Guest Author: Jennifer Larson, American Mobile Contributor
You’ve heard the old expression before: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
But it’s true! You only get once chance to make a first impression, so it’s vitally important to make that opportunity count.
As a travel nurse, that’s especially important. You may only be at your assignment for 13 weeks, but you might get an opportunity to extend and stay longer if the management embraces you.
American Mobile travel nurse, Taryn Howard, suggests taking a deep breath and trying to be as friendly as you can when you walk in the door that first day. You’re going to be part of a team, and you want the rest of the team know that you’re fully on board.
“Be really personable and introduce yourself. Getting to know people is really important,” said Taryn, an emergency department nurse who recently completed an assignment in Bremerton, Washington.
Try asking questions about non-work-related issues to show your new coworkers that you’re interested in them, too. Getting to know them on a personal level can pave the way for smoother working relationships.
“People love to talk about what’s awesome to do in their state or their city,” said Taryn. “So to show interest in them, ask what’s good to do around the area.”
Taryn definitely loves being a nurse and loves being a part of a team caring for patients, but she admits that the first days on a new job can be a little intimidating.
“I’m a really introverted person, so meeting new people is difficult for me,” she said.
But she’s developed a strategy that helps her remember to stay focused when she starts a new job and has to learn a whole bunch of new names and policies.
“The one thing that I always go back to, what I have in my head, is ‘I know how to be a nurse,’” she said. “That’s the sentence that I remember.”
Taryn knows she can figure out a new charting system or adapt to a slightly different way of performing a task or procedure. She knows that she knows how to assess a patient and use the nursing skills that she has acquired over the course of her career.
“That’s what I’ve worked so hard for, and that’s what I love to do,” said Taryn, who grew up in the Salt Lake City area and started her nursing career there. “I can walk in the door and treat a patient.”
And she advises other nurses who are embarking upon a new assignment to do the same. “Be confident in your skills, but know when to ask questions,” she suggested.
In fact, asking questions is frequently cited by workplace experts as a great way to get acclimated into a new workplace culture. Never be afraid to ask for help when you don’t know something. It’s always better to ask for help than to get something wrong. Don’t forget to thank the people who answer your questions or help you out–and look for ways to return the favor.
Asking questions (or asking for help) can also warm up your coworkers if they’re a little reticent around a new traveler. (Some facilities use travel nurses more often than others, so staff members there may be more comfortable working with travel nurses.)
Some other good advice for making a good first impression on your travel nursing job:
- Be Punctual: Don’t slide in right on time or a few minutes late. Arrive early and ready to go.
- Dress the Part: Look professional, not sloppy.
- Listen Carefully: Don’t assume that you already know everything–or act like you do. Listen and watch others and get a handle on the situation.
- Have a Positive Attitude: A positive outlook can go a long way toward making people think favorably about you.
- Always be a Team Player: This is good advice for the long haul, too.
That last piece of advice can be useful for a nurse in any type of new job, but it’s especially useful in the emergency department, Taryn noted.
The ED depends on teamwork, so you will endear yourself to your new coworkers if you show that you want to help them as much as you possibly can.
About the Author:
American Mobile is the industry’s leading travel nurse company. With American Mobile, you get access to the largest database of high-paying travel nursing jobs in all 50 states. Let our experienced team of recruiters match you with travel nursing job that best suits your career and lifestyle.