Woohoo! You’ve scored your travel contract and you’re ready to start organizing everything you
need on your adventure. Instantly, you think of creating a checklist, but you realize you’re not sure what
to take. Look no further, Christine over at NurseRX has created a healthcare traveler checklist to help
you cutout the hassle of figuring it out yourself.
As you begin the packing process, maintaining organization is key. Organization is important
because you may be living a nomadic lifestyle. Your living situation may change as you dive deeper into
the travel healthcare world. I usually have the under the bed plastic bins to store and transport all my
items. These are a great way to easily pack into a car and store under the bed or in a closet when you
arrive at your place of living. A pro tip for packing is take only the essentials. Now, you may be thinking “
what are the essentials”? My recommendations may differ slightly from yours however, this is a
customizable list to help you begin. I typically will take a set of dishes (cup,bowl, plate, coffee cup,
utensils, a knife and cutting board). I bring these items because more times than not you’ll end up in a
place that doesn’t have these items or they may be scary due to lack of TLC. If the landlord or host has
these items they typically are from the local thrift shop or grandmas attic. Personally, there’s nothing
more annoying than a dull knife. Included in this list of utensils is a wine key and/or a beer bottle opener
if this is something you’ll indulge in, these are notoriously overlooked. I will bring my hydroflask or camel
pack depending on the location I’m headed for my hikes and to stay hydrated at work. I was severely
limited when I went to Hawaii, but I knew I would be doing a lot of hiking there so I brought a small water
bladder that could stuff into my pack.
Moving onto clothing...every time I would leave for a new contract, my wardrobe shrank. Take it
from me...you DON’T need as much as you think! Think about what type of activities you most likely will
be engaging in (hiking/wine tasting/skydiving just to name a few) and decide what you may need and
what articles of clothing are versatile for leisure and adventuring. Keep the space in your suitcase for
acquiring cool souvenirs along your journey. Make sure to research the location you’re going, to see
about the weather for the time of year. Travel blogs are a creative way to check out seasonal weather in
a location. When I began travel nursing, I used to take a set of sheets with me, I mention this because
it’s something people are unsure about. Just keep in mind you may not know the size of the bed. If
having your own sheets is important, wait until you arrive at your place of living and determine what’s
If outdoor activities are a must for you, I would limit the equipment you would bring with you. REI
actually has gear rentals such as tents, climbing gear, etc and its typically the newer equipment. Save
the space in your car and the headache of packing up when your contract is over. Making friends with
people who have this equipment is another way to keep your items to a minimum.
Now, you may be asking, do I need to keep my licenses, certifications, documents etc. on
hand? Kamana or CamScanner is a great way to organize all your documents in an easily accessible
location on your phone. Kamana is encrypted and secure and I highly recommend this to anyone on the
go. Don’t forget your passport! As a travel healthcare professional, you’ll have more free time to explore
the globe, so keep this in a safe place. Lastly, don’t forget your sense of adventure and your fun attitude.
The best part of being a travel healthcare professional is the ability to explore the world and the freedom
of your schedule.
This list could go on for days but the key take away is to keep organized, keep to the essentials
and have fun on your journey. I get asked a lot about the type of suitcase I use.I recommend the
Cotopaxi collection of packs for any kind of travel. The ability to pack so much into such a small space
keeps your car from filling up. I also recommend getting a car clothing rod for any of your hangable
items. You can utilize this gadget not just for clothing, but for a variety of ideas to organize your car.
Keeping your car organized and free from being packed to the brim will make your trek more enjoyable
and safer. I hope this checklist helps you organize and make packing less of a nightmare and more
exciting to explore what’s ahead. Head on over to www.nurserxusa.com to connect with me (Christine)
and for more travel tips.
We have partnered up with NurseRX to give our MedVenture users a discount:
Go to www.nurserxusa.com and use promo code MEDVENTURE10 for 10% off our services!
Written by: Christine, “Chriss”, is the Founder and CEO of NurseRX. A launching pad for nurses to seamlessly transition from staff nurse to travel nurse. She’s been a travel nurse for 7+ years and continues to educate and motivate those seeking entry into the travel healthcare profession. She’s pursuing her executive MBA to hopefully one day lead by example to positively disrupt the healthcare system and improve the nursing profession.
Isn’t it funny that you’re a healthcare professional and yet the chances of you knowing how people are able to pay for their healthcare costs are slim-to-none? Well you are in the majority there my friend, no one really understands insurance unless they are required to for a living.
Allow me to introduce myself- your insurance guide/advisor/expert, Parita Patel. If you asked me a year ago about how my insurance worked, I would’ve stared at you and shrugged my shoulders immediately. And the last thing I thought I'd do with my life is help people with their health insurance but to be honest, when you’re mostly saving people money AND getting them better protected, I’m happy to have made the career change.
So here is my promise to you, by the time you’ve read this blog post you will 1) hopefully laugh at my corny jokes (or at least I spread a smile across your face) because 2) you’ll be an insurance expert! Let the knowledge drop begin!
Do we need insurance?
Honestly? Yes. As I always say, I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I mean no one plans to be in the hospital right? But if it does happen, you better have some insurance working for you to protect you god-forbid one of those situations arises.
How do I choose a great plan?
Vocabulary lesson, commence! There are a few big things to look out for when picking a plan and I’ve listed them below. These definitions are pulled verbatim from the government website for available insurance plans.
What about my Employer option?
Employer plans can often be great for the employee themselves but if you add on a spouse or dependent, BOOM, you’re going to be paying an arm and leg for only OKAY coverage. #HardPass
You can search in google for health insurance plans and a few government websites should show up. Some states only want you to get their state insurance option so you may be limited depending where you’re at.
Key plan features:
Health Share/Christian Ministries/Short Term plans
In my professional opinion, stay away.
The monthly premiums are going to be sooo much cheaper but you get what you pay for. So don’t expect it to come to your aid if something happens. There’s a lot to these so if you want to chat more hit me up, I’ll break it down for you.
People hear private and they automatically think it means pricey. Not true! Private insurance doesn’t get impacted by your income and has no connection to the Government. The coverage itself is great because in most cases they provide benefits up front, rather than having to deal with co-pays or deductibles first.
So what’s the catch? Not everyone can qualify for it. Private insurance is based on your health. It does require some medical underwriting where they review your health history to determine if you can get approval. From my understanding, if there are big things you are needing for your health on a regular basis, private insurance may not provide enough for your pre-existing conditions, so you wouldn’t get approved because the insurance company knows it cannot cover your expenses. Make sense?
However there are private options that are guaranteed-issued which means they won’t do any medical underwriting so at that point just make sure your agent is walking you through exactly how the plans work so that you have full transparency and can see the fine print. Whatever your situation, it’s worth learning about all the options available to you.
How much should I be spending and what’s a “fair” price?
All insurance takes into account your age. The older you are, the riskier you become to insure. As I mentioned earlier, your income impacts the Obamacare rates. Your health impacts whether you can qualify for private. So it pays to be healthy ;)
In my experience, my husband and I did not qualify for government assistance so we were paying full price which was over $675 for us monthly. This was way more than what we are now paying with private! The biggest thing to look out for is whether that plan gives you good coverage or not because even if the monthly costs are the same in two different plans, the coverage is almost not even close.
Oh and don’t forget that year-over-year, Obamacare plans get more expensive while simultaneously often decreasing your benefits. I literally saw my benefits cut in HALF and my premium INCREASE. Pay attention if you’re going with that option! Private insurance doesn’t do that at least, I’ve seen benefits go up year over year and premiums only slightly increase to account for age increase!
In conclusion, compare the numbers for all the features of a plan from our vocabulary lesson above. That’s the best way to see what option is going to protect you better. Listen, all insurance sucks. We’re strictly picking the lesser of all evils here. At the end of the year when you review your finances and see that you spent a few thousand $ on all your insurances (home, health, car, etc.) and realize you didn’t actually use anything, not even once, you may get upset. But let me tell you this, IF something were to happen, you’re way better off having something to cover you. I’ve seen a kidney stone gone wrong cost someone $82,000. Luckily with the private insurance they only ended up having to pay $3000 but if they didn’t have the coverage, woof.
I hope this helps. For additional information, to book an appointment for either policy review or private insurance set up, feel free to connect with me at www.paritahealth.com. I can’t wait to speak with you!
Direct Line: 813-542-9100
Medventure partnered up with Partia to give our users a complimentary gift card and free consultation when you mention "MedVenture" when you book an appointment here: https://calendly.com/parita-patel!
When I started my travel nursing journey in 2014, I never thought that a shy guy like me would actually leave my home state to travel to a remote island 5,974 miles off the coast of California. Four years into my travel nursing career I was presented with the unique opportunity to take an assignment on the 125km beach island known as Guam. My first reaction was, “Where’s Guam and can I work as a nurse in a foreign country?”
Little did I know, Guam is actually a United States territory and as healthcare professionals we are allowed to travel and work on these highly desired (mostly tropical) locations to fill short term staffing needs. So how do you become a traveler in one of these amazing locations? Here are 6 steps when picking out your next U.S. territory destination.
Step 1: What is a United States territory and what are my options?
The United States territories are a group of geographical areas in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. These territories fall under the jurisdiction of the United States federal government, but do not hold the same status as the 50 states that comprise the U.S. The United States territories that we can take assignments at are American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands and other minor outlying islands (Bajo Nuevo Bank, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll).
Step 2: Do your research.
This might be the most important step. Before I went to Guam, I researched the island, and everything it had to offer. I looked up the culture, the local language, the history of how it became a U.S. territory, gyms (personal preference), cell phone service, housing options/price, car rentals (accessibility), the beaches, the hospitals, and it’s geographic location. These islands aren’t for everyone, so make sure you do your research before accepting your new assignment. Priming your brain about the local culture and history helps to understand the perspectives, people, and experiences you will encounter.
Step 3: Find a recruiting company that staffs the territories
From personal experience, the hardest part about getting an assignment is finding an agency to get you there. Unlike more popular destinations for travel assignments, few agencies are contracted with the hospitals to provide these opportunities for travelers. Here are some agencies that staff some of the U.S. territories: NuWest, WorldWide Staffing , MSS , HCEN, Professional Nurse, and VeroRN. Another option is to log into a marketplace comparison site like Wanderly or the Vivian App and set your destination to any U.S. territory to see what the current needs are.
Step 4: Sign the contract
The format and content of these contracts should be the same as any other contract you would receive on the mainland. Make sure that flights are included - a one way flight to Guam can be upwards of $2,000. If you need help dissecting these contracts, NurseRX can be a great resource (Go to our Traveler Resource Tab for an exclusive MedVenture discount on all NurseRX concierge services).
Step 5: Obtain a license
You need to obtain a license for the territory you are going to. They are considered a state without congressional rights and the process is very similar to the license by endorsement you go through for a state on the mainland. In Guam, you had to have your contract signed as proof of employment before they would grant you a nursing license. The turnaround time to obtaining a license in Guam was very efficient and fast. Even though I put this step as # 5, please verify with your agency before heeding this advice.
Step 6: Say hello to paradise.
This step is the most exciting, nerve-racking, and exhilarating part of the experience. You are going to a tropical place full of uncertainty and wonder, but don't worry, there are several ways you can meet other healthcare travelers before you even arrive. There is a Facebook group called “Travel Nurse Island Life: USA Territories, USVI, Guam, Saipan” that is very active. MedVenture App is also represented in every U.S. territory! We suggest you log on, set your location to any territory and start connecting with some amazing traveling healthcare professionals. Most travelers are very responsive and helpful, it's good to learn from one another’s experiences.
If you have even entertained the idea of traveling to the U.S. Territories, trust me, just pull the trigger! Guam restored my faith in humanity and reminded me of why I got into nursing in the first place. Every patient was respectful (they all called me sir), we call the patients Ma or Pa (like we’re all family), and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve given a controlled substance. If you have any questions or want more info on my travel assignment on Guam, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com.
Written by: Ryan Cogdill, BSN, RN
The night-shift has its perks and its challenges. Some nurses have to work the night shift, some nurses could never even imagine being a night owl. For a crew of some pretty awesome, gritty, and sleepy nurses, night shift is home!
As night shift nurses, we can usually tell how our shift is going to start out just by looking at the nurse giving us report! If their water bottle is full, their hair is pulled up in an extra messy bun, and they have that, “I just did 12 million things today” look on their face, it’s probably going to be a rough night. The night shift crew is pretty tight though! We’re able to knock-out all the tasks and have fun doing it, especially when the 4am delirium sets in and everyone starts giggling over random things because you’re the kind of tired that makes everything hilarious.
There are pros and cons to working either days or nights but there are DEFINITELY some PERKS to working night shift and we’ll share them with you.
Despite how amazing working the night shift is, there are some DRAWBACKS. Here are a few of the not so great things about working the night shift that we’ve experienced.
Working the night shift isn’t for everyone, but if you’re on the fence on whether or not you should give it a try, do it! You’ll learn how to be resourceful, how to critically think independently, you’ll get the opportunity to really learn about your patients, and build incredible friendships with your co-workers.
And if you’d like a uNight Light to help brighten your shift, head over to www.lumifycare.com and use the code “medventure” to get 15% off!
Authors: Jennifferre Mancillas, BSN, RN &
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert, BSN, RN