make the most

How to make the most out of each assignment

We all know that when it comes to travel contracts we sometimes don’t get what we were promised in the interview but we want you to make the most out of your contract. Some of these scenarios might happen every once in a while: “We can’t promise to block your schedule every week, but we will get it done majority of the time.”

  • “We can’t promise to block your schedule every week, but we will get it done the majority of the time”
    • What can happen: There were two weeks scheduled as blocked shifts.
  • “Floating? Travelers are typically the first to float, but we can keep you on your unit!”
    • What can happen: You’re floating your first week.
  • “All of your time off is approved by the manager and in your contract – we are good to go!”
    • What can happen: The schedule is given out in orientation and you are on the schedule for at least two of the requested and approved days off.
  •  You are going to see ratios of 1:4″
    • What can happen: This happens the first week, conveniently when you are with a preceptor. After that you see a minimum of 1:5.

Let’s face it, when it comes to what we are told is going to happen on assignment and the reality of what happens on assignment can sometimes differ. Don’t get me wrong – there are times that the manager gives it to you straight and what you hear in the interview is reality. Unfortunately, on occasion, this is not always the case. As a traveler you have to be ready to go with the flow and make the most out of every assignment.

So today I am going to help you out by giving you a few tips on how to make the most out of your assignment, whether it is everything you had hoped for and more or if there are bumps along the way.

1. My first tip is to go in with an open mind.

Remember that expectations are not reality and know that it might be different than you envisioned, but that’s okay! Embrace what is different; that’s what makes traveling an adventure. It is always better to be in a room full of positive upbeat people than negative Nancys. Stay optimistic as much as possible. It’ll be appreciated by all parties involved.

2. Make sure that you are making time for you!

Relax and incorporate down time each week to unwind. I have so many travelers that are so focused on taking care of patients that they forget to take care of themselves. Nursing is a tough, stressful job so you need to be able to relax and decompress every now and then. It’ll not only make you feel better, but allow you to be fully recharged for your next shift and more aware while taking care of patients.

3. What good is seeing a new place if you aren’t going to EXPLORE!

Make a goal to go see something new at least once a week. Ask around your unit to see what there is to do within your city or area. Try to become a “local” and get to know the local hot spots; this is where you are truly going to experience the area’s culture.

Other ways to see what is going on is checking bulletins at gas stops or break rooms or check out TripAdvisor to see what restaurants are worth checking out or entertainment there is. Don’t be afraid to go out alone. This is going to happen and the only way to get out there is to put yourself there. I traveled a lot in my previous line of work and met the most interesting people. I found out what the area had to offer mainly through waitresses and bartenders as I would pull up a chair and strike up conversation.

Whatever route you take to see the area you are in will allow you to truly get an idea of what the area and its people are really about. Whatever you do just don’t stay cooped up in your housing the entire 13 weeks.

4. If there is any conflict that arises between you and the regular staff, remind yourself that you are there for 13 weeks.

Stay professional and put your patients first. You are not obligated to become friends with every nurse you meet that is staff. The main thing to remember when conflict happens is what your purpose of being there is.

5. Create an open communication route between your manager and yourself.

As much as we recruiters/account managers would love to be the super hero and fly in every time there is an issue on the unit, that simply is not possible and we might not be the people who hold the best solution. If you can form that communication foundation from the get go it is going to be easier on both you and the manager to resolve issues if they arise. I am not saying to not call us as your agency. Please keep us in the loop with everything; however, keep in mind there are some issues that will get resolved quicker if you go this route.

6. Work on a positive relationship with your recruiter/account manager.

The smoother the process is on the two of you the better your relationship is going to be and honestly the more willing they are going to be to go that extra mile for you. We understand that you put in long hours and work really hard. We appreciate that more than we probably let you know (and we could get better at that!). But if there is a time when you forget to enter you time or you are sick and need to call in – LET US KNOW! Be proactive on things like this as it makes the process smoother and in turn we will appreciate it tenfold. We are in your corner and at the end of the day we are on your team and want you to enjoy your time as much as possible.

7. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

A new place can be intimidating, but you are not going to get the full experience unless you dive in.

8. Work hard.

Hospitals, managers, patients, and we appreciate it more than you know! Leave a good reputation behind – you never know when they will need travelers again. We know at times you are the first floated and unfortunately sometimes travelers are not treated the same as staff but do not let these bumps impact your work ethic. You are representing yourself as well as your agency. At the end of the day you want to punch out knowing you did your best.

9. Most importantly – know we are here for you!

If you had a bad day and want someone familiar to listen, call your recruiter/account manager. Yes, we are busy and you might need to leave a message at first, but know that we are here for you. You are our main priority and we want you to feel comfortable coming to us with whatever you need!

Next time you are off to an assignment and don’t know what to expect, remember these tips. I hope they will make some difference to you.

Enjoy your next assignment!

One comment

  1. thanks so much for these words of encouragement! I always strive to be the best that I can be and be a team player! It has taken me many miles and have made my journey as a traveling nurse much more fulfilling.

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