The time has finally come! You are about to start your first day as a travel nurse. All of the stress of job searching, finding housing, and traveling to your destination has finally paid off. Surely, the first day jitters have finally started to settle in. Don’t panic! There are plenty of things you can do to prepare for your first day on a contract. Keep reading to discover 5 ways to conquer your first day as a travel nurse.
Do a Test Run
One of the best ways you can prepare for your first day as a travel nurse is doing a test run of your commute. Once you’re finished with the chaos of unpacking, grocery shopping, and getting settled in, take a trip down to the hospital you will be working at. Time how long it takes you to get from your apartment or hotel to the facility. Navigate the parking lots, find the entrances, and get familiar with the area. Make sure you are also taking traffic in consideration as well. This way you will know how much time to give yourself the morning or night of your shift. There’s nothing worse than being frazzled and rushing out the door on your first day, especially since you most likely aren’t familiar with the area.
Prepare like you’re working the floor
Preparation is key when it comes to travel nursing. The day before you start your assignment, pack your nursing bag like you would be working the floor, you never know what could happen! Make sure you’re tossing a few snacks and a water bottle in your bag to get you through the day. An important tip: make sure you have a folder with all of your compliance documents with you on your first day. It’s likely that HR could be missing something important from your agency file, so keep them organized and with you the first few days of your contract.
Expect the Unexpected
Your first day as a travel nurse will never be the same, regardless of the hospital or facility. As a traveler, you are there to jump in and help out whenever and wherever you are needed, with little to no training. You can expect a wide variety of things on your first day, such as a full day of orientation, computer training, half or full day of skills testing, or even a quick overview of the unit and a patient assignment! Even though the latter is less likely to happen, you never know what you could be walking into. Although it sounds crazy, one of the best things you can do is prepare to expect the unexpected.
Get some rest
As a travel nurse, never take rest for granted. The day or night before your shift should be used exclusively for rest and relaxation. Take some time to relax (after your test run and packing your bag, of course!) and do whatever you need to do to help you unwind. Whether that’s curling up on the couch, or binge watching your favorite show, make sure you are actively setting time aside to do so. The last thing you need is to be tired, on top of the inevitable first day jitters. Never feel guilty for making time
On your first day as a travel nurse, the best thing you can arm yourself with is optimism. Travel nursing comes with its own set of challenges, but it also comes with its own set of rewards. Be flexible, friendly, helpful, but most importantly, step into this experience with a good attitude. Remember, you are there to help your fellow nurses out, and be a resource to them. Even when times are tough, the homesickness starts creeping up on you, or the exhaustion kicks your butt, remember your “why”. Walk into every shift with confidence, and you are sure to conquer your next travel assignments for years to come.