By January 4, 2012 0 Comments

Guest Author: Sam Omulligan – Professionalism and the Travel Nurse


Smiling Travel NurseIf you are thinking about joining ranks with the over 25, 000 travel nurses in the United States who travel to exciting destinations while earning a solid income, consider the fact that your professional reputation will follow you from place to place. Agencies that recommend and place nurses keep records and share information with potential employers. The nurses you work with today just might be in leadership positions in the future so it is imperative that you are just aware of your professional reputation as you are your clinical competence. Here are some points to consider when making sure you have the professionalism in place to succeed in any location.

1. Confidentiality

There is an old navy saying that goes, “Loose lips sink ships.” The same basic principle applies to your reputation. Keep your salary to yourself; do not share personal information you might have learned about another nurse in a roommate situation; be extremely cautious with facebook and other social media. As you travel you will see that the world of traveling nurses is actually smaller than you might think. Every year traveling nurse websites publish a list of the top facilities for the travel nurse like this list of 25. You are certain to see some of the same nurses in different locations so you want to be sure you do not share sensitive information about each other, patients, doctors, and client families with anyone. With the ubiquitous presence of social media in all areas of our life, one small slip of the tongue on your part can ruin your reputation for years.

2. Appearance

Supervisors assume that you will know how to dress for success when it comes to your nursing profession. Keeping nails short, with hair well groomed and out of the way, abstaining from perfume use, and displaying modest attire are all the norms of professional appearance for a healthcare provider, especially a nurse. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum, as well. If you do not choose to follow preferred dress protocol, you may find that your recommendations suffer. Travel nurses are in competition for the best placements so make sure that every part of your appearance is the best it can be. While excellent clinical skills are essential to secure the job, professionalism is essential to advancement over the length of your career.

3. Behavior and Attitude

A positive outlook and even keel temperament puts patients and co-workers at ease. Be sure that you schedule in your breaks so that you can keep you energy levels up and your disposition sunny. Refrain from cell phone use except at acceptable times and locations. If you need to use your phone at another time, communicate that with your supervisor. The travel nurse might have a family emergency several states away that might require some flexibility. Supervisors want to retain good talent, so the main thing is to always communicate when unforeseen situations arise.

4. Bring the Whole Package

Keeping current on all your credentials, seeking additional training, attending conferences, and other professional development is just as important as working on your personal interactions and appearance with clients, patients, supervisors, doctors, and other colleagues. Consider the following quote : “Put forward more simply, professionalism in nursing are sets of rules, work ethics, ideologies, work principles and dedication towards the service of a community, that holistically gives a class and identity to this profession” . When working as a travel nurse, you are representing an entire field of professionals, not just you own individual self. Many people have worked and advocated tirelessly on your behalf to move the profession forward so you owe it to yourself and others to uphold the highest standards of professionalism wherever you are.

The world of the travel nurse can be exciting and adventurous. For those professionals with the clinical acumen, personal resilience, and impressive stamina to rotate locations every one to six months, the rewards are great. Overseas travel nurses may have longer stays of up to a few years with housing and other travel perks. Despite the variation in locations one thing will follow you on assignment after assignment – your reputation. It is never too soon to actively build your professional reputation and to polish the professional skills that will help build your career one assignment at a time.

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About the Author:

Sam Omulligan is a writer and educator interested in finding and sharing information relating to the healthcare profession. Primarily working with and for nurses who have an interest in better education, and developing a more substantial career.

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