If you go into a travel nursing assignment hoping to “survive”, then you’re looking at it the wrong way; travel nursing is an opportunity to thrive – in your career and for your own personal enrichment. Here are six ways you can thrive during your travel nursing assignment:
1. Don’t wait until the last minute to find housing
Having your travel nurse housing figured out at least a week ahead of time is always best – don’t wait until the last minute. Issues and problems can arise (Murphy’s law has been known to strike), so being prepared in advance will help you through any unforeseen situations affecting your lodging.
2. Spend a little time researching things to do in your new city
Check out TripAdvisor and travel blogs. Look up the city website itself where you’ll find links to museums, galleries, and events. Google “Things to do in [your city]” or get even more specific with “Things to do this weekend in [your city].” These searches will yield a variety of results to help you find what interests you. If not, you can get insight you won’t find online by speaking to local shop owners, which is especially helpful if you want to know what the locals do for fun.
3. Get outside
Once you’ve researched, go out and do! You’re in a new environment, which may be very different from your own. There’s much more to experience beyond the four walls of your hospital. Go for a hike, walk, or bike ride around and familiarize yourself with your new (albeit temporary) home. This said, always be aware of your surroundings and never get complacent. Safety first!
4. Expect the unexpected
Don’t go into an assignment with strongly held expectations because you’ll likely be let down. Expect the unexpected and enjoy that as part of the job. Understand that each hospital/city/staff/department is going to have its own way of doing things. You are there to adapt to their way of life and to provide a service – and of course, to experience something new for yourself.
5. Take things in stride
Housing isn’t the only area of travel nursing where issues tend to surface. Every travel opportunity is a new experience, so take everything in stride (when possible). Encounter a difficult case manager or conflicting staff personalities? Don’t let “hospital drama” in general throw you off your game. Remember what you’re there for: to take care of patients and have new career experiences. You touch patient lives every day, and your attitude can reflect in your patient care. However, this does not mean you have to keep your feelings to yourself. If you feel overwhelmed or have an issue with your facility, explain in an effective manner to your recruiter, and give the hospital a chance to correct the issue.
6. Remember that you’re not alone
Don’t forget you are part of a company – you are not just an employee of your travel nursing agency during your 13 weeks, but you are a vital part of the team. While you may be in a different part of the country, you have a whole team of support behind you, and you’re not on an island. If you ever feel uncomfortable or have a question during your assignment, contact your recruiter, and you’ll have the strength of an entire organization at your disposal.
A final piece of advice
Don’t forget there’s something to learn with every new travel situation. Don’t let your past experiences dampen your future ones. Travel nursing offers the privileges of career freedom and personal growth – take every opportunity you can to thrive during your next travel nursing assignment!