By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
One of the traditional challenges faced by the travel nurse, was (and to some degree still is) learning the policies, procedures, charting systems, terminology and the general “lay of the land” of new hospitals when they arrive. A travel nursing career means learning new patient care procedures, equipment, medication policies and equipment quickly. The good travel nurse knows how to rise to the occasion and find out what they need to know to provide consistently high patient care – no matter where they are. Recent and ongoing developments in standardizing clinical procedures for all hospitals have no doubt made this task even easier for the travel nurse.
For instance, standardized nursing terminology reduces the risk of miscommunication throughout the spectrum of patient care. The electronic medical records (EMR) requirement, which the majority of American hospitals have now put into use, are another example of universal procedures (with a few minor differences between hospitals to be expected) which will hopefully make job transitions easier for traveling nurses.
There will always be new things to learn with each new travel nursing assignment, such as quality assurance and safety procedures at each hospital. Hopefully the continuously developing universal care, terminology and charting procedures that affect nurses as well as the entire care team, can provide the travel nurse with a sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar environment.
Veteran travel nurses, I want to specifically hear from you! How have universal policies and standards affected your transitions from assignment to assignment? Has there been a noticeable difference in the learning curve you experience on new assignments? Please share your feedback, thank you!
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.