A fine balance between clinical skills and personal abilities is expected from a travel nurse since you need to be flexible and self-motivated in constantly changing surroundings. The biggest challenge often lies in adjusting to a new environment within an already stressful and high-pressure job.
Travel nursing tips for every new assignment
- Ask for a tour and find a mentor.
The best way to familiarize yourself with a new facility is with a guided tour, so ask someone who knows the ropes to show you around the hospital. Find out about local attractions in the area as well, so you can explore your new home.Identify an experienced staff nurse who’s worked with the facility for a while and request guidance while you become familiar with your new environment. Since he/she already understands the procedures, policies, and workflow at your new workplace, this will make it easier for you to learn and fit in.
- Ask questions and learn everything you can.
Even if you’re an experienced nurse, it takes time to understand how everything works at a new hospital. You can speed up this process by making an active effort to learn the rules, keeping an open mind and displaying respect for the way things are done.Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn everything that you can in your initial days. Use a notebook to write down instructions, especially about charting and computer systems, floating requirements, shift scheduling, timecards, and codes, as well as procedures and policies followed in the hospital.
- Stay positive and remain open to learning.
Adjusting to your new workplace as a travel nurse won’t be easy, but challenges only make this profession more rewarding. Keep a positive attitude about changes, and remember that there’s a learning curve to just about everything in life!Leave your ego behind when you go to work and avoid taking things personally. Remembering that you and other nurses are there to help patients is a key step toward integrating into your new workplace. This attitude will make it far easier to embrace new experiences and learnings, both at work and outside.
- Focus on patients and be their advocate.
For nursing professionals, a patient’s comfort and wellbeing is the number one priority. This should be your primary focus when you make any decision at the workplace, so remind yourself of this responsibility throughout each shift.Even if you’re at a facility only temporarily, you can make a major difference to the quality of care. As a caretaker with a fresh perspective, you can identify areas of improvement and act as the voice of your patients. Being respectful of existing processes is important, but the wellbeing of patients tops everything else.
- Make gratitude part of your daily routine.
Think about the days when you were studying for the USMLE Step 1 test, or worrying about whether you would pass the Step 2 clinical skills exam or not. You made it through some tough challenges already, so celebrate your accomplishments!Being a travel nurse means long shifts and stressful schedules, as well as always being the “new” nurse on the floor. However, there’s a lot to be grateful for as well, such as the chance to see new places and make friends everywhere you go. Keep reminding yourself of things that make you thankful and you’ll feel more positive.
While working in new environments, you will keep learning and growing. Pay it forward and share what you learn with other travel nurses who come after you!
Author Bio: Eric Brown is a standardized patient (SP) who lives in New York and advises NYCSPREP with their Clinical Skills course. He has a BA from a liberal arts college in the north east, where he majored in the theatrical arts and business (he credits the first for his ability to simulate real patients). He’s amassed years of experience as an SP and stays up to date with the CS exam expectations, trends and developments. If you have any questions about standardized CS exams or courses at NYCSPREP, email Eric at [email protected] or visit www.nycsprep.com.