Maybe you’ve had this happen during a vacation. You’re excited to experience a new place. You’ve heard about the views or the nightlife or the culture. You have a general idea of what you’ll do to enjoy the area once you arrive. And you’ve booked a place to stay. Awesome! And then you get there and realize your rental is nowhere near the attractions and restaurants that interest you, or it’s not as big as you expected. And everything around is way more expensive than you had budgeted, and you’re grabbing for credit cards. Not awesome.
The same thing occasionally comes up in healthcare staffing. It’s smart to do basic research on a city before arriving or even before signing a contract. Here’s what to look up:
COST OF LIVING
Pay packages might be the same in two separate areas you’re comparing, but research what it costs to live there, too. You may end up surprised. A quick check can help you plan for how much extra or less it will cost for expenses like gas, groceries and entertainment.
It’s also sometimes worth the time investment to do a quick search related to housing terms (“apartment costs in” and “housing costs in”) and read recent news articles. Housing in small or rural towns won’t always equate to low rent if the area is experiencing a growth boom amidst a housing shortage. Check that there is housing available and what the rental costs are before agreeing to work in the area. That way you know the expenses will be affordable with your weekly pay package.
How far is your potential housing to the facility? Could you make it to work if your car broke down? Map out how far it is to necessities like the grocery store, to a larger town for weekend outings, and to the attractions on your bucket list. If everything you need or want to do is too spread out for you to enjoy, or the commute takes too much time, you can move on to talking about other locations with your recruiter.
You’ll also want to do some online searches for more densely populated areas. If you’ll be traveling to a city where most workers use mass transit, you should research public transportation prices and safety.
Depending on the region or state you are traveling to, what it’s like to live and work in one part may be vastly different from another. Remember to do your research and you’ll always start off a new contract on the right foot, prepared and ready to enjoy your new environment.