If you’re already off on your first assignment or you’re just considering becoming a travel nurse, there may be an adjustment period. Being a travel nurse is different than working as a staff nurse. Travel nursing presents some unique challenges that a permanent job does not, but it is worth the effort because of all the rewards. Below are several suggestions to help you make the transition to travel nursing.
Take advantage of your orientation.
As a new travel nurse, you should get an orientation to your facility. Every hospital has a different procedure for orientation. Travel nurses are often expected to jump right in, so your training may not be as long as a staff nurse gets. That’s why it’s crucial to take advantage of any orientation offered. For example, ask questions, get a tour and find a mentor.
Locate your resources.
One of the worst situations you can find yourself in is to be in an emergency and not know where the crash cart is. Make locating emergency equipment one of your first priorities. It’s also helpful to locate other resources, such as your policy and procedure manual.
Understand the scheduling procedures.
Make sure you understand what the scheduling procedures are for your unit. Your travel contract should also provide information on certain scheduling aspects, such as how many weekends you are required to work in a month. It’s also helpful to find out who will get called off for a low patient census shift. Consider asking other questions, such as what is the policy for floating to another unit and what the holiday work requirements involve.
Give yourself a little downtime each day.
Part of why you’re working as a travel nurse is probably for the adventure. Make sure you give yourself some time every day to enjoy your new city. Although you may not always have time to explore, try to have at least a little downtime to unwind and recharge. Go for a walk in your neighborhood, sit outside, or bike around town.
Try to connect with your co-workers or neighbors.
When you first start a travel job, one of the hardest things to get adjusted to maybe not knowing anyone. You may have to make the first move to try to connect with people. Consider introducing yourself to your neighbors. Ask co-workers about fun things to do in the area that is not in the tour books. Once you make friends, it makes the travel assignment even more exciting.
Take a deep breath.
Adjusting to working as a travel nurse can take a bit of time. Some nurses may feel right at home quickly. But others may find they are homesick or questioning if they made the right choice. Give yourself a little time. It’s common to feel a bit overwhelmed at first. Remember to take things one day at a time. As you continue your adventure as a travel nurse, the transition to each new assignment will likely get easier.