5 Tips for Dealing with Travel Nurse Anxiety Before An Assignment

It's not uncommon for the thrill of the adventure to suddenly be replaced by an onslaught of worry, fear, and questions.

When the excitement about meeting people and gaining new skills while exploring a new destination begins to pale, anxiety may slip in beside it. After all, leaving the familiar for places and people unknown naturally invites trepidation. The new and the challenging push us outside of our comfort zones. But, oh, the ways we can grow in these new-to-us surroundings.

Quell the anxiety before it overwhelms you with these proactive strategies.

1. Ask lots of questions.
After all, knowledge is power. So compile your questions and take them to your nurse recruiter, who can assist with job-specific and contract questions as well as housing information. They may also direct you to other healthcare professionals on a travel assignment in the area.

2. Make preparations a priority
The fewer things left to chance, the more prepared you'll feel. The fewer details, errands, and to-do list items saved for the last minute, the less pressure you'll feel.

Make a detailed pre-leaving-on-a-new-assignment-day list that can guide you when your mind begins to stutter. If you are driving, include car maintenance and a plan to get to your new home for the next 13-weeks. Have all the details about your housing selection at the ready. Give yourself a few days to settle in and get acquainted with the area before reporting for your first day on the job. During that time, do a practice run to your new job site. Check out the parking situation and get a lay of the land. All of this prep work will ease the jitters that any significant move/life change is bound to stir up.

3. Make an exercise plan
You've settled in and made it through the first few days at the new job. That's great! But don't be surprised or unprepared for anxiety to spike here or there as you continue this adventure. A bout with homesickness may also open the door for nervousness to attempt to get the best of you. Be prepared with an exercise plan and take advantage of the mood and energy-boosting release of endorphins exercise is known to produce. Even a simple workout or 15-minutes of yoga can decrease tension, improve sleep, and brighten a person's overall outlook.

4. Keep in touch with family and friends
Missing loved ones can bring anxiety, so nip it in the bud with an action plan to stay in touch. Technology has provided us with a long and growing list of easy ways to stay close to those we love. If you experience homesickness, talk about it with a friend. Get your parent's advice about the noise the car's making. A former co-worker will often have words of wisdom about a workplace scenario that has you on edge. Bring family and friends into this new adventure by including them in your life despite the miles separating you.

 5. Pursue a hobby
Give your mind something different to focus on that's not related to your job. Maybe you love to bake, read, or bird-watch but haven't made time for it lately. Give yourself permission to engage deeply without guilt. Or perhaps it's time to take up a new pursuit. Have you always wanted to learn to knit, paint, snorkel, or skydive? Take a class, meet new people, and add a new skill.

Being proactive about anxiety before your next assignment will help keep it in check as you immerse yourself in the challenge and adventures offered by travel nursing assignments.




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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.