Traveling nurses have one great advantage over staffed nurses – they have the opportunity to see new places, gain valuable professional experience, all the while continuing to make a difference in the lives of patients.
Still, traveling for work can put a strain on your health and well-being. Nurses often work long hours and that isn’t helping the situation, either. We discussed this issue with travel nurse experts at Ventura MedStaff. Here are some tips from them for staying healthy both physically and mentally while working as a traveling nurse.
Sleep Is the Essential First Step
Getting enough sleep is essential for staying healthy and maintaining your energy levels throughout the day, not just for nurses, but for everyone. As a traveling nurse, your work schedule may be irregular and unpredictable, but making sleep a priority can help you stay focused and alert.
Try to establish a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on your days off. This might be antithetical to most people’s reason for working as a travel nurse, which is visiting new places – but a steady sleep cycle is vital.
Stay Physically Active
What is more in line with exploration of a new place is staying active. Physical activity is important for maintaining your physical and mental health while traveling as a nurse. Even though it might be challenging to exercise regularly when you’re working long hours and don’t have access to a gym or exercise equipment, there are workarounds.
You can, for instance, try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk during your lunch break can have a compounding positive effect on your health and energy levels.
If you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking or biking, take advantage of the natural surroundings of your new location and plan a weekend adventure.
Don’t Forget to Eat Well
As a nurse, chances are that you said these words to your patients: “Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for staying energized and avoiding illness.” Whether you like it or not, that applies to you, too. While working as a traveling nurse, it can be challenging to eat well, especially if you are in unfamiliar surroundings or have limited access to healthy food options. But, with a bit of planning, you can find better food options and even prepare some of your own meals if you are so inclined.
Dress for the Occasion
Many traveling nurses apply for these kinds of gigs in order to explore the parts of the country they might otherwise not be able to. Whether it is hiking, biking, or skiing, make sure that you are always dressed for the occasion.
That doesn’t just include safety gear such as helmets and knee pads. Getting a wind-proof jacket for windy conditions, or waterproof clothing for your skiing trip is just as important. Always make sure to know the forecast if you’re going out.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Working as a traveling nurse can be stressful, with long hours, high-pressure situations, and the demands of constantly adapting to new environments and patient needs. To avoid burnout and maintain your mental health, it’s important to develop healthy strategies for managing stress.
Try to carve out time for relaxation and self-care activities like reading, taking a bath, or getting a massage. Practice deep breathing or meditation techniques to help you stay centered and focused in stressful situations.
It’s also important to stay connected with loved ones and coworkers who can offer emotional support and understanding. Consider joining online communities or social groups for traveling nurses to connect with others who are going through similar experiences.
Don’t Be Shy to Ask for Help
Whether it’s a physical ailment or a psychological one, don’t forget one thing – your fellow medical professionals are here to help you. Holding out on seeking help for the sake of short-term benefit can have a much more impactful negative effect down the line.
Protect yourself and others by asking for help when needed.
Travel nursing jobs offer exciting opportunities for career advancement, skill development, and increased earnings. However, the demanding nature of these roles can sometimes challenge your well-being. This article explores strategies for staying healthy while maximizing the benefits of travel nursing jobs for career advancement.
- Prioritize Self-Care:
- Recognize that maintaining good health is essential for long-term career growth.
- Incorporate regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep into your routine.
- Use your flexible schedule to your advantage by scheduling time for self-care activities.
- Choose Assignments Wisely:
- Select assignments that align with your career goals and interests.
- Consider the workload, patient acuity, and facility reputation before committing.
- Opt for assignments that provide opportunities to learn new skills relevant to your career advancement.
- Seek Continuing Education:
- Explore travel nursing assignments that offer opportunities for professional development and continuing education.
- Attend workshops, seminars, and online courses to enhance your skillset and knowledge.
- Acquiring new skills can make you a more attractive candidate for higher-level positions.
- Build Relationships:
- Foster connections with colleagues, both within your travel assignments and back at your home institution.
- Networking can lead to mentorship, job referrals, and insights into career paths for advancement.
- Manage Stress:
- Travel nursing can be demanding, but effective stress management is crucial for overall health.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
- Develop coping mechanisms to handle the challenges of adjusting to new environments.
- Stay Organized:
- Maintain a well-organized schedule to balance work, self-care, and career development activities.
- Plan assignments ahead to minimize last-minute stress and ensure time for self-improvement.
- Advocate for Yourself:
- Communicate openly with travel nursing agencies about your preferences and needs.
- Choose assignments that offer a manageable workload and appropriate support.
- Advocate for necessary resources to perform your job effectively.
- Embrace Cultural Competence:
- Travel nursing exposes you to diverse patient populations and cultures.
- Enhance your ability to provide patient-centered care by developing cultural competence.
- This skill is not only essential for patient interactions but also valuable for career advancement.
- Set Clear Goals:
- Define your career goals and objectives for each travel nursing assignment.
- Align your assignments with these goals to ensure you’re making progress toward career advancement.