Beginning a new travel nursing job means you will not only be moving to a new city, but you will also be working with a new group of people. As a traveling nurse you are accustomed to a change of scenery and culture, but at times it can be difficult to acclimate yourself to your new co-workers. By following these few guidelines you will hopefully be prepared for assignments to come and possibly make lifetime friendships.
One of the first steps in being placed in a travel nurse assignment is to fill out the application as well as the skills checklist. It is important not to exaggerate when filling out the skills checklist. The facility you apply to reviews the checklist to see if you have the requirements necessary for the position that needs to be filled. You will be placed in an assignment based on your current skills. You will not be expected to know everything so don’t try to go overboard on skills you are not familiar with. Being honest on your skills and also in the interview will only benefit you in the long run. You want to use this traveling nurse opportunity to gain new skills and don’t want to be stressed out. When potential employers know where your strong points are they can also help you to learn new nursing procedures and clinical skills that you may need more experience with and in the end make you a better nurse.
It is always a good idea to ask a lot of questions at orientation to help you become more comfortable in your new travel nurse setting. Asking these questions, which can be anything from asking your new manager and co-workers questions about nurse-to-patient ratios to where the supplies are, will also help you become better acquainted with people around you. You will also be able to learn a lot from observing the specialists in your new surroundings. This will help you to see who is most knowledgeable in certain fields and you will know who to go to when you need advice. If you see that one nurse is more experienced with patient’s records you will know to go to her if you need any information. Observing other nurses will help you find a mentor among your co-workers, someone who can help you get better acquainted with the hospital’s patients and other employees.
Cooperation is an important part of getting along with new colleagues. Accommodating to the changes in styles of the other RNs as well as other employees will make you a better nurse. Coming into a new environment with nurses and doctors who have worked there for a while could be intimidating for some, but make sure you all have the same goal of providing great patient care. You will also experience different managerial styles on your different travel nurse assignments and it is important to be able to adapt to each one. The main quality in travel nurses is flexibility. Moving from different locations is part of what gives you the experience that makes you a more qualified nurse and the managers at your assignments will expect it. You can’t be afraid of a challenge.
A smile can go a long way. Being outgoing and courteous to your new fellow nurses can make them feel more at ease, which will also make you more comfortable. If you are facing a few surly co-workers make sure to avoid them and stick to the ones that are more receptive to your positive approach. There always comes a time when you might be working with nurses whose personality clashes with yours. In these situations it is important to focus on their good qualities, and who knows they could go from a person you don’t get along with to a nurse that you respect throughout your career. A friendly greeting or even noting your different styles can help relieve the tension. It is also always important to remember that you should never let your relationship with a co-worker affect the common goal of patient care.
As you travel and become aware of new environments take this time to grow as an individual and in your career as a nurse. Being able to travel and do what you love at the same time is two of the greatest pleasures. Take this time as a travel nurse to enjoy making new friends, traveling the country, and creating lifetime relationships. The following are helpful links to help you adjust to your new environment and career as a travel nurse.