6 Reasons to Take a Break Between Travel Nursing Assignments
You’re coming off a 13-week assignment that’s had you firing on all cylinders from the start. You’re tired and feel like you haven’t seen the light of day in a while. It’s time for a break. The feeling is common among travel nurses — especially if you’ve had several assignments since your last vacation. Don’t feel bad! You’ve earned a break, and it’s important to listen to your body when it signals you to slow down. A break between assignments isn’t the end of your travel nursing career by any stretch of the imagination.
Travel nurses deserve a break
Nursing is an inherently stressful profession. For travel nurses, changing homes and scenery every 13 weeks only compounds stress. Even if you’re a “rolling stone,” and have no trouble pulling up stakes and moving on, there are mental and physical tolls that come along with constant relocation.
Too many nurses find themselves compartmentalizing the stress of work and moving, and it will eventually weigh on them. Taking a break between assignments isn’t a sign of weakness or admission of failure. It’s an opportunity to recharge and indulge in self-care, so you can approach your next assignment fresh and ready to succeed.
Breaks between assignments also give you a chance to catch up and catch your breath. Go home and visit friends or family. Take a microscope to your finances. Check a few things off your to-do list. Time between assignments is an opportunity to keep your personal life in balance.
Recognize when a break is necessary
How do you know if you’re due for a vacation? As your assignment nears its end and you start thinking about the next one, reflect on these six reasons for taking a break:
- You’re feeling burnt out or tired. If you can feel the strain catching up with you, it’s time to be proactive and get the R&R you need before you jump back into work.
- You’re sick or dealing with personal health issues. Nurses are used to being caregivers, but don't neglect your own health in the process.
- Life circumstances demand your attention. Work isn’t life. Take time to get your personal affairs in order without the added pressure of a new assignment.
- You miss your friends and family back home. It’s natural to miss the ones you love! If it’s been a while since you saw those closest to you, take advantage of a break.
- You’re coming off a bad assignment. Need to blow off steam after a stressful assignment? Give yourself a break, so you can head into your next one with a positive attitude.
- You’re coming off several consecutive assignments. Travel nursing isn’t a marathon! If you can’t remember the last time you took a break, now is the time.
It’s easy to get into a rhythm and keep assignments rolling one after another. Before you sign your next contract, ask yourself if you’re truly ready for the assignment or if a short break is a smart idea.
Getting back in the game
While time off between assignments is a priority, don’t let the lure of vacation drag on for too long. Travel nurses need to stay resilient in their search for new assignments. Getting back out there will feel great, and you’ll have renewed enthusiasm after taking time for yourself between the hustle and bustle of assignments.