The COVID-19 pandemic made the healthcare system vulnerable to unexpected challenges never before seen. It brought an overwhelming number of patients facing extremely high mortality rates, widespread staff shortages, and extreme difficulty securing essential personal protective equipment. This took a toll on nurses’ physical, mental, and emotional health and drove as many as one in five healthcare workers to quit their jobs in the midst of the pandemic (Primary Care Collaborative).
While no one anticipates another crisis of this magnitude, it cannot be dismissed entirely; after all, nobody expected COVID to drastically uproot lives worldwide. Because of this, it is imperative to develop emotional resilience in healthcare workers, especially traveling nurses. Even with pre-contract debriefs, it can be tricky to predict the environment of the facility where you’ll be working. Every position is different and presents its own unique challenges; the only way to be fully prepared for your next travel nurse assignment is to build habits that promote resilience in the workplace.
Why is resilience important in nursing?
Resilience can be loosely defined as the ability to sustain oneself in challenging situations or conditions. It is crucial to all nursing positions, especially travel nursing, as the foundations of the job hinge on bracing unfamiliar environments. It is like an older sibling to stress management, helping you identify stress as a part of life (or, in this case, as a part of the job) and as something you can broadly overcome.
Resilience in nursing is particularly important to patient experience; it will keep you more alert and optimistic, which directly translates to improved care tactics. It can also help you advance into higher-level positions by providing unmatched problem-solving skills and enhanced judgment: everything a successful and effective nurse needs!
How can I build resilience as a traveling nurse?
Exercising your resilience muscle takes some work! But, with a bit of help from your friends here at Nurse First, travel nurse agency, it will be a breeze. Here are some of our top tips on increasing resilience both at work and at home to ensure you’re at your best for your patients:
- Expand your circle.
And we don’t just mean your friend group! Reaching out to and forming relationships with current or former traveling nurses is an excellent way to develop resilience. By doing so, you not only create a reliable group of people to lean on who understand the nuances of the job, but you also create a solid network of career contacts. This can become highly beneficial in times of struggle when you need someone to bounce ideas off or even just to vent. Don’t know where to start? Check out our testimonials page to find nurses near you!
- Practice self-care!
You can’t expect to gain reasoning skills when your mind is muddied, so self-care is the best way to decompress. Take advantage of what your new assignment has to offer and hit the town! Try the local spa or bakery or spend some time outdoors. With a clear and calm mind, you’ll be sure to handle anything thrown your way on the job.
- Establish a healthy work-life balance.
Sometimes the pressure of work starts to bleed into your personal life, leaving you no time for emotional healing and that much-needed relaxation. Try to set boundaries between your career and your leisure time. This will look different for everyone! It could mean shutting off your work phone, establishing a firm departure time (if your assignment permits), or even as small as saving some of your favorite activities for home time to help you unwind. Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book after a long day?
- Trust yourself.
This might be the most important tip we can give you. Trusting your gut is essential to developing confidence, which pairs with resilience like peanut butter does jelly. If you don’t believe in your decisions, no one else will. Finding your voice and sticking to your guns is a sure-fast way to improve your staying power in the workplace and boost that all-important resilience factor.
So, there you have it! By implementing some of these tips into your everyday lives, you will increase your resilience in no time. As always, check out our blog for more tips to thrive as a travel nurse.
Ready for your next assignment? Check out our job board for the latest travel nurse jobs in the top travel nurse locations!