I pack a suitcase, my new scrubs, to the airport..Excitement builds!
Beautiful destination, map out how to get to work, what will my co-workers be like?
Day 1 I’m a bit nervous, driven by the desire to help this facility for 13-weeks.
Questions start “why are you a travel nurse”, “how much do you get paid”, “why are you here”, more co-workers fire questions “ isn’t it easier to stay in one hospital”, the comments start.
As a Travel Nurse new to this facility I want to answe
r everyone’s questions, but I need to learn quickly as Traveler’s are not given extended orientation. How do I balance the questions, comments, policies, procedures AND make friends?
Later part of week 1 everyone seems friendly, a few resistant to engage in conversations with the “Travel Nurse” and some even begin with assigning multiple high acuity patients to the Travel Nurse.
A couple days off, I am alone. Do I rest in preparation for next weeks work days or do I go exploring. Is it safe to go for a walk? I am not familiar with the area, Reality sets in…
Next few weeks are tough, pressure to perform as the other staff, I begin to draw from previous assignments and education, some do not want to help, however are quick to say “we don’t do it like that here”; a strong desire to do well burns inside me. How can I make it better?
Midway through an assignment a shift happens, staff embraces you, invites you out, shows you around the area, or the shift can go in a different direction. A unit coordinator says “You are not asking ME the questions I am expecting you to ask”. How do I handle this person, she is suppose to be my leader my inspiration, she yells, she calls me into her office. What does she want from me?
Emotional conflicts, patients hug me, thank me and say “don’t ever change”. Some staff wonders are you staying or going? “We cannot pick up overtime because you are here”!
Alone back at the housing provided for me, what do I do? What is happening? I just wanted to help. I am feeling unappreciated. Focus Focus, on the patient’s. I keep telling myself that!
My intentions, to see parts of the US, to visit different hospitals and learn how they deal with issues specific to that geographic; I wanted to make new friends, learn something new and mostly do a great job!
When you meet a Travel Nurse, empathize with her/him. Imagine you’ve traveled thousands of miles away from your family, alone, walking into the hospital alone, eager to learn, needing to earn a living. Remember we are only human and we do not want your jobs. Just say “hello”, ask if we are married or single, ask about previous assignments, and offer to help as we get our bearings. Also know this, when you throw one of us away and just randomly cancel our contract, it affects our income; it could be affecting an entire family. Look back on how you treated that Travel Nurse; did you give her/him a chance to succeed?
From the eyes of a Travel Nurse, I’m human with feelings, I want to embrace life, be in the moment with you in your facility. I don’t bite, really I don’t…XO!
A Travel Nurse – Lacresha, RN