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You are hitting the road to work as a travel nurse, but how do you maintain that critical support system? At one time, working away from your home could be considered a lonely choice, but today’s travel nurses have more options than ever.
A combination of new friends, family and coworkers creates a comprehensive support system so moving from place to place doesn’t leave you feeling isolated. Here are some tips for finding a support system in a new location:
One of the first places a traveling nurse can look to for support on assignment is the hospital’s human resources department. Chances are they are used to dealing with nurses on temporary assignments, so they will be ready to answer your questions and help in an emergency.
Ideally, you did some research prior to starting work, but you may still have questions. Before going into the HR office, sit down and make a list of things you need to know. When something comes up and you can’t find the answer, the human resources department is a port in the storm.
Your work assignment will introduce you to new people that can eventually become your great friends. Don’t be shy about asking your coworkers when you have questions. They can help you acclimate to the area. For example:
What is the best gym close to the hospital?
Is there a jogging path nearby?
What about after work? Is there a place the staff frequents?
Does the hospital have a book club?
Where is the best shopping center?
Asking the right questions helps you find common points of interest with your new coworkers, so you can make friends that add to your support system.
The nursing service is a valuable asset if you get in trouble on the road. Before going on an assignment, get a listing of emergency contact numbers from the staffing agency. Who do you call if you have a problem on the job or with your housing? What if you get sick? What if you need to leave for a family emergency? Have all that information with you when you go just in case.
The best support system is your family and friends. Just because you are away on assignment doesn’t mean you have to lose touch with them. Your family should put together an emergency plan in case something happens. Where can they send you money, for instance? How can they contact at your job?
Next, set up a plan to communicate regularly using mobile technology. Make sure each member of your family has a Skype account, so you can talk for free. You can even do group video chats, so the whole family can be together even when you are all scattered. Include your friends in your Skype circle, as well, so you always have someone to talk to when you are away.
Keep track of everyone on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. You can feel like you are still a part of everything that is going on at home even though you are not there. Use social media to keep them current on your journey, too. Take pictures of the hospital you are working in and where you are living. Send them all the juicy details as you explore the city.
You might consider starting a blog or keeping a journal about your travels. Writing down your experiences can be a great outlet while keeping your at-home friends and family up to date on your life. A blog can also connect you with other nurses who you may happen to run into someday.
Working as a travel nurse is an adventure, but it can sometimes feel like a solitary one. The key to having a support system when you are away from home is planning. Set up the necessary tools before you leave, so when you are on assignment, you have all the help and support you need.