Nurses deal with serious medical emergencies pretty much every day, ranging from difficult patients, or their families, long hours, to the death of patients, and just about everything else in between. The demands of this profession can place a lot of strain on nurses. This is doubly true for travel nurses, who have to deal with being far away from everyone they know on top of everything.
When nurses are under extreme pressure, burnout can occur quite easily. In fact, nurses are among the top professions that experience burnout. Thus, it is imperative that nurses learn to balance their work and personal life. We here at Ventura Medstaff highly value our travel nurses and look to help them and protect them as much as possible. That’s why we have compiled a list of ways nurses can protect themselves from burnout.
Work-Life Balance: What It Is and Why It’s Important
Work-life balance is a term that has been used in the literature since at least 1979. However, the concept of work-life balance and how to achieve it is as old as humankind itself. We’ve always inherently understood the importance of balancing work and play. Those fortunate enough to achieve it are generally happy to share their road to success.
When it comes to travel nursing jobs, you should be aware that the job can get quite overwhelming and push you to the limit. If you’re working too hard (or not hard enough), it can negatively impact your travel nursing career. In order to excel as a travel nurse, you need to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Acknowledge Your Limits
Be realistic with yourself when creating your travel nursing schedule. When you create your travel shifts for the year, stick to a time frame of 40-45 hours per week. Resist the urge to work more than 50 hours per week in order to travel and get paid more. At a certain point, you will reach the point of diminishing returns, and your health might even start to suffer for it. Working for extended periods of time is detrimental to your personal life, your mental health, and your physical well-being.
It’s also important to know when you should say no to travel nurse travel assignments when accepting travel shifts is no longer feasible. Contact your recruiter for assistance in knowing when to say no.
Manage Expectations With Your Recruiters and Coworkers
If you find yourself working more hours per week than you feel comfortable and capable of, it’s time to re-evaluate your travel nursing schedule with your travel nursing agency. If the travel nursing travel schedule that you have created is simply not working for you, it’s important to have a candid conversation with your recruiter about what travel nurse travel assignments are available in an effort to create a nursing schedule that works better for your lifestyle and personal life.
Prioritize Personal Needs and Responsibilities
When looking for travel nursing travel assignments, prioritize destinations where you can have a kind of social life during off times. Even if you feel like you are self-sufficient, we all need some level of socialization and human contact.
You may see the appeal in travel nursing locations with better employment opportunities because of the pace of life. Alaska is one such place – the opportunities tend to be really good, but the pace of life and the isolation are not ideal for the longer-term assignments.
That being said, if you are able to find a work-life balance when working at that type of travel location, you should have no issues no matter where you go. On the other hand, if it starts causing you problems, it may be worth considering over travel nurse travel locations with travel more activity during off times. Big cities such as Houston and New York are also common to travel nurse hubs.
Staying Close to Home
Prioritize travel nurse travel assignments that are located in or near your hometown, where you can stay at night at home if you need to, rather than being isolated from people you know and love. Traveling for extended periods of time can be exhausting and beat down on your work-life balance, no matter how much you enjoy traveling. If you’re able to travel nurse travel assignments in an area where you have friends or family, this can help greatly with the management of this important life-work balance.
Keep Your Work Schedule in Mind
As a travel nurse, it’s beneficial to know about your work schedule well before the start of each day at work. Your facility should provide you with a clear plan, and you should do your best to stick to it.
This leaves you with enough time to plan out what you can do as shifts allow – whether you want to travel somewhere, go out or just relax at home. Most novices create detailed plans of what they want to do and see in a certain location – perhaps that is not a bad idea. Although it has to be said that they usually don’t follow the plan and use it more as a guideline than a rule.
Set Travel Nursing and Personal Goals
Travel nurses often set travel nursing goals for what they expect to learn and experience during their stay at a certain location. This is a great idea, and many recruiters support this as it fosters continual education and a thirst for knowledge. However, travel nurses should also set goals for the completion of personal responsibilities and goals.
While you’re traveling on the assignment, arrangements and plan out what you expect from the trip personally. Challenge yourself to experience new things not only as a young nursing professional but also as a person.
Plan for downtimes in travel nurse travel assignments: time at home, evenings off, and free time to spend with friends and family (even if only online). Set goals for yourself about when you want to complete these activities and try to follow them as much as you do your professional goals.
Experiencing travel nursing posting is a truly unique and exciting prospect that many nurses want to try at least once in their professional careers. If you are interested in a travel nursing posting, contact us, and one of our Ventura Medstaff recruiters will reach out to you and make arrangements for your professional and personal journey into growth.