When you work as a travel nurse, it’s a bit like starting a new job every 13 weeks. You may have just become comfortable working with a new team, when suddenly your assignment is over and you’re moving on to the next hospital. How well you fit into your nursing unit will affect how much you enjoy your travel assignment and often affects your patient care. Although the quality of care will not change, your patients can pick up when you’re happy and unhappy. Everyone enjoys being cared for by a happy person!
As a new person in a new city, you may feel overwhelmed and nervous. Part of this initial discomfort may be attributed to the number of faces and names you need to get used to every day. Nurses, doctors, pharmacists, physical therapists and dietitians, not to mention unit secretaries, housekeeping and management, are people you’ll come in contact with daily. While these are new people to you, you are also new to them. Remember to introduce yourself. You might think this isn’t necessary because they knew you were coming, but most people are wondering who you are. The sooner you introduce yourself and feel comfortable in your relationships with people, the sooner they feel comfortable with you.
Develop a relationship with someone on the unit yourself or ask your unit manager to pair you with a nurse who will be working most of the shifts you do. Try to find at least one nurse or team member who is eager to guide you through the processes on their unit and introduce you to people. You’ll find this also helps you grow personal and professional bonds with others, as you will click with not only the person you are paired with but also their friends and network.
Remember that you’re in a new place with new people who are trying to get to know you. Engage others by asking questions and allowing them to help you. You may be perfectly comfortable changing a central line dressing but may be unaware of how they chart the results or where the equipment is kept. Ask your colleagues for the information you need by being direct, and offer to lend a hand when you see others who need help.
On a daily basis, you’ll run into angry and frustrated doctors, nurses and patients who will see you as a metaphorical punching bag. After all, you’re someone with whom they will not have a long-term relationship. However, if you have engaged with your team members on a personal and professional level, they are less likely to see you as an impersonal object when they’re angry or frustrated. On the other hand, sometimes blowups happen. It’s important to remember that your teammates and patients are not angry with you personally, but rather with their situation or what’s happened, and you are just the next person they see.
Discovering the unique opportunities and patterns that exist in different hospitals around the country is something you encounter as a travel nurse that you don’t get in a permanent position. Take a deep breath and enjoy the opportunity you have to expand your experience and your network that can help you grow your career over the years. Life is a journey that starts out minute by minute but is best enjoyed in chunks of time. In other words, while you may feel overwhelmed at first in your travel assignment, give yourself a week in your new city and you’ll realize that you feel just a little different. The more travel assignments you take, the easier it becomes!
It’s our job to help you find great travel assignments and we take our job seriously. Contact our professional recruiters at Amare Medical Staffing and we’ll get started finding a great job for you.