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How to be an Asset on Every Assignment

As a travel nurse, you can be a godsend to a hospital experiencing a staffing shortage. Even on short-term assignments, it's possible to make a significant difference, ensuring the completion of daily routines, easing the workloads of permanent nurses, and improving overall patient care. Here are three tips on how to be an asset on nursing assignments.

1. Use Your Experience

Many traveling nurses are seasoned healthcare professionals whose varied assignments have likely given them experience in a multitude of high-pressure situations. Catie Harris, Ph.D., MBA, and RN founder of NursePreneurs, believes you can put those skills to work, making yourself an asset on any assignment.
Harris explains, "If you are an experienced nurse, you have a good idea of how a situation is going to go. You can be an asset by anticipating what is going to happen next and having the supplies in the room to tackle what's needed."

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That doesn't mean that a newer nurse has nothing to offer. Rather, it suggests the value of appraising your own skills and abilities in a given situation.
Harris, whose company serves as a business mentoring platform for nurses across the United States, says, "If you are a new nurse, a great way to be an asset is to find something easy you feel confident doing. When I first started with neurosurgery, I felt like I would never assist with ventriculostomies. I started out slowly by gathering supplies, then prepping the chamber, and then helping with the sterile field. As you get comfortable with each step, you can add more."

2. Be Flexible

If you want to be an asset on every assignment, you'll need to learn the art of flexibility. Jocelyn Nadua, a registered practical nurse and care coordinator at C-Care Health Services, notes, "A part of working as a nurse is an asset in all areas needed —wherever there is help needed is where you need to be."
Nadua explains that roles can change from day to day for travel nurses, depending on what tasks need to be completed. To be a true asset on any assignment, you'll need to be able to shift focus to the most urgent task at any given time.
"For instance, some days, you might find yourself with a pile of paperwork, where others might have you running around on your feet your entire shift," Nadua elaborates. "Overall, as an asset, your job is to ensure that everything in the hospital or clinic is running smoothly and with ease."
For most travel nurses, flexibility comes naturally. Regular moves to potentially unfamiliar locations, adjusting to new coworkers, and changing policies and procedures are just part of the travel nursing package. These skills, which are so integral to the field, can also make you an asset on nursing assignments.

3. Bring A Positive Attitude

One often-overlooked way to be an asset on nursing assignments is to bring a positive attitude to work. While nursing can be stressful even at the best of times, a positive attitude can improve your own mood —and the mood of others —make the workplace more pleasant and increase productivity. According to the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, a positive attitude can actually promote lower stress levels and improve health, boosting an individual's overall productivity.
"Bringing a positive attitude is an easy way to be an asset on every assignment," Harris says. "Too often, healthcare providers only see more work when change is occurring." But bringing a positive attitude can be as simple as working hard, smiling, and focusing on solutions rather than problems.
Ultimately, there are many ways to be an asset in nursing assignments. By communicating effectively, listening to what others are saying, helping colleagues, and being open to new experiences, you'll make yourself an integral part of the team wherever your assignments take you.

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