How Networking Can Be An Untapped Superpower for the Traveling Nurse

Rick Martinez

When I was offered a travel assignment in Europe, many of my colleagues were flabbergasted.

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Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

Truth be told, I was as well, to an extent.

However, when a fellow travel RN asked how one goes about nabbing a gig like that, I have to say there wasn't a step-by-step plan. It was more a sequence of events and, more so, people who I've met and connected with over the years.

The truth is success leaves clues.

Someday I'll share more about how the whole Europe contract came about, but for now, let's talk about how it all began.

With your network.

As a nurse, we're trained in the art of caregiving. But like many programs out there, we're not taught how to network. And of course, we often think that we don't have time to network because we believe that in order to network, one needs to be at events.

And this is just not the case.

Right this moment, by reading this article, you are networking. In its simplest terms, the author of this article is a veteran travel RN sharing concepts or ideas, and by you searching for it or reading it, you ARE networking.

So how do you do more of it, and how does a professional nurse start networking?

First, be proud that you're a nurse

This may sound a bit silly, but I've actually known folks who don't talk about or share that they're a nurse.

But here's what I precisely mean.

When we join online groups or hit up some websites, we should share that we are indeed nursing professionals. Not to the extent that we have all kinds of letters after our name or in our profile per se. But more so in that representing as an RN immediately creates bonds of trust and positivity.

This representation begins to build bonds, relationships that eventually cascade into opportunities.

Remember earlier when I shared the whole European contract gig I did? This was the first step in that process. Slowly building rapport and relationships online and eventually in real life. It was contacts I made over months and years, and of course, being good at my job, that ultimately led to a crucial phone call from a recruiter.

All this and more led to a once-in-a-lifetime gig in Europe that was life-changing for me.

The best methods for networking are right in front of you

Sometimes social media gets a bad rap.

I'm of the mindset that if you choose to scroll mindlessly and waste time, then yes, it's a time-waster and energy suck. But if you use it with intention, then the opposite is true. Let me break it down for you a bit.

LinkedIn, for instance, is a fabulous tool. I've made thousands of connections literally over the years on this platform. And no, I don't post things daily. In fact, I maybe share things 1-2 times weekly.

The even more significant thing to note is that many of my connections are not nursing.

In other words, I've been able to broaden my horizons, my connections, and my "circle" by strategically using a social media platform.

And the payoff? I've been offered jobs, roles, and gigs simply by putting myself out there honestly and authentically. Folks really dig it, and it helps me get to know others better.

Another platform is Facebook. It's arguably the most prolific, and the same holds true. It can be a time slog or a valuable tool.

I've joined several nursing groups, for example.

I learn and glean info about the hottest gigs around in these groups. What's trending in travel nursing. And of course, I've made gobs of virtual friends and connected online.

The best part is when you meet these online connections in real life!

Why networking is so powerful

We travel nurses already know the power of having a great network.

It may allow us to be found or find those unique assignments. It will keep us in contact with fellow nurses and even non-nurses over the years, which may be the genesis of something new and unexpected. At its most basic level, it may mean the difference between standard and higher rates simply because your style and ethics are known.

The bottom line is the power of your networking, and fostering that network can be the most significant and most satisfying act and community of your career.

The final word

First, be proud that you're a nurse.

This may sound a bit silly, but I've actually known folks who don't talk about or share that they're a nurse.

Next, treat social media as a fun pastime and as a powerful tool to build your circle. While you might use it to look up hot contracts, read great articles (like this one), or surf the industry, don't forget that it can also help you advance and grow.

And remember, as your personal and professional networks grow, so will your career.

Wishing you happy travels and much success!

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I'm a freelance writer and a nurse, exploring the world one beer, donut, and experience at a time. Writing about the travel nurse industry and healthcare, with the occasional emphasis on donuts. #NomNom

San Antonio, TX
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