5 Ways to Establish a Support Network on Your Travel Nursing Contract
So, you’ve chosen to work as a contract travel nurse. You are busy working a job that challenges you in new and exciting ways. You are creating experiences that you will remember for the rest of your life. And you are busy exploring your new environment and going on new adventures. The rewards of contract travel nursing are unparalleled. It's an incredibly rewarding career that can leave you with a sense of fulfillment by letting you witness the difference you’re making in your patients’ lives. You get to help restore people to health and save lives on a daily basis. You are able to form new friendships and make friendships that last a lifetime.
The Challenges of Contract Travel Nursing
Despite its many perks, travel nursing also comes with its own set of unique challenges. The daily challenges that a nursing job entails, coupled with the stresses and strains of adapting to a new environment, can take a mental and physical toll on your health. What's more, many travel nurses lack the support network necessary to maintain a healthy work-life balance. That’s why it’s important to have a strong support network.
1. Make Friends While You Work
When you are at work with coworkers, it can be difficult to set aside time to get to know one another. Though small interactions may seem insignificant, they can strengthen your working relationships and enhance the quality of your work. Take the time to speak with your coworkers while at work. Learn about their interests and hobbies. Strengthening friendships with your coworkers may result in in an improved work environment and could even enhance the quality of your work. These friendships can even reduce the stress that you regularly face on a daily basis.
2. Get Involved in Your New Community
When you’re new to a community, it can be difficult to set aside the time needed to explore while also making new friends. That’s why you should consider volunteering in your new community. Volunteering in local organizations can be a great to make friends. By getting involved in your community, you can branch out from your regular routines and meet new people while also making a positive impact.
3. Stay in Touch with Family & Friends Back Home
While meeting people in your new community is an important step to building a support network, it’s equally important to maintain relationships with your family and friends back home. Set aside time throughout your week to touch base with friends and family. Schedule regular phone or video calls with your friends and family. Plan vacations and spend holidays with them.
4. Join a Support Group
A support group can be an excellent way to connect with other nurses and medical professionals while also receiving valuable advice based on their own personal experiences. There are a number of support groups for nurses online and in the real world. The following support groups are online and free to join:
- The Compassion Caravan
- From the Well-Being Initiative - Nurses Together: Connecting through Conversations
5. Speak with a Mental Health Professional
Outside of building relationships, it’s also important that you prioritize your mental health. Meeting regularly with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist, can allow you to share your experiences and relate any challenges you’re facing all while receiving expert advice.