Being a travel nurse has so many advantages—experiencing different work settings, traveling to new places, great pay, and so much more. Some nurses though, are anxious about experiencing the “first-date jitters” over and over again.
As long as it has no severe impact on routine functions, the excitement and anticipation is yet another requirement for your travel nursing job. It reveals a sense of responsibility and how serious you are on your new assignment. As an experienced teacher once quoted: “The day I cease to be nervous prior to the first day of school, I will give up my job.”
They say that after your first few shifts, something just clicks in and you feel much more confident in your nursing skills and knowledge. Getting there, however, can be a rocky road. So if you’re in nursing school, a brand new nurse, or even a seasoned nurse, here are some tips for being successful:
No matter what you feel inside, put up a poker face and smile. Stay calm, cool and collected. Feeding into shyness or anxiety will just distract you, increasing the likelihood of making careless mistakes.
If you are unsure about something, please ask. Never hesitate to ask a question and never stop asking questions. If you’re criticized for whatever reason, thank them for making you aware and accept it with flair. Your colleagues want you to succeed and want to help you.
As a good start, learn to have anything and everything you might need handy. Always keep alcohol wipes, med cups, and bandage scissors on you, along with pens, sharpie and dry marker. This way you won’t find yourself in a patient’s room ready to perform a task, just to realize that you’re missing something. With time, you’ll be better at remembering what you need and won’t have a full supply closet in your pocket.
Patients use their call bells for all sorts of reasons, ranging from pushing the wrong button to having chest pain, many of the calls between those extremes are fur such as refilling their water pitcher or asking for pain medication. You can try to limit these interruptions by being proactive. When you go into a patient’s room, check if their water pitcher is filled, ask if they need to go to the bathroom and assess their pain.
Pay attention to how the staff nurses give reports. Write down everything so you understand it and can repeat it later. After a while, you’ll develop your own routine. Never assume that yours is the best or you know all. Do what you can, when you can and remember to follow instructions.
Be Friends with Everyone
General ethics will help you familiarize with staff members in a pleasant way. Just to list some: greet, say please and thank you and hold toe doors for others. It will make you feel more like a part of the unit and you’ll be more comfortable asking your peers for help.
Remember: this is your chance to make a first impression. It will eventually add a paragraph to your nursing resume and mark the beginning of your travel nurse career advancement.