There’s no question: travel nursing is an adventure. And with each new interaction comes another first impression. This begs the question, how can you show what you’re made of when learning the ropes?
Entering any new workplace can feel a little intimidating, but it shouldn’t hold you back from going after your dream roles. That’s why we’re here to help you understand the dynamics of first impressions. With our top tips, you can hit the ground running and make a stellar introduction—every single time.
The Psychology of First Impressions
Sure, there’s room for redemption if you start off on the wrong foot, but let’s face it: our minds form long-lasting judgments based on first impressions.
Ever heard of the halo effect? It’s a psychological concept where people assume that a person with one positive trait must possess other positive traits, and similarly, a person with one negative trait must be full of other negative ones.
For example, you might assume a sociable coworker excels at their job, even though friendliness and job performance aren’t always linked.
Nonetheless, first impressions in healthcare are big. Fostering trust with your colleagues is key, as it can greatly affect the overall dynamics of your workplace. Establishing a positive rapport from the outset isn’t just a leg up—it’s essential.
Tips for Making an Exceptional First Impression as a Travel Nurse
You can improve your chances of acing the first week of a new assignment by leaning on a few psychologically-informed strategies. Use these from the get-go for a great first impression.
#1 Be Prepared and Punctual
As a travel nurse, the more prepared you are, the more knowledgeable and trustworthy you’ll appear.
What does preparation entail? It varies based on your role, but it might include:
- Coming equipped with the necessary procedural equipment, forms, and a clear understanding of your responsibilities
- Thoroughly reviewing a patient’s data and medical history before entering their room
- Going the extra mile to research an unfamiliar condition to provide optimal care
Lastly, be punctual. Being on time is professional and shows respect toward colleagues.
#2 Look Presentable
Physical appearance alone rarely tells the whole story, but it can shape others’ opinions of you upon the first encounter. As a healthcare worker, it’s important to arrive with:
- A hygienic, clean, and neat physical appearance
- Fresh breath and a pleasant or neutral fragrance
- Adherence to your facility’s scrubs dress code
Your appearance might also be an opportunity to express yourself, depending on your workplace and position. A badge sticker or uniquely-patterned scrubs can tell people a little about your personality and what makes you shine before you even speak.
#3 Use Your Soft Skills
Soft skills are abilities that help you function effectively and harmoniously with others. Soft skills may not relate to your medical expertise but can be critical to your initial success at a new workplace.
Before your employers can assess your medical abilities, give them a sense of your soft skills. Here are some examples of key soft skills in nursing and how to show them:
- Communication – Display this by speaking clearly and respectfully.
- Active Listening – Show this by maintaining eye contact and expressing enthusiasm in conversations.
- Teamwork – Demonstrate this by offering help to colleagues during your spare time.
#4 Be Happy to Be There
Having a positive attitude can actually boost your likability at work. Here are some ways to be naturally positive:
- Give genuine compliments to your coworkers when they do something praiseworthy
- Show your interest in others by asking about their day or their interests
- Always express gratitude when someone lends a hand
- Embrace a learning attitude and graciously accept constructive feedback
On tough days when positivity seems hard to muster, take a moment to reflect. Remind yourself of why you became a nurse, focus on the things you are grateful for, or recall your deep care for your patients.
Remember, if you stumble or face difficulties on your first day, it’s not the end of the world. Over time, your true qualities and commitment to your role will outshine any first-day nerves or missteps. So, take it easy, allow yourself to adjust to your new role gradually, and let your best attributes unfold naturally.
Make a Standout First Impression with Host Healthcare
Travel nursing comes with plenty of “firsts.” It can also be the adventure of a lifetime. When you partner with Host Healthcare, the #1 rated travel nursing company according to our glowing reviews, you’re not just embarking on a career—you’re setting the stage for a lifetime of success.
Our approachable and supportive recruiters are always ready to assist, no matter where you are. With access to exclusive nursing opportunities in all 50 states, we open doors to a world of possibilities. And, with perks like day-1 insurance and a matching 401k plan, we provide the resources you need to succeed in your career.
And don’t forget, our in-house RNs with travel experience are here to offer valuable advice on making a positive impression with your colleagues. At Host Healthcare, we’re dedicated to your success every step of the way.
Apply today to join our vibrant community and embark on your next adventure.
Dobrin, Arthur. “The Power of First Impressions.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 5 Feb. 2013, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/am-i-right/201302/the-power-first-impressions.
Herrity, Jennifer. What Are Soft Skills? (Definition, Examples and Resume Tips). Indeed, 3 Nov. 2022, https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/resumes-cover-letters/soft-skills.
How to Make a Good First Impression on a Patient. West Coast University, 21 Dec. 2022, https://westcoastuniversity.edu/blog/how-to-make-a-good-first-impression-on-a-patient.
The Importance of Your Image as a Nurse. Nevada State College, 4 Aug. 2018, https://online.nsc.edu/nursing/rn-to-bsn/importance-of-your-nurse-image/.
“Keys to Making a Good First Impression at a New Hospital.” LinkedIn, MedCadre Inc, 6 Mar. 2022, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/keys-making-good-first-impression-new-hospital-medcadreinc?trk=organization-update-content_share-article.