Life as a travel nurse is one of significant variety. Many professionals choose this path because it offers opportunities to experience fresh surroundings and interact with different communities. However, alongside these elements, you may also find you’re faced with new challenges.
A common hurdle for many travel nurses is the need to utilize unfamiliar systems. Some of these may be related to the different administrative tasks or technologies each facility uses. Others could revolve around unusual campus layouts or community needs. An efficient adoption of these systems can allow you to be more confident and effective in your role.
So, how can travel nurses learn new systems quickly? We’ve put together four strategies you should consider utilizing.
Utilize the Cloud for Policy Reference
One of the key challenges as a travel nurse is keeping up with the varying policies that different facilities have. Yes, your primary role, technical skills, and ethical standards are likely to be the same. But there may be differences in the hospital, clinic, or service functions.
This is where utilizing the cloud can be beneficial. You can upload essential documents for various areas of protocol for each facility you’re interacting with. This allows you to easily access information about areas that you’re unsure of until you have them committed to memory.
It can also be wise to take a more organized approach to this. If you’re working with multiple facilities or clients concurrently, you may find there are common areas for each organization to have different policies. You can create a spreadsheet detailing these categories and paste it into the relevant policies for each client. This enables you to quickly search for references and minimize the time spent double-checking the correct approach.
Identify Key Collaborators
Being a travel nurse can occasionally be quite an isolating experience. One of your most powerful resources is to establish relationships with local professionals you can trust. This certainly applies to learning new systems more quickly.
Wherever possible, try and identify key collaborators in different departments of each facility or service you’re working with. They can help guide you through the effective use of unfamiliar technology, business practices, and administrative protocols. They may also be able to enlighten to the most efficient methods — knowledge of which usually comes from months or even years of interacting with systems.
Importantly, these close collaborators can be invaluable in ensuring you maintain effective Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protocols no matter where you’re working. Healthcare is among the industries that benefit from having witnesses when shredding sensitive paperwork. This guarantees materials are handled responsibly — protecting both patients and facilities from breaches. If the facilities you work in incorporate this into their protocols, identifying key collaborators can help you attend to these tasks efficiently.
Be Vigilant Around New Tech
Technology continues to have a prevalent presence in healthcare fields. However, one of the issues you’ll probably note as a travel nurse is that not all facilities and services utilize the same equipment or software. As such, you might face a steep learning curve when entering a new space.
There are few real shortcuts to utilizing new technology well. Particularly in healthcare spaces, there is a huge responsibility to ensure you’re interacting with the tools mindfully. If possible, request elearning courses and one-to-one training from the human resources (HR) departments of the facilities you’re working with. This is important even on shorter travel nursing assignments. These tools help to guide you through the essential operations of the platforms.
Even after training, maintain a sense of vigilance. Reducing your mistakes minimizes the time and stress you experience on tasks. For instance, manually entering data into systems can be risky due to human error leading to breaches and other mistakes. Being thorough and double-checking your work is important, though simplifying the data you enter can be wise. Wherever possible, enquire with facilities whether automated data entry methods are available, as these tend to be faster and more accurate.
Getting used to new systems as a travel nurse isn’t simply a case of focusing every moment on learning platforms and adopting supportive resources. You’re likely aware that it can be more difficult to grasp ideas and processes when you’re stressed and under pressure. This is why it’s so important to maintain your work-life balance by prioritizing rest and self-care.
Make certain you take your full rest periods throughout the day. You might be tempted to try and make a better impression by working through your lunch or using breaks to improve your understanding of the systems. However, if you’re burned out by this approach, you may find you not only struggle to navigate new systems but also make more mistakes.
That said, your breaks and days off can be good to familiarize yourself with the layout of the facilities or the local community. Take a little time to casually explore. Introduce yourself to colleagues from different departments and local residents. These types of connections can make your travel nursing experience more enriching as well as you become more confident in your surroundings.
The need to learn new systems is a familiar challenge for many travel nurses. It’s important to adopt tools to help you reference fresh policies and collaborators to support your learning. With new tech, ensure you’re trained thoroughly and maintain vigilance in your efforts. Remember, though, that one of your most valuable strategies in overcoming the learning curve is self-care. With some focus and planning, you can ensure new systems don’t hamper your travel nursing experience.