The Top 5 Struggles New Travel Nurses Have to Adapt to and Overcome
Written by Rose Torrento on Thursday, January 10, 2019 Posted in On the Job
Becoming a travel nurse is exciting. You get to travel to a new city, meet new people, and do good in a place that needs you. But along with this excitement come challenges that every new travel nurse might face.
When you become a travel nurse, it may feel like you’re giving up your entire life to move away and start anew. This can feel unnatural or scary at first. However, a career in travel nursing is a fantastic and rewarding experience once you learn to accept these big life changes. It’s important to embrace and overcome these challenges; otherwise, you might find yourself in a situation that’s more difficult than rewarding.
5 challenges you may need to overcome
Everyone will have a different experience when it comes to travel nursing, but here are some of the most common challenges new travel nurses face in the industry.
- Getting used to a new environment — Settling into a new city in a different part of the country where you know nothing and no one can be extremely difficult. It will take some time for you to get your bearings in your new environment, as well as within the hospital itself. To adapt more easily, take time at the beginning of your assignment to learn about your surroundings and explore so you start to feel more at home.
- Having a social life in a new city — A new city means new people — and often, you won’t know a single person. But having a social life outside of work is critical to health and happiness, so you’ll want to dive into finding friends quickly. Start by befriending your colleagues, since you share some common ground. Next, try out a fitness class or an art course — or something else that interests you — to meet new people with similar passions. You can also try using online apps to meet new friends in a similar position to you.
- Not getting too attached to an assignment — Sometimes, the stars align and you fall in love with a hospital, city, or nursing team right away. Unfortunately, getting too attached can make leaving the assignment even more painful. To make leaving a little easier, remember that your assignments are temporary and that each one is a new learning experience.
- Establishing a routine — Setting up a routine in a new place can take weeks — and once you really find your groove, you might be on the road again. Make establishing a routine a top priority right after starting an assignment to ensure you hit your stride quickly.
- Taking care of the life you put on hold — The people and places you leave behind for work will still be a huge part of your life, and maintaining those relationships while you’re away can be challenging. Take time to video chat with old friends, family, and partners and make sure to get quality time in between assignments.
Challenges help you grow
Every new experience you have as a travel nurse has the potential to bring about new challenges, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Facing challenges head-on and overcoming them can help you improve your skills, become a stronger person, and grow on an individual level.
Don’t be afraid of the challenges you face. It’s important to enjoy your time on your assignment and make the most of the opportunities you have. By focusing on the positive aspects of these opportunities, rather than your fears or what you’re leaving behind, you’ll feel more fulfilled and comfortable with your new journey.
About the Author
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.