How to face your first day

Your new nursing colleaguesWhether it’s the first day of kindergarten class, or the first day of a new travel nursing job, “firsts” are always a challenge. Will your co-workers welcome you? How will supervisors and administrators treat you? What are the patients like? Will you be able to wrap your mind around new procedures and equipment? Will you remember where you parked your car?

Some of us are energized by the newness of that first day and can’t wait to meet new people and learn new things. And some of us have to psych ourselves up a little before we’re ready. Guess it’s the difference between those of us who jump into the deep end of the pool and those of us who step in from the shallow end. Either way, we both get there.

Getting to know the ins and outs of your new assignment

Your orientation is an important time to ask questions and get clarification on procedures. No one knows absolutely everything on the first day. Open a dialogue now, and it will be easier to talk once you’re well into your travel nursing job.

Remember, the hospital chose you as much as you chose them. The facility reviewed your qualifications and skill list. They thought you could do the job, and so did you.

Also remember, they need you. Travel nurses fulfill a critical need when hospitals are short on staff. You’re important to them. Travelers are a welcome addition to a unit or floor. (Help has arrived!) Your new co-workers know that travel nurses are highly competent and experienced.

If you have a particular skill that is relevant to your assignment, speak up. That’s one of the benefits of traveling. You learn new skills and you can share your unique skills with others.

Getting to know your new co-workers

Experienced travel nurses will tell you that one of the best ways to get comfortable with co-workers is to keep an open mind, listen a lot, ask questions, and be enthusiastic about your new location. Most of your colleagues are proud of their hometown and are happy to share their insider “secrets.”

Travel nursing on the bike pathWe know one travel nurse who likes to sample the local chili everywhere he travels. He asks for recommendations on the best bowl of chili in town – and more often than not he finds a couple of people who want to join him for a taste test. Another traveler is an avid biker who always seeks out a local riding group and the most scenic bike trails in the area.

Really, it’s not that different from what you were told on that first day of school: do your best, be friendly and smile when you can. Oh, and about remembering where you parked your car … you might have to write your spot number down.

Coming soon: Getting to know your new city or town.

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