As travel nurses, we happen to travel to different hospitals a lot. Each hospitals gives us the opportunity to represent ourselves as great or bad. It’s important to make a lasting travel nurse first impression during your assignment. Here are the Top 8 Tips to Make a Lasting First Impression during your next travel assignment.
Tip #1: Be Reliable
Nothing makes you look worse than being unreliable on a travel nursing contract. You run the risk of losing respect from the staff and facility, not to mention you could lose your contract. In contrast, it is acceptable to have family emergencies and illnesses in which you need to call off. However, whenever you call off for reasons besides these, it places stress on the unit and staff. Show up for your assigned shifts and be ready to work that tail off for the next 8 to 12 hours.
Tip #2: Be Present in the Moment
Whenever you are at work give 110% of yourself to your co-workers and your patients. Be present in the moment and for the next 8 to 12 hours. It can be difficult especially when you feel burned out and exhausted because let’s face these shifts can feel like an eternity at times. Be friendly to everyone, assist others when needed, and listen to your patients.
Tip #3: Be Positive
Always be positive and smile while you are on assignment. It makes you more approachable by your co-workers, physicians, and patients. But seriously! I understand we all have our bad days. There have been quite a few days when I was “not in the mood” for either being floated or having that “one patient.” However, my advice is don’t make it a habit of being the angry and resentful travel nurse that no one wants to work with or be around.
Tip #4: Don’t Take Work Personally
It is not easy to not take your work personally when you feel you have been wronged. Maybe it’s that one patient that just said the last thing you want to hear, maybe it’s the family member who has yelled at you for 10 minutes about their family member not getting the care they need, or maybe it’s the physician who just took out their frustrations on you. Everyone is allowed to have their bad days even you. Never take anything personally when it comes to others and keep your smile.
Tip #5: Take Responsibility for your Actions
If you happen to make a mistake, take responsibility for your actions and don’t try to cover it up. Others will respect you more for you actions then if you attempt to conceal it. It’s alright not to know anything and you can always ask. In travel nursing, you have to learn to be flexible. You are in a new facility with new policies, procedures, and a new environment. You are going to make mistakes. Just be honest about your mistakes, take responsibility, and learn from your experiences.
Tip #6: Be a Team Player, Not a Sucker
In the beginning of your travel nurse contract, you are attempting to establish yourself among the tribes that are permanent nurses. There will come times where you will help others, but they won’t help you. Eventually, this stage will pass, and you will be seen as part of the team. With that being said, don’t be a pushover and have permanent staff treat you like a sucker. You shouldn’t be treated differently than any other member of the team and travel nursing will teach you assertiveness. Just remember that being assertive is very different from being aggressive.
Tip #7: Welcome New Challenges and Experiences
You may not always be placed on a floor that you have an understanding of their patients. For example, maybe you are a cardiac PCU nurse, but you accept an assignment for Neuro PCU. It is acceptable to experience different units, just know your limitations and ask for assistance. If you are given an assignment (within reason) that is challenging, it’s important accept the assignment/challenge and learn from the experience.
Tip #8: THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP – NEVER DISCUSS MONEY OR BRAG ABOUT BEING A TRAVEL NURSE
This is a complaint from nurses I hear all the time. I don’t understand why travel nurses feel the need to discuss and brag how much money they are making with permanent staff. Never reveal how much money you are making on assignment because it leads to permanent staff resentment and this can make for a lonely assignment. And trust me! Travel Nursing can be lonely at times already! Keep your earnings to yourself and maybe not mention you are a travel nurse too much.