Advice for surviving the first few couple weeks of travel nursing.

  1. 0
    Hello,

    So I am on my first travel assignment and completed week 1. I spent the week filling out paperwork and taking tests to learn the epic system and was on the floor for 8 on Thursday and 12 on Friday. I was a bit of a nervous wreck as I am still learning the computer system, most my meds were late as the MAR is a bit different than what I was used to, while trying to take care of my patients.

    My next day is Monday, I really need advice for how you stay calm and not feel like you have to say every 5 minutes "I am not used to this system as we did it differently were I was from, can you please help me do this?" I really want this to be an amazing experience. Can you tell me/give me any advice on what things you do if you feel like you need to make a better impression.

    Thanks!
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  3. 10 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    Don't be afraid to ask questions - there are as many ways to do some things as there are facilities! After 15 yrs. of traveling I still need to ask questions at a new place.
    I would suggest a slight change in the way you ask: say "Can you tell me how you do it here?" or "How do your doc's like this set up?" rather than say anything about doing it differently where you came from. Many people will take that phrase as a criticism even when not intended that way.
    Anything you find really good in the unit's way of doing things or equipment - make a positive comment.
    One question I ask coworkers when we have a little downtime is "What is there that's fun to do around here that isn't in all the tourist books?" Most people like being the "expert". You'll find fun things to do that you would never know about otherwise.
    nursinadream, AppleRN4, GleeGum, and 1 other like this.
  5. 0
    Do the best you can, ask questions, most people don't mind - they are glad to have additional staff and respect that you didn't get much training.

    Take a deep breath, it will get better. Just focus on your patients and the rest will come. Deal with issues regarding policies and procedures as they arise.

    Enjoy! It will get better. My first week on a travel assignment, I had to sneak in the bathroom and cry.
  6. 0
    i agree with both of the above! first couple of weeks are hard, but you will make it!
  7. 1
    I had the same difficulty when I first started; having known nothing but computer charting throughout school and my first job, my first travel assignment was nothing but PAPER CHARTING!! ARGH!! How I got through it was targeting the areas that gave me the most difficulty and trying to conquer those and make small connections as to how I used to do them. Take a deep breath and focus your energy on learning rather than stressing!

    Also, when I get to my first day on the floor with a preceptor, I take a moment to do a little charting to-do list specific to that floor.

    Keep it up! It gets way easier! The more you do it, you'll notice you adapt to new systems quicker. Just make sure to keep your mind open and ready to learn your new surroundings! Best of luck!
    Dee_RN likes this.
  8. 0
    Marikat, as a nurse with 6 years expereince in a very busy ER, my first 3 weeks on a travel assignment at Kaiser kicked my behind. First of all, I don't like Kaiser and their MAR system where you have to scan everything, and half the time, the scanners don't work, or the computers in the room doesn't work, and you're then in trouble for not giving the med on time, but I digress. I also used EPIC system at Kaiser- are you at one of their facilities?

    Either way, please learn that you have to give yourself a break--you're a cook in someone elses' kitchen, yet you're expected to know where everything is....the spices, knives, plates, etc. Same with travel nursing, you KNOW what you're doing, just not how to do it their way, using their system- yet. But trust me, it gets better because it's a learning curve. Give yourself a month to adjust to the newness of things, ask for help from those you get a good vibe from, and try not to let them see you sweat. A lot of times, the staff love making you sweat & work hard for "all that money" they think you're making- don't give them that satisfaction.

    2wks into my first assignment at Kaiser, I wanted to quit!!! Spoke with more travelers who gave me the same advice as above, and I'm glad I gave it a chance-have now been in the game a yr with 3 contracts so far.
  9. 1
    Thank you thank you everyone for your encouragement. It is going pretty well, overall. I will say the EPIC system is probably what is kicking my butt the most (used Meditech up to this point) and getting use to new people, new environment, and new patients. I am grateful the floor staff has been very kind and patient to me. I just am gonna keep on swimming keep on swimming...

    I will try making a to-do list to help keep me organized too thanks for the advice!!!!
    nursinadream likes this.
  10. 0
    Is this your first travel assignment? Epic is actually one of the easiest to learn.
    DO NOT LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT!!!!
    If the powers that be get a hint you are having a problem...there will be issues.
    Casually ask a fellow nurse... that you get good vibes from... for a "little " help with your charting.
    Practice off shift if necessary.

    "THEY" expect you to function right off the bat ... some will can you if they smell problems.
  11. 0
    Quick question, when adjusting to travel nursing is it similar to doing agency or temp nursing? I did that for two years and had to go into random hospitals all with different ways of doing it, and I just plowed foward. I always figured the nursing process is the same regardless of where you are, they my have a different policy or way to chart it but what you are going to do is the same. If an Chest pain r/o MI comes in you are going to apply 02, get some nitro and asa, EKG, etc...
  12. 0
    Quote from cgwrn
    Quick question, when adjusting to travel nursing is it similar to doing agency or temp nursing? I did that for two years and had to go into random hospitals all with different ways of doing it, and I just plowed foward. I always figured the nursing process is the same regardless of where you are, they my have a different policy or way to chart it but what you are going to do is the same. If an Chest pain r/o MI comes in you are going to apply 02, get some nitro and asa, EKG, etc...
    That's pretty much what travel nursing is- if you were an agency nurse as you've said and handled the situations well, then you'd make a great travel RN.


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