Nursing the Nerves: Overcoming First Day Anxiety


Think back to the first day of kindergarten – you were probably a little nervous, but mostly excited. As you get older, “first days” become a little more anxiety inducing. You were probably worried about what to wear on your first day of high school, and who to talk to your first day at college. Honestly, first days never really get easier, and the same worries might still run through your head: Will people be nice to me? Who should I talk to?

For travel nurses, “first days” come and go many times a year, so we’ve mastered the first day jitters by now, right? Wrong. The first day in a new place is always a little nerve-racking, no matter how excited we are for our new adventure. Travel Nurse Source gathered a few helpful tips that will surely help you through the first day of your next travel nurse assignment.

Tips for Overcoming First Day Anxiety

  1. Make sure you are prepared! Pack in advance and make sure you have everything you need. Do you have all of your paperwork packed? We also suggest buying the appropriate color of scrubs before you leave for your assignment, so you’re not worried about finding them when you arrive to the new area.
  2. Know your way around. Arrive in your new city a few days before your assignment begins, so there are no surprises on your first day. What is traffic like? How far do you live from the facility? What’s the quickest way to get there? This will help ensure you don’t show up late on your first day.
  3. Ask the hospital if you can visit prior to your first shift. This isn’t always possible, but its helpful to understand the layout of the facility, and you might even get to meet a few coworkers!
  4. Get a good night’s sleep. Despite the fact that we ALL know this is important, many of us still don’t do it. Getting enough sleep is crucial for ensuring that you’re ready for anything and everything on your first day.
  5. Eat breakfast. Just do it. No matter how nervous you are the morning of, wake up early and force yourself to eat a well-balanced meal. A full stomach will help you think clearly and, depending on how hectic your first day is, you may not get to eat until later.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Actually, ask questions about everything. This will help reduce the anxiety you might have due to the fact that everything is unfamiliar.
  7. Maintain a sense of confidence. Remember that yes, you are new to this facility, but no, you are not new to nursing. You are trained professional in this field, so keep your head held high, even if things appear a bit confusing in the beginning.
  8. Finally, remember why you’ve chosen this career path. Sure, travel nursing can produce anxiety, but it always produces excitement! Every assignment is truly a new adventure!

Being nervous is natural, but don’t let your nerves overwhelm you on your first day at a new travel nurse assignment. Follow these tips to stay anxiety free.

And remember:

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Author: Travel Nurse Source

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  1. I am looking for resources on travel nurses and social anxiety. These tips seem helpful for someone who may be nervous for the first day but not for someone who has social anxiety. I personally do, and honestly these tips aren’t helpful for me. I am not concerned about the paperwork, the layout of the facility, or traffic. I have read a couple of posts elsewhere related to this issue, with the best answer being, “just hang in there. It will be ok.” This is not a good answer for people who are struggling with social anxiety. I am on my third assignment now, and though I don’t struggle with the job itself, I struggle with social anxiety. It’s a really hard concept to explain unless you have experienced it yourself, and yet, I find that there is a lack of information on it.

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