Many regular staff members will welcome a nurse traveler and be grateful to have the help. But a few permanent employees may still have a few preconceived ideas about travelers. For example, some regular employees may believe travelers are making a lot more money than a regular staff member, so they should work harder. Another misconception may be that travelers don’t take the position as serious as permanent staff since they are only temporary. A great first impression helps overcome any misconceptions or stereotypes. It also helps decrease any resentment or resistance from permanent staff members. Consider the suggestions below.
- Always be professional. Just as you would with any type of job, it’s essential to always be professional. That means always being on time, dressing professionally, and being respectful of your coworkers and patients.
- Pitch in where you can. A great way to make a good first impression is by going the extra mile. Do a little more than is expected. Your new coworkers will appreciate it and may return the favor when you need it.
- Be friendly. As a travel nurse, you will be the new kid on the block. You may have to make the first move and introduce yourself to coworkers and staff.
- Don’t be a pushover. While you want to do your share and maybe even a bit more, don’t let permanent staff treat you any differently than anyone else gets treated. Be assertive when you need to be. Keep in mind assertive and aggressive are two different things.
- Be flexible. When you make a first impression it’s important to show your coworkers and supervisors you can be flexible. For example, if you are asked to float to another unit or work a different shift, being flexible is a helpful trait.
- Welcome challenges. Being a nurse traveler may present you with a great opportunity for new challenges. Being at a new healthcare facility may allow you to use new equipment and learn new procedures and protocols.
- Maintain strong clinical skills. Keep working towards being the best nurse you can. Use the clinical skills you have and don’t shy away from learning new skills.
- Don’t take things personally. It is not always easy, but try not to take any attitude from permanent staff personally. Some staff members may have had a bad experience with a nurse traveler in the past. Bad experiences sometimes stay with people longer than good ones.
- Accept responsibility. If you make a mistake, don’t try to cover it up in fear you will look bad. Keep in mind, everyone makes mistakes occasionally. If you mess up on the job, take responsibility and try to learn from the mistake.
- Stay positive. One of the best ways to make a good first impression is with a positive attitude. While everyone has bad days and gets in a bad mood, try to limit complaining and negativity.
Working as a traveler provides you with a clean slate. As the saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression. Try to make it a good one. Above all remember to be yourself and enjoy the experience.