5 Skills Every Nurse Traveler Needs

by Howard Gerber on May 8, 2014

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When you decided to become a nurse, you might have had a strong interest in science and a desire to help people. But if you are working as a nurse traveler, there are additional skills you need in order to succeed on assignment. While some people may naturally have certain talents or competencies, it is also possible to develop or improve the skills below.

Compassion:

Nurses have to handle a lot of difficult situations. Being able to have empathy for patients and their families is a critical part of the job. Having compassion on the job helps you to be understanding and patient. Nurses are often compassionate by nature, but after years on the job, some nurses can lose a little empathy. Try to remember that patients are sometimes scared, depressed, and in pain. Compassion for how your patient feels goes a long way.  

Detail Oriented:

As a nurse traveler, you may need to learn a new charting system or computer program. In addition, all nurses need to be careful to pay attention to details, such as medication dosages and treatment orders. Being detail oriented is a critical skill all nurses need. Sometimes mistakes can be made if a small detail is missed. For example, the wrong dose of medication could be given or charting errors could occur. Checking the details can prevent mistakes and may even save a life. 

Adaptability:  

Nurses, including travelers, may need to work rotating shifts, long hours, and in different areas of the hospital as needed. Having flexibility is a great skill or trait to have. In addition, you may need to change the course of a treatment plan, or develop new ways of doing things. Being able to go with the flow and adapt to something new will keep your stress down and productivity up. 

Effective Communication:

Communication is one of the most important skills a nurse traveler can have. Not only will you need to communicate effectively with patients and family members, but you will need to talk with doctors and other staff. Communication skills also include good listening skills. Nurses need to be able to take the time to listen to what their patients are saying. Nurses also need to be an advocate for the patient, which may require speaking up to other staff members.

Good Time Management:

Even if you are lucky enough to have great staffing ratios, time management skills are a critical skill all travel nurses need. As a nurse, you will be juggling multiple orders, treatments, and usually several patients. You will need to have time for charting, giving report, and providing patient care. Things always come up on a shift, which are unexpected and slow you down. For example, new admits, technical problems, and patient emergencies can all throw a wrench into your work day. Knowing how to effectively manage your time will be essential.   

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