Adjusting to a New Environment as a Travel Nurse

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By PRN Healthcare

May 19, 2022



Adjusting to a New Environment as a Travel Nurse

PRN Healthcare provided this article.

A new contract means a new facility with new coworkers and policies. With 13-week contracts being a limited amount of time, nurses have to adjust to new policies and cultures quickly. This process can be stressful and a little bit overwhelming. With the proper knowledge of how to adjust, you can focus on your main job, advocating for patients. Do not worry; it gets easier the more contracts you take. Let’s go over some ways to make this process much easier!

Adjusting to your new environment:

Come Prepared

The best way to prepare for your new assignment is to research the facility. It goes a long way to take the time to find out more about the culture your facility has before going there. This can be as simple as reading their overview on the facility website. Once you have some base knowledge on the values of the facility, talk to your recruiter about some additional information they may be able to give. To take it a step further, you can even reach out to nurses and managers that work at the facility to get a better idea of what to expect.

Another way to prepare is to tour the facility before you start. This is a great way to meet some people within the facility, so you have some familiar faces on your first day. In addition to possibly meeting some new people, you will better understand the facility layout. Understanding where everything is can make your transition to the new facility much smoother. Making sure you come prepared is an essential way to help you adjust faster to the new environment.

Constantly Communicate

Another way to make sure your transition is smooth is to communicate effectively with your coworkers and recruiter. As in all things in life, communication is a vital part of success. Not only in your success as a travel nurse but also for your patients. Nursing is a difficult profession, and even the smallest details are important for you, your coworkers, and your patients.

Depending on the facility, patient information and hospital policy can be communicated differently. In a new environment, it may be stressful to keep track of everything, so don’t be afraid to ask another nurse or floor manager for help. Remember, your patient comes first, so making sure you’re doing everything correctly is essential. In addition, make sure you’re also updating the patients’ physician of any changes to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Lastly, make sure you keep your recruiter updated. This is important for your future with the agency as well as your enjoyment with travel nursing. Letting them know what is working well and what needs to change can help them understand where to place you in the future to make sure you’re providing the best care possible.

Dealing with Unfamiliar Situations

As a travel nurse, you have to be able to think and adapt quickly. The best way to do this is to familiarize yourself with the hospital policies. Each facility has different procedures; it is helpful to understand these policies at your current facility. Remember, your primary job is being a patient advocate. Understanding how each hospital operates is a great start to providing great patient care.

There may be a time when you find yourself in a situation, and you are not sure how to deal with it. The best way to overcome this is to ask coworkers, managers, or other staff to make sure you are dealing with the situation in the correct manner. The best way to minimize unfamiliar situations is to learn the hospital codes, watch how other nurses handle situations, and understand the layout of the floor and facility. It all comes back to communication, and if you’re not sure, just ask!

Understanding Your Contract

As a travel nurse, understanding your contract is important. To start, read everything. Make sure you understand what you are bound to do in the hospital and also the expectations of the agency you work for.

An important thing to review in your contract is to make sure your contract dates and times are correct. If any changes need to be made, they should be done before you sign the contract. In addition to checking your times and dates, make sure everything you discussed with your recruiter is in the contract and clearly stated. Making sure your contract is structured correctly will help you with some of the nerves you may have when starting at a new facility. Another important part of your contract to understand is the requirements for floating. Make sure all floating requirements in the contract make sense, and you are comfortable with them. At some point in your assignment, you may be required to float to another unit. Make sure the floating requirements make sense, and you’re floating to a unit you are qualified to handle.

Reaching out to your recruiter for help in understanding your contract is very important. No one wants to be taken by surprise when on a travel assignment. Being knowledgeable about your contract will give you the confidence to perform your best in every assignment!

Travel nursing requires agility to adapt to new locations, coworkers, and facilities. This adds excitement to each new contract. If you are nervous about the changing environment, make sure to fully understand your contract, communicate with your recruiter, come prepared on your first day, and ask questions! After the first few days, you will get into the swing of things and rock your contract!

We hope you found this article on adjusting to new environments helpful. Are there ways you have found to make adjusting easier? Comment them below.

Are you looking for your next travel nurse assignment? Click here to view our jobs page. Do you need housing for an upcoming travel nurse assignment? Click here to search our travel nurse housing page.

If you are a new traveler or looking into becoming a Travel Nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step by Step

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