TNAA Healthcare provided this article.
The prospect of picking your life up and moving from place to place can be both exhilarating and overwhelming for a new travel nurse. Beyond your agency and recruiter, there are many things to consider, like, “How will I adapt to a new environment when I’m moving every few months?”
For the best tips on dealing with culture shock, adjusting to new environments, and finding community on assignments, we’ve reached out to some of our experienced TNAA ambassadors who were once in your shoes. Here’s the advice they have to share.
Are you used to working at a small-town hospital? Do yourself a favor, and take it easy on your first assignment. Take a job at a hospital that’s similar in size to the hospital where you worked as staff.
“Make sure to work your way up to a larger city hospital. I would never recommend a nurse at a Level 3 small hospital go directly to a Level 1 trauma center. That first assignment is stressful enough. Go somewhere comfortable.”
- Leah R.
“Don’t try to jump in and see everything at once. Get into a routine and get become familiar with the area, and then venture out from there!”
- Matt L.
As a travel nurse, you are there to fill a gap in care for the hospital. That doesn’t mean you let yourself get run down with all the awful shifts and tasks, but you do offer to help and to learn.
“If my room is done, I look for the busier rooms and ask them if they need help. Keep your charge nurse aware of what you’re doing. Ask how you can help them. It helps to have a mindset that you were brought in to help.”
- Joni C.
“Be nice, be quiet, and NEVER tell them, “That’s not how we did it at home.” Instead, say, “Can you show me your way of doing XYZ?” It won’t take long to find who is on your side. Never badmouth any of the staff you work with, make friends with the floor clerk (they will be the most helpful), and consider bringing in treat a time or two.”
- Lynnette S.
As a traveler, you get the opportunity to make friends all across the country. From getting to know the hospital staff and meeting with other travelers to finding like-minded groups in the area, there are several ways to get conversations started and to create those bonds.
“I friend fellow nurses and ask them about the best places to eat or things to see in the city.”
- Grace G.
“Know your other travelers, and create a text group so you can help each other out.”
- Joni C.
“We are gamers, so I love stopping by local game stores. Most game stores have meet-up nights and open game days.”
- Robb M.
“Continue a hobby while traveling, even if it takes a little extra work or packing, and find groups with a similar interest while on the road. It can be tricky, but the hobby will keep you grounded, and the connections will be easy to make… Find something that brings you joy, then link up with people who feel the same.”
- ZD E.
“The MedVenture app is a great way to meet other travelers!”
- Leah R.
In summary, take your time moving up to larger hospitals, have a helper’s mindset, and use resources both inside and outside the hospital to establish connections with people who will become lifelong friends.
We hope you found this article on tips for adjusting to new environments helpful. How do you adjust to new environments every 13 weeks? Comment below.
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.