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Travel Nursing: Getting Good References

As the on-going nursing shortage creates additional open travel nursing jobs, more and more nurses are considering travel nursing.

For this discussion, let's assume that you're already on a travel assignment that will be ending fairly soon. As you begin your preparations to leave, you'll typically be preoccupied with packing up your personal belongings for the trip home or to your next assignment.

Let's not forget to "pack" something else - positive professional evaluations from your supervisors at the hospital (preferably two references from two separate supervisors). This is something often overlooked in the hustle-bustle but it's much easier to take care of this before you ever leave your current assignment. Maintaining up-to-date evaluations will be invaluable to you in your future travel nursing assignments. Let's face it, for one reason or another, it's usually quite difficult to get meaningful references after the fact so why not eliminate a big headache down the road. Having them ready-to-go will be especially helpful in not holding up your future profile submissions. With intense competition for travel jobs, any delay could cause you to lose your ideal travel assignment. Let's avoid that by always getting evaluations from each current assignment.

Several things to keep in mind about these references:

  • These references should be from your direct supervisor, not co workers. Any attending physicians' letters of references would also reflect well on your service.
  • The reference should directly address your clinical skills, competence, and proficiency.
  • The evaluation should also address your dependability in terms of attendance and punctuality.
  • The evaluation should address your positive attitude in terms of flexibility, team player attitude, and your willingness to put in extra hours during "crunch" times.
  • Lastly, be sure the supervisor includes their contact information as some facilities may want to directly verify the reference.

If you'll be sure to get these evaluations before leaving each assignment, you'll maintain meaningful, personalized evaluations that will highlight your outstanding performance and will really stand out when your resume package is presented to hospitals. These references will "shout" to the screener making it easy for them to see that you are their best choice for the assignment.