Travel Nursing: 8 Characteristics for Success

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
December 23, 2021
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Various healthcare systems throughout the country are experiencing shortages of qualified nursing personnel and seeking temporary help with travel nursing agencies. Assignment contracts vary in length and wage, but will typically run eight to thirteen weeks and pay approximately 15% more. 

The benefits of travel nursing are appealing for many nurses. They offer a little more freedom and autonomy over work shifts, hours, and days while offering the opportunity to visit different locations around the country. Many nurses also experience the added advantage of advancing their careers. 

Everyone needs a toolbox to tap into to improve their chances of a successful assignment. One key point to keep in mind is that it is in our humanity, ability to manage relationships through reflective practices, and capacity to connect with others where we find success. 

Therefore, it is essential to complete an honest self-assessment of your:

  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Communication skills  
  • Willingness to collaborate and work with a team  
  • Ability to make decisions effectively 
  • Mindfulness and social awareness
  • Capacity to  engage in nonjudgmental reflective practices of self and others, and serve as a candid truth teller

The goal is to do your part to support a healthy work environment where everyone feels safe and can do their jobs effectively. Mindful communication practices serve as an excellent starting point as you build your toolbox. To create a cohesive team, remember that everyone needs to feel respected, valued, and essential. Here are some key insights shared by successful travel nurses.

Characteristics of Successful Travel Nurses

1. Comfortable with change - No two assignments will ever be the same and are often coupled with a fast paced healthcare system.

2. Adaptability - you will find significant differences in an organization's culture, leadership styles, and processes for getting things done. 

3. Being open-minded and meeting people where they are - Some facilities will be more advanced and forward-thinking than others, so you will have to adapt to them and not the other way around.

4. Self-starters - Those who are self starters are often viewed in a favorable light by employers because they get the job done,work through issues with minimal supervision, and work independently.

5. Consistently engaging in reflective practice - This allows us to think about our experiences, learn from them and develop strategies to approach the situation differently in the future if needed. The goal of reflective practice is to preserve your emotional well-being when confronted with diverse care situations for patients and colleagues. Self-awareness can impact others positively. 

6. Interpersonal skills - These are crucial to understanding how your personality, approach, and personal history contribute to situations. Poor interpersonal relationships stem from poor communication and often give rise to incivility and disruptive behaviors. 

7. Seek the truth in all situations -Prevent making assumptions by seeking the truth. Hard or hurt feelings are frequently grounded in misattributions of the intent behind specific actions or behaviors. Ask for clarification before drawing conclusions. 

8. Self-care practices - Valuing yourself is not an act of selfishness. It sets an example for others for healthy self-care practices.

Fill Your Toolbox

Fill your toolbox with the following characteristics: 

  • Strong, confident, and professional behaviors
  • Flexibility, trustworthiness, and reliability 
  • Knowledge of your boundaries or limitations
  • Skilled communication 
  • Effective team player behaviors
  • Recognition that everyone is your customer
  • Research on the organization you will be working for 
  • Accessible personal supplies—especially the technology you use to remain up-to-date
  • Avoiding openly comparing the current hospital with past contracts, administrations, doctors, or leadership.
  • An openness to learn new things

To prepare your travel assignment toolbox, one key point to keep in mind is that it is in our humanity and ability to manage relationships through self-awareness, reflective practices, skilled communication, and the ability to connect with others that we find success. 

Interpersonal relationships are the necessary mechanism to becoming our most productive, healthiest, and happiest self. However, we must remember that relationships take work and an ongoing willingness to invest our time and energy. Universally, nursing can be difficult, taxing, and stressful. That’s why we need to band together in support of each other. if you're interested in learning more, reach out to our recruiters today and we can help optimize your travel nurse toolbox.

Author Bio

Dr. Leary-Schmitt has over thirty years of nursing experience and now focuses on giving voice to nurses to promote, cultivate, and sustain healthier work environments and improve the quality of life for nurses and their patients.

Health Carousel Travel Nursing

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