As nurses, we’re in a high-demand career where we dedicate ourselves to the health and betterment of others.
It’s what nurses do.
But what happens when we do it too often? Meaning, what happens when we’re on assignment, we finish our shift, head home, but our hearts and minds are still at the hospital or facility? When our roles as RNs overflow into our positions as parents, friends, spouses, or even just a fellow travel nurse?
The big question we might all ask ourselves is if proper work-life balance for travel nurses is even possible.
As a travel nurse, it can be challenging to balance the different spheres of life. We are responsible for meeting the needs of our patients and their families and taking care of our own health and well-being. To maintain stability, we must recognize when we need time for ourselves away from the job to prioritize work-life balance. And to then make small, incremental changes to support ourselves, our families, patients, and hospitals.
Healthy daily habits can make all the difference. Here is a super simple list of tips and benefits designed to help you improve your work-life balance as a travel nurse.
Establish a daily routine
Many travel nurses love the fact that travel nursing offers such flexibility. We can come and go at our own pace, work with various healthcare facilities, and travel to new places and jobs. It’s a lot of freedom, for sure. But there’s also something to be said for having a “home.”
When we travel across the country so often, it becomes essential to find stability in routine.
A daily routine is one of the easiest ways to establish a sense of home within travel nursing. A simple yet powerful healthy habit that many people overlook, it not only helps us start our days feeling energized but also ensures we’re able to get out there and do what we need to do day after day.
Practice time management
With the many commitments we nurses make, it can be hard to put your personal needs first.
To maintain a healthy balance, we typically start by setting priorities for the day. Tackle the most urgent and important tasks first. Be organized. Ask for help if needed and if possible – and don’t skip your breaks! Breaks are crucial in order to take some time to collect one’s thoughts and process feelings.
Plus, they’re one of the most minor, yet most significant, benefits of a shift.
You may also want to find ways of scheduling mid-week non-work days as well as weekends off when you start feeling overwhelmed or just need some short-term time away from work altogether.
Consider your time away from the hospital sacred.
Make self care a priority
As a travel nurse, you already might have experienced different stress and anxiety due to the travel nursing lifestyle. Traveling away from their home city on top of the high level of responsibility they feel towards patients leads many travel nurses to experience a sense of isolation.
A travel nurse’s emotional state can affect their relationships and performance on assignment, so nurses must find ways to take care of themselves to maintain sanity, balance, and happiness. Travel nurses have found success with this by participating in self-care activities such as meditation or yoga.
The key thing for travel nurses who want to prioritize self-care is taking time out for yourself, so you can eventually spend more quality time at home – doing what you love most. That includes spending quality time with family, friends, hobbies (something outside of work), pets – anything that gives them peace and contentment mentally while also keeping physically healthy.
Remember why you chose to be a nurse
Hospital work can be tiring and might sometimes leave you feeling like you’re not making a difference in anyone’s life. That shift makes you feel like the hamster on the wheel.
We’ve all had those moments and days.
When this happens, RNs need to go back to remind themselves why we love this profession so much. Perhaps it was because of the small moments with patients, or even a big a-ha, at a specific hospital or assignment.
Keep up on these snapshots in time by regularly writing down your favorite memories. Often it’s by reflecting back that we are invigorated the most.
The final word
The travel nursing lifestyle is an exciting one, but it’s also a demanding one. It takes commitment to maintain a work-life balance while on assignment as well as at home. The tips we’ve provided should help you start thinking about how you can establish and maintain your own healthy daily habits that will make all of the difference in your life and those around you.
Which of these travel nurse tips helped you manage travel nursing? Let us know! Our team would love to hear from you.
Are you ready to find the right recruiter for you and start your travel nursing adventure? Our experienced, compassionate recruiters are ready to help you grow your nursing career. Connect with a recruiter at Bestica Healthcare today for help finding your dream assignment!