Andrew Wettengel / Tuesday, July 19, 2022 / Categories: Health, Work World


Travel nursing has been a lucrative option for those in the nursing profession for many years. Hospitals use travel nurses to help fill some of the most in-demand positions around the country. However, as the pandemic has started to wane, and COVID funding has started to disappear, the demand for travel nurses has begun to shrink. This has made it more difficult for travel nurses to find assignments.

If you’re wondering what to do if you can’t find a travel nurse assignment, read on to find some helpful advice from OneStaff in securing your next position.

1. Be Open to New Ideas

If you are struggling to find travel nursing assignments, being open to new locations may be your best bet in landing new contracts. Don’t limit yourself to possibilities on location; instead, consider places you’ve never been before.

For example, you may consider a rural or city hospital if you would not typically look for those types of assignments. Or it might be time to consider staying in the area you already are and looking for contracts with a short commute from your current location.

Broadening your horizons on location will help you in the long run as you are less likely to be stuck without a contract or scrambling to find a new one. Keep in mind that this is just the next assignment—not where you will stay forever.

2. Be Flexible with Your Staff Agency – And the Hospital

Flexibility is a must-have trait for travel nurses and is one of the things that makes them good at their job. Your staffing agency, as well as hospitals and other healthcare facilities, want to know they have a flexible staff that can fill in where needed. This might mean considering positions that you wouldn’t have before or taking less pay than you would like for a contract.

It’s normal to have preferences for the types of jobs that you take. Those preferences may include pay, location, contract length, start date, or shift. It is unlikely you will find a contract that perfectly matches all your preferences, however. Choose a couple of “must haves” that are most important to you and focus on matching those preferences while you are searching for your next contract.

3. Try to Extend Your Current Contract

If you are already in a position you love, talk to your recruiter and nurse manager about the possibility of extending your contract. If you think you could handle it for a few more weeks, extending your current contract can buy you some much-needed time until you find the next assignment that fits your wants and needs more closely.

You are already working in the hospital and know the position by the time your contract is complete. This makes asking for an extension even easier. The nursing manager already knows you and your work ethic, meaning you could have a good chance of getting your contract extended. Plus, if the hospital still needs that role filled, keeping you on staff a few more weeks or longer makes sense for everyone, especially when finding travel nurses is proving to be difficult across the country.

4. Be Available When You Say You Are

Your availability to interview for a travel nursing position is crucial to your success in landing a contract. Hospitals are busy places, and the pandemic has added to the chaos for everyone in the hospital system.

When candidates are being called for interviews, it is often during lunch breaks or other small chunks of time where the nurse manager has a free moment. If you miss the call or aren’t available when you said you would be, you run the risk of losing the opportunity to even interview for that position.

For the best chance at getting a contract, think through your best interview times and only offer up time slots that you know will 100% work in your schedule. This may be a key factor in securing your next travel nursing contract.

5. Highlight Your Skillset

Travel nurses are required to have one to two years of nursing experience before starting a travel position. The goal is for travel nurses to require little training, allowing the hospital or facility to put them right to work faster when and where they are needed.
For a travel nurse, there may be only one to three days of training  at the beginning of each assignment. For this reason, your resume should highlight the skills that you have, rather than the time spent in each position or hospital. It’s important to tell the nurse manager exactly what you can do.

For example, the nurse manager may be looking for someone with a solid skillset for a busy trauma center. You may have worked in travel nursing longer, but a nurse that specifies a skillset in a trauma center with less experience may be more likely to get the position. That nurse meets the specific requirements the hospital is looking for and should require less training. Keep your travel nurse resume updated and focus on the skills you have, not just the places you’ve worked.

Highlight your ability to be flexible during your interview. Let the hospital staff know that you are a team player. Show the hiring manager if you are a quick learner or easy to work with. These are all skills that are key to for travel nursing assignments, and your interviewer will want to hear the ways in which you would be a good fit for their hospital. Hiring someone that can come in and get right to work is a huge bonus for the nurse manager.

6. Trust Your Recruiter (Or Find a New One!)

If you are struggling to get a travel nursing assignment, relying on your recruiter is a great place to start. Your relationship with your recruiter should be built on trust to be as successful as possible. Your recruiter knows which jobs are available and which ones you would be a great fit for. Trust them to make those judgments.

If you have a good relationship with your recruiter, they will likely know which assignments you would be willing to accept and which assignments you would love. Trust that they are making the best recommendations they can for you.

If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. That is what your recruiter is there for! Your recruiter is your best advocate. It is best to work on building that relationship and working in partnership with them to help you secure the best assignments they can find.

If you find that you are struggling to work with your recruiter, it may be time to find a new one. You should be able to trust your recruiter to look out for the best options available for you. When picking up and moving to a new location, choosing a staffing agency that will work for you is crucial. After all, you are relying on them to assist you in finding jobs, the best pay, and even housing. If you are searching for a new recruiter, make sure you are working with an agency that understands your needs and is willing to work with you.

Being a travel nurse is a bit more difficult in the post-COVID-19 medical world. It can feel defeating at times when you are struggling to find your next assignment. Be patient. The job market for travel nursing is stabilizing, and things will get back to normal slowly. Remain creative and flexible when looking for your next assignment, and remember that your next job won’t last forever.

Our recruiters at OneStaff Medical are here to help if you’re struggling to find the next travel nursing assignment that’s right for you. Contact us today at 877-783-1483 to learn more!

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