My last night at Scotland Memorial Hospital was bittersweet. For this to be my first assignment as a travel nurse, I was pleased. From night one, I was welcomed wholeheartedly by the staff and my transition was very smooth. My co workers were awesome! Every night, we all worked together to make sure that all of our patients were taken care of. I have to say that my night shift crew was a drama free zone. During our down time, we would laugh and talk but we still made sure our work was done. I have heard many horror stories about travel nurses and their assignments not going well, but I am blessed to say that I have a good track record so far. I really hope that my next assignment is just the same :)
1) I had to be okay with being alone; sometimes at work and off work.
- This is not meant to be a negative lesson. Everyone that is a permanent staff member pretty much knows each other and stick together more. As a traveler, I had to earn their respect and they had to earn mine. Because of the type of person I am, that did not take long, but sometimes I felt more independent and did better by myself. That is not always a bad thing. When I’m off work for the first day or two, I actually enjoy being by myself. I talk to patients, family members, doctors, other nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, etc. every night at work. Being alone makes me feel good and gives me peace.
2) Anything can be negotiated.
- I repeat, ANYTHING. Go after what you want and get rid of what you don’t want. There were nights that I came into work and asked to switch patients because I had a rough night the previous night. I would ask for specific days off that I needed before I even signed a contract so my recruiter and nurse managers would know when I would and would not be available for work. Pay is negotiable also. A fellow travel nurse told me: “Know your worth”. That can apply to pretty much everything in life. Know your worth, be confident in what you want, and get what you deserve and more. Nothing less.
3) Don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak up.
- As a travel nurse, I was placed in a new facility so I basically felt like a new graduate nurse all over again. Not because of my skill sets, but because I was not familiar with my surroundings yet. It’s okay to ask questions and speak up if you need help. I was able to feel my co workers out and was able to know right away who was okay with helping me versus the ones that were not so eager. I spoke up for myself and for my patients a lot on this assignment.
4) New graduate nurses looked up to me and valued my opinion.
- Sometimes, you never realize the impact that you have on your less experienced colleagues. I worked with two really great nurses (Lindsey and Kierrah) that had graduated about 9 months prior to working. They really trusted me and asked me questions and I was able to give them advice and help relieve their stress when they needed to. I would give them anecdotes about my personal experiences working as a nurse and that it is definitely okay to express your frustration. The first year of nursing is tough and I felt blessed to be able to be an outlet for them.
5) Establishing good rapport with nurse managers and supervisors is key.
- MAJOR KEY. You never know what doors can be opened by your rapport with some of the higher-ups. Having a professional relationship with nurse managers and supervisors can open many new opportunities such as future employment, reference letters, recognition, etc. I am not saying that I kiss up to my managers and supervisors, but I make sure that they will remember me. Not only because I’m Jasmine or that I’m a nurse (they have plenty of nurses), I want them to remember me for the work I did at Scotland Memorial and the impact that I left long after I’m gone.
6) There is more than one way to do things.
- One of the best things that I love about travel nursing is that I learn many ways to do the same thing and learn completely different things as well. Nursing in general is the same but I did some things at Scotland Memorial that when I was permanent at two hospitals prior, I did not do those things. That does not make it wrong, it makes me more versatile. Depending on the situation or where I am for my next assignment, I can apply what I’ve learned and teach other employees as well. As long as it gets the job done and doesn’t harm the patient in any way, I am all for learning different things. Nursing is a career that you are always learning something new from because medicine, technology, and people change everyday.
7) Trust your gut and learn from your mistakes .
- I truly believe in patient advocacy. When I feel something isn’t right with my patient or something is off about a treatment plan, I will either try to fix it or address it with the doctor or my fellow nurses. I have learned that my intuition, especially in healthcare, is usually right. On the flip side, I am not superwoman by no means. I am human and I will make mistakes. The best thing that I can do with those mistakes is take them as a learning lesson and apply it to the rest of my career. Not saying that I will not make the same mistake again, but I will always know what to do the next time when a similar situation occurs.
AND NOW THE MOMENT YOU ALL HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR! WHERE AM I GOING NEXT?
Some of y’all probably scrolled down just to read this portion (haha). I’m not even mad but just know that I know ;). Only a few people already knew my next assignment prior to this blog post publishing but my next 13 week assignment starting February 12th will be in....MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE!!!!!!
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for my next blog post :)
Live life, love always, and don’t forget to smile,