Five Fears of Working as a Travel Nurse and How to Overcome Them

by Howard Gerber on May 2, 2013

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It’s normal to have a few fears when you start a new job or move to a new area to live. When you work as a nurse traveler, you combine both a new living environment and a new job. It’s no wonder you may be a little apprehensive. Keep in mind that everyone gets a little nervous starting a new travel assignment, especially if it is their first. Below are some suggestions for overcoming a few common fears nurse travelers may have.

 
1. You’re afraid you will hate your living arrangements. Whether you are worried about getting a bad roommate or living in a less than desirable neighborhood, it’s common to have a few concerns about living arrangements. One thing you can do to ease fears is find out as much as possible about your housing before you leave for your job. Ask what’s included regarding furnishings. Be sure to determine if you will be sharing your place with another traveler. Do an Internet search of the area, which will help you find out things, such as population size, crime rate, and local attractions. Keep in mind your housing arrangements are often negotiable.

2. You wonder if you will be lonely. Moving to a new area and starting a new position where you don’t know anyone can be a bit lonely at first, but there are things you can do. You will immediately meet people at work. Get to know your coworkers. Ask about fun places to visit. Get involved in your community or workplace by doing things, such as joining a church, community group or sign-up for a fitness class. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and ask a few coworkers to get together after work for dinner or to show you around.

3. You are worried about not having benefits. Before you sign your contract for your travel assignment, you will negotiate benefits. Usually health insurance is included. Some jobs will also include the option to contribute to a retirement plan. Whether you have paid sick days or vacations days while you are on assignment varies. Knowing in advance if paid time off is a benefit will help reduce your worries.

4. You’re anxious about getting dumped on. You may worry that as a traveler, you may not get the greatest of work assignments during your shift. Some travelers are afraid they may get the sickest patients or the largest workloads on a regular basis because they are viewed as an outsider. Rest assured, this is usually not the case. Remember the hospital was likely short staffed and that’s way they needed a traveler. Your coworkers may be grateful you are there. If you did see an unfair pattern of getting larger workloads than other staff on a regular basis, talk with your supervisor.

5. You are concerned you will have a lack of steady work. Some travelers may be afraid they will be cancelled from a shift without pay during their assignment due to low census in the hospital. While many hospitals do cancel staff when patient census is low, your contract will state whether you can be cancelled. Some contracts will have a stipulation that a traveler cannot be canceled without pay. That way you are guaranteed a certain number of hours.

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