How to Advocate for Yourself as a Travel Nurse

Written by Rose Torrento on Thursday, October 06, 2022 Posted in Travel Nurse Tips


Travel nurses can sometimes lead a tumultuous professional life. Each assignment can leave you feeling like a stranger in a strange land, and it can take time to find your footing among a new team in a new facility. Often, there’s also adversity to overcome along the way. That’s why learning how to advocate for yourself is an important skill for travel nurses to develop. Not only can it help you find your footing quickly at each new assignment, it also can help you prioritize yourself when the situation doesn’t.

Why nurses need to develop self-advocacy

Especially early in their careers, travel nurses can feel overwhelmed. It’s challenging to adjust to new facilities, schedules, coworkers, and processes every few months. But the more you advocate for yourself, the easier it is to establish a stable foundation at work. It won’t matter where you are — you’ll feel capable of determining what you need and how to achieve it.

Nurses also need to have the confidence and capability to stand up for themselves and communicate their needs in a professional setting. It’s unsafe for nurses and their patients if they’re put in a situation where they’re uncomfortable, burned out, or confused. Self-advocacy is often the only way to resolve these problems.


Learning how to advocate for yourself

There’s no “right way” to advocate for yourself as a travel nurse. It ultimately depends on the situation and your end goal. The first step is to figure out what you want out of the situation. Then, you can identify actionable ways to reach that goal.

For example, you might find yourself on an assignment with a hostile colleague, where bullying or derisiveness causes unnecessary stress. In this situation, advocating for yourself may mean speaking with that colleague or your supervisor. Or, perhaps you’re faced with expectations that are outside the realm of your contract. By self-advocating, you can ensure that you don’t overextend yourself and can ensure expectations, on both sides, are met.  

Self-advocacy can even be internal. As a new nurse, you might deal with feelings of doubt or guilt in your professional abilities. Building confidence can help you feel more empowered in your efforts, experience more job satisfaction, and pursue more opportunities.

Self-advocacy is key to professional development

Advocating for yourself is not something everyone can start doing overnight. It is a skill that most people hone over time, and it starts by building confidence – in your morals and values and in your abilities as a nurse. It is a career-defining skill that you’ll carry from assignment to assignment, and can even improve other professional skills, such as communication and organization. By becoming your own best advocate, you will build stronger relationships and be part of solutions that mean a lot to you.

The key to self-advocacy is to not be afraid to ask for what you need, whether it’s help navigating a new department or additional assistance during a busy shift. Advocating for yourself means advocating for your professional needs — and by extension, the needs of your patients.

It’s important to advocate for yourself. When it comes to making your way as a travel nurse from one assignment to the next, remember that your Health Providers Choice recruiter is also on your side. Together, you can advocate for yourself and a career you love. To learn more, contact us online or call us today at 888-299-9800.

About the Author

Rose Torrento

Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.