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Travel nursing, though with so many benefits, also has its own downsides. You experience a change in every aspect of your life. Adapting to the lifestyle of your new environment, your work schedule, and your daily life activities. And so, if you do not plan well, you will end up being unproductive and overwhelmed by the changes.
A travel nursing schedule contract is a 13-week contract with an organization. This is the baseline for most travel nurses. However, the contract sometimes comes with time off in between new contracts. This varies, especially the time frame with long and short contracts, or when you renew a contract in the same facility.
One of the reasons facilities need the services of a travel nurse is to fill up gaps where staffing is limited. As such, some nurses have uncomfortable schedules with so many one-day shifts for an entire week, switching back and forth between the day and night shifts. This kind of schedule is exhausting which can have an adverse impact on the nurse’s productivity.
Travel nurses can have the “worst” assignment. It could be time-consuming, very complex, or a situation where no one wants to take charge of a particular patient. Such assignments can be quite challenging when you find yourself in a unit you’re unfamiliar with the rules or staff you might be working with. It’s draining not to be able to take a pause to eat or sit to rest your feet. These are some of the experiences some travel nurses face during a workday schedule.
It’s always favorable for travel nurses to live close to where they work which is the case for most. Nonetheless, some choose to commute a little bit far from their workplace, about two hours away. This means that if you choose to stay away two hours from your workplace, your work day starts early as you have to get up much earlier than others to meet up. This changes almost everything about your daily routine, how long you sleep, when and how you eat, and more.
A long shift often leaves travel nurses exhausted and hungry. The day is even worse if you have to drive for several hours before reaching home. Upon getting home, you’re tired and do not even have time to eat a proper meal which can take a toll on your health.
With all these chaotic moments, how well can you plan your schedule to be a successful travel nurse?
Before taking on an engagement, make sure you ask what you want from your travel nurse agency. Their goal is to stand up for you, making sure you have what you need. Is block scheduling what you need or do you prefer not to switch from day to night shifts? Most often, nurses who stay far away would love block scheduling.
Having time to spend with your loved ones and friends, time to rest, and catching up on your appointment with your doctor is a great way to plan your schedule. Taking some time off between your assignments is key to recharging your batteries and preparing yourself for your next contract.
Orientations help you to perfect yourself and get acquainted with the unit or facility where you’re working. Though all travel nurses are given some orientation before they kick start their work, it’s, however, not enough if you want to limit the challenges you might face on duty. Thus, it’s important to ask for an orientation if you deem it necessary.
One of the best ways to plan your schedule is to stick to routines. Why is it important you stick to routines? Maintaining a particular routine helps you to maintain a balance between your work and your life. Isolation from your loved ones can lead to unproductiveness. So, no matter the unit you find yourself in, it’s important you keep up with the activities you do to have a balanced life.
Take a tour around to get familiar with your new environment before you start your new job. Take out time to know where to get your grocery and to know how long it will take you to get to your appointment venues. Knowing these details saves you from going late for work on your first day.
Being a travel nurse has so many benefits but if you do not plan well, you might experience burnout. If you’re having trouble balancing work and life, following these tips should help you plan your schedule better. For one thing, you’re only as successful as your plan.
Need more help planning your schedule as a travel nurse? Don’t hesitate to ask your recruiter or staffing agency. As a nurse staffing agency, we can help you on this journey and even recommend facilities that would be most likely to honor your specific needs.
Featured Image Credits: Hueman RPO