Being away on travel nurse assignments can be challenging at times. While assignments can take you to places that are exciting and adventurous, it also involves having a lot of “unknowns” in the work environment. Many times you have to hit the ground running in a new hospital within a new city, working with new patients, doctors, and staff. Taking in a lot of changes all at once can be overwhelming. If you’re starting to feel continuously stressed or tired, you may be dealing with travel nurse burnout.
Simply put, burnout is emotional or physical exhaustion after working too much or too hard. It can lead to chronic stress and manifest itself in various ways, for example, insomnia or loss of appetite. To help you stay one step ahead, here are five tips to prevent burnout and stress.
The best way to prevent travel nurse burnout is to acknowledge it and take action as soon as you feel it coming on. Whether it is too much work or too little assistance from others, letting people know how you feel is important for your health. Address your issues with your charge nurse, nurse manager, or recruiter so that they can help figure out a strategy to give you more support. Do not wait until it is too late and your stress becomes too unbearable for your well-being.
Take Care Of Your Health
Whether it’s reading, painting, or taking a relaxing bath, finding an activity you can look forward to after work can help you reduce stress and recharge. Yoga, going for a run or swim, or spending time at the gym are all ways that you can get some physical activity that will help reduce stress as well. Making sure to be properly hydrated and eating nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can help enhance your stamina during a tough day, and developing healthy eating habits can work wonders for your mood too. Adding small, healthy choices to your everyday routine can help combat exhaustion while you work.
Get Quality Sleep
If you are suffering from persistent fatigue, it is important to develop a nightly routine that gets your body into rest mode. Going to sleep at the same time every night is highly recommended for preventing burnout and stress, but if you and your staff are working irregular hours then that is not very realistic. You have to find what works best for you and your schedule. When it is time for you to turn in for the night, try drinking sleepytime tea, reading a book, or a couple of meditation techniques to ensure you get a great night’s rest. Not only is sleep important for your health, but it’s also the best mental “break” that you can get.
Have A Support System
One or two friendly fellow nurses at your facility can be the people you need for burnout prevention. Having people you can go to and be upfront with is crucial, especially if you are away from home. Being open and friendly will help you build friendships through your shared nursing experiences. Once you have developed friendships in your field, they can be a great support system for you and you for them.
As you feel the first signs of burnout, reach out to your nursing friends. Let them know if you just want to vent about your day, or whether you are looking for advice. Be open and transparent about how you feel so the other nursing professionals can best be there to care for you. And of course, be there for them as well because support systems go both ways.
Another support system to have is your family and friends from back home. If you’re feeling depressed, irritable, or just different, try giving them a call. You will be surprised at how one conversation can change your mood. The support of loved ones can easily help you prevent burnout and offer more positivity to your life.
You cannot really say no to your scheduled nursing shifts, but you can control the commitments you make outside of the workplace. It is important to set and respect boundaries when it comes to preserving your energy to avoid emotional exhaustion and fatigue. When you’re in a new location, you might pressure yourself to go to happy hours, hikes, and other social events to meet other travel nurses and make friends. However, socializing and networking shouldn’t be done at the expense of your mental health. If you feel like you haven’t gotten enough rest, it’s okay to tell a friend that you can’t go out. Take stock of how you are feeling and act accordingly to save yourself the stress later.
Your mental health and well-being are extremely important. How you feel can affect the way you interact with both the staff and patients at your facility. Utilize these tips to keep yourself up and running for your travel assignments!