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What is the biggest perk of travel nursing? It's hard to pick just one, but networking opportunities would be near the top of the list. Finding other nursing professionals can provide insight on both your job assignment and the city that you are calling home for the next few weeks.
How can you make those connections?
The most obvious answer is to make friends at work. Take the time to introduce yourself and show some interest in the lives of your colleagues. You are going to be bumping into each other on the floor, in the break room and at the cafeteria, so make the most of it. By making that effort, you are opening the door to meet their nursing buddies and other people at the hospital.
Once you do make a few connections, ask if there are other ways you can get to know nurses in the area. For example, is there a club that caters to hospital personnel? Are there any groups that the nurses belong to, like a book club? How about a gym or yoga class that offers a discount for the medical staff? Finding out where nurses spend their time when they are not working can give you a chance to meet others.
Put your nursing skills to work for the community by volunteering (and making connections) during your off hours. Check out the local free clinic and shelters to see if you can do wellness checks or screenings. Ask in the human resources department to see if they have a list of volunteer opportunities that will get you involved with nurses in the area.
If your work assignment puts you near a university or college, use the time to take a class. You can get some continuing education credits while you are on the road and meet local nurses at the same time. If you take one class in every couple cities, you will make friends while working towards an advanced degree or specialization.
If you are part of a professional association like the American Nurses Association, you can check out the nearest chapter. They may have social events scheduled or sponsor fun activities for members in the area. At the very least, you can get some insight on how to get to know the locals.
Online websites allow you to find people in the area with similar interests. Look at the Meetup and Facebook groups in your work area to see if there are any for nurses. You could also start your own group and try to get the nurses you are working with to join. Using social network sites gives you a chance to expand your horizons and look beyond the nursing profession to make new friends.
During your off-time or breaks, go outside and learn more about the area around the hospital. Try out the nearest coffee shop or take a walk in the local park. Chances are you will not be the only one out getting some fresh air and may bump into people from the hospital you would otherwise miss.
Travel nursing opens up new avenues for you to explore. Use this time to make friends that share your passion for nursing while making connections on the road.