Host Healthcare provided this article.
As a travel nurse, you know that each day looks a little different. You might begin your shift anticipating one thing and end up working longer hours, treating different patients, or doing something completely unexpected.
This is why being able to adapt to the constant ebb and flow is integral to finding success in nursing. And no one knows this more than travel nurses.
Those considering travel nursing care should expect the unexpected. Remaining adaptable and ready to pivot at any time is a crucial aspect when you work in different locations and facilities. If you’re up to the challenge, travel nursing can be an incredibly interesting and rewarding career.
What Does Flexibility Mean for Travel Nurses?
Based on experience, seasoned travel nurses have a fairly good idea of what to expect before a new assignment. And that’s to expect the unexpected. But for first-time travel nurses, the lack of certainty can be unsettling. So, what’s a novice to do? The key to success is to stay patient and open-minded.
Some key things you should keep in mind include:
- Orientation schedules may change
- Placements within your assignment can change
- Managers might change
Preparing yourself for these potential changes can make them easier to navigate at the onset of your travel assignment.
Do All Nursing Specialties Require The Same Level of Flexibility?
The short answer is yes. Flexibility in nursing is a must across all nursing job specialties, whether you are working in the ICU or a medical office. When on assignment, novice and seasoned travelers should always come prepared to adapt to the needs of their employers. You were hired for your experience and qualifications; however, the ability to adapt is a skill that most employers are looking for when vetting candidates. If you can demonstrate this skill from day one of your assignment, you will be sure to stand out.
Tips for Remaining Adaptable as a Travel Nurse
It’s one thing to say you can easily adapt to change. It’s another to put this into practice. With these tips, you can master the skill:
- Be ready to jump in – When you’re a traveler, and you have an assignment starting on Monday, you may not have instructions on when, where, and who to report to until the few days leading up to your first day.
- Don’t expect special treatment – Travelers are assigned to a specific location because there’s a need for the skills and experience they possess. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can expect special treatment. You are there to bring value to the team; however, at the onset, it is especially important to go with the flow, adjust to their practice and process, and you’ll get much more out of your assignment.
- Stay connected to your recruiter – In travel nursing, your recruiter will serve as your go-to when seeking information pertaining to your nursing program. Don’t hesitate to ask questions when needed. Your recruiter is there to support you and answer any questions you have at the beginning, middle, and end of your assignment. As you ramp up, it can also be beneficial to reference your travel nurse onboarding checklist.
- Rely on your fellow colleagues as resources – A beneficial aspect of travel nursing is the opportunity to work closely with new teams in all different parts of the country. Both travel nurses and staff nurses at your assignment can be valuable sources when you have questions about your new state or the job. They can also give you advice on future assignments that may be good fits for your skills and interests.
Should You Have Limits to Your Adaptability?
The more open you are, the more opportunities you’ll have. However, remaining adaptable 24/7 is easier said than done. To guard your mental health and physical well-being, it’s completely understandable to need some level of consistency in your role. That being said, there are a few things you can do if you foresee any challenges with scheduling for your upcoming assignment, such as:
- Ask your recruiter to facilitate a blocked schedule request for your hours
- Add specific non-negotiable time-off requests to your contract
Setting boundaries in any profession is reasonable. At the end of the day, there should be a level of mutual respect between nurses and employers to make sure that the program is beneficial for both parties. However, in the case where you could use a little more support during your assignment, staying close to your recruiter is essential. They can help you navigate the scheduling process so you can have control over some aspects of your travel experience while still ensuring that you’re meeting the needs of the facility.
The only time travel nurses should not demonstrate flexibility is if it pertains to a patient safety issue—reach out to your recruiter, and they will connect you with the clinical team in this circumstance.
Advocating For Adaptability in Travel Nursing
We also know that it’s tough to go somewhere new and deal with uncertainty, no matter the profession. But, when it comes to travel nursing, Host Healthcare understands the need for adaptability and how to support travel nurses in their careers. This is why we have a clinical team made up of nurses with 50-plus years of experience to help our travelers learn how to navigate the process and crush their assignments.
If you’ve always been interested in a travel nursing career but weren’t sure what to expect, start with Host Healthcare. When you complete your travel nurse application with us, we match you with the opportunities that best suit your skill set, goals, and availability. As a bonus, you’ll get to travel while working at a job you love.
We hope you found this article on ways to remain adaptable in travel nursing helpful. Have you found ways to remain adaptable as a travel nurse that you would like to share? Comment anyways you are adaptable below.
Are you looking for your next travel nurse assignment? Click here to view our job board. Do you need housing for an upcoming travel nurse assignment? Click here to search our housing page.
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