A Holiday Survival Guide for Travel Nurses
For some nurses, Christmas isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. A quarter of Americans work over the holidays, but for travel nurses, spending time away from home can be seriously stressful. Living in a different city, staff shortages, long hours — all of these things take the fun out of the festive period. If you’re an OR nurse, emergency nurse, or specialize in a different field, and you are working over the holidays, read this survival guide.
1. How to Cope with Not Seeing Your Family
As a travel nurse, you might have to work over the holidays in a hospital in a different city, miles away from your home. Spending time away from your family can be difficult at any time of the year, but during the holidays, this can really sting.
You can always celebrate the holidays with your family another time, though. Why not postpone Christmas Day until when you return home? You can still exchange gifts and enjoy a glass of eggnog — just on a different day.
Make sure you have plenty of contact with your family when you are not on shift. Regular phone calls and emails will help alleviate any feelings of homesickness. If things get tough, stick it out, and remember, your contract will eventually come to an end. Your patients, on the other hand, might spend weeks — or even months — lying in a hospital bed.
“Although you may miss your family, you can eventually walk out the door. Cultivating empathy for your patients’ plight is an important act of compassion,” says Vanessa, a Stability travel nurse in Oakland, CA.
2. Create Your Own Celebrations
You won’t be the only one spending time away from your family during the holidays. Talk to your colleagues if you feel homesick, and spend time with patients. Like you, they would rather be at home.
Combat your holiday blues by creating your own celebrations. Bring your favorite holiday snacks — candy canes, fruitcake, lots of chocolate, etc. — to work and share them with your colleagues and patients. You can also decorate your work-space and make it more homely. A few decorations and a miniature Christmas tree will add some festive cheer to any hospital interior. Exchange gifts with other medical staff, too.
“Play some music, hang some decorations, eat some gingerbread men,” says Erik, a Stability travel nurse in Torrance, CA.. “After all, it’s still the holiday season and your profession is nursing — caring for others is very much in the holiday spirit.”
3. Think of the Financial Benefits
If you are working over the holidays, you will likely miss important family events. However, you can make up for it by taking a family vacation after the festive season. Typically, it’s cheaper to travel after the holidays, so you’ll get more bang for your buck.
As a traveling nurse, you might receive more money during the holidays, too. Depending on the organization you work for, you could receive double time pay.
If you are open to working the holiday season, you will be able to cash in on some great holiday rates (typically 1.5 to 2 times your typical hourly travel pay).
As a travel nurse, working during the holidays is tough. You will be away from family, work long shifts and miss important events. Postponing your Christmas plans, creating your own celebrations and thinking of all the financial benefits, however, will make this time of the year a little bit easier.
Looking for a travel nursing agency that provides you with more flexibility and pay transparency? Search Stability Healthcare now and find travel nursing jobs nationwide.Read More
Guest blog by: K Chandler Rosemont
I wish this was not a common theme amongst most hospitals…but unfortunately it remains ever-present. Some places less than others, some more than most. Nurse bullying is real and it happens more often than not.
I am so fortunate to work at a zero tolerance nurse bulling establishment…however, I still find it happening. How does one handle such situations? I’ll share with you the best ways I have gotten through sticky situations the right and wrong ways.
TAKE A BREATH
When an incident occurs, take a deep breath. You don’t want to be a short fuse and do or say something you will regret. Taking the time to gather yourself will allow you to see if you are truly upset or maybe more sensitive that day. In the moment, emotions are so strong. Perhaps it is something that can blow over without a big fuss! Take the higher road and walk away if you can.
KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS
This happens to be my specialty and I got particularly good at it in nursing school. I had many cases in nursing school where nobody wanted to take nursing students for the day. So I began preparing homemade treats and bringing them for the nurses. They appreciated this more than I can convey. In no time, I was paired with a nurse for all my shifts…and also all my classmates!
Another more harsh example is when I left work one shift, I received a phone call about something I forgot to do. It was a mixture of forgetfulness and a lack of education on my end. It was an honest mistake and caused no harm to the patient or their treatment whatsoever. However, it was treated as though it was a very big deal. I was called and disciplined on the phone after a thirteen hour shift. Trust me, I had little to no patience left at this point but I took a deep breath and was very sincere and apologetic: “I can see how frustrating this must have been for you. I am so sorry. I was unaware of the importance of this paper. I will work harder next time to meet the standards of practice.” The use of “I” statements in times like this is imperative. Keep the attention on how you will change. Sometimes being the bigger and sweeter person can help mellow out a situation and in turn, make the nurse bully appreciate you more as a colleague.
This is where I have failed. I unfortunately vented to my fellow new grad nurses about the incident and immediately developed a pit in my stomach. I felt worse speaking about it than not speaking about it. I felt as though I had stooped to the bully’s level. If I felt the need to talk about it, I should speak to someone outside of the workplace. And if it is necessary, escalate the incident to the charge nurse.
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR SUPERIORS
Should the situation be so bad that it impacts your work day-to-day, you must bring it to your charge nurse’s attention. Anxiety will only build and patient safety could be compromised. Remember that they are there to help you. You may not be the only one bringing forward your concerns! Perhaps other nurses have expressed concern about a certain nurse bully. All in all, listen and trust your gut. We are there to serve our patients and their families. If you are unable to do so safely and to your best ability because of a nurse bully, you must escalate your concerns!
Keep checking in on the Stability blog for more inspiration and for nursing tips!Read More