Finding Your Place: How to Adjust to New Facilities as a Travel Nurse

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By Gifted Healthcare

March 27, 2019

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Finding Your Place: How to Adjust to New Facilities as a Travel Nurse

This article provided by: Gifted Healthcare

Finding Your Place: How to Adjust to New Facilities as a Travel Nurse
Photo by Jérémie Crémer on Unsplash

You know you’re a “people person” but that doesn’t mean meeting new co-workers always feels easy. Nurses are expected to have unending compassion for long hours in intense situations. It can feel tempting to keep your focus on your patients and distract yourself from your own feelings about your job. Distractions can only work for so long. After your first few assignments you can build up a few strategies for creating positive relationships with your team members. We’ve gathered a few suggestions here based on what travel nurses in the field have experienced.

Common Dynamics

The first step is recognizing the common dynamics that occur between staff nurses and travelers. While some staff members will be happy for the extra help on the floor, some will focus more on the differences in your contract. As a travel nurse, you may earn a different hourly rate than someone in a permanent staff position. Issues with money can really warp some people’s thinking. You may be expected to go the extra mile more often than staff nurses or handle higher numbers of patients. Any new job has its own set of rules and expectations.

One way to think about this is to consider the context of your assignment. Realistically, you were brought on because they needed a talented and compassionate professional to fill a hole in their staffing needs. Before you arrived, the current team was probably pushed to their capacity. They all may have had larger than usual caseloads and felt like they needed something to change.

You were brought in to make things better. The process of re-stabilizing takes time. You might feel overwhelmed the first week but start to feel way more comfortable over time. Talk with your co-workers about the unit. Notice the communication strategies that seem to be successful. Reach out to your agency to discuss the contract’s expectations. You don’t need to have everything perfect on day one. Enter a contract with an open mind and confidence in your ability as a professional, and other staff members will pick up on your energy.

Positive Social Interactions

Building up a collection of positive social interactions can also make changes flow much easier. Do your co-workers go out for drinks and dinner on weekends? Is there a recreational sports team people play on? Maybe you can discover a co-worker or two that has similar interests to you and meet up outside of work. Reaching out and searching for connections can feel vulnerable. Ask yourself about a time where you’ve taken a chance to get to know a new person. What went well? Did parts of the process surprise you? Did going into work feel different? Feeling like you have no control in the situation can be overwhelming. When you recognize you can be your own change-maker, problems become opportunities.

Professional development sometimes means learning a new charting software or technical ability. It also can be recognizing what about your career path gives you anxiety and building up awareness of your self-care needs. If you know it takes you awhile to warm up to people, give yourself the compassion you deserve. Don’t make other people’s work stress into your own.

Prove to yourself that you deserve this role

And anyone worth connecting with will see that also. If you feel like co-worker relationships are important to you, find new things to do in town and invite people to join you. Schedules might be tricky to coordinate, or it could take a few tries. What’s most important is knowing what you’re doing is worthwhile and letting that motivate you. You’re connected to the process of trying new things; you can control your actions but not other’s reactions. If things work out, you’ll be satisfied you put yourself out there. If reality ends up being different than your expectations, you can re-assess the situation with more information and try again. That’s what nursing is about.

If you have any advice about building connections at new facilities, comment below. If you have questions about travel nursing or think it’s the path for you, talk to a GIFTED recruiter today!


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