Dealing with an Assignment Gone Bad

Sometimes, a travel assignment morphs into a challenging situation. Although tough assignments do happen, they also provide learning experiences that can strengthen you as a traveling nurse. While the immediate reaction to a terrible job might be to quit, here are seven things you can do to make a not-so-ideal situation workable.

Start with a positive attitude. Sometimes, it can be challenging to integrate into an established team, especially when you're only there for a few weeks. Maybe the full-time staff aren’t used to working with a travel nurse. Perhaps you’re replacing a well-liked colleague. Being friendly despite any unpleasant undercurrents could help them see you as an ally, not the enemy.

Stay away from hostile co-workers.
At times, you might encounter someone who takes an immediate dislike of you. Avoid that person as much as possible. For example, you could spend more time in patient rooms and away from common gathering places. However, if someone's behavior is inappropriate or threatening in nature, document the incident and notify a nurse supervisor and your recruiter immediately.

Don’t complain to patients. Remember to keep your frustrations to yourself when around patients. Instead, confide in a partner, friend, or mentor nurse about job annoyances. You can also join a travel nurse support group to help you handle the difficult situation.

Address what you can. If something really bothers you, chat with your supervisor. You might not be able to change anything, but talking about it will likely help you move forward.

Count down the days. Physically crossing off each day of your tenure will help keep you focused on the end date and help you through till then. In addition, thinking in terms of days or shifts can help you make it through your assignment.

Do what makes you happy. During your downtime, try to keep up with hobbies or things that bring a smile to your face, such as exercising, watching your favorite show or movie, reading a book, or visiting the local historical or hot spots. Avoid thinking about the job as much as possible to rejuvenate your soul and body. Instead, revisit your strategy for dealing with anxiety.

Consider volunteering. Thinking of others is an excellent way to get our minds off ourselves. Volunteering while on an assignment could be just what you need to power through a less-than-ideal situation.

Finally, if you feel the environment is unsafe, explore why you’re uncomfortable. For example, is it the staff/patient ratios? Do the tasks differ from your expectations? If it’s something small, talk to the charge nurse or management to resolve the issue. While things may not change while you're there, discussing it might make you feel better about the situation and potentially be a catalyst for long-term change in the building.

Overall, use these strategies to work through jobs that aren’t ideal. However, if you believe your license might be in jeopardy because of the situation or you feel you have no choice but to quit, contact your travel nurse agency contact as soon as possible. They will help you ensure all protocols are followed correctly.


Search Open Positions

Contact Us

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