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Six Ways to Be a Good Travel Nurse

by Lindsay Wilcox

Good travel nurseYou’ve landed your first assignment as a travel nurse and want to make a good first impression. Fortunately, it’s easy to make friends with your co-workers and develop strong relationships with your supervisors and even your patients on an assignment. Check out our tips below:

Be flexible. While it’s not necessary to work every weekend (unless those are the terms of your contract), being flexible about the shifts you work and being willing to work occasional holidays will quickly gain others’ respect. Remember, however, to be honest if you’re exhausted from working too many hours and tell your supervisor if you’ve been called in for several back-to-back shifts without much rest.

Always be on time (or early). One of the quickest ways to lose credibility as a travel nurse is to be late for a shift. If you know you’ll be late, call your manager as early as possible to let him or her know — and be willing to work later, if you can, to help the other nurses on staff that day.

Ask for help. Every facility does things a bit differently, and it make take some time before you understand your new hospital’s procedures. Whenever you have questions about a patient or the protocol for a certain treatment, ask another nurse or your supervisor to explain it. You’ll prevent errors and let coworkers know that you’re trying to follow the rules and provide the best care possible.

Avoid gossiping or being negative. It can be hard to be the “new kid on the block ” at work, and you may find yourself butting heads with other nurses or disliking the hospital where you work. Keep your emotions in check, however, and never vent your frustrations to another nurse on your shift. Even if you feel you can trust him or her, word can quickly spread that you’re uncooperative and make it harder to get along with your coworkers. It may also affect your ability to get a good reference from a supervisor later.

Know your limitations. Sometimes, when a facility is short-staffed, you may be asked to help with tasks that are beyond your skill level. Though it may make you uncomfortable, politely tell the other nurse or doctor asking for your help that you don’t have the expertise to assist with that. Then let your manager know so that he or she can make sure the situation doesn’t happen again. Trust your intuition; never offer your help in a procedure that makes you feel uneasy.

Learn to relax. Nursing is overwhelming at times, especially when you’re in a new place. Don’t let stress impact your job performance or make your coworkers and, worse, your patients nervous. Take deep breaths, go for a quick walk outside and focus on providing the best care you can.

What tips would you add?

About Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox is a healthcare writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. When she's not circling typos, she's enjoying fish tacos and hanging out with her family.

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