13 Things I Have Learned as a Travel Nurse: For Travel Nurse Newbies

By ReyAnn Moya

March 28, 2020

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13 Things I Have Learned as a Travel Nurse Newbie

travel nurse newbies

3 months, 13 weeks and 91 days.

It may not seem like a lot of time spent in one place, but I can’t honestly say that I have grown significantly in my career and personal life in that snap shot of time. As many travel nurses will tell you, it really does fly by. This was the beginning of my new career as a traveling ER nurse. When I decided to take a leap of faith into this unpredictable lifestyle of travel nursing.

I left my home of 26 years, sold 80% of my belongings and packed the rest of it in my 06’ Acura as I set out to Northern California. Feeling adventurous and excited, but honestly scared out of my mind of what was next to come. Most days I wake up and I’m like wow, how in the world did I get here? It was once a dream and goal of mine to be a travel nurse and well, here I am.

For those of you tuning in, hello!

My name is ReyAnn Moya, a 27 year old girl with a little over 5 years of nursing experience, with a strong passion for travel, living an nontraditional lifestyle and enjoying every bit of this beautiful Earth we live on. You will often find me solo traveling, at a rave or music festival, dancing my heart out, or exploring our dear Mother Nature. I was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM, where I miss every single day, but am so happy I left home to pursue more of this life of mine.

Travel nursing has had its ups and downs.

And it is truly a unique lifestyle we sign up for. Some days I have gone home crying, while others I have felt on top of the world. It has taken my Type A personality through the ringer and back. But that’s the beauty of growth, it’s never really how we expect it to look, but it’s always exactly what we need. I’m pretty excited to say that I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning from ER nursing or traveling nursing (insert nervous laugh here) and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

I’m all about working smarter, not harder and being the most efficient I can be (I guess that’s the ER nurse in me) so I felt the urge to share my experience in the hopes of helping my current and future travel nurse community. These are the things I wish I knew and tips I want to offer to the travel nurse newbies. As many other posts have helped guide me to my decision into this lifestyle, I hope that it can help you make that same decision. So here goes, 13 things I have learned as a travel nurse newbie.

Tips for the travel nurse newbies:

1. I am FAR more resilient and adaptable than I even thought possible!

By human nature, we are all extremely adaptable (thank you evolution). But it’s one thing when your friends say that you’re going to make it through, and it’s another to actually persevere and feel them in your gut. It blows my mind sometimes! And trust me when I say you’re just as resilient and adaptable too!

 2. But with that being said, 100% travel nursing is not for everyone!

And that is TOTALLY okay. Although there is a glamour effect to this lifestyle, it takes hard work, adaptability and flexibility to take you far. Don’t force it!

3. Expect the unexpected

Stuff happens, it’s not always going to be perfect and it’s not supposed to be; in life and in your career. But that’s the beauty of life! The hardest times reap the greatest rewards and life lessons. Shifting your paradigm and accepting that is key to more peace and less stress in your life. It’s all about how you ride the wave!

4. You WILL doubt yourself!

Let me repeat, YOU WILL DOUBT YOURSELF!! No matter how much experiences you have, with any major transition or change in life, this is so normal. But don’t trust the negative self talk. You know what you’re doing and things will progress and get better with time.

5. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!

Ohhhh how this is such a game changer. Once you start telling yourself that things are happening FOR you and not AGAINST you, your whole life will start to change. The biggest rewards are on the other side of fear and outside of your comfort zone.

6. There will be moments of loneliness and boredom

But there is a different between being alone and loneliness. You grow in strength through learning how to be alone with yourself, but the actual loneliness is just temporary. This is the part of this lifestyle that will grow you the most! Trust in that!

7. Not everyone is going to like you

In life and in the workplace. But it’s all Gucci! All you can do is be the best version of yourself, every single day! This is your life, live it the way you want and let others live it the way they want.

8. Don’t burn yourself out

You’re setting yourself up for failure in thinking you can get EVERYTHING done in a 12 hr shift. Don’t burn yourself out, this is a 24 hr job. Do you’re best at what you can, and do it well.

9. ALWAYS have a learners mentality!

I had learned this from my dad at an early age. It’s so important to be the student in all aspect of life, even when you think you know something like the back of your hand. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

 10. Work hard and play harder!

But don’t forget to give yourself the space and time to really recover. This can lead to burnout and this is something I am still trying to create a balance with. It’s easy to wear yourself out from “doing the most” like my friends tell me. I am know for going 100%, 100% of the time. Which can have it’s benefits but PLEASE FOR THE LIFE OF ME (and you) give yourself the time to reflect and process.

11. Make sure to maintain or create some type of routine.

Through all of this change, you need some solid ground to stand on. I realized this kind of late into my contract. As human beings, we crave stability and routine. It’s apart of human nature. Meditate, journal, talking with friends once a week, workout, daily walks, whatever it is, don’t neglect this part of your life as you need it for mental clarity! You’ll thank me later.

12. Having a go with the flow attitude is the golden ticket to success.

It’s easy when transitioning from a staff position to be pretty set in your ways, but pump the brakes sister (or brother). You’ll save yourself lots of stress and frustration if you let go of all prior expectations of how your hospital did things. But with that being said, that doesn’t mean letting people run all over you. It just means don’t think everything is always going to remain the same at every hospital you work in. You might even find better ways of doing things than you expected.

13. Having a “Why.”

This is a HUGE one, if not the most important! Truly take the time to sit down and write WHY you want to pursue travel nursing. Even my why has taken a new shape of its own, as I’m sure it will continue over time.

It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be OHHHH SO WORTH IT!   If you have a dream/passion or a longing for something more, whether that be in travel nursing or just in your life, DO THE DAMN THANG! I guarantee you will not regret the jump!

We hope these tips for the travel nurse newbies has helped you, here are a few more articles with tips for the travel nurse newbies or travel nurses in general

Whether you’re a travel nurse newbies or a seasoned travel nurse our Travel Nurse Guide will also help you along your way!

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