Travel nurses often face unique challenges when starting new assignments. These difficulties can be solved with careful preparation and a trustworthy staffing company. New people and cultures will likely surround you during every travel nurse assignment. Knowing these individuals is crucial in overcoming travel nurse loneliness and establishing a work routine.
Managing Your Time
The key to overcoming challenges on your travel nurse assignment is staying flexible. Feel free to move on to a new one if a job isn’t working! It is a big perk of travel nursing—you can design your career and lifestyle as you please.
Whether you prefer to work multiple assignments back-to-back with a tiny break or take your time between contracts, it’s entirely up to you! The length of a job also varies. While the majority of travel nurse jobs are 13 weeks, there are short-term assignments that provide quick, diverse experience and long-term or extended positions that allow travelers to get deep into a facility or patient population.
A facility might hire travel nurses due to a staffing crisis or because they want the added flexibility of temporary workers. Regardless of the reason, these situations can often be overwhelming for new travel nurses.
If a new scenario arises, turn to your preceptor or manager for guidance. Also, remember that top travel nursing agencies like Triage Staffing have teams of clinical liaisons ready to help you 24/7.
Finding Your Place in the Workplace
A travel nurse’s biggest challenge is navigating a new workplace and finding their place within it. It can be difficult, whether because they don’t know anyone or are unfamiliar with their current assignment’s culture.
Fortunately, these obstacles can be surmounted. Start by learning about your assignment’s nurse-to-patient ratio beforehand. It is a significant factor in the intensity of your shifts and will also impact your patients’ safety.
Ask your recruiter what the ratio is and how it compares to other facilities in the area so you can prepare accordingly. It would help if you also tried to socialize outside of work. Find busy coffee shops, bars, restaurants, parks, or tourist attractions where you can connect with other travelers and nurses in the area.
It will help combat feelings of isolation. It will also allow you to get better to know the locals in your new location. You may even make a few friends along the way!
Meeting New People
Travel nurses fill gaps in staffing needs for specific periods at hospitals and healthcare facilities. Nurses from all over the country come to these assignments, and their varied backgrounds and experiences benefit the patients they care for. You’ll likely participate in orientation on the first day of your work.
It helps you get acquainted with the hospital’s policies, procedures, and practices. It also allows you to meet other nurses from your travel agency. It’s common for travel nurses to select assignments together, request to work at the same facility, and share housing. It allows you to explore the area with someone and saves on costs.
Learning New Routines and Procedures
As a travel nurse, you’ll be exposed to new locations and environments with each assignment. It can be challenging at first, but with your recruiter and coworkers’ help, it’s a great way to expand your nursing career while gaining valuable experience.
It is essential to understand the details of each contract before accepting it, such as hourly rates and compensation packages, including overtime pay and bonuses. It’s also necessary to learn about the area you’ll be working in and the associated living costs so you can plan accordingly.
You should also ask if you’ll be provided with housing and, if so, what the stipend is. Some travel nurses prefer to find their accommodation, saving them money and allowing them more flexibility with where they live. Additionally, it’s common for travel nurses to choose assignments near family members so they can visit throughout their work. It can be a great way to cut costs and spend time with those you love.
Often, travel nurses are away from family and friends for long periods. It might make one feel alone and isolated. For this reason, it’s essential to communicate with loved ones regularly. You can do it through email, video chat, or phone.
If you’re in a long-distance relationship with someone while traveling, consider visiting your temporary location regularly. You can see your significant other on a short weekend or day trip. It’s also a good idea to send them postcards or care packages from your assignments so they can share your experience.
The most effective way to minimize the challenges associated with travel nursing is to work with a reputable and experienced agency. A recruiter can help you find a job at the desired facility, navigate the state licensing process, and provide guidance about housing or a monthly stipend.
They can also advocate if you’re unhappy with an assignment or need to change facilities. They can also recommend local attractions and events to make your stay enjoyable.