Top Tips for New Travel Nurses
Picture this, a nurse about to begin your big adventure, travel nursing! Travel nursing is a momentous new chapter in your life, so congratulations! For many first-time travelers, it can be challenging, stressful, and an overwhelming transition. How do you go about this new journey in your career? What can you do to make the process seamless?
KPG Healthcare is here with some top tips for new travel nurses!
Don’t be afraid to travel FAR from home
Leaving family, friends and maybe even your co-workers at your old hospital/facility can be scary, especially if you have never even left your home state or your hometown. Moving away from everything you have ever known can be challenging, but we promise it can also be just as rewarding.
Working in a new facility in a foreign environment can introduce you to unique ways of learning and viewing things from a different perspective. Be confident, as there can be a feeling of hesitation when dealing with permanent nursing staff or seasoned travel nurses. But the truth is most nurses are courteous and professional. Once you are trained on how things are done, help your fellow staff and dive into the work. Eventually, your colleagues will see you as a viable part of the team.
These actions will lead to the opportunity to make friends from all over and go to places you never thought possible. You will make long-lasting friends along the way, which is one of the many perks of travel nursing.. Slowly, the feeling of homesickness fades away each week. Remember, you can always request your next assignment be closer to home.
Have the ability to be flexible
You might not always get your first choice for your assignment, but it’s okay! If you start to stress, take a deep breath and breathe. Remember, each travel assignment is only TEMPORARY. Stay positive as much as possible and go into each assignment with an open mind and friendly face. If you need a few tips to deal with stress, check out this helpful article here. You can make it through just about anything for 13 weeks, knowing there is an end in sight! If you dislike the travel assignment, switch it up and try something new next time – trial and error.
Additionally, the more travel experiences you undergo, doors will open for better opportunities along the way. Facilities prefer to see a variety of travel assignments from their applicants. A variety of experience shows you are reliable and adaptable in different work environments. Open yourself to new experiences, opportunities and locations.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
As we mentioned earlier, starting a travel career can be intimidating or uncomfortable. Lean into these feelings – this is where personal growth happens. Remember, to be brave and “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Once you make it to your first assignment, you might feel lonely. You are in a new place with people you just met in unfamiliar territory. What should you do? Get out to explore what your new home has to offer and make friends while out getting lost in the city streets. There is a high chance there will be other travelers at your facility who have been in your shoes.
“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” means one must get used to being in situations outside of their comfort zone which makes one feel uncertain. We recommend first-time travel nurses pick a place they know.
There might be a city you have traveled to frequently or have friends or family residing in. Picking a familiar place will help with any nerves as a first-time travel nurse. Start small and gradually work your way up to someplace where you know no one. We cannot stress the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone. Never let the fear of the unknown stop you from doing things that bring you joy. When you say yes to taking risks or opportunities, you experience an indescribable, cathartic state of being that is incredibly rewarding.
Stop fearing what could go wrong and start welcoming what can go right! There will be many restaurants, bars, breweries, coffee shops, and stores that you may lack in your hometown. Make a point to check out these places before the move to your next assignment. Reflecting on your progress since starting this journey puts even more confidence in what else you can accomplish for future jobs.
You are not alone
Starting anything new can be challenging when starting. However, your recruiter and travel agency are always a resource for you. If you have questions, need assistance, or want someone to talk to, they are only a phone call or text away. Traveling alone does NOT mean you are alone. Never hesitate to reach out to your recruiter with anything; we are here for you!
Starting a career in travel healthcare can be a culture shock. No hospital does it the same way, and walking into an unfamiliar place away from everyone in your life can be a lot to handle. Many travel nurses say they wish they had started much sooner instead of wasting time considering the pros and cons. It is never too late, but refrain from sitting on the sidelines forever. Make your move and start your journey!