Becoming a travel nurse is an exciting new adventure. However, there are a few aspects of this career that you can’t learn from your textbooks in nursing school—some things you only learn in the travel nursing field. Every facility has its unique set of unspoken rules, but there are a few that transcend across the travel nursing industry.
These rules may seem like common sense, but someone had to say them at one point. Whether you’re already familiar with them or not, each rule will help you be a better travel nurse.
Top Travel Nursing Rules To Consider
Appreciate Your Team
Your fellow nurses can be great resources for learning tips about the facility, learning different procedures, and making your overall workflow easier, especially as a travel nurse. While you may be talented at what you do, you must always respect the people around you. Try to befriend everyone at your facility, including PT, OT, ST, patient transport, case management, and pharmacy. You’ll depend on them as time goes by, just as they depend on you.
Don’t Burn Bridges
In travel nursing, you are constantly moving from facility to facility, but it’s important to maintain a good portion—if not all—of the relationships you create. Staying in contact with previous employers, travel nursing recruiters, and nursing staff can help expand your network of professionals who can support you throughout your career. Depending on how well you stay connected, they may even present employment opportunities to you before anyone else.
If you dislike your current travel nursing contract, finish it out the best you can—a bad experience can impact your chances of receiving a positive recommendation for other jobs. In the agency world, if you ghost your recruiter long enough, do a poor job at your placement, or leave your travel nursing agency on bad terms, the agency and entire hospital system can blacklist your name as a “Do Not Hire.” This cuts your chances of returning to that system or agency, and we don’t want that.
Use Proper Language Around Patients
You must learn to stay calm and professional in front of patients. They want to know that you are doing your best for them! If you make a mistake, do not draw their attention to it by saying things such as “Oops” or “Crap.” Instead, replace it with a soothing word or hum during the procedure—the same effect for you and less fear for the patient. Call for backup discretely and continue to offer support.
Ask For Help When Needed
There is no shame in asking for help. As a travel nurse, you are not expected to be a know-it-all. Every single hospital is different and runs with different procedures and unspoken rules. Ask questions your first day, even if they may seem obvious, so you know exactly what is expected of you and how the floor functions. People’s lives are at stake, so if you’re unsure about anything, no matter how big or small it may seem, ask someone to confirm.
Find A Work-Life Balance
Travel nursing is going to get challenging and stressful. Taking your work with you when you leave a clinic is tempting. However, you need to learn to separate life and work each day. You can’t always keep them separate, but attempt to do so as much as possible. Home should be a place to relax and unwind. Leave work at work.
Wherever you apply for a travel nursing position, there will always be rules to learn. Remembering the unspoken rules listed above will help you during your time at any facility you choose. If you’re currently in the market for available travel nursing assignments, head to our job board and find the right travel nursing job for you!