Being a nurse is stressful. Putting in long hours, being exposed to viruses and infectious diseases, caring for difficult patients and being away from family are just a few of the many stressors with which nearly all nurses are far too familiar. Add travel to the mix, and the job can become downright overwhelming if you are not careful. Travel nurses face the added pressures of learning procedures at various facilities and finding their way in new cities. For these reasons, it comes as no surprise that stress is a big problem among traveling nurses.
While the rewards of travel nursing are numerous, the challenges are, too. Fortunately, you can do a lot of things to keep stress at bay and remain calm even while doing a challenging job. From stocking up on comfortable scrub tops for women that make you feel great to taking opportunities to explore new locations, keep reading to discover a few tips to remain calm as a travel nurse.
1. Invest in Quality Gear
It’s one thing when your shoes fall apart when you’re working at a hospital in your hometown. It’s annoying, but the solution is simple since you know exactly where to go to find a new pair. This type of problem is much more problematic when it occurs in an unfamiliar city.
Investing in quality gear means that you won’t have to worry about it falling apart while you are on the job. Buy high-quality womens or mens nursing shoes before starting your career as a travel nurse, and you probably won’t need to worry about tracking down a new pair in a strange city at the end of an exhausting shift.
Purchase nice scrubs, scrub jackets, and other workwear essentials, too. In addition to ensuring that you look great, quality work attire makes you feel great. Being comfortable while on the clock may not seem like a big deal, but a bit of comfort goes a long way when it comes to mitigating stress.
2. Stay Organized
If you are a disorganized person, brushing up on your organizational skills will go a long way toward decreasing your stress levels. Organization is essential for all nurses, but for travel nurses, it is downright essential. Start packing a few days before embarking on the trip to your next location. Unpack and put everything away as soon as you arrive, and add special touches to make your temporary housing feel more like home.
Consider using checklists to keep yourself on track. It’s not easy to remember everything when packing, nor is it always easy to stay on top of all your responsibilities in a new city. Get in the habit of creating and using checklists, and you won’t have to deal with the stress that comes from forgetting something important.
3. Get Into a Routine
One of the biggest challenges of being a travel nurse is that every assignment has its own requirements. While this is unavoidable, you can mitigate the stress by maintaining as much of a routine as possible. Maintain healthy diet and exercise habits, get a full eight hours of sleep each night and schedule enjoyable activities into your day.
The rules and requirements may change from one assignment to the next. That doesn’t mean, though, that you need to live your entire life in a state of upheaval. Sticking to a general routine creates a sense of normalcy and makes you feel more comfortable and in control.
4. Make Time to De-Stress
Even the most laid-back person is not immune to stress, especially when dealing with ever-changing work assignments and conditions. That’s why it’s so important to fit de-stressing into your schedule. When planning out your week, add downtime to your calendar just like you would add a work shift. Doing this makes it much less likely that you will push relaxation onto the back burner.
Self-care is crucial, and it is far from selfish. Making time for things like soaking in a bubble bath, getting your nails done or even chatting with friends via FaceTime makes a huge difference when it comes to lowering stress levels. De-stressing during your off-time is vital because it improves your mental and physical health while making you a better nurse. It is not something that you should skip in favor of picking up extra hours at work.
5. Seek Out Adventure
While working in new cities is stressful, it is also one of the greatest perks of being a travel nurse. Rather than spending your entire assignment just going back and forth between your temporary home and work, use your downtime to get out and explore. Think of your assignment as an extended vacation — one that you are getting paid for.
When in a new city, do some research to figure out the must-see local sights and make time to check them out. Visit the tourist hotspots as well as lesser-known local favorites. Chat with your colleagues and neighbors to get some ideas. It is much easier to keep stress and anxiety at bay when you view each assignment as an adventure rather than a struggle.
Stress is unavoidable for travel nurses. That doesn’t mean, though, that you need to fall victim to burnout. There are all sorts of things you can do to stay calm and keep anxiety at bay. However, the most critical steps are taking time for yourself and finding ways to get more comfortable with your surroundings.
As you travel from one assignment to the next, keep the tips here in mind. In doing so, you will get more enjoyment out of your work and will likely end your days feeling fulfilled rather than burnt out and overwhelmed. When those exceptionally stressful moments do arise, remember not to isolate yourself. Whether you talk to a fellow travel nurse or reach out for professional help, connecting with others is one of the best ways to make it through your most difficult days.