Your first assignment as a travel nurse will be full of both excitement and anxiety. That’s normal! Taking your first assignment is a big step, and we’re here to help. Below are our best tips for landing your first assignment and what to expect when you arrive.

Tips for Getting Your First Travel Assignment

If you’re just starting to explore travel nursing, knowing where to start can be difficult. We suggest getting in contact with a recruiter to get an idea of what path you should take.

Choosing Your First Destination

One thing you’ll need to consider is where you’d like to travel. There are certain things that need to be taken into account when applying. If you have years of experience, all options are on the table. If you’re a new nurse with a year or two of experience or have been away from nursing for a little bit, there are states that will be a better starting point for your first assignment. North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and New Mexico are states that are more willing to accept nurses with less experience.

Getting Your Licensure

Receiving licensure for the state you want to nurse in is another thing that has to be considered when looking into travel nursing for the first time. Even an experienced nurse will have to really take licensure into consideration.

States like California can take as long as three to six months to receive licensure by endorsement. Though it’s a popular destination for travelers, you might be looking to take an assignment much earlier than that. Fortunately, there are several states where you can have a temp license with a couple days to a week. These include Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia.

One thing to remember is that, even though you can quickly obtain a temp license in these states, you’ll still need to complete the process to receive a permanent license. Another important note is that if you have anything on your background check, a temp license isn’t an option. You’ll have to go through the full process.

So if you’re planning ahead, you have some options as to where you can go. If you need to find an assignment pretty quickly, the list above is a great place to start. Either way, we recommend getting in touch with us so we can help you understand your best options.

Planning Your Move

One thing we always like to suggest is that you get your car checked and your oil changed before you start traveling. The last thing you need while on the road is to have car troubles! As for packing, it’s a good idea to bring some familiar items to make your place feel a little like home, as well as important paperwork. Some of the items we suggest include:

Household Items

  • Sheets and pillowcases
  • Blankets
  • Bath towels
  • Pictures of family
  • Laundry basket
  • Kitchen utensils, dishes, pots, and pans
  • Coffeemaker
  • Vacuum
  • Personal electronics
  • Work uniforms
  • Clothes for the weather you’ll experience


  • Healthcare documents
  • Driver’s license
  • Car insurance papers
  • Social Security card
  • Professional licenses
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copies of all credentials

We highly suggest having all of your important documentation. You never know exactly what you’ll need, so make sure you have everything.

What to Expect When You Arrive

When you begin your assignment, you’ll report to the HR office and get a badge. Your first day and possibly your first week will be orientation, so you’ll have a chance to learn the ropes at your new hospital and settle in. Although we will provide you with as much information as we possibly can before you begin your assignment, there will be hospital-specific or specialty-specific things we simply don’t know ourselves. Make sure you ask questions during orientation.

What Can You Expect From Your Recruiter?

LRS Healthcare takes tremendous pride in supporting our nurses wherever they are. We stay connected with you throughout your time at a hospital, and we’re here for you when you need us. You should expect your recruiter to be your advocate while on assignment. If you’re having trouble with something, we’re here to help solve the problem or provide guidance on how to handle the situation. Even if you just need someone to talk to, our recruiters are going to be there for you.

We strive to maintain weekly communication to see how things are going and will connect with you around the six-week mark before your contract expires to discuss extending your current contract or looking for a new destination. Know that we will be regularly communicating with you, and it’s in your best interest to communicate with us on a regular basis. We’re here to support you however you need it while on assignment, so lean on us whenever you need help.

One important thing to know is that if you’re sick or need to miss work for any reason that it’s your responsibility as a nurse to communicate that with the hospital and your manager. Though we also want to be in the loop about this, it’s your responsibility to communicate this to the hospital.

If you have any questions, just let us know! We take tremendous pride in helping nurses find the best travel opportunities, and supporting them while they’re on assignment. You can contact us via email or by phone at (800) 811-0064.