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Tips for Fitting in as a Healthcare Traveler

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It is the night before your first day at a new travel assignment. Even if you are an experienced healthcare professional, you may be nervous. It is never easy being the new person. Starting fresh can be both good and bad. It is exciting to get to know people and learn new things. But it can be intimidating not knowing your way around or anyone’s names.

As a traveler, it can be even a little trickier to get to know people. Co-workers may feel you will not be around long, which means they may not make an attempt to get to know you. But there are several things you can do to fit in as a nurse traveler.

Get to know your co-workers.

You may have to make the first move. The best way to get to know others is by asking them a bit about themselves. Avoid an interrogation, but do ask about their hobbies or where else they have worked. Little by little, most people will open up.

Stay out of the drama.

Hospitals, like any workplace, sometimes have drama. Whether it is a conflict between co-workers, or a beef with management, stay out of the situation. It is okay to listen, but don’t add to the drama.

Volunteer to work extra.

If your facility is short-staffed, consider volunteering to work a bit more so someone else can go home. Giving someone else a break can go a long way.

Don’t talk constantly.

There is a line between being friendly and being too talkative. While it is important to be yourself, if you tend to talk nonstop, consider pacing yourself. Remember, you cannot learn about others if you don’t listen.

Be positive, but don’t go overboard.

A good attitude goes a long way. No one likes to be around someone who is negative all the time. That type of attitude can suck the life out of you. Try to be upbeat without going overboard and coming across fake. Someone who is overly cheerful all the time, even during crisis situations, can cause as much strife as a chronic pessimist.

Don’t be a slacker.

One of the fastest ways to get a bad reputation and never be accepted by your co-workers is to slack off. Always do your share. If there is some aspect of the job you don’t understand, ask for help. In addition, consider pitching in when you can. Your co-workers are more likely to be willing to help you if they know you will return the favor.

Accept invitations.

If your co-workers invite you out, consider accepting even if the activity is not something you normally do. For example, if you are invited to a baseball game but hate the sport, consider giving it another try. If you say no to too many invites, people may think you are a loner and stop inviting you.

Give it time.

If you are just starting a healthcare travel job, it may take a little bit before you feel comfortable. It takes a while to get to know people and be accepted. But little by little, you will start to feel at home.

Contributor Tera Rowland

Tera Rowland is the vice president of Soliant and has worked in the healthcare staffing industry for almost 20 years in public relations, social media, marketing and operations. In addition to Soliant, Tera worked at the Mayo Clinic as an internal communication manager and for the Children’s Miracle Network. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and the American Staffing Association. Also, Tera has served on the board of directors for the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum as part of the communication committee. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations as well as a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Florida and has been published in the Huffington Post, Healthcare Finance News, Healthcare Traveler Magazine, and Scrubs Magazine. Make sure to read the rest of Tera's blogs!