May 23, 2018

Travel Nurse Assignment, Day 1: How Not To Make A Bad Impression

Travel Nurse Assignment, Day 1: How Not To Make A Bad Impression

Julia Kuhn, MS, CCC-SLP

Traveling nurses change jobs as frequently as every 13-weeks. The ability to make a good first impression and work cohesively with co-workers is an important asset to successful travel nurses. Making a bad first impression can lead to a miserable assignment. However, making a good first impression can jump-start an assignment onto a path to success!

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1. Show Up On Time-Ready To Work With A Smile

Punctuality is important, especially for your first day on the job. Maybe your first day of work is in orientation and then you train on the floors. No matter where you are working, make sure that you give yourself enough time to get there and arrive prepared. Come dressed in uniform and smile as you meet co-workers for the first time. This will give a good first impression to your coworkers and show you’re prepared to work! As a seasoned traveler, I have a pre-first day ritual that I walk through on new contracts. Here is what I do: The night before my start day, I drive to the hospital and make sure to scope out the best route. Get a feel of where the designated staff parking is. If staff parking is not provided, I will check out places to park near the hospital. After parking, I determine where and how long it would take me to get to my unit. Decide what time I need to wake up, get ready, eat and have enough time to arrive to work on time.

Related: Nursing Orientation: 10 Tips That Will Make You Feel Prepared

2. Understanding That You Are There To Help In A Shortage

As a traveling nurse, you are brought in to cover units that have a tough time staffing. The staff may be working a lot of overtime, the managers could be stressed, and the floor unit short staffed. To put it nicely, you could be going into a tough situation. Remember that you are there to help. Be kind, patient, and go with the flow of the unit.

3. Never say “At My Last Building We Did It This Way”

These are the dreaded words that no staff nurse wants to hear from a traveling nurse. Remember that you are going to a unit to help with staffing. The staff does things their way and it may not be the same way that you are used to doing things. Be flexible in learning new systems and protocols. Ask questions when you don’t know something and get clarity during your orientation. Don’t be a know-it-all and just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Take this opportunity to develop your flexibility, and skillset as a nurse.

4. Offer To Help Your Co-Workers

Reaching out and offering help to co-workers is a considerate way to show you are a team player. Lending a helping hand now may be reciprocated in the future when you need it. Showing that you are a team player from the start and are there to help, can earn the respect of the unit quickly.

5. Don’t Talk About Money. Ever. Not Even To Other Travelers.

High pay rates is a perk of travel nursing. While that may be amazing for you, it may not be something that your co-workers want to hear about. Keep the money talk to yourself. Don’t remind others how much money you are making or how lucrative your job is.

Bonus Points! Bring Food!

Because everyone is happier when there is food involved, am I right? Cookies, pizza or coffee are sure to charm your new coworkers. Starting a new travel nurse contract can make you nervous about making the right impression. Showing up prepared, lending a helping hand, and being respectful of the unit and their procedures are great ways to not make a bad first impression on the job.

Next Up: 10 Tips for Nurses Working Rotating Shifts

Julia Kuhn, MS CCC-SLP is an expert at making a good first impression on day one! She has worked over 25 travel assignments across the United States, including Hawaii. Find her blogging at The Traveling Traveler

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