If you're a travel nurse, chances are that you haven't liked at least one of your assignments. This is especially true for travel nurses with several years of experience under their belts. There are several reasons why you might hate your travel nursing assignment. You might find yourself asking, "I hate my travel nurse assignment, so now what?" Below we review the options of what you can do if you dislike your current assignment.
Reasons You Might Hate Your Travel Nurse Assignment
There are several reasons why you might dislike your travel nursing assignment. Let's review some of the common reasons below.
- Unsafe or poor patient ratios. Since travel nurses work in areas of staffing shortages, there may be assignments with poor patient ratios. If you ever feel like conditions are unsafe, report it immediately and speak with your travel nurse recruiter.
- Unsupportive nurses or staff members. At some healthcare facilities you travel to, you may feel unwelcomed and unsupported. Nurses and other team members may not be willing to help or answer any of your questions. Sometimes staff nurses are unwilling to help since you're most likely getting paid more than them. While this is uncommon, it does happen at times.
- Leadership challenges. You may find with some assignments that there are leadership challenges the facility or you are facing. This can range from scheduling issues to available support to workplace politics.
- Expectations don't match. When starting your new assignment, you'll have high expectations. However, in some instances, your expectations might not match what was promised. For example, during your interview, it was discussed that you would rarely float to other units. But you've floated to other units once or twice per week. Or maybe your weekly pay information and overtime aren't what you expected.
- You're homesick. Chances are, at least once during an assignment, you will feel homesick. This may be especially true around the holidays or when you miss family events.
- Maybe it's you. If you find a pattern that you hate every assignment, then take a look at why and do some self-reflection. Maybe it's time to try something different.
What You Can Do About It
Depending on the cause of disliking your current assignment, there are several options you can try. Let's review these options and a few tips below.
- Communicate with the unit manager. If you're having scheduling issues or consistently receiving higher patient assignments than other nurses, communicate with your unit nurse manager. For example, maybe you don't like being scheduled to work three days in a row because you get burnt out doing so. If you see you are scheduled like this for the next four weeks, say something. While you need to be flexible with unit and staffing needs, it's also a good idea to communicate with the unit manager about your needs. Most likely, they'll be understanding.
- Report unsafe working conditions. If you feel like working conditions are unsafe or there are unsafe nurse-to-patient ratios, then report them. The first step should be to follow the proper chain of command at the healthcare facility. If this goes unnoticed, talk to your travel nurse recruiter about your concerns and next steps. Next, report it to the state board of nursing.
- Find a fellow travel nurse. If the nurses on the unit you are working on are unsupportive, make friends with another travel nurse. With most travel assignments, you'll discover that at least one other travel nurse is working on your same unit. You can help each other since they are most likely experiencing the same challenges as you.
- Stick it out. If you're feeling homesick or have had a few difficult shifts, try to stick it out. Remember that everyone has bad days at work and your assignment is only a few weeks! If you're homesick, plan a try to visit home in the next few weeks, even if it's short.
- Talk to your recruiter. As a travel nurse, it's important to maintain open communication with your recruiter. If you have concerns about your current assignment or need to cancel, then let them know immediately.
- Document your conversations. Document your conversations with the unit nurse manager and your travel nurse recruiter. This is especially important if you're having scheduling issues or experiencing unsafe working conditions.
As a travel nurse, you are most likely at some point going to say, "I hate my travel nurse assignment." It's important to self-reflect and understand your options before deciding to cancel your contract. If you feel like you are being treated unfairly, speak to your travel nurse recruiter about your concerns, as they are your advocates.
Find Your Next (& Better) Travel Nurse Assignment with Health Carousel
Interested in new (and better) travel nurse adventures? Search our job board through our On Demand app and contact a Health Carousel Travel Nursing recruiter today. We also offer many benefits to our travel nurses. And with our full circle of support, we make navigating and using your benefits much easier!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you quit a travel nurse assignment?
Travel nurses can quit a travel nursing assignment at any time. There is usually a cancellation clause on your travel nursing contract. Travel nurses usually cancel due to health problems, family emergencies, or unsafe working conditions. However, depending on the circumstances, you should try to stick your assignment out (if possible), since it can be frowned upon.
What happens if you quit a nursing travel contract?
Depending on your travel nurse contract and agency, there may be a cancellation penalty. The cancellation penalty may be passed onto you, depending on the circumstances. So, if you're leaving due to a family emergency or personal health problems, it's best to have the proper documentation to give to your travel nursing agency as proof.
How do I get out of a travel nursing contract?
It's best to be upfront and honest with your travel nursing recruiter about why you want to cancel your contract. Remember, when you signed the contract, you agreed to work for a set period of time and hours per week (also known as weekly pay information). Terms of your cancellation are outlined in your travel nursing contract.
Do travel nurses get treated badly?
Most travel nurses are not mistreated. The way nurses are treated depends on the healthcare facility, unit, and fellow nurses. There is a stigma that travel nurses receive heavier patient assignments, but this is uncommon and again depends on the assignment. If you feel you're being treated unfairly, talk to your travel nurse recruiter immediately about your concerns.