Rookie Travel Nurse: How to Manage Stress on Assignment

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By Jogan Health

May 13, 2023



Nervous Nursing: How to Manage Stress as a Rookie Travel Nurse

Jogan Health provided this article.

With a looming staffing shortage on the horizon and a high demand for temporary placement, it is no mystery that more healthcare professionals are flocking to travel nursing. After all, in recent years, the job has provided professionals the opportunity to gain wide and varied experience quickly, offered them a chance to see different cities and towns, and helped organizations quickly cover gaps in their roster.

Moreover, travel nursing has become an effective solution to healthcare provider burnout. A source of recurring work and a gold mine of experience, it can be one of the most rewarding choices a healthcare provider can make. If you’re an HP who has recently chosen travel nursing as your career, it is normal to feel nervous about your first day. Here are some ways to help manage that stress as a rookie travel nurse.

rookie travel nurse

Study Up

In the weeks or months leading to your first assignment, it’s a good idea to research the cities and facilities where you will be working. A staffing agency can help you filter out facilities that don’t meet your criteria and ensure you end up with the team that suits your skills. You can also do this yourself, using online ratings and speaking with other providers who have worked there. There is an urban myth that accruing true, consistent experience as a travel nurse is hard, but with a little research, you can get positions at the right facilities and compile a list of references from the best organizations all over the country.

Preparation is Key

The day before you begin working at your new facility, make sure to lay out all your necessities, including your equipment bag, your uniform, ID badges, and any documentation you might require. Being in a rush on your first day is the last thing you want, so make it as easy as possible for yourself. If you’re big on breakfast, make something that is easy to reheat, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time frantically putting together a meal. If you’re not a big fan of the first meal of the day, don’t skip it. You’re going to need the energy! Instead, opt for a nutritional shake or a cereal bar with plenty of protein. Remember to take a water bottle. Staying hydrated can help with energy levels and general wellness.

It Pays to Be Kind

One of the biggest sources of anxiety for first-time travel nurses is the potential demeanor of the facility’s on-site team toward traveling providers. While there is no surefire way to tell if the atmosphere at your new workplace will be friendly, it pays to lead with kindness. In most situations, other providers will base their reactions on your skills, not your role in the healthcare industry. If you are still nervous, there are staffing concierge solutions available that can help you vet a facility or hospital. However, every service has its limits. In the end, the best way to test out whether a position is right for you is to jump in, feet first. If the experience doesn’t live up to your expectations, remember that you’re a travel nurse. None of this needs to amount to a long-term commitment to a team or facility. The fact that you can give a test run to organizations – and even entire specialties – is a strength, not a weakness!

Exercise Your Curiosity

rookie travel nurse

When you arrive at your new workplace, don’t be scared to ask questions. It’s better to confirm verbally and publicly something that seems obvious than find out later that you’re not equipped to perform a task because you assumed incorrect information. Travel nursing is about providing consistency to organizations that need coverage, so do your best to remain informed of their procedures and workflow so that you can best help the existing team.

Focus on the Fun

Don’t forget that half of your title is nursing, but the other is traveling. Don’t be afraid to explore the new city or town you work in – it’s one of the reasons many travel nurses seek out the role in the first place! Meet new people, explore parks, and visit museums. Fully immerse yourself in new cultures and experiences during your time off, and your shift won’t feel so overwhelming when it does come back around.

Final Note: Confidence is Everything

Remember that being a travel nurse is no less important than being a local nurse. Your role might be slightly different, but you are just as necessary for the proper functioning of an organization. So, tackle your first day with confidence! Use your strengths, be honest about your weaknesses, and collaborate with your team to compensate for them.

As we mentioned previously, travel nursing provides a balanced opportunity. On the one hand, you have access to relatively consistent work. On the other, you can see new places. You’ve made the right choice, so remind yourself of all the personal reasons why this works for you. Then, go out and do what you do best! We’re rooting for you!

We hope you found these tips for rookie travel nurses helpful. Do you have any tips to share with rookie travel nurses? Comment them 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.

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