed and I am officially done with my first travel contract! 3 months ago my sister and I packed up my car and drove 7 hours to Washington D.C., during a pandemic, so I could start my first travel nurse contract! She headed back home after a week, and I lived the nomad life out of a hotel room (thanks Hilton for the free room!) for the first month while Bradley wrapped things up at home. I flew back to Greenville for a day, we closed on our camper, then a couple weeks later Bradley and the fur babies joined me in D.C.! It’s been a whirlwind of a 3 months but also one of the best adventures we have had yet!

What I learned in my first contract

I can say this contract has taught me a lot about my abilities as a nurse. I was SO nervous to travel. The idea of being in a new facility, with new people, and only two days of orientation was so scary! I really had doubts if I would be able to do it. Add in that I was also float pool and the anxiety increased even more! I floated at my staff job but it wasn’t often and wasn’t always my favorite experience. However. I’m thankful to say the transition to traveling was actually much easier and smoother than I thought. Once you have experience as a nurse, the actual medicine doesn’t change. Hospitals may have slightly different protocols or choice of treatments- but generally each diagnosis is still cared for the same. I also used the same charting system so that was a big help in the transition. The omnicell (machine we pull meds from) was easy to catch on too and I learned to have a notebook with all the codes and phone numbers I needed for a shift.

Covid Units

One of the main reasons I left my job so abruptly was after much prayer and consideration, I really felt pulled to go help my fellow nurses who were on the frontline of Covid. My staff job, I floated to Covid units, but I was lucky that my home unit was remaining a “clean” cardiac unit. However, with electives down and hours short, I just really felt pulled to go and start my travel career earlier than planned. I am float pool at this assignment, so I have worked on 11 different units during my 13 week contract. Many shifts have been spent on Covid units. I can really see the stress and burn out these nurses are facing, especially now that we are 5 months into this pandemic. I hope me being there provides them with a little relief. I’m very thankful this hospital provides us with adequate PPE and seems to truly care about the safety of the staff. Numbers are down, but I have worked Covid the past 9 plus shifts and I will continue to do so. Sending some love to all the workers, healthcare or not, on the frontline during this pandemic. I appreciate you all!

Missing my work family

I really, truly, miss my work family. My staff job was not perfect (what job is?) and there are plenty of aspects I don’t miss, but I worked with some really amazing nurses and NPs and I miss them terribly. Especially being float pool, I haven’t really formed any relationships with the nurses I work with since I’m on a different unit every shift. I have had some nurses I made conversation with and enjoyed working with, but definitely no true relationships have been formed. It was also always nice to have the nurse friends who you know have your back and if your drowning, they’ll come help you, which is something I haven’t really experienced as a travel nurse.


I will say, if you’re looking for the dream schedule, travel nursing (at least bedside) may not be for you. Granted, I am super lucky that my manager is very accommodating and kind to her travel nurses. I honestly haven’t work as many weekends or as poor of a schedule as I thought I would, but I know all jobs aren’t this way. I wouldn’t mind working all the weekends if Bradley was on a more flexible schedule. But for now, he is on the 9-5, so occasional weekend days off are really nice so we can have the whole day to adventure and be together. Being float pool, I don’t know anyone else in my department, so I haven’t been able to switch a day, which is something I did a lot at my staff job. I also can’t ask for time off other than when I sign my contract. I still love getting to see the country though this adventure and I very much am looking forward to time off this contract, but it is different than staff jobs. Not bad, just different.

Where to next?

Our next stop will be…..

Washington D.C.! Yes, I know, maybe a bit of a lackluster announcement. However, with me coming to D.C. a month before Bradley and then us working to get settled into our new life and camper, we still have a lot we want to do in the area (within reason of course, thanks Covid.) So, I signed an extension for another 13 weeks at the same hospital. After this assignment though we look forward to packing up and heading out on our next adventure!

I’m really excited to be on this adventure and proud of myself for being brave enough to make the change and give travel nursing a try! I am off for 7 days and then I start contract number 2 next week! I am thankful I will have a 10 day vacation the week of my birthday this contract. Have a great and safe weekend, friends! (And if you have any questions about travel nursing, camper living, nursing in general, or anything else, please reach out!) 🙂