Tips to Managing Stress as a Travel Nurse
Travel nursing is rewarding on many levels: not only does it offer you the chance to live in and visit some of the most beautiful places in the country, but it also provides you with the opportunity to make lasting friendships and to learn more clinical skills from peers in the nursing industry.
Of course, travel nursing can also be stressful and highly demanding. After all, today nurses outnumber physicians six to one. And travel nurses, like most nurses, must not only navigate long shifts and often understaffed departments, but they also must handle the stress that comes with moving to a new city.
Consider this: On-the-job stress and burn out is such an industry concern that in 2014, the American Nurses Association issued a statement warning about the dangers of nurse fatigue, urging nurses to apply extra caution when driving home after a long shift, and to recognize when they’re too tired to perform their duties.
Managing stress doesn’t have to be difficult – in fact it can even be rewarding. Below are some tips to keep you working – and feeling – your best as a travel nurse.
Find A Mentor. Having an industry mentor can help you deal with stress by being an outlet when you become frustrated or overwhelmed and need someone to help you process your emotions so you can see the situation with a clear head.
Need a mentor? To find one who will suit you best, be sure to ask yourself some key questions, such as: what do you want from the mentoring experience; are you looking for career guidance or to network? Or, are you looking for professional growth and development? Then, look to your own strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, chose a mentor who works well with your personality type. What qualities do you want in your mentor?
Ready to get started? Find your mentor – starting first, with making a list of those in your travel nursing network who have already made a positive impact on your career.
Take Time for Yourself. It would be tough to find a travel nurse who chose his or her career because they prefer to work alone. While working with others on the job, and socializing when you’re off, is usually regarded as a benefit, spending time by yourself to unwind and recharge keeps stress at bay.
Consider taking a hike or walk in a nearby state park, schedule time to curl up with a great book, or take yourself out for coffee or lunch. Solitude gives us time to think deeply and can even encourage creativity.
Exercise. There are multiple benefits to incorporating exercise into your stress management plan. It increases endorphins, your “feel-good” neurotransmitters. Plus, it’s essentially a moving meditation – once your body starts moving and your heart pumps faster, it’s tough to worry about the day you’ve had. Exercise can also improve self-confidence and even help you get a good night’s sleep.
Maintain a Sleep Schedule. Travel nurses often work unusual schedules that require a different sleep schedule than those who work 9-5. But even if you work nights and require a “good day’s sleep” – it’s essential to get your ZZZ’s for stress control. To sleep soundly, keep all electronics, like your smartphone or laptop, out of the bedroom and keep the room as dark as possible. Additionally, experts recommend the room be a comfortable temperature – around 65 degrees.
Stay Organized. A cluttered desk – or inbox – can create a cluttered mind. Take a few moments every day to clear out your email of unneeded messages and throw away used items like old shampoo bottles. Don’t put off paperwork – sort mail into a “to do” list and recycle junk mail immediately. And plan your day the night (or morning) before by getting your meals and scrubs ready.
Ready to work for a travel nurse company that can place you quickly? Applying with Advantage RN is stress free, in fact, more than 90% of Advantage RN’s travelers get a job offer after an interview! Take your love of nursing on the road with Advantage RN and get connected with traveler-friendly facilities all over the country!
Check out the many benefits of choosing Advantage RN as YOUR travel nurse, and begin planning (and organizing) your career as a travel healthcare professional today!