Travel nursing can be an exciting opportunity for nurses to experience new places, meet people from all walks of life, and hone skills otherwise gone stale. Travel nursing can also be financially lucrative and immensely rewarding. Meeting the needs of patients who may have otherwise gone without medical attention, helping local staff cope with budget cuts that create an overwhelming work load, and stepping in where you are so dearly needed makes travel nursing very appealing. That’s why so many valuable and qualified nurses are taking their act on the road.
There can be a downside for travel nurses, however. The job is only part of the experience and nurses can quickly feel lonely, out-of-place, and awkwardly uncomfortable as they make the transition to part of a local team. Hospitals and clinics, depending on their location, have their own ways of doing things. Sometimes the policies, protocols and procedures are vastly different. Frequently those in travel nursing feel out of sync.
Should your organization not take proper care in welcoming the traveler and orienting your travel nurse to the your organization’s methods it an create a less-than ideal environment for your permanent staff, travel nurses and even your patients. Travel nursing is a wonderful way to fill in gaps in staff and ensure quality patient care in the ever-changing landscape of healthcare in the United States. Make sure your getting the most out of your experience with your travel nurses by doing your part.
Get The Most Out of Travel Nursing
Here are 6 ways your organization can help the travel nurse to adjust and become an essential part of your team:
Welcome the Traveler
This may sound like a simple case of good manners, but welcoming your travel nurse is so much more than feigning an interest. When those in travel nursing arrive at their next post they come into your hospital or clinic without a history. Remember to include your traveler in meetings and stay huddles. Always encourage questions from your travel nursing staff and find a “buddy” to help them ease into their new-yet temporary-position in your organization.
There is likely a standard orientation program your hospital or clinic is utilizing to bring staff on board. No matter how effective and thorough your standard of orientation has been with your permanent staff, you’ll need to enhance your orientation with a personal touch in order to make the most of your travel nursing experience, for both you and the traveler. Offer your personal contact information and introduce the new staff member to another person in management who can offer guidance and answer questions when you aren’t available.
Get on The Same Page
When running through the list of procedures and tasks for which your travel nurse will be responsible it’s wise to have the traveler and all management or administrators, who are directly involved, take part. Make sure everyone involved in the travel nursing experience checks off on the orientation check list. Keep all significants in the loop.
Around the end of the first ten days or so schedule some time to meet with your traveler. This will enable you to check on their progress and allow them to give you some feedback. Use this meeting to discuss the orientation checklist and review with the travel nursing staff member. Schedule additional meetings so you are able to assess the traveler’s strength and weaknesses and take action when action is needed. Stay on top and make yourself available.
Provide Feedback for Travel Nursing Agency
Most agencies will follow up with your hospital or clinic to find out how their traveler is performing. You may be invited to fill out an assessment form about midway through the travel nursing assignment. Use this assessment to let the agency know how well or how poorly you feel the traveler is working. If need be, certainly contact the agency prior to the mid-term assessment. This will help them to identify your needs a bit more thoroughly for the next time.
Include Your Traveler in Staff Functions
Again, this may seem like a no-brainer. You need to include your travel nurse in all staff functions. Don’t simply include them in meetings. Ask them to attend the upcoming holiday party, casual gathering after hours, or celebration in the break room. You want to make your travel nurse feel a part of the crew. Not only is this the polite and gracious thing to do, by including the “newbie” you’re creating a cohesive team that will be much more productive.
In these uncertain times of budget concerns and the direction of healthcare travel nursing can be so very beneficial to all. Make your travel nursing experience a positive one for you and your traveler by ensuring they feel thoroughly trained, and an integral part of the team. Value your traveler for their experience and knowledge. Welcome them to your hospital or clinic and everyone will benefit.