As a nurse, you know there are many stressors that come with the job. Exposure to communicable illnesses, working long and demanding shifts and dealing with sometimes less than pleasant patients, just to name a few. When you take on a traveling Assignment, though, you get the added pressure of learning the set procedures at your new facility and navigating through an unfamiliar city. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, we want to highlight the specific stressors that come with being a Travel nurse and how to handle them to help you stay at the top of your game:
Organization Is Key for Travel Nurses
Like with most things, being organized can help you keep your cool. Be sure to pack the essentials for both work and relaxation several days before heading to your next location. Don’t miss a single necessity by creating a quick checklist. When you first arrive, unpack your belongings and begin to make it feel cozy. Whether your assignment is four weeks or fourteen weeks, you’ll be there long enough that you’ll want your temporary digs to feel a bit more like home. When the time comes to leave, use the same packing checklist so that you don’t accidentally leave an important item.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Chances are each assignment will be very different from the next. Remain zen when you’re surrounded by all the chaos of change by keeping your routine as close to your normal as possible. Continue to keep healthy eating habits, sleep your full 8 hours and exercise regularly. By keeping up with your typical day, you will feel much more comfortable with your new environment and job.
Schedule Time to Destress When You’re a Travel Nurse
Encountering so many changes can stress even the most relaxed person. Make sure to actually schedule time in your busy weeks to relax. Add it to the calendar on your phone or the calendar you keep near the door so you know when it’s time to take a breather. Escape to the spa for a mani-pedi, hit the local yoga studio for an hour of deep breathing or soak in a bubble bath with a good book to destress for an hour of two. Try out different options to learn what keeps you relaxed after the stressful shifts. It’s important that you come back refreshed for not only your patients, but for your mental health, as well.
After a long day of dealing with demanding patients and doctors, you may want your alone time to unwind for the day. It is easy to get into the routine of going to work, then heading right back home. Although those recharge days are important, do not cut yourself off from others for the whole duration of your assignment. Reach out to other co-workers to grab a bite to eat after work or invite them to attend a happy hour when you both have time off. Seek out other travelers at your facility, chances are they are looking to make a friend or two while they’re on assignment, and would be happy to get out for an evening.
Adventure Is Calling
It could be to your advantage to think of each of your assignments as if it’s an extended vacation. Plus, there’s a huge bonus to this vacation—you get paid to be there! Each traveling position you take offers new and exciting experiences. You can say “you’ve been there and done that” when you hit all the hot tourist spots as you travel from city to city. Really dive into each of your adventures and make the most of each trip by talking to the locals to find out the best mom-and-pop restaurants, the hole-in-the-wall music venues and the fun weekend hangouts.
Nursing is a very stressful career and it’s important to check in with yourself from time-to-time to ensure the stress of the job isn’t harming your mental or physical health. Keep these day-to-day tips in mind as you move from one assignment to the next so can be at your very best. If you’re ready for your next adventure and like the idea of having someone in your corner when those stressful moments arise, Triage is the perfect partner for your travel nursing career.
About the author:
John Maaske co-founded Triage Staffing in 2006, a full service staffing solution for traveling nursing, laboratory, rehabilitation therapy, and radiology professionals. His successful profession in the healthcare staffing industry spans 17 years, with a deep interest and drive to connect and assist people. John built Triage with intentions to get to know each of this travelers to create an exceptional travel experience for all with a bottom-line of: “Build Trust, Go After It!” When the DePaul University Alumni isn’t busy helping traveling medical professionals expand, grow, and spread health throughout the nation, he enjoys running, hiking, and spending time with his family. Connect with John! Interested in becoming a traveling healthcare professional? Take a look at what Triage has to offer.
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