Beat The Travel Nurse Burnout
You may not always wear a cape or have X-ray vision, but to many, you are a superhero. And being so super means sometimes you get stressed, especially when you’re a traveling nurse. Of course you’re extraordinary, but you’re still human. After a long shift, you can be tired. Some days you’ll have experiences you never want to have again. And sometimes you’re just plain old homesick. And that’s okay.
But there’s nothing like having a few helpful hints in your back pocket to get you through a rough day. Or even a rough week. Here are some tips to keep you going, and help you find the smile you had on your first day.
Know Your Limits
Sure, you might be a wonder woman or a super man, but sometimes you have a patient who gets you down, a new co-worker who doesn’t get you at all, or a family member back home who is getting on your last nerve. Take a moment to breathe. Step outside of your department or even the facility, and remind yourself that you can only take so much, and that this. Is. Normal. After a little break, you’ll be all the more incredible when you step back inside.
Take Care Of Your #1 Patient: You
These things may seem obvious, but sometimes you need a reminder.
Eat a well-balanced diet. Get your fruits and vegetables. Skip the vending machine or hospital cafeteria and pack something delicious and nutritious to take with you. Find protein-packed snacks and dodge the sugar rush. This means taking time to eat regular meals, too.
Get some great shut-eye. Aim for eight hours or more. It might seem tough to stop your regular binge watching and hit the hay early tonight (or today), but it will be so worth it tomorrow (or tonight).
Make time to exercise. If the weather is great, go outside and take a walk. If the weather is frightful, find the nearest mall and take a walk. After you burn up the calories, reward yourself with a long stretch session or spend some meditative moments in a hot bath or relaxing shower.
Dial A Friend
Or a family member. That phone’s in your pocket for a reason, and it’s not just for posting an update or sharing pics of your pet. It may sound old fashioned, but sometimes it just feels good to talk. With your voice. Whether you call someone back home who you talk to every day, or reach out to someone you haven’t touched base with in a long time. Sharing your most recent experiences and listening to someone else’s updates can go a long way. It’s a great way to check yourself and remember that you’re not alone, even though you might technically be far away during your travel nursing assignment.
You’ve worked seven days in a row. Your feet hurt. Your back aches. Your left eye is a little twitchy. But you have a day or two to yourself. Do something great, or do something totally relaxing. Take an extra long run. Take in the local sites. Or, turn off all the lights, shut the blinds as tight as possible, and watch 18 episodes of your favorite show. All day. Grab your tent and your camping stove, climb a mountain, and get away from it all. Get a two-hour massage. Do whatever makes you feel your best, and gives you energy for the next stretch ahead of you.
You’re a truly amazing travel RN, and you want to keep up the super-good work. So remember to take care of your own physical and emotional needs. Your coworkers and patients will thank you, and you’ll feel better, too. If things are tougher-than-tough, talk to your Advantage RN recruiter, Advantage RN’s clinical director, or your department’s Nurse Manager. They may have some other resources to help you – and the other superheroes they support — get through the really rough days.