It happens every time — you start a new travel nursing job, get into the groove of the facility, and then before you know it, you discover it’s already time to decide where to go for your next adventure. Your options are limitless in the world of allied health and travel nursing jobs, and you get to choose where to take your medical travel career. So, when the time comes to start exploring your med travel possibilities, make sure you’re prepared for what’s ahead of you.
When to Start Looking for Your Next Travel Assignment
When to search for a new allied health or travel nursing job
When looking for your next travel nursing assignment, "the earlier, the better" mindset is best. Many registered travel nurses and allied health professionals start to look for new assignments four to six weeks ahead of their start date and often are accepted for assignments within the one-month range.
"January is the most competitive month out of the year when looking for travel assignments," said Kayla Kelley, senior nursing recruiter. "Many travelers take the holidays off and start looking for their next assignment starting after the new year! It’s best to start looking for assignments sooner rather than later so you have a better chance at being first in line, especially if you are looking for a specific part of the country, shift, pay or other preferences that are important to you in a travel assignment."
However, before you jump in with both feet to explore the Midwest in all its glory or fly to the opposite side of the country to be closer to your BFF, figure out what matters most to you as a professional healthcare traveler — I mean, other than access to a killer total compensation package. 😉
For example, is it important to you to stay within a specific geographic area? Or, perhaps you want to exclusively work night shifts. Whatever your reasons are, make sure your Fusion Medical Staffing recruiter knows too so they can successfully and confidently match you with placements where you’ll grow and thrive.
Your personal recruiter will be by your side to assist you every step of the way in your allied health or nursing career, from assignment to assignment, to offer a helping hand, answer questions, or give you some much-needed guidance during your travel journey.
When should you start your search for allied health or travel nursing jobs? Well that depends on what you want to do after your current assignment — whether you choose to extend your contract, move on, or take a break between travel assignments.
Extending? Yes, no, maybe so.
Imagine this — you’re three weeks into your travel placement and you’re head over heels for the medical facility and the perm staff team. If this is your real life, you may want to ask your recruiter about extending your assignment so you can stay even longer!
What does it mean to extend? Long story short, it’s when the allied professional or travel nurse and facility agree to a second assignment together for a given amount of time — sometimes it’s four weeks and sometimes it’s a full 13 weeks, you decide what’s best for your medical career.
"Travelers should consider extending their assignment for various reasons," said Riley Kister, nursing recruiter. "Benefits to doing so include staying in housing you've already secured, getting to explore the area you're in longer, and potentially getting longer amounts of time off approved that might not initially be considered when applying for the first time at the facility. Because you would be extending and staying on assignment, you get to keep your insurance if you are taking it through Fusion, too! Typically at most hospitals, you can extend up to a year if you like the facility and location."
Extending is a win-win for you as a professional medical worker and the hospital or medical facility. Not only are you already credentialed and familiar with the working environment and processes, you’ve also completed your onboarding and orientation so you can skip that part and go straight to patient care.
Extending is beneficial for allied travelers and travel nurses in a few ways:
- No need to apply for new state licenses (especially if you have a compact license!)
- More schedule flexibility so you can work your ideal hours in top hospitals
- Housing is secured and you’re all cozy and moved in
- Enjoy the friends made and sights seen for longer (like a few months!)
- Extra time to think about where you want to go next (think of the different cities you could explore!)
If these perks are right up your alley, talk to your recruiter ASAP! It’s never too early to lay down the groundwork for an extension request but try to get the ball rolling within a month or so into your medical travel job. The sooner, the better!
Once you’ve updated your MVP (aka your recruiter) on your hopes and dreams of extending your assignment, they’ll open a conversation with the facility to learn if a job extension is possible or not.
Sometimes healthcare facilities only need you for a limited time, like if you were there to cover an employee’s maternity leave. Other times, their budget wasn’t approved, so the center can’t afford your awesomeness. No worries though — the worst thing they can say is “no.” And if that’s the case, it’s time to move on out and move on up to find a new assignment.
Moving on out and moving on up
Every travel assignment eventually comes to an end — regardless if you’re leaving after 13 weeks or post-contract extension. When the time comes for a new medical travel job, take comfort in knowing you’re in complete control of your allied health or travel nursing career.
Finding your next medical assignment isn’t as intimidating as it may sound. In fact, at Fusion Medical Staffing, your recruiter and back-office teams are constantly on the lookout for opportunities that align with what’s important to you in your travel nurse career. So, when it comes to securing future travel nursing jobs, your main role is simply to accept or not accept offers that come from your Fusion Medial Staffing team. Easy-peasy.
The timeline for moving on out and moving on up is about “four to six weeks after your start date,” said Aubrey Foley, senior nursing recruiter. Be aware that you’ll want to start planning ahead with your recruiter anywhere between four and six weeks from the day you started your current assignment, not the contract’s end date. The reason is to give your employers and your support team plenty of time to present you with new travel options. It’s always good to have options!
Your time is largely spent on others as a travel nurse or allied health professional. That includes patients, patient families, colleagues, families, and more. So, it only sounds fair that you dedicate time to care for yourself and strike a healthy work-life balance! Take time off, travel for fun, visit loved ones, and enjoy the reasons you became a med traveler to the fullest.
Before you book your ticket, there are a couple of important details to consider with vacays in-between your travel assignments and nursing assignments:
- Some time spent vacationing is unpaid. Save up before your trip and stick to a budget so you have plenty of funds for excursions, fine dining, premium lodging, and more! As a Fusion Medical Staffing traveler, you’re entitled to 40 hours of paid time off (PTO) for every 1,560 hours worked.
- Benefits have an expiration date. If you receive benefits like health insurance from your staffing agency, you’ll need to ask your recruiter about the company policy and time off parameters to ensure you’re not losing your coverage (unless, of course, you have alternative coverage). At Fusion Medical Staffing, travelers have 26 glorious days of stress-free relaxation before you get back to the grind or forfeit your benefits.
Frequently asked questions
How far in advance do allied professionals and travel nurses get their assignments?
This process can vary from nurse to nurse and professional to professional. Typically, travel nurses receive their assignments about four to five weeks in advance, depending on nursing experience, specialty, location, and the current job market conditions.
What is the average stay for an allied traveler or travel nurse?
The average allied health and travel nursing contract length is about 13 weeks. However, you can extend your assignment for up to a year without losing your traveler benefits, such as a housing stipend and a per diem.
How often do travel nurses and allied health travelers change location?
It's up to the travel nurse or allied health professional, however, most stay in one location for about 13 weeks. After that, it's up to them if they want to extend their assignment or begin a new one!
Where can I find allied and travel nursing jobs?
Good news — you can easily search on our website for allied health and travel nursing assignments. From there, expect that your recruiter will reach out with details and updates on a potential new assignment.
Plan your time off with your recruiter because nothing ruins vacation vibes faster than work. Let them know you’re in need of a break six-ish weeks into your new assignment, or sooner if you already have one foot out the door and on the beach. They will focus on finding an allied health or travel nursing job with a later start date so you can fully appreciate life outside of the medical world for as long as you need.
The time in which you initiate your job search mission is up to you. You have the power to choose what you want to do, where you want to go, and when you want to do travel nursing opportunities. Explore your healthcare traveler options and see what comes next for you in your allied health or travel nursing career.