Courtney L
Nursing March 15, 2023

By Courtney Lamb

Acclimating to a New Facility

Traveler to Traveler

Moving to a new city is the perfect way to get outside your comfort zone. Throw in moving every 13 weeks starting a new job, not knowing anyone, and no idea where anything in the hospital is, and you've got yourself a whirlwind. So how do I acclimate to a new city and job as a travel nurse?

1. Flexibility is key.

We take jobs as travel nurses knowing we must adapt efficiently and effectively in new facilities to care for patients. Being flexible allows yourself to adapt quicker. Most every assignment will give you some amount of orientation before releasing you to fly solo. Utilize this time to ask all questions about the way the facilities flow, expectations, charting requirements, and where the supplies are. But do not fret, staff are usually more than willing to answer any questions you have even after your orientation is over. They are just glad for the extra helping hands!

2. Get to know your co-workers!

Building a friendship with your new co-workers is all part of the fun of travel nursing. You get to meet amazing new friends and build lasting relationships even after you've completed your assignment. It helps make your new assignment feel a little more "homey" when you enjoy working with your new team.

3. Connect with other travel nurses during orientation week!

I've never started an assignment as the only travel nurse. I've always been in a classroom full of other travelers starting the same week as me. We usually start group chats and exchange numbers to help each other through the process of learning the new facility. You can exchange schedules through apps like Nurse grid to plan hang outs outside of work. I LOVE going on adventures, hikes, trying new restaurants, or planning a local trip with the new travel nurses I connect with. It's nice to know you aren't alone in this new process and they are just as eager to make friends as you are!

4. Know your flow.

As nurses, we each have our own way of doing things. Our experience allows us to have individualized tips and tricks that help shape us as nurses throughout our career. After learning a few key things in orientation as mentioned above, I go to work in creating my own flow with my care for patients. It allows me to work more effectively and efficiently. It's also the one constant piece I can do in every assignment.

5. Don't be THAT travel nurse.

You know the one that constantly says, "that's not the way my other hospital does it". Adjusting your expectations and going in with the mindset that every hospital does things different is the best thing you can do. You won't change hospital policies in 13 weeks, and you'll get frustrated trying to.

Just learn to adapt to the way THIS hospital does things and hit the ground running with the way they like to run their department. Adjusting your expectations will make your assignment flow smoother and you'll end up a lot happier through your shifts.

6. Have FUN!

Travel nursing allows you to have this beautiful, fun, and unique experience that many individuals don't get to have! You probably won't be a travel nurse forever, so embracing this unique season of life for all it offers allows you to walk away with the most enriching experiences. It's ok that starting a new assignment might be scary or starting over every 13 weeks gives you a little anxiety.  You are not alone in having those feelings. The beautiful thing is continuing to move forward towards adventure and new experiences despite feeling some fear. The most amazing experiences and opportunities have come through travel nursing for me. Understanding that the small amount of discomfort that I feel when starting a new assignment is minuet when I think about the adventure it allows me to have.

So, as you start your journey to your new facility, I hope you embrace all the new challenges, experiences, and friendships with open arms. I hope it gets you out of your comfort zone and allows you to grow as a nurse, and as an individual. Travel Nursing is an amazing experience, and I would choose it all over again.

I hope these tips help as you go into your new facility!

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