A Travel Nurse’s Guide to Austin
Few jobs are in higher demand than those in the medical field. There’s always a constant need for nurses, and the need becomes even more dire when there’s a health crisis like this year’s coronavirus. Despite being in such demand, and despite the fact that nurses make up the largest percentage of healthcare jobs, there are still constant shortages. This certainly wasn’t helped by COVID-19, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 11 million more nurses will be needed before 2026 to avoid even greater shortages. Even without the strain of the pandemic, the nursing staff is still stretched thin due to a large aging population.
Travel nurses come in to fill gaps in hospitals and other healthcare facilities around the country. These facilities work with travel nursing agencies to fill gaps in their staff and provide short-term or long-term contracts. Travel nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who typically have years of experience in their field. Assignments are available all over, and there are several advantages of being a travel nurse. Aside from the inherent perks of traveling, travel nurses also earn higher wages than staff nurses, especially when working overtime. They may receive additional perks from their agency as well.
If you’ve found yourself considering a travel nurse’s position, there’s a wide variety of locations open to you. Texas is a popular state for assignments, and Austin is one of the most popular cities. Here’s a guide for if you find yourself taking your nursing skills on the road to Austin.
The first thing you’ll need to figure out before taking your trip to Austin is your housing situation. You have several options, from hotels or apartments to RV living. The most common way travel nurses find housing is by working with their agency’s housing coordinator. Many agencies will have a department in charge of helping their travel RNs find somewhere to live. They’ll generally make contact within 48 hours of you accepting your assignment, and they’ll find the closest housing options to your facility and go over them with you. They’ll go over any specific travel needs you may have and provide you with a move-in date and time.
Your arrangements through a housing coordinator will often be corporate housing, which is good for you. Corporate housing tends to be a fully furnished apartment or an extended (and completely covered) stay in a nice hotel. If you don’t want to take advantage of your agency’s housing options, they may still cover a portion of your stay. This gives you much more control over where you live, but remember that a portion of your housing costs will be on you.
Alternatively, you could find housing completely on your own using Airbnb or other methods. Many hotels also offer travel nurses discounts; you’ll need a code from your recruiter to qualify. No matter what you decide for housing, Austin offers plenty of great things to do when you’re not working.
If you’re an outdoors person, then Austin absolutely has you covered. If you’re a fan of the water, you absolutely need to check out Lady Bird Lake. Boat rentals are available at Zilker Park, and there’s a rowing club you can join if you’re into more intensive activities. Even if you don’t like going on the water, two-thirds of the lake is surrounded by bike and hiking trails for you to take on.
If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, you can take a 45-minute trip outside of Austin to Cypress Valley Canopy Tours in Spicewood. Tours are available day and night, and there are plenty of zip-lines set up between the trees. Feeling a different kind of brave? Check out some underground tours in Austin’s plentiful cave system. Of course, if you’re looking for a more mellow experience, you can always go stargazing at some of the excellent state parks.
You can’t visit a new place without trying all the best food, and Austin has plenty to offer. You can start your day with a delicious Texas Kolache. While kolaches are typically a pastry that surrounds a portion of fruit jam, Texas has added its own twist. Their version is made of dough that surrounds a collection of sausage, cheese, and jalapenos.
While you’re trying interesting twists on traditional foods, why not grab a Frito Pie for lunch or dinner? Sometimes called the Walking Taco, this is a portable dish of corn chips, hot chili, and cheese that makes for a convenient meal at any time of day.
Of course, you can’t visit Texas without checking out its famous barbeque. Likely the best place to do this is at Franklin Barbecue, often known as “the best barbeque in America.” With an award-winning chef, you can believe all the pulled pork, brisket, and ribs are outstanding, and you’ll need to get there early. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. and closes as soon as they run out of food. This typically takes just a few hours.
Of course, there are loads more to do in Austin too. You can visit the city’s tallest mural, check out their famous theme parks, and no trip would be complete without looking into Austin’s vibrant music scene. Feel free to use these tips to make the most of your trip!