By Marwa Hijazi
Guest writer for The Right Solutions
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, nursing will see a 19% increase in employment through 2022. As baby boomers retire, the number of available professionals to fill those roles is dwindling, and as a result, the use of travel nurses is becoming more common.
If you decide on a career as a traveler, there are some considerations you’ll face which are unlike any other job you’ve held before.
Moving around the country and seeing new places can be highly rewarding, but a life on the road has some shortcomings, too. It’s always a good idea to keep in mind adjustments you’ll have to make when moving from place to place, so map out the pros and cons of your next destination before you talk to a travel nurse recruiter and head out on your journey.
New Job, New Adjustments
New places mean new opportunities and meeting new people. How you approach those people is of vital importance. Fitting in with existing staff at a facility requires adjustments, so it’s good to understand that every hospital does things differently and has different demands for its staff.
Some existing staff members may harbor resentment toward a traveler and view the newcomer as an intruder, especially in a tightly knit clinical unit. You may also face the misconception that you are paid much more than other workers or that you’re there to steal jobs.
Wearing your previous experiences like some sort of badge can reinforce the perception as an interloper.
You can ease some of these feelings by making an extra effort to become a team player, possibly taking on extra shifts or assignments so other staff members can go home. Ask questions to become familiar with the facility’s procedures, as well as questions about your new city and neighborhood – where to find the nicest parks, good restaurants or attractions.
Keeping an open mind and being friendly can help change the wariness of your new co-workers.
Above all, a travel nurse has to be a consummate professional in order to enjoy successful transitions. Professionalism will help you form good habits and impress co-workers so you’ll always be welcome back.
Also, be honest with recruiters about your motivations for becoming a travel nurse and what you expect from the job. You will have a better chance of being rewarded with openings that fit your ideal scenario.
Making Personal Adjustments
Living your life on the road means seldom being near family and the friends you’ve established over the years, which can be lonely and difficult. Compound that with the stress of finding a place to live and an unsettled schedule. You’ll quickly see the value of making friends in your new location.
First, you must prepare yourself for your next destination. This means familiarizing yourself with the local weather so that you have the right clothing. Also, researching different neighborhoods and methods of transportation in the area is important for you to make an informed decision about where you live and whether or not you’ll be using public transport or finding another way around.
From a social perspective, a good way to conquer your need for connectivity is to become involved in activities in the area by volunteering, being recreationally active and going out in the area with the sole purpose of meeting new people.
In your first week, try to meet a dozen new people. Eating at new places, owning a dog, visiting parks or nature preserves and even trying out public transportation just for the sake of trying it are all ways you can go about creating new connections with other people.
Soon, you will find yourself making new friends that will make your transition into a new place easier.
A career as a traveler will be packed with decisions such as where to go next and what you want to do. Deciding whether the locale is the right choice for you can also be difficult, so doing your own research about the city where you will be assigned can prove valuable.
When discussing your options with a recruiter, have a list of questions that will provide answers which address your concerns about the new location. Being candid and clear about what you want will help your recruiter find assignments that meet your needs and give you an opportunity to flourish in a new experience and place.
Marwa Hijazi writes about topics related to health and nursing on behalf of Bisk Education, a facilitator of education programs online for universities such as Jacksonville University.