Nurses spend a considerable amount of time taking care of patients and putting the needs of others ahead of their own. The stress of a new location mixed with the pressure of learning the procedures at a new facility can be overwhelming for travel nurses. Not taking care of your health due to your travel nurse assignment can lead to anxiety, fatigue, and eventually nurse burnout.
Burnout is emotional and physical exhaustion from either working too much or too hard—or both. It can lead to chronic stress and manifest itself in different ways like insomnia or a loss of appetite. Burnout can affect the way you treat others around you, especially your patients. To provide the best care for your patients, you must know how to combat burnout when it appears.
1. Practice Self-Care
It’s easy to forget to care for yourself when your job is all about caring for others. However, self-care is just as important as patient care and can look different from person to person. Whatever you do should make you feel at ease and free from any work-related stress. Go to the spa for some pampering, the local yoga studio for an hour of deep breathing, or relax in a bubble bath with a good book to destress. Try out different methods of self-care to learn what keeps you relaxed after stressful shifts.
2. Branch Out
Although alone time is vital for distressing, spending time with others during your travel assignment can help. Being with other people can help break the monotony of a routine and get you out of the house. Reach out to coworkers for a bite to eat after work or invite them to a happy hour when you both have time off. If there are other travelers at your facility, chances are they are looking to make a friend or two while they’re on assignment and would be happy to get out for an evening.
Also, it’s okay to think of your travel assignment as an extended vacation. Talk to locals and visit the tourist hot spots to get your fill of new and exciting experiences in different cities. Don’t be afraid to dive into new adventures during your travel assignment, so you won’t have any regrets when you return home.
3. Have a Support System
One of the best ways to cope with nurse burnout is by having a strong support system. Your family and friends back home can be a beneficial resource, but having people within range can make your assignment much easier. Being able to share your feelings with others who understand what you’re going through can work wonders. Reach out to a couple of your closest nursing friends when you’re feeling exhausted, and let them know if you just want to vent about your day or need advice. Be open and transparent about how you feel, so your support team can properly be there for you. Of course, be there for them as well because support goes both ways.
Nursing is a very stressful career, and it is important to check in with yourself from time to time. To ensure the stress of the job isn’t harming your mental or physical health, practice some of these methods to stay balanced.