Exhilarating, fulfilling, rewarding, illuminating—these are just a handful of the adjectives travel nurses might use to describe their professions.
Travel nursing, though, keeps RNs on their toes in more ways than one: In addition to rapidly adjusting to new workplaces and caseloads on a rolling basis, travel nurses must adjust to the conditions of different facilities.
So, what constitutes a healthy workplace environment in nursing? How can professionals like you cope with less-than-terrific assignments? And how can nurses contribute to a healthier environment, for the good of all?
Here’s how to identify a positive work atmosphere and what you can do to build resilience.
#1. Clear Communication Channels and Open Dialogue
Studies indicate the importance of a healthy workplace environment for nurses: Not only does it lead to higher job satisfaction, but it also results in stronger patient outcomes.
Straightforward communication and a free-flowing dialogue is an enormous part of this. In fact, recent research demonstrates that professional burnout among nurses is largely due to poor communication between nurses and their superiors.
If you happen to come across an environment where you experience closed communication channels, you may want to try:
- Speaking to your colleagues, as well as those above you, in simple terms to ensure your meaning is clear—just as you may want to ask questions when they arise.
- Scheduling one-on-one, in-person meetings with individuals who may be important to your travel nurse assignment, whether that’s a physician or nurse practitioner (NP). This might increase your chances of being heard.
- Finding and consulting with a nursing mentor who should be able to supply you with tactics and tips specific to the facility you’re serving.
#2. Supportive Team Dynamics and Collaboration
Whether you’re fresh out of a nursing program or have been working as an RN for decades, you know that collaboration is one of the primary cornerstones of healthcare. Oftentimes, nurses bridge the gap in communication between doctors and their patients; accordingly, nurses must strategize effectively with all involved, such as anesthesiologists, MDs, and surgeons.
But what if you can’t find support on a travel assignment? What if the dynamic among your coworkers feels off, or even uncooperative and defeatist?
To counter this, consider:
- Leading by example and maintaining calm even when there’s conflict.
- Showing your humanity and vulnerability by reaching out to colleagues when you feel overwhelmed or need assistance—and providing the same to your team members.
- Exhibiting professionalism.
- Asking others, in your downtime, if they need assistance to show that you want to be a team player.
- Integrating yourself into your team by letting friendships bloom outside of the healthcare center.
#3. Adequate Staffing and Workload Management
Sufficient staffing and a manageable workload are key to nurses, enabling them to perform their duties safely, thoroughly, and enjoyably.
Yet, with nationwide nursing shortages, you may arrive at a healthcare facility for a thirteen-week assignment only to discover that you have triple the number of patients—and only a finite amount of time to handle them.
If this sounds all too familiar to you, weigh the idea of:
- Examining your options – Before accepting a travel assignment—even if it’s in one of the most glamorous cities in the country—ensure you ask about ratios and if there are things like call and overtime required.
- Befriending a buddy – Establishing a buddy system—perhaps with another travel nurse at the same facility—may give you the opportunity to speak out about your concerns and feelings of stress. This alone might reduce the likelihood of burnout, and it may even help foster a warm, supportive work environment.
- Prioritizing breaks – Research shows that mistakes in nursing are directly correlated with heavy caseloads. So, consider maintaining your focus, and your energy, by scheduling (and sticking to) breaks—both throughout your workday and in your workweek. Further, using your time away from work to embrace smart stress-coping methods (such as restorative exercise and time in nature) may leave you refreshed and ready to take on whatever awaits.
Hallmarks of a Healthy Work Environment in Nursing: 7 Additional Signs
A thriving healthcare facility that honors its staff and promotes productivity and harmony also exhibits:
- An emphasis on professional development opportunities
- An encouragement of work-life balance
- Accessibility to resources and support systems
- A commitment to employee health and wellness programs
- A positive feedback culture and recognition
- Safety protocols and occupational health measures
- Adaptability and flexibility in work arrangements
Discover the Meaning of Well-being with Host Healthcare
A healthy work environment in nursing is imperative—to you as a nurse, yes, but also to the healthcare facility at which you’re employed and the patients you treat. Career satisfaction, decreased burnout, and enhanced patient outcomes are just three of the results you might experience if you work in a facility that underscores the qualities outlined here.
The dedicated team at Host Healthcare doesn’t just believe in these traits—we embody them. We pair committed travel nurses like you with first-rate recruiters who will match you with healthcare opportunities that align with your goals. Throw in the fact that we offer superb benefits and 24/7 support, and you can see why our travel nurses consistently find satisfaction in their assignments.
Apply today to start on the path toward a rewarding travel nursing assignment.
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