Traveling Nurses and Burnout: Will It Ever Be Stopped?

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
December 19, 2022
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No industry and its employees are safe from this occupational hazard; statistics have shown that healthcare workers are prone to succumb to burnout. Even before the global pandemic hit, healthcare workers were already overworked and combating burnout. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, over 40% of nurses suffer from this silent ailment, while over 35% are nurses in direct care.

So, we know burnout is a problem, but how can traveling nurses help prevent the onset of burnout?‍‍‍

What Creates Nurse Stress and Burnout?

Several factors contribute to stress and burnout among nurses. 

Staffing shortages

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing shortages were rampant throughout the nursing industry. Since the pandemic, this has only gotten worse. Travel nurses are more prone to working in these difficult conditions since they fill the staffing holes. Low staffing leads to tougher working conditions, which is a main contributor to burnout. If you are looking for a new assignment, we have plenty available

Workplace violence

Again, workplace violence was an issue in healthcare before the COVID-19 pandemic and is now more pronounced due to conflicts among people about the validity of COVID-19, vaccination statuses, mask mandates, and stricter visitor policies in hospitals and medical facilities. This increase in violence towards nurses has also led to increased burnout. 

Workplace Bullying

High-stress environments and animosity towards travel nurses from staff nurses can also make working hard. Since travel nurses tend to make more money than staff, there are many times the travel nurses get the worst assignments or run into bullying from other nurses. Bullying is another form of workplace violence and can lead to burnout. If you experience bullying while on assignment, it is ok to address the issue in a non-combative, professional way with the person bullying you. If bullying is extreme, talk with your recruiter. They would want to know which hospitals or units to avoid.

Difficult working conditions

Not only are nurses working short-staffed, but with increased numbers of COVID-19 and the flu, nurses must constantly change the isolation garb. With these  conditions, long hours, and sicker patients, even working a shift with a fully-staffed unit is exhausting. Repeating this shift after shift will cause the best nurses to burnout.


Before you can prevent burnout, you must identify the signs. 

Signs of burnout:

  • Increased Exhaustion
  • Lack of enthusiasm for your work
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety or dread about returning to work
  • Short temper at work and home
  • Difficulty seeing the positive side of work
  • Lack of engagement at work

Burnout can even lead to signs of severe anxiety and/or depression. Nurses must take care of themselves and prevent burnout before it starts. 

10 Ways to Avoid Travel Nurse Burnout


This strategy does not just mean getting a good night's sleep, but on your days off, completely disengaging from work. Doing what makes you happy recharges your soul. You work hard. You deserve a break. Take an extended holiday in between assignments if you need to. That is one of the best parts of being a travel nurse. You can take time off without asking permission. So take it.

Eat right

When you are on the job, eating the foods that boost your energy and make you feel good is essential. This type of food is different for everyone, so take some time to figure out what food keeps you energized. For some, this might mean low carb, while for others, it could be dairy or gluten-free options. Whatever works for you, stick to it while working. Meal plan and prepare your meals on your days off, so you don’t have to worry about fixing dinner after a long day.


Writing your thoughts in a journal is an effective way to reduce stress and gain clarity about difficult situations. If you have a difficult or even traumatic event at work, writing can be a great way to let go and keep you from dwelling on it. In the long run, this strategy will strengthen your resilience and prevent burnout.

Get outside

Getting outside in the sunlight boosts your vitamin D, which keeps your immune system up and prevents seasonal affective disorder during winter. Hanging out around trees can also improve your mood and reduce stress. Trees actually produce a substance that, when inhaled, can enhance the health of people and creatures around them. You don’t even have to move. Just sit there.


Working up a sweat in any form can boost your mood and help you reduce stress. Whether it’s running, biking, hiking, yoga, or aerobics, it is essential to maintain some exercise routine to keep you strong and healthy.

Practice Mindfulness

This practice helps you stay in the moment and not let your mind wander too far into the future or the past. Often, thoughts of what we need to do or  whether or not we did something correctly cause stress. Those thoughts are in the future and past. Dwelling on them pulls you away from the task right before you, leading to mistakes and errors. Using mindfulness techniques while working can reduce your stress, improve your focus, and prevent errors.

Practice Meditation

This practice can sometimes be mistaken for mindfulness, but instead of focusing on the moment while you are working, meditation is the practice of setting aside time (could be 5, 10, or 20 minutes) and letting go of the thoughts in your head. It’s not trying to keep your mind blank but letting thoughts enter your mind, acknowledging they are there, and letting them go. The purpose of this is to allow yourself to recognize something that may be bothering or affecting you, something that you may be unaware of, like repressed feelings. Instead of bottling up your emotions, meditation helps you let them go.

Meet up with friends and maintain close relationships at home

Connections and relationships are what can bring joy to our lives. When traveling alone, keeping your friendships and having human connections can be challenging. Checking in with friends and family on your days off is essential. Also, seek out other travel nurses at your medical facility. They know exactly what you're going through. Travel nurses are the people that have friends in every state. Keep those friendships alive, and don’t hesitate to make new friends.


Grabbing a book and finding a cozy corner can help you disengage from the world for a moment and put your mind at ease. Reading can also improve health by decreasing stress. You could even take an adventure and find the local library to pick up a few books. The library is a great place to learn about the city or town you work in; you can also learn about local festivals or events.

Avoid overtime if you can

When it is your day off, only go in for an extra shift if you are physically and mentally prepared for it. It is ok to say no. Not only are you taking steps to care for yourself, but you are ensuring your patients are getting the best care you can provide when you are at work. 

Find whatever brings your joy and recharge your batteries. Do those things as much as you can. Don’t worry; work will always be there. To keep your passion for travel nursing, you must remember to put yourself first. Thank goodness travel nursing gives you that freedom to do so. 


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand

Get Started Now


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand

Find the Travel Job that’s Right for You

Interested in how the pay stacks up in other states not on this list? Our trusty Super Nurse sidekicks are standing by to answer any questions you have. Click below to get information on opportunities in other states!

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