Why It’s Important for Travel Nurses to Take Vacations

While travel nursing has the perks of competitive pay, getting to visit new cities, and adventure, you’re still working. Each assignment you take offers new adventures, but it’s still important to take a work-free vacation as a travel nurse and enjoy yourself without worrying about your next shift. Taking even a short break in between assignments is a great way to arrive at your next assignment refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.

Moving Can Be Stressful

Every seasoned travel nurse learns how to be a pro at moving every few months. However, moving into a new apartment, getting used to a new city, getting accustomed to new job duties, and getting to know new coworkers and friends can take a toll on even the most extroverted traveler. Taking a work-free vacation once a year or more is a fantastic way to de-stress and enjoy leisure time before your next assignment.

Vacations Help you Recharge

On assignment, you usually have a daily routine, and it’s easy to lose perspective and forget about life outside your next shift. On vacation, you have time to revisit your goals, explore new surroundings, and abandon your regular schedule to indulge in whatever you enjoy but don’t have enough time for at work. Taking regular vacations also helps prevent burnout in your career.

It’s Good for You

All nurses know the importance of mental and physical health, and practicing self-care is crucial. Nursing is a hard occupation. You’re on your feet most of the day and responsible for taking care of your patients. Stress is a major cause of heart disease and high blood pressure, and studies even show that those who vacation reduce their risk of heart disease and heart attack!

Vacations Make You a Happier Person

Research shows that chronic stress levels release hormones that can lead to depression and anxiety. Taking a stress-free vacation contributes to your mental health and happiness, and the effects will last longer than your vacation.

Vacations Can Improve your Relationships

While it can be relaxing to vacation alone, taking vacations with family, close friends or your significant other can make your relationship stronger. Exploring new areas, enjoying stress-free leisure time without worry about work, and having new adventures together strengthens the bond with the people you care about most.

Taking Vacations Make you Better at your Job

Taking vacations makes you happier, and, logically, happy people perform better at work. In fact, one study showed that for each 10 additional vacation hours an employee took per year, their performance review was 8% higher.

The benefits to vacationing are clear – consider it a self-care necessity rather than an indulgence! It’s easy to say you will go on a vacation and never get around to it. You only live once, so what are you waiting for?

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Items to Collect That Don’t Take Up Space

As travel nurses, you are going to new locations every 13 weeks. Sometimes even sooner.  While taking pictures and making memories are great, sometimes you want something to remember each place.  The key to these collectibles is to keep them small because you are traveling and only have so much space.  Here are some great items to collect from each location that doesn’t take up a lot of space.

Items to collect that don’t take up space

Postcards

Postcards are the first item on our list, they are easy to find in most locations, and they are easy to store. Postcards are great because you can write on them, for example, what was your favorite thing about that assignment or city.  They are also great because they take up so little space; you could buy a photo album and place them in it or store them in a box.

Magnets

Magnets make great collectibles because they don’t take up much room except on the refrigerator!  They are usually easy to find if you visit truck stops or gas stations along highways

Key chains

Again, key chains make great collectibles because they are often small.  While you may not use them for day-to-day use, you can keep them hung on key hooks or just put them away to look at and reminisce on your travels.

Shot Glasses

Shot glasses are great because they are small and don’t take up much room.  Because of this, they can be displayed out as décor pieces.  They are often not very costly, either.

Coffee Mugs

Coffee mugs can be tricky because they can take up some room. However, if you always keep a few with you and rotate the ones you take with you on an assignment, you won’t have to worry about that.  Starbucks even has mugs with each state on them and pictures of landmarks and such from each state.  If there is a state park or visitor center near you, they often carry these as well.

Pins

Pins are great because you can put them on a bag, hat, or really anything that you want to.  You could also take the backs off and place them on a corkboard as a display piece.  The options you get with pins are almost endless.  Pins are a fun thing to collect!

Shirts/ Hooded Sweatshirts

Shirts and sweatshirts are great because not only are they collectibles, but you can wear them.  Again, you can rotate the ones you bring with you on assignment.  They are often found at gas stations along highways.

Key chains

Again, key chains make great collectibles because they are often small.  While you may not use them for day-to-day use, you can keep them hung on key hooks or just put them away to look at and reminisce on your travels.

Charms for bracelets

Another great option is a charm for a bracelet.  While it may eventually fill up, you could get another bracelet.  Bracelets and jewelry take up very little space.  Pandora is just one option for charms and charm bracelets.  This option also lets you be creative because you can pick a charm that reminds you of something you love about a city or state you have had an assignment in.

Remembering your adventures is an important aspect of travel nursing.  These are just a few things that travel nurses have collected along their travels.  There are many more, but these options are easy to take with you on the road and really don’t take up a lot of space.  Some of these things are probably no-brainers, but some you probably never even thought about.

What travel nurse items do you collect? Post in the comments!

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Ways to Combat Loneliness as a Travel Nurse

As a travel nurse, you are packing up your belongings after every assignment ends.  Many times, these assignments are thousands of miles away from your family and friends.  So, how do you handle being that far away from those you love, in a town you aren’t familiar with?  Loneliness can be a real fear for travel nurses, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Avoiding travel nursing loneliness is possible! There are many options to keep your time occupied while on assignment, aside from working.  We have put together a list of things you can do to combat loneliness you may feel while away from your family and friends.

Get a pet:  

Pets can provide you companionship no matter where you go.  You won’t feel quite so alone, having them with you in your new “home.”    Coming back to an empty home can make the loneliness worse, but having a pet there waiting can make a huge difference.   Having a pet on an assignment can change the way you have to travel and look for housing. 

Join a gym:  

Find a gym in your new area that offers classes!  You have a better chance of meeting people by joining a gym class than just by going to the gym.  Yelp is a great place to search for gyms in your area because they also give reviews just like they do for restaurants.  Many gyms offer classes more than once a week so that you can work around your work schedule!

Video chat:

With today’s technology, staying in touch with loved ones while on assignment is much easier than ever!  Our cell phones now allow us to make video calls.  If that won’t work for you, there are numerous ways to use different apps or programs like Skype.  While it may not be the same as seeing them in person, it will definitely help you feel closer to them and avoid travel nursing loneliness.

Get out:

Explore your new temporary city.  Getting out and exploring your new area is a great way to get out, and you may meet some friends along the way as well.  A lot of cities and businesses offer events to bring people together.  Facebook is a great place to look for events happening around you.  You can also ask your co-workers for ideas on what to do. 

Meetup App:

Many travel nurses use the Meetup app. People use Meetup to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones, and pursue their passions, together.  The app has groups you can join that you are interested in, such as; Health and Wellness, Outdoors, Family, Sports and Fitness, and many more.  When you join a group, you will see who is hosting local events for that group.  If there isn’t a group for a topic, you enjoy you can always create one yourself.  It is a great way to find others in the area that enjoy the same things you do.

Meet other Travel Nurses in the area:

This is a great way to combat loneliness while making friends! What better people to connect with than those who know exactly what you are going through? There are many groups on Facebook dedicated to certain cities for travel nurses. 

Learn a new hobby:

You are on assignment, usually for 13 weeks at a time, which gives you plenty of time to pick up and learn a new hobby.  Learning a new hobby will help with loneliness because it keeps you busy and your mind off being away from family and friends. There are so many options to choose from. Knitting, crocheting, hiking, writing, yoga, and the list goes on and on. 

Hiking is a great option if you can find a place in your new city. It gets you out and about and away from your home away from home. Knitting and crocheting are great because they can be done from your home, and there are many tutorials on YouTube that make it easy to teach yourself. The list of new hobbies to learn is really endless; it just depends on what interests you and what you think you will enjoy.

Volunteer at an animal shelter:

Giving of your time is also a great way to combat loneliness. What better way to give of your time than spending it with adorable animals at an animal shelter?  Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers. Volunteering will get you out of the house while you spend time with other people and animals that are so appreciative of any attention you can give them. At the same time, it may not be in the books for you to adopt a pet while on the road. You can give love to those in the animal shelters while you are on assignment.

Loneliness is inevitable while being away from your family and friends, but it doesn’t have to be. 

These are just a few ways that you can combat loneliness while traveling for an assignment. There are many more ways. 

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Travel Nurse Interviews: Tips to Ace Your Travel Nurse Interview

For most people, interviewing can be nerve-wracking, from what to wear to engaging with the interviewer. However, for travel nurses, interviewing is an entirely different experience. Not only will they not be in person, but there’s really no set standard either. Whether you’ve done a dozen interviews or are prepping for your first travel nurse interview, here are our best tips on how to prepare, what to expect, and how to secure your next job.

Why Do Travel Nurses Need Interviews?

While hospitals and facilities are looking to fill staffing shortages, that doesn’t mean they’re not concerned with who will join their teams. Like any job, your interview will determine if you’re a good culture fit as well, ensuring your skills match your profile.

  • Experience: The employer will be looking to ensure you have the expertise to provide top-notch patient care.
  • Culture Fit: Does your personality mesh with their team? How does your work style — think how you organize your shifts — complement their unit?
  • Accommodations: Typically, this is where you’d ask if the facility can make arrangements around any dates you want off. Given the current pandemic, consider offering up flexibility.

But, and this is a big deal, it’s also your opportunity to ensure the facility is a good fit for you. It’s your chance to gauge how the unit operates and discover details on how you can be an asset to their team; this is a crucial step in determining if you want to pursue an opportunity with them.

Interviews & What You Can Expect

While each interview you do will be different, there are a few things you can count on to remain consistent. Namely, that it will be a phone interview. Before your interview, you and your recruiter will discuss the facility. They should never ‘blind submit’ your profile to a hospital. If they do, understand that this practice isn’t standard, and you can easily find an agency that will ensure you have final approval on all submits. Let’s get back to interviews and what you need to know.

Pre-Interview

Some facilities may conduct a pre-interview. Think of it as a resume check — this can be a big time-saver for facilities by double-checking your skillset before scheduling a formal interview. A pre-interview also opens up more time for your unit-specific questions when you speak to the hiring manager in your formal interview.

Can I expect a pre-interview screen? Not necessarily. Some facilities forego this process, and others may confirm your background with your agency first. Your recruiter will be your go-to resource during this time and should advise you on whether or not to expect a pre-interview.

Tips for Making a Strong Impression Over the Phone

The standard in-person interview offers the opportunity to communicate with facial expressions, hand gestures, and eye contact. Interviewing over the phone can feel awkward, so you’ll need to focus on sounding confident and competent. Consider these tips to help you make a strong impression.

  • Speak slowly: Have you ever accidentally combined two words, like in that scene from Mean Girls? Take a breath, speak slowly, and utilize natural pauses to make it easier on the interviewer while also minimizing those weird blunders — gruel.
  • Pay attention to inflection: Did you ever have a professor ask, “Are you sure?” Make sure your tone reflects confidence by avoiding up-speak — that’s when your voice goes up, like when you ask a question.
  • Stand up & smile: This one sounds weird, but it makes a big difference! Smiling can change your speech patterns and people can pick up on that! Similarly, standing up improves your posture and projects confidence.
  • Practice on the phone: Have your recruiter, a family member, or coworker ask you questions over the phone. Ask them for feedback on the clarity of your answers.

Travel Nurse Interview

Again, there’s no such thing as standard here. Your formal interview can be a brief 5-minute check of basic culture questions or it can be a lengthy interview filled with behavioral questions. It’s a good thing travel nurses are so adaptable, because there are a few different interview types too.

Travel Nurse Interview With Hospital Staff

For these interviews, you can expect to chat with unit managers, charge nurses, or hiring managers. These representatives will likely ask about your schedule and have scenario-specific questions for you. As the ‘boots-on-the-ground’ interviewers, they’re also your best source for you to investigate topics like:

  • Scrub color
  • Patient population
  • Day-to-day workflow
  • Traveler history
  • Float expectations

You may have an interview with HR staff. While they might not have access to unit details, they still have useful insights for nurses. HR staff can arm you with an overview of the hospital itself like:

  • Resources available to your unit
  • Internal medicine doctors on a unit
  • Pharmacy on the unit
  • Transports
  • CNAs/PCTs and Environmental Services on the unit

Automated Interviews

In an ideal world, after submitting your profile, you’d hear back with potential interview times with a manager. Unfortunately, as you know, travel nursing is all about adjusting when things aren’t ideal. Enter the Voice Automated Interview (VA). Instead of speaking with a person, you will record your answers to a list of questions selected by the manager. The manager then listens to your answers and decides to hire you based on your responses and skills checklist. Here a few things to note:

  • You should be notified before submission: If a hospital uses VA, you should know before you decide to submit.
  • You won’t speak to anyone on the unit: Understand that you will forgo speaking with someone about unit-specifics like scheduling.
  • You should be able to submit questions: Typically, if a hospital uses VA, you can submit questions in writing; however, you may not get a quick response or receive a response at all.

Look for Recruiter Who Takes Your Career Seriously

There’s so much to consider when it comes to interviewing. Particularly when thinking about what’s essential for you to ask; that’s why it’s crucial to find an experienced recruiter. A good recruiter will not only guide you through the process but coach you to make the most of each interview. Ask your recruiter if they have a list of questions for you. Olivia Carper, TNAA Recruitment Manager, coaches her nurses to ensure they’re prepared and confident. We asked her for her top tips for travel nurses interviewing for the first time:

  • As soon as you get a call, ask for the manager’s name and contact number in case you get disconnected and need to call back. It also is good to have to help your recruiter secure the offer for you so that when you call back, you can focus on those additional questions.
  • Keep a list with you of vital questions you need to know to accept an offer with confidence. Think about what you need to know to do your job safely.
  • Close the deal! If you like the job, tell them and ask for it. Asking for the job is key, and that can feel uncomfortable. It helps to practice what to say, “This job sounds like a perfect fit for me, can I tell my recruiter you will be sending over an offer? I am ready to start in 2 weeks.”

We hope you found these travel nurse interview tips helpful. Do you have any tips for travel nurse interviews?

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Tips To Help Travel Nurses Survive Night Shift

For many travel nurses, working the night shift is a way of life.  Some natural “night owl” travel RNs make this transition very easy and actually thrive in a 7p-7a type of environment.  For most travel nurses, however, this schedule can be extremely challenging, even on a temporary basis.  On your feet, all night, working a crazy-busy shift, fighting natural and work-induced exhaustion…does this sound familiar? For those travel nurses that are working nights, here are some tips to help make the most of this demanding schedule.

1.) Eat smart:

When you’re physically and mentally tired, our bodies often crave “comfort food” to satisfy the unusual demands of a nighttime schedule.  The problem with this is that there is a difference between a craving for junk food and the real need for healthy energy foods to keep you properly nourished.  It’s very important to try to avoid the easy-to-grab snacks out of the break room vending machine.  Refined sugars, empty calories, high levels of sodium, and bad fats actually wreak havoc on your system and your sleep patterns, not to mention your overall health. 

Eating smaller, more frequent healthy snacks will keep you awake and energized throughout your shift.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality proteins, and frequent hydration with water or nutritious drinks are the keys.  Foods like bananas, low-salt nuts, low fat (and low sugar) yogurt, low-fat cheese and are great for keeping your engine running throughout the busy evening. And for a sweet treat, try dried fruits instead of candy bars.

2.) Use Caffeine with Caution:

It may seem like a great idea to grab that cup of coffee and give yourself a little extra jolt to get through the back half of your shift, but it may come back and haunt you when you finally do get home and try to wind down from a long “night”.  Instead, have your caffeine earlier in your shift and try to avoid it as much as possible in the latter half.  Avoid “energy drinks” at all costs.  These drinks usually contain high amounts of sugar and a ridiculous amount of caffeine that can make you jittery and uncomfortable during a shift, not to mention give you an upset stomach.

3. Sleep Schedule

Working odd hour shifts makes it difficult to get into a regular routine, particularly when you are trying to maintain some semblance of a social life!  Take steps to ensure you get some quality sleep when you get home.  Simple things such as blackout shades to keep the sunlight out, earplugs to block noise, turning off your phone and other electronic distractions, and even scheduling your sleep will all make it easier to obtain those 7-8 hours of rest that most of us require to maintain our health and well-being.

4.) Stay active during breaks:

Take a quick walk to the cafeteria, step outside the facility for some fresh air, do some light stretching exercises, or rhythmic breathing.  It can all help to keep you awake, refreshed, and mentally alert during your shift.

5.) Exercise Regularly:

Regularly scheduled exercise throughout the week is critical to maintaining healthy sleep patterns. Try and find a time each day to get 45-60 minutes of activity each day to keep in shape and keep you feeling good. If motivation is a problem, see if you can find a colleague that will be your workout partner to help get you moving or drag you to the gym on those days where you would rather be curled up on the couch with Netflix and a bag of Doritos.

It takes a special breed of travel nurse to work the night shift, either that or being the “newest” member of the staff!  As a travel RN, it may even be the shift you end up working because of staffing shortages!  Whatever the reason, your night shift experience does not necessarily have to be a bad one if you plan correctly and follow some of these guidelines.

If you’re a night shift nurse and you successfully navigate the evenings, please share some of your tips below with your colleagues who may need some help adjusting.

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Tips to Make Your Travel Nurse Housing More “Homey”

You have found yourself a new travel nurse assignment and you just arrived at your new “home”!  Yay!  Now to try and make it feel a little cozier and more comfortable since it’s where you will be coming “home” to after every shift.

Making your new travel nurse temporary housing feel welcoming is an essential part of your health and happiness while on assignment. Below are a couple of examples of easy and inexpensive tips to help guide you through decorating temporary housing (without breaking the bank!) and making it feel more like home.

Plants:

Flowers are an attractive and fun addition to your temporary home furnishings. Grab low-cost flowers from the grocery or some easy to care for green plants.  Plants and flowers can brighten any room!

Art:

Not many things are more depressing than dull, generic walls. Grab some inexpensive artwork from discount stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s to spruce up the walls a bit. Wall decals are an awesome (and cheap) way to decorate as well, and the best part is that they easily peel off when you’re done with them.

Candles and/or Diffusers:

The scent is known to trigger memories and feelings.  Whether that smell takes you to a place or reminds you of a person, we’ve all had that experience. If you burn certain candles at home, bring that scent to your new temporary home.  Different smells have different effects, and certain oils or incense can help make your home more inviting and calming!

Add some color:

Whether these colors are homelike themes or you want to go with a bright palette you’ve never tried before, color is a lively way of helping you forget that this home is temporary. If your housing is completely furnished, try buying a vibrant throw blanket to dress-up the couch or substituting the comforter with a crazy quilt. Making your home away from home colorful will help it feel much less boring and bland.

Pictures:

Bring some pictures of loved ones, animals, and family with you and put them up in your bedroom, on the refrigerator or buy some frames and hang them on the wall!  Nothing beats the comfort of a reminder you feel when looking at pictures of people you care about or places you have been!

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Tips for Making Friends in Your New City

So you are on your latest adventure as a travel nurse…you landed the ideal job in your dream city, packed up, and settled in. Now what? All of a sudden, you have some time on your hands and no one to share it with, nowhere to really go, and you’re feeling a little lonely. It’s perfectly normal to go through this type of adjustment stage as a travel nurse. And, with the stressful demands of your job, sometimes it’s better to keep a more moderate schedule. However, that doesn’t mean living like a hermit. Socializing is very important for everyone’s mental and emotional health. To keep nursing and life balanced, you should stay connected with people, feel needed and appreciated outside of work, and look for opportunities to meet new people that can add richness to your life.

Here are a few ways you can meet and win new friends while on a travel nurse assignment. They may not all be right for your particular personality, but keep an open mind and be sure to give some a fair try. Here’s hoping you are on the road to popularity very soon.

Be approachable at work

Clearly, you don’t want to limit all your friends to co-workers because that would leave very little variety to your day. However, it is a good place to start. Grab lunch or take a walk with others in your department. You will learn quickly who is a good fit, then perhaps it can grow into some after-work get-togethers.

Maintain

Once you have done a great job meeting new people and have formed a few friendships, you have to keep them going. Any relationship takes some effort. Try to schedule regular “dates” or activities. Go for coffee, have a monthly movie night, commit to trying a new restaurant regularly, or even have a “call date’ to chat. In a world of instant technology and texting, it is still imperative to have live conversations for a relationship to last.

The fitness factor

Join a gym or sign-up for a class. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and other fitness classes are all popular ways to get exposed to a group of diverse people. These also provide flexible commitment on your part. You set your time at the gym and usually roam away from a conversation if it’s not working for you. Classes have set time limits, so you know there is a little time at the start and finish if you want to pursue a new friend further.

Start a club

Once you have a few people that seem to fit well with your personality, it can be very helpful to engage on a regular basis to help those relationships grow. Host a book club, regular dinner potluck, or even a wine and cheese tasting to bring people together.

Open up

While it’s not advisable to download your entire life story at a first encounter, it is often helpful to share about yourself gradually to grow a relationship. Showing emotion and confiding in someone you trust can help bolster a casual friendship into something more valuable to both parties.

Network

One of the fastest ways to meet new people is through your existing friends. Ask if they know people in your new location. This can be an excellent source of new friendships because your current acquaintances know your personality and might be able to match you with those who share common interests.

Tread lightly on work talk

Most of your life may be currently consumed by your work and it is no doubt a proud part of your day, however, nursing may not be interesting to everyone. Share on a gradual basis and gauge reception from your audience. And, be sure never to share personal details about your patients, or information that can be linked to a specific person. Privacy and discretion should always be your top job despite how rousing the details may be.

High tech options

Social media is just as the name suggests, a place to foster socializing. It is a great place to look for new friends in your newest city.  Look for Meet-Ups, Facebook pages and groups, and apps that are designed to connect people with similar interests. Always use precautions to stay safe. Never give out personal information online, meet only in well light public places, inform someone about any meetings with location details, etc. 

 

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Travel Nurse Shift Rotation: Tips to Survive the Change

As travel nurses, there may be times that you have to rotate shifts or shift rotation.  One of the hardest appears to be switching/rotating from day shift to night shift.  Staying up all night to work is sometimes difficult since we are not nocturnal by nature. Since birth, we have been ingrained to sleep at night and be up during the day.

Finding ways to make this switch easier will help the transition of shift rotation that much smoother.  Below you will find a list of suggested ways to make transitioning from days to nights easier.

Stay up the night before your shift:

Stay up late the night before your shift. Sleeping during the day before your first night back will make you less tired than if you had slept the night before and stayed up during the day.  It may seem obvious but switching back to your night shift schedule before you go back to work will help you get back into the night shift routine.

Eat healthier:

Junk food makes you tired.  All the added sugars cause you to get tired.   Many people believe that sugar gives you a “high” but in fact, it is the opposite.  It will cause you to feel sluggish after a while.  Having healthier snacks with you will help keep you awake.  One member even suggested having crunchy snacks.

 Sleep.org  offers some suggestions for snacks if you are feeling tired, here are a few of those:

  • Chocolate- now, we know we said to avoid sugars.  However, Sleep.org suggest chocolate because cocoa beans contain natural alertness boosting caffeine.  It doesn’t have as much caffeine as coffee, however the darker the chocolate the more caffeine it has.
  • Green Tea- they suggest keeping hydrated because when you are dehydrated you can feel sleepy.  Of course, water is your best source to keep hydrated but they say if you feel you need caffeine stick with green tea instead of coffee.  It has great health benefits as well.
  • Protein- while you won’t have an instant boost in energy, because protein offers a slow energy release, the protein will also help keep you feeling fuller longer than foods high in sugar.  Sleep.org suggests trying lean meats as a source of protein.

Block-schedule:

Try to have the days you work clumped together or have a block schedule.  This will ensure that you have days off clumped together so you aren’t going back and forth between sleeping days and nights.  It will give your body a chance to get used to the change of each.  Many of the members suggested having this put into your contract, so you know ahead of time that it will be that way for your entire assignment.

Sleep-aids:

Sleep aids will help you sleep during the day if you are having difficulty.  They also can help to make sleeping at night after working consecutive nights easier as well.  There are many options to choose from when looking into sleep aids.  If you are wanting something more natural than synthetic you can choose the natural version of Melatonin.  For many Melatonin helps sleep and not wake up feeling tired.

Nap:

Many of our members suggested taking a short 2 to 3-hour nap after your last night worked.   A 2-3 hour nap may not seem like very long, however, this will give you just enough sleep to keep you going for the day.  After you wake up, keep yourself busy.  You can run errands, clean, or whatever you can to keep yourself awake.   While you may feel tired during the day this will make it easier to sleep that night and reset your sleep schedule.

Black-out curtains:

One of the biggest reasons for sleeping during the day is so hard is because of the sunlight.   Black-out curtains are made of thicker and heavier material.  They have special backing.  They not only block out the sunlight, but they also help block out noises from the outside.   There are many choices of blackout curtains.  We found this list of the Top 7 Best Black-Out Curtains on Amazon. Blackout curtains range in price.  You just need to do your research and read reviews.  Some of the lower costing black-out curtains may work better than the more expensive ones.

Rotating shifts or shift rotation between day shift and night shift isn’t easy and everyone will have their own tips and tricks.   Some of these may work for some people but may not work for others.  You will just have to find ways that work for you.  It is our hope that this list will help you on your path to finding those tricks that work for you.

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Travel Nurse Do’s and Don’ts

Travel nurses are met with unique challenges as well as many benefits that a traditional nurse might not encounter. Here a few do’s and don’ts designed to help your journey as a travel nurse.

Do get active

join a Zumba class, yoga, cycling or enter a road race. Staying active is important for a healthy lifestyle and a great way to meet people in the area.

Do learn something new

hospitals and healthcare facilities have different ways of doing things. Learn how the units are run, ask questions, and try to gain new knowledge around a procedure or process that can benefit your career.

Don’t argue the rules

there will always be minor differences in procedures and processes between hospitals. As long as there are no safety concerns, don’t assume a different style is wrong. Adhere to the policies in place.

Do make new friends

with all the technology today it’s tempting to stay close to your inner circle through facetime, email, and texting. However, nothing compares to personal interaction, a hug when you need it, or a friendly face across a cup of coffee. Be sure to connect with people in your area so you have a few friends to count on in person.

Do eat healthily

your energy level and ability to perform is directly related to your nutritional intake. While it may seem obvious to a medical professional, everyone falls into the trap of rushing, grabbing junk food, or skipping meals altogether from time to time. This is especially true when you are in a new area, unfamiliar with restaurants, or alone and feel food prep is just too time-consuming for one person. Stay strong by planning aheadeating right, and taking care of you as the number one priority.

Do rest

nursing is a demanding job, any day and every day. There are physical and emotional aspects, stress, and enormous responsibility at every turn. Adequate rest is key to good decision-making, stamina, and mood.

Don’t be afraid to ask

a new area, a new job, and a new home can add up to a lot of uncertainly and unknowns. Ask questions of those you respect and trust, research reliable sources online, and never be embarrassed to inquire about something.

Do visit a park

take advantage of your new location by taking in the sights. Find a few parks, nature centers, or animal parks and enjoy the local attractions.

Don’t fail to review your contract

read carefully to understand the assignment, location, hours, benefits, pay, and housing parameters.

Don’t get into a rut

avoid eating and shopping at the same place every time. You can still have favorites, but be open to new experiences. Try new restaurants and stores every week.

Don’t forget to stay streetwise

vary your routine, avoid leaving valuables visible in your car, walk and park in well-lit areas, and stay alert of your surroundings.

We hope these Do’s and Don’ts help you with your travel nurse journey!

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Dealing With Difficult Patients While Travel Nursing

Dealing with difficult patients is a skill. Whether you are new to the nursing scene, or a seasoned vet, you know that there are just some patients that push you a little (or a lot) over the edge some days. Most of the time, we are pretty easy going and know to expect the unexpected, especially if you are an ER nurse. Here are tips for dealing with difficult patients while travel nursing that you can think about when you or your patient are having one of those days.

Use these tips to help deal with difficult patients.

Listen

Whether your patient is in for something minor or something major, sometimes they just want to be heard. Just a moment to make eye contact and hear them out with all their complaints, doubts, anger, etc. This could be a way of expressing how nervous or scared they are about what may or may not be happening. One of our Gypsy’s put it best on Facebook, “Listen, and listen some more. If a patient has a complaint about a previous nurse, often better to just listen, then obtain the presence of the charge nurse or supervisor, or if the facility has a patient liaison or representative. A lot of times, they just need to be heard. Never make excuses.”

Respond

It’s typical after a long day or even a long week to have a short fuse. Nurse or not, we are all guilty of this from time to time. Although it may seem like a no-brainer for you, sometimes all they need is for someone to hear them out and respond with patience and kindness. Assure them that they will have all their questions answered and even ask if anything needs to be clarified. This may take a bit longer for some, but it will result in a better, more satisfying stay for both in the long haul.

Ask

“Ask when you can’t find something, ask when you don’t understand them, ask for help if you need it, ask if you can help them, ask the patient questions, it’s okay to show emotion to your patient, it’s okay to sit and cry with them. Sitting down next to them for 30 seconds makes it feel like you spent 5-10
minutes with them sometimes. Share yourself with patients and their families.” This can mean the world to your patients and the lives they touch by a simple act of compassion. Showing the patient that you’re human too with a little bit of humility can go a long way in calming them down as well.

Kill them with kindness

Biting your tongue can be hard. It’s not always going to be a patient that is just hurt or confused or frustrated. Sometimes you just plain cannot calm them down or talk sense into them. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s perhaps something they’ve ingested that is making them act that way. For all involved, at times, it may be best for the sake of your own sanity to just kill them with kindness. Even at your highest stress level, at least you can leave with no remorse in your actions and may even be able to get a laugh out of it down the road.

If all else fails, be honest.

When you have tried and tried, and nothing seems to work, be sure you abide by the policy and let the patient know, calmly, the consequences of their actions if they proceed. Ensure you have documentation of what you’ve done or tried to do, as well as any documentation they may need to fill out to leave AMA, etc.; it’s best to have all your ducks in a row. It may be that “gentle” nudge to show them that you care, but they respect expected both ways.

Take-Away

How do travel nurses deal with difficult patients?

Listen, Respond, Ask Question, Kill them with kindness, and if all else fails…be honest.

I hope this helps you regroup your thoughts after a rough day, make you feel like you’re not alone on these crazy days, or even help if you’re new to the game. We love hearing your thoughts and what works best for you! Comment below with your best advice to share with the gypsy community!

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