8 Self-Care Tips for Smart Travel Nurses · The Gypsy Nurse

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February 4, 2020



Be Your Own Advocate: 8 Self-Care Tips for Smart Travel Nurses

This article provided by: OneStaff Medical

As rewarding as the nursing profession can be, most nurses acknowledge that it can also be very stressful.

Self-Care Tips for Travel Nurses

In one study by the American Nurses Association, for example, 82% of nurses who responded agreed they were at significant risk of workplace stress. By the same token, 68% reported that they put their patients’ health, safety and wellness before their own. A significant 56-57% reported frequently working through breaks and/or arriving early or staying late to accomplish their work, and 51% reported having musculoskeletal pain at work.

“The results show there is room for improvement in nurses’ health, particularly with physical activity, nutrition, rest, safety and quality of life,” note the study authors. “Now is the time to educate nurses and employers on the importance of nurse self-care. Nurses give the best care to patients when they are operating at their own peak wellness.”

With that in mind, here are some suggestions for being your own best advocate when it comes to caring for your own physical, mental and spiritual health as a traveling nurse.

Remember the obvious. 

Exercise regularly, fuel your body with nutritious foods, get plenty of sleep and immediately address any health issues that could be dragging you down. And never underestimate the power of a great massage.

Develop coping strategies. 

Figure out what most triggers your workplace stress, and devise ways of dealing with it. You might take short breaks that involve walking outdoors, meditating, deep breathing, eating a protein-rich snack or venting to a (non-workplace) friend. You might take a restorative power nap during your lunch break. Or, you may start declining job categories or locales that seem to cause you undue stress.

Schedule in breaks.

 Instead of taking back-to-back assignments, you may want to stagger them so you have time to ground yourself and rest in between. Working away from home can take a greater level of planning and organization, and you may need time to regroup, revisit your goals, see family and friends and take care of personal business before moving on to your next job.

Be mindful about how you spend time and energy. 

That means sometimes saying no to experiences and adventures (in and out of work) that are bound to stress you out, bring you down and/or sap your personal resources.


Try not to worry about workplace concerns when you’re at home, and to disregard personal issues while you’re at work. Everyday rituals may help you emotionally disconnect: For example, you may wish to listen to empowering music or podcasts on your way to work and work our immediately afterward. “The minute you walk into your home, remind yourself and give yourself permission to stop thinking about work, and begin being present and mindful that you are home,” advises clinician Maria Baratta in Psychology Today.

Make your home a retreat. 

Create a haven of rest and comfort in your room or apartment with ultra-comfortable bedding, relaxing music, candles, cushy patio furniture, a TV or computer that offers entertainment options, a fridge full of your favorite food and drink, etc. Then stay in, pamper yourself and recoup when you have a particularly tough day at work. Note: Time spent in nature can have the same restorative effect.

Keep in close contact with friends. 

After a tough day at work, your buddies can remind you that you’re far more than your job description. A good friend will listen to you vent while helping you keep everything in perspective.

Seek professional help.

 If you think you’re in danger of professional burnout, see a therapist who can help you manage your stress and develop coping mechanisms.

We hope that you find these 8 great self-care tips helpful in your travel nurse journey. Here are a few more articles with great self-care tips:

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