The Healthcare Blues: How Travel Nurses Can Fight Off Burnout and Fatigue

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system: they directly impact patients’ lives and play a large part in influencing medical advancements that improve the population’s well-being. Healthcare professionals have always been at risk of experiencing exhaustion, burnout, and fatigue long before the pandemic, but now it is worse than ever. According to a recent survey, 56% of nurses feel that their mental health is at risk due to burnout.

Every travel nurse assignment will have its own challenges, some being more difficult than others. Working hectic floors, coping with repeated 12-hour shifts, or adjusting to your new home on the go can be physically demanding and emotionally draining. That’s why it’s crucial for travelers to care for themselves before trying to care for their patients. When travel nurses don’t feel their best, it will affect the quality of their patient care. 

Here are our favorite ways to take care of yourself as well as you take care of others: 

1. Exercise

Exercising is a fantastic way to reset the mind and get a boost of serotonin. Finding the time or energy to work out can be a challenge with a hectic work schedule, so try penciling in some time each day. If you have a fun time with what you’re doing, you are more likely to continue doing it, so consider taking a dance or martial arts class, seeing if local parks have pick-up games you can join, or looking into hiking trails or places to swim or kayak. Don’t know where to start? You aren’t alone; check out our website for some fun ideas. 

2. Get Quality Sleep

Few things are more important (and undervalued) than sleep, and getting enough of it can completely change your mood. A full night’s rest (or day’s rest, for all our graveyard shifters) assists in the reduction of stress hormones, heightens the immune system, and increases your heart health. Further, it allows your body to recover physically and mentally from the strain of everyday life—and no one knows strain like a nurse. Set up a bedtime routine and follow it: you’ll be surprised by how much better you feel.

3. Establish a Support System

Nothing is worse than feeling lonely, especially after a long and unforgiving shift. When the job gets tough, there is nothing better than knowing that you have people to lean on and vent to. Building a solid support system is crucial to getting through the challenging days of this job. These relationships can stem from anywhere: a girl gang or bromance, a significant other, family back home, or even a furry friend. 

4. Take Care of Yourself

Everybody loves a spa day, so don’t be afraid to treat yourself. This can mean putting on your favorite movie and doing a face mask or curling up with your favorite book, cooking yourself a nice meal, or doing anything that brings you peace and helps you unwind. Engaging in self-care practices is the perfect way to hit the reset button for your mental and physical health, plus it might leave your skin looking flawless or make for a great #foodstagram. 

5. Know Your Limits

A surefire way to protect yourself from burnout is by knowing your limits. Now, this might come easier to more seasoned traveling nurses, but knowing when you’re being stretched too thin and setting firm boundaries for yourself at work is the best way to combat mental decline. Don’t worry about seeming difficult or unagreeable; this is the best decision for you and your patients. The quality of their care is heavily reliant on your well-being, also, so setting these boundaries might just save a life.

Try some of these tips to ensure you stay on top of your game, both personally and professionally. For more ideas, check out our other blogs to find our top solutions for burnout, stress, and fatigue in travel nurses.

Looking for your next assignment? Check out our job board for the latest travel nurse jobs in the top travel nurse locations!

Related Post: What Are the Pros and Cons of Travel Nursing

Related Post: 5 Ways to Battle Fatigue During Your Travel Nurse Assignment

learn more