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Settling in at a new hospital in a new city can feel a little intimidating even for a seasoned travel nurse. You find yourself in the position of adjusting to unfamiliar surroundings all over again. What you do on the first day can really set the tone for the duration of your nursing assignment.
Making a good first impression will help you hit the ground running as you acclimate to a new set of co-workers and patients. It also makes it easier to create a home away from home.
Consider using these five strategies to make your first day as a travel nurse one you will not forget:
Be Prepared: Scouts are not the only ones who benefit from preparedness. Travel nurses can make their first day go smoother by planning ahead. Talk to your recruiter and find out what certification documents you need for your assignment. Pack everything you potentially need through the duration of your assignment. This should include identification cards, immunization records, proof of education, a credit card and documentation related to health restrictions and background checks.
Take notes: First days on a new assignment are typically focused on orientation. This includes everything from touring your new workplace to an overview of key facility policies and procedures. Carry a notebook with you and make note of information essential to your unit. This will make it easier to soak in what you need to learn in the moment and ask follow-up questions as needed.
Bring a positive attitude: You are bound to have tons of first day questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions to your new supervisors and co-workers. It takes some time to soak in all the new information you need to know and they will appreciate your eagerness to learn and listen. Make an effort to be positive and open-minded about your new workplace as you learn things.
Dive right in: First days are all about getting acclimated to a new assignment. You can make the adjustment go smoothly by being a social butterfly. Introduce yourself to everyone you will be working with – especially patients. Take the time to learn a little about each patient you meet and listen to them. Stay focused on patients and determine how to best serve their needs. Making friends on day one will help you feel right at home.
Be available: Accessibility will help you build trust with supervisors and co-workers right away. Make sure anyone who needs your contact information receives it on your first day. Post your phone number and email wherever is appropriate within your unit. Show a willingness to help out in whatever capacity is needed and you will get the same helping hand when you need it most.