Most people thrive when their lives have some routine. It doesn’t mean you eat the same meals each day, go through an exact workout routine, or watch the same TV show every evening. While some may thrive on a precise structure, others find it suffocating.
However, a basic routine can help you create a type of structure when you are a travel nurse. Your career comes with stressful work, unpredictable days, and times of upheaval. Having the safe zone of a routine can help you balance your life a little.
Before a Trip
You can prepare for your next assignment before it begins. Have your suitcase ready in advance. It may help to keep a list of supplies, clothing, and toiletries you want to take with you. You can check your travel bag and ensure an adequate supply of everything on your list.
While you might not keep clothing packed at all times, you can have a separate set of some of your items. Prepare a stock of extra shampoo, medication, toothpaste, and vegan protein powder. That way, you won’t have to scramble at the last minute to refill your bags, and you won’t need to rush around purchasing items when you arrive.
Once you have an assignment, you can research the destination. Find out where you will live and determine how you will get to work. You can also map out the closest grocery stores, restaurants, and pharmacies. Preparing ahead can give you peace of mind and structure when you get there.
When You Arrive
If possible, arrive a couple of days before your nursing assignment begins. This extra time allows you to check out the destination. You can have some time to unpack, set up your living arrangements, pick up groceries, and explore the town. You can also make adjustments to your planned routine if necessary.
Arriving early also gives you the chance to recuperate from jet lag. Your waking and sleeping schedule may be off-balance anyway once you start your assignment — now is a good time to rest and change your plan to fit your working hours.
Plan to bring some decorations or mementos from home that you can put in your living space. A touch of familiarity can go a long way in a new area. It can calm you and remind you of the people and things that mean the most to you.
While You Work
Your work schedule will probably dictate how you spend your time once your assignment begins. You may have unpredictable hours, long shifts, or extra stress. While these conditions are beyond your control to some extent, you can work to build a routine. Plan to exercise a half-hour daily, for example, or drink six glasses of water during your shift.
Don’t forget to schedule some fun activities during your time off. Think of your interests and hobbies and try to nurture them. If you are an art lover, for example, be sure to visit the local museums. If you describe yourself as a foodie, the local cuisine is not to be missed. Nature lovers can enjoy exploring the local parks and walking trails.
You may also want to schedule time with your coworkers. Getting to know the people you work with is a great way to make new friends and improve working relationships. Try planning a night at a local restaurant or movie theater.
Working as a travel nurse is an adventure. You have the chance to visit new places and get a diverse work experience. A routine can help you stay grounded through the chaos and unpredictability this rewarding career can bring.
Our job board is a great place to search for your next travel nurse assignment. We have you covered with our housing page if housing is an issue. You can search for what you are looking for.