Career Mistakes that Travel Nurses Must Avoid

Posted On October 22, 2012

Travel Nursing Career

No one can argue that nurses in general work hard to build their reputation as healthcare professionals. This is especially true with travel nurses. Every new assignment is an opportunity to shine and add a new feather on a travel nurse’s cap. However, with every new assignment there is also the possibility of making big mistakes that could have a negative effect in one’s nursing career.

Travel nursing isn’t just about the opportunity to visit and live in new places. It’s also about establishing a solid foundation for your nursing career. What you do while at an assignment will have an impact on your next travel destination so you have to be careful how you deal with people in every assignment.

Here are some mistakes you must avoid:

As a traveling professional it’s sometimes difficult to gel with a team that had already established its rhythms and way of working long before you showed up in a facility’s doorsteps. As a travel nurse, it’s sometimes just easier to work independently and focus on your duties with little to no regard for team dynamics. After all, you’re only going to be there for a few weeks, right? Wrong. Not being a team player is a mistake. You have to take an active participation in your new team’s activities and help in any way you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best nurse in the market, you can’t practice in a bubble and expect career advancement.

Which brings up the next point.

Don’t burn bridges. No one expects you to like everyone you’ve ever worked with. When you take on travel nursing assignments for a living you’re bound to meet coworkers and supervisors who you’d rather forget. But that doesn’t mean you should be disrespectful to anyone, especially to supervisors. No one is stopping you from saying what’s on your mind but keep in mind that strong, vitriolic opinion has consequences. Leave the yelling and vitriol out of your dialogue. Remember that your supervisor now will have to give you a reference when your future supervisor calls. Maintain professionalism at all times, even on your last day.

Finally, another mistake that travel nurses make that has an adverse impact on their career advancement is being mediocre or, rather, exerting just enough effort to be serviceable. People expect much from nurses and you have to deliver. Sub par patient care can easily be taken against you. You have to be on your best game all the times. This might not sound fair as everyone gets the occasional bad day but nursing, especially travel nursing, is not an ordinary career. Remember that being a nurse is not just a job, it’s a calling. The nursing community will look at it like so and won’t be kind to slackers.

As you build your travel nursing career, bear in mind that it’s not just your work experience that you have to focus on. How you deal with people and how people perceive you as a worker, as a person, are also important factors that spell the difference between a flourishing career or one that’s destined to fall flat.

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