Travel nursing is a wonderful career path, but it also involves a big lifestyle adjustment. That’s no reason to shy away from the experience—it just takes some getting used to. To deal with the uncertainty that may come (as well as the ensuing excitement or nervousness, or maybe a little of both), Host Healthcare has tips and tricks to put your traveling mind at ease.
Straight from the mouth—or keyboards—of our own travelers, here are five insider tips everyone should know about travel nursing!
#1 Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
This applies to virtually all professions in all settings, but especially nurses that shoulder serious responsibility in facilities they’re unfamiliar with.
One of our travelers says, “There is never a stupid question, only those that are not asked. There is no shame in asking for help.”
If you ever find yourself feeling confused, concerned, or lost, the last thing you should do is keep it to yourself. Instead, seek assistance from your recruiter, supervisor, or experienced co-worker. Another traveler advises, “Know what you have available to you in times of need. What is your chain of command and who to go to for help?”
When it comes to someone’s health, questions asked are always better than mistakes made.
#2 Take Notes
Travel nursing is all about moving from one job to another. While this makes for a thrilling career, it can also lead to an overload of information.
One of our travelers says, “Write down notes and chart everything in as close to real-time as possible.”
This applies to both the details of your patient’s case and the new information you’re learning. When you begin working at a new facility, the training process can be complicated, but keeping detailed and organized notes on hand is a great way to solidify information. The better your notes are, the faster you’ll acclimate to your new position.
#3 Trust Your Team—CNAs Included
A healthcare team is like a well-oiled machine, and CNAs are crucial cogs that shouldn’t be ignored.
One of our travelers says, “Help the person whom you are working with be the person you would want to work with and be the person that they want to work with.”
Your CNAs are there to make life easier. When you’ve been assigned a particularly difficult task, the last thing you want to do is forget about (or take advantage of) your nursing assistant. Forging positive relationships with your CNAs—and the entire nursing staff, for that matter—will make your job much easier by sharing the burden rather than shouldering it all on your own.
On the flip side, strive to be an asset to both your fellow RNs and the hospital’s CNAs. As the newcomer, you’ll want to identify yourself early on as a team player so that when you’re the one in stress mode, they don’t hesitate to jump to your aid and vice versa.
#4 Think Outside the Box
Your employer trusts you to solve the problem at hand. The exact way you do that depends on your ability to think critically about a situation.
One of our travelers says, “There are so many different ways to accomplish the same task. Keep an open mind & always be willing to learn from others.”
Nursing is a unique job, and a traditional solution doesn’t work in every situation. To provide a little inspiration, here are some examples of how our nurses have learned to think outside the box:
- Lube can be a great cleaning solution – “KY/lube jelly works great when trying to clean up dried blood on a patient! I always use warm water and lube on a washcloth. Saves time and is less painful for the patient.”
- Burp your IV bag like a baby – ”Burp your bolus! If you get the air out of the bag, you don’t have to let the air out of the tubing if you need to hang another bag later.”
- Love the triple glove – “Triple glove and bring friends to all Code Browns.” A little nursing humor aside, this easy hack will save you from extra handwashing, glove swapping, and potentially dangerous biohazards in the event of a rip.
#5 Take Time for Yourself
Self-care is important, especially for nurses. When you’re working long hours on the job, your days off become particularly important.
One of our travelers says, “Always take care of yourself, mind, body, and soul.”
In order to maintain a healthy level of self-care, our nurses recommend prioritizing the following activities on a daily basis:
- Exercise – “Always take care of yourself on your days off. Go for a hike, walk, or go to the gym.” If you’re tired at the end of a long shift or week, try low-impact exercises, like yoga or walking, or a stress-relieving workout like boxing.
- Nourishment – Prioritizing nutrition is a crucial part of caring for your body, even on long shifts. “Bring or buy a Brita pitcher/filter and avoid buying and lugging so much bottled water,” and always stock your nurse shift bag with the nurse bag essentials like healthy, protein-rich snacks like granola bars, trail mix, and jerky.
Host Healthcare: We’re Here for You
Host Healthcare is one of the United States’ leading travel healthcare companies. If you’re looking for an inclusive community of travelers to connect with and swap tips, join the Host Healthcare Facebook group. You’ll get access to helpful advice, supportive discussions, and even some exciting giveaways.
Join the Host Healthcare Facebook page to join a community of like-minded travelers. And don’t be afraid to share the traveler tips you learn along the way!