You’re taking a leap of faith into the world of traveling. Congratulations! Being a traveling healthcare professional is exciting and incredibly rewarding. But let’s not fool ourselves; it can also be extremely nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first assignment. A million questions are running through your mind and you’re starting to lose precious hours of sleep worrying. We know how valuable your sleep is to you (and your patients!), so we are here to help. Check out our first-time traveler tips:
1. Organize and prepare
As simple as it may seem, planning for an assignment is the first step to readying yourself for the new role. Preparing for each step of the process will help you focus on your work, so you don’t have to worry about your next assignment. Start by making sure all of your licenses are updated, your own health information is current and all of your vaccinations are up to date. Then prepare for the phone interview - take a breath and relax. Be sure to ask quality questions like, “What is the patient to professional ratio?What scheduling and floating policies are there?” and even when you can expect time off.
2. Come to terms with leaping from your comfort zone
No matter what way you spin it, starting a job in a new place is a daunting experience. Don’t let that stop you! Making the transition might be a little difficult, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Verify the details with your recruiter to help ease you into this new role. Try starting with a tiny leap and accepting your first assignment somewhat near home, close to support from family and friends. Then you can try a larger leap and take on an assignment farther away. Already chose an assignment far, far away? Take a travel buddy! Whether it be another traveling healthcare professional or a tag along, you’ll surely appreciate the support.
3. Arrive early and finish your prepping
Show up early enough so you can get the lay of the land, and settle into your housing. You don’t want to be late on your first day, right? Find the best route to your new facility to avoid that faux pas. While looking for this route, check out the local markets to get your fridge stocked with goodies and lunches for the next week. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to focus on your work!
4. Don’t take it personally
It’s not unusual to receive the assignments and duties that no one else wants when you’re the novice. It’s not you, it’s the assignment - we promise. As with any job, you might encounter some tough coworkers or curt patients and families, but that’s to be expected. Our advice, turn on the charm and overwhelm them with kindness. Be flexible in your role and remember that this is part of the healthcare industry, so don’t take anything too personally.
5. Keep your mind open and your skills sharp
With each assignment, especially your first, keep an open mind. Things never go the way we plan, and that applies to traveling as well. There will be new policies and procedures at each facility, but you’ll learn more and have a better experience if you’re open to new practices. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to show others what you know, as well. You’re there to help, so when the time comes, show off those fancy skills that we know you have!
There are so many benefits that come with being a traveling healthcare professional and taking that leap of faith outside your comfort zone. It’s not an easy transition but it is entirely worth it. Start with some preparation, arrive early, keep an open mind and you’ll make it through just fine. Sleeping better, now? We hope so! Are you a veteran traveler? What are some of the ways you prepared, or didn’t, for your first assignment?