tips for travel nurses to adjust to a new hospital

Tips to Help Travel Nurses Adjust to a New Hospital

Having to relocate and adjust to a new facility every 13 weeks or so is no easy task. But for travel nurses, that is how every assignment starts. And those initial few days are very crucial for building a good rapport with the team. Healthcare professionals, especially nurses, have to collaborate with others a lot to make sure they can deliver quality patient care. That’s why building friendly relationships with coworkers can help nurses carry out their duties easier while also contributing to a supportive workplace community that can be very good for boosting morale and job satisfaction.

Whether you’re a new travel nurse about to set off on your first assignment or a seasoned professional who’s taken up endless nursing jobs, brushing up your interpersonal skills is always a good idea to stay on top of your game. That’s why we’ve brought to you some tried and tested tips to help you adjust to a new facility so you can get off on the right foot every single time!

Do your research

Take some time to look up the facility you’re headed to before the assignment starts. Every organization has different policies and procedures, and it’s important to go through the fine print without rushing. This will make sure that you know which course of action to take in case a complicated situation arises. Staying prepared ahead of time can help you think on your feet while also ensuring that your actions stay within the institutional guidelines.

Keep an open mind

You’re going to meet a lot of new people in the course of your travel nursing career, and it’s easy to develop preconceptions, whether about patients or coworkers. But, to create a positive first impression, you must keep an open mind and be polite and respectful. Pay close attention during interactions, actively listening and engaging with people to get to know them on a deeper level. Who knows, your new workplace bestie could just be one pop culture reference away!

Ask questions

If you’ve taken a new nursing job, asking questions is the best way to get to know your way around. Understanding protocols and getting familiar with the chain of command is essential for a smooth nursing assignment. Every facility uses codes for emergencies, but the procedures can differ. You should also get to know where the essentials, like the supply closet or the crash cart are.

Don’t forget the EMR

Every facility uses different in-house organizing software to maintain patient charts and records. And as a travel nurse, you might have to get used to using a new software in a matter of hours. As patient records are essential to track a patient’s treatment and recovery, familiarizing yourself with the EMR system is non-negotiable.

While most facilities will cover the EMR system during your orientation, you could still run into issues. Get in touch with the facility’s EMR nurse, if they have one, to guide you through the difficulties as soon as you can. If there are no designated EMR nurses,  you can ask a coworker who’s familiar with the system to help you out.

Build a good relationship with your mentor/ preceptor

Most travel nurses are usually assigned to work under the supervision of a staff nurse. They’re going to be your go-to person for day-to-day questions or any other issues you might run into. Be respectful and maintain a professional front while going through your rotations.

Don’t be shy to ask questions if you’re feeling stuck and need help to navigate an unusual scenario. Asking questions will help your preceptor identify where you could need further guidance and also make it easier for them. Most preceptors will appreciate someone who takes the initiative and is genuinely interested in learning.

Maintain a positive outlook

A cheerful and optimistic outlook can go a long way to build positive first impressions! Approach your coworkers with a smile and good intentions to create a warm and friendly first impression. This will greatly help when you need to communicate or collaborate with them. So, be proactive and take the initiative to introduce yourself to other nurses and offer help.

Be flexible with how you go about your work. While overworking yourself is a huge no-no, you can still try to identify opportunities you can take to build a supportive relationship. If you see a fellow nurse having a stressful day, you can ask if there’s anything you can do to help and offer support. If another coworker helps you out, make sure you show your appreciation appropriately.

Understand floating requirements

Travel nurses are often hired when facilities face a staffing shortage. That’s why the likeliness of you being floated to another department can be high.  Make sure you discuss these in advance with your nurse manager. Stay in touch with your shift manager to ensure no miscommunications. Understand how scheduling works and who’s in charge. If you’re being floated to a different unit, you likely won’t have an orientation specific to that unit. So, try to observe as much as possible and learn on the job.

Don’t skip the self-care

Nursing is a demanding profession, and self-care is important for all nurses. For travel nurses, the constant relocation, along with irregular shifts, can become exhausting and lead to burnout. That’s why it’s important to maintain healthy habits to prevent the symptoms before they get to that stage.

Poor eating and sleeping patterns can contribute to chronic health issues over time. That’s why it’s crucial to establish healthy dietary and sleep routines. You should also maintain a regular exercise regimen to help with your physical and mental well-being. Allocating time for social activities and pursuing hobbies can also be beneficial in managing stress.

Read more from MyCareers: Tips to Overcome Language Barriers in Travel Nursing

Final thoughts

Travel nursing is an exciting and promising profession, especially if you love exploring new places. However, it’s equally important to foster a positive work environment. A good relationship with your coworkers is beneficial to your job satisfaction and professional growth. That’s why your effectiveness as a nurse depends greatly on maintaining a healthy work atmosphere, which in turn helps you stay focused and motivated in your role.


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