Even if you’re a “people person,” adapting to new clinical settings can be a challenge. However, there are strategies you can use to develop positive relationships with your team members and settle in quickly.
Read on for tips on how to adjust to new facilities and coworkers as a travel nurse.
Day One: Be Observant & Stay Positive
The first step in adjusting to a new setting is paying attention to the common dynamics occurring between staff members at your new assignment. Before you arrived, the staff may have been pushed to their capacity. It’s likely they had larger workloads than usual and felt like they needed something to change.
Talk to your coworkers about the unit and take note of the communication strategies that seem to be successful. While some staff members will be happy for the extra help on the floor, others might take longer to warm up to you. The process of re-stabilizing takes time.
No matter how you’re received, stay positive! It’s important to enter a new assignment with an open mind and confidence in your ability as a professional. Your coworkers will pick up on your positive energy.
Professional development sometimes involves learning a new charting software or technical ability. Putting in the extra effort to learn new skills and familiarize yourself with the idiosyncrasies of your new facility early on will pay off long-term. Not to mention, your coworkers will appreciate your sense of initiative.
While settling in, make mental notes of situations that seem difficult or cause stress. This will help you prepare and manage your time wisely in the future while settling into new roles.
Learn about your coworkers and focus on engaging in positive social interactions as much as possible. Do they go out for drinks and dinner at weekends? Do they participate in any recreational sports leagues? Finding coworkers with similar interests will create trust and compassion.
If possible, find a nurse that is willing to take you under their wing and help you succeed. Finding someone who is patient and willing to answer your questions will be a great resource as you adjust to your new assignment. Even if you can’t connect with a single individual, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Doing your job well is more important than anything else.
The Bottom Line
While settling in, don’t forget that you are connected to the process of trying new things; you can control your actions, but you can’t control others’ reactions. If things work out, you’ll be satisfied you put yourself out there. If reality ends up being different than your expectations, you can re-assess the situation with more information and try again. That’s part of what nursing is about.
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