Working in travel nursing is as rewarding as it is challenging. You’ll experience the joy of travel and learn to love serving new communities that need and appreciate your help.
However, working as a travel nurse can be demanding. You have to set clear itineraries for your travel plans, miss your family and friends, navigate new cities, and learn new skills. You may find it difficult to adapt to new hospitals and practices, or get along with new coworkers.
Dealing with these challenges can be difficult. You can give yourself the best chance of succeeding as a travel nurse by maintaining a healthy work-life balance and avoiding workism whenever possible.
Find the Right Employer
Your employer has a massive impact on your physical and mental health. Working for a hospital or medical facility that asks you to work long hours with little time off may seem like a good way to earn more money, but you’ll quickly become burnt out.
Finding the right employer can help you avoid burnout and improve your work-life balance. Employers that value your health and work-life balance will work with you to create schedules that suit your lifestyle and offer additional services, like free access to therapy during your travel nurse assignments.
Key Details to Look For
When you choose travel nurse assignments, try to read between the lines. All hospitals say that they are employee-friendly and care about the health and well-being of their staff — but can they prove it? During your search, look for key details like:
- Do they offer flexible work when applicable?
- Do they have additional services, like therapy and free access to a gym?
- Can you find positive testimonials from previous employees?
- What workplace initiatives do they have in place to improve morale and well-being?
Looking for an employee-centric hospital can make all the difference when you choose assignments in travel nursing. A good employer will ensure that you maintain a healthy work-life balance during your stay.
Travel Nurses Need Self-Care Too
As a nurse, you probably help your patients practice better self-care — but do you follow your own advice? When working as a travel nurse, it’s easy to skip the basics of self-care, but doing so can negatively impact your health and throw your work-life balance off kilter. Try to maintain this healthy balance by practicing some self-love:
- Practice a morning routine and bedtime routine, making sure you get enough sleep;
- Using the care services offered to you by your employer;
- Eating healthy foods whenever possible and keeping well-hydrated during the day;
- Set aside personal time to practice mindfulness or a guided meditation;
- Avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol in your off hours;
- Take a social media break (great advice for all of us, not just travel nurses) avoid negative content, or even do a social media cleanse;
- If you’re living away from home, try to make or strengthen one positive relationship daily.
You’ve likely prescribed the basics of self-care before. However, skipping meditation or drinking too much caffeine during a busy shift can be easy. Take time during the day to strike a better work-life balance and get the support you need.
As a nurse who works in the travel nursing industry, you’ve likely been through a lot of emotional, physical, and mental stress in the past few years. This can make it difficult to practice self-care and maintain a positive work-life balance.
It can be hard to admit that you need help, but doing so can help you get your physical and mental health back under control. If you’re struggling with a condition like depression or anxiety, you may be able to speak to your employer to learn more about the services they offer employees.
Your hospital or medical facility probably has access to therapists and medical interventions if needed. A recent meta-analysis of psychotherapy found that it is considerably more effective than care-as-usual and can help you manage your symptoms.
You may also benefit from additional perks your hospitals offer, such as access to a personal trainer (PT) or a gym. Hospitals want their staff to be healthy and are usually more than happy to extend PT services to their travel nursing team members.
Reach out to your employer if you feel that your work-life balance is starting to slip, and ask them about the services available to you.
Most hospitals you work at as a traveling nurse are happy to have the extra support and are willing to do anything to ensure that you are healthy and happy. However, there are times when you can work for a hospital that doesn’t align with your values and intentionally derails your work-life balance.
If you can’t leave your contract early, plan ahead to consider what you’ll do between nursing jobs. You may need a break from working after the contract ends, and you shouldn’t be afraid to take time for yourself. Consider taking classes at a local university or planning a vacation for yourself.
Find a Travel Nurse Job with Work-Life Balance
Working as a travel nurse is extremely rewarding. You’ll learn new practices and techniques and see the world while doing a job you love. However, it’s easy to get burned out when working and traveling abroad.
Strike a better work-life balance by choosing an employer that values your well-being. This will help you find time to practice self-care and take advantage of the resources offered to you.