Have you ever wanted to be a travel nurse? Just travel the country working on short-term contracts with hospitals and other medical institutions while also exploring some of the greatest cities and states?
This all sounds fantastic, especially for a young person eager for life experiences, but is it always the case? We discussed the realities of living as a travel nurse with experts at Ventura MedStaff. They shared some of the hardships that traveling health provides face with, as well as some ways of combating those issues.
You Live Far from Everyone You Know
This is likely the hardest thing that young people have to face when choosing to pursue a travel nurse career – living so far from everyone you know. It can be difficult for some people to adapt to having no close friends or family around even when they have some free time.
However, there are workarounds for this problem. First of all, a travel nurse posting doesn’t necessarily have to take you far from home – you could find a temporary posting in the next town over. Plus, with the miracle of modern technology, you can keep in touch with your loved ones fairly regularly.
What’s more, a travel nurse posting is often a great time to discover oneself, self-reliance and even forge new friendships and professional relationships that might prove important in the future. Take the time to explore and really experience your new environment and return home richer in experience as well as money.
Keeping or Developing Healthy Habits and Consistency
As a professional, you are expected to be punctual and committed to your job. In order to do that, you need to have consistently good habits such as going to bed on time, getting up early enough, leaving home for work on time and generally being self-sufficient. Despite the temporary nature of your posting, a high degree of professionalism is expected of you.
If you’ve never developed these habits, or if you used to rely on others to help you, it may be difficult to adapt, especially to a steady sleep schedule.
What most experts recommend you do is start immediately. If you give yourself a week of bad sleep schedule or just generally not imposing rules on yourself, you may find it difficult to adapt to the new regime. Most experts agree that it takes anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months to develop a habit. The sooner you start – the better chance you’ll adapt quickly.
Fitting In with the Regular Staff
In some facilities, the regular staff tend to look down at the traveling nurse staff as ‘greenhorns’ and ‘newbies’, but that is not always the case – especially if you are an experienced medical worker. Still, it can be tough to feel included if you are treated as an outsider.
Travel nurse agencies typically offer resources to help travel nurses adapt to the facility and the regular staff quickly. Ask your recruiter what you should pay attention to and how to behave in the new environment.
Another useful tip is to help your colleagues with their work – everyone appreciates some help, especially the often overworked nursing staff. Trike up casual conversations about the work, and once you get comfortable enough, about life outside work – soon enough you will know who the friendly ones are. Also, find any other travelers – they are sure to be willing to share their experience.
The idea of being a travel nurse is appealing to many nurses at a surface level. However, when they consider all of the potential downsides and difficulties they might face, many opt not to pursue this career path. However, just as there are problems, there are solutions, so if you’re considering trying travel nursing, just keep that in mind.