Venturing out on your first med-surg travel nursing assignment may have you feeling nervous. The team at HCTN sat down to get some first-day tips from one of our med-surg travel nurses, Ashley. Get prepared for your assignment and put those nerves at ease.
HCTN: What three things med-surg nurses should know when heading out on their first travel assignment?
Ashley: First, know your basics: nurse ratios, scrub color, location of hospital and floor. etc. Those things should be covered in your first interview, but if they’re not, ask. Every hospital is different; each has its own policies and procedures and general way in which they do things on the floor. It’s very annoying for the permanent staff to hear, “Well, this isn’t how we do it back home,” “That’s not the way I was taught,” or, “You should change and do it this way.” You are a travel nurse now, and with that, you have to quickly pick up on how each hospital functions. It’s not going to help anybody to complain if you’re not used to something.
Secondly, be flexible! You are there for a reason. You cannot expect to have the exact schedule you want, the easiest patients, or asked to never float. It simply doesn’t work like that. The more flexible you are as a travel nurse, trust me, the better it will turn out for you in the long run. If you are easy to work with, it will benefit you.
Thirdly, it’s okay to ask questions. We aren’t expected to come in knowing exactly how the floor/unit runs. The permanent staff would rather you ask than do something wrong. Also, be helpful to the other nurses. If you are caught up, offer to help the other nurses with anything they need. This act will go a long way in the traveler world, just like it does in the permanent-staff world.
HCTN: What is your favorite thing about being a med-surg travel nurse?
Ashley: I love the flexibility of travel nursing. I love that I get to learn new ways to provide patient care, meet new people, and see the country. I love being put out of my comfort zone and surviving. I love proving to myself that I can pick up new charting systems, policies, etc. It’s very self-rewarding to know that you can roll with anything that gets thrown at you as a nurse. It’s nice that, if you find that a particular hospital or unit isn’t quite what you like, in 13 weeks, you’re off on a new adventure and not stuck there. And, let’s be honest, the pay is so much better!
HCTN: Any final tips or advice you would like to convey to fellow med-surg travel nurses?
Ashley: Strive to be the type of nurse that you would want to work with. Just because you are on a unit temporarily doesn’t mean that you can’t form the type of relationships with people you would as a permanent staff member. Be the travel nurse that the staff, managers, etc., beg to stay, and someone who they are really going to miss once your assignment is over.
From the entire HCTN team, thank you to Ashley for her valuable insights on the med-surg travel nursing world. We’re thrilled to help nurses like Ashley find the assignments that best fit her needs and wants, and can help you do the same.
If you’re ready to see what med-surg travel nursing opportunities may be available to you, be sure to contact one of our specialty-focused recruiters today.