Remember when you were in nursing school and managing a career seemed like something that had nothing to do with you. In fact, careers and job prospects are things that “real” adults needed to do, not you.
Then, of course, you graduated and took on travel assignments. Suddenly, you found yourself struggling to keep afloat all of the things that life is throwing at you: the constant moving, the isolation, and career issues seem to come at you from all sides. Then the next thing you know, you’re asking yourself whether being a travel nurse was what you really wanted out of your life to begin with.
What’s a poor nurse to do?
The one thing you can’t to do is panic. Know that doubt happens to the best of us. It’s okay to step back and assess where you are in your career. It is in fact advisable to do so. Assessing your travel nursing career will help you get back on track or, if needed, to change directions. When assessing how you’re doing with your job, look at the following areas and ask yourself if they can be improved:
Stress is unavoidable in the workplace. Doubly so if you’re a travel nurse who needs to constantly adjust to new settings, new assignments and new locations.
Therefore it’s important to learn to manage stress and not let stress manage you. Learning techniques to fight off stress will go a long way in making sure that you’re satisfied with your job.
Travel nurses need to be organized so having good time management is vital. Every assignment presents a unique challenge. Facilities expect you to hit the ground running. What this usually means is that you have very little time to adjust to your new environment. You have to learn things on the fly. It’s then absolutely essential that you know how to manage your time properly.
Time management doesn’t just mean time for work. You have to have time for yourself. Travel nursing can be demanding, sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself while doing it. Avoid burnout by nurturing yourself as lovingly as you would your patients. The healthier you are the better you are at your job.
By the job’s nature, it’s sometimes not easy for travel nurses to belong in a team. So, as one, you need to take that extra step in order to be a team player. And it’s vital that you are a team player because how you deal with others and how others deal with you can make your life either easier or more stress-filled.
You have to be able to play well with others, to mentor junior staff and at the same time learn from senior, more experienced professionals. Be a team leader when the situation calls for it but also be a supporter when necessary. Your ability to gel with a team will help your career and keep team tension away.
Finally, travel nurses need to constantly learn. No matter how experienced you are there’s always something new to learn. You have to love discovering new things or techniques and applying them in your practice.
Having an open mind and thirst for knowledge can help you advance in your career at the same time keep you from getting tired of it.
Remember that nursing is a rewarding career but it’s also quite a challenge. Taking time whenever you can to assess yourself will go a long way in keeping you happy and keeping your career in the direction it’s supposed to go.