A constantly changing environment, emotionally demanding patients, a significant workload, administration demands and shift work can all take a toll on a Registered Nurse in a travel job, and even lead to burnout. Burnout is incredibly common in healthcare positions, and may even be something you’ve already experienced at one time or another in your career.
While it is common, the good news is that there are ways to avoid burnout as a travel nurse.
Follow a Nutritious Diet
The food you consume plays a significant role, not only physically, but mentally as well. Unhealthy foods like junk food from a vending machine, fast food and so on, can make you feel moody, something you don’t need when you’re facing plenty of challenges on your travel job already. Nutritious whole foods, on the other hand, like fresh fruit and veggies, nuts and seeds – anything that comes directly from the earth, can help improve your energy level and boost your mood, enabling you to better handle anything that’s thrown at you.
Regular physical activity, ideally 30 minutes each day of moderate exercise like walking, jogging, swimming or biking, is a great way to relieve stress, improve your mood and help you sleep better too. While there are probably going to be days when all you want to do is fall into bed, remember that working out when you’re tired will actually give you more energy. But if you still find that it’s too tough after a shift, consider squeezing in some exercise before you go to work. Check out these tips for staying fit while on assignment.
Aim to Get 7 to 8 Hours of Sleep Regularly
Whether you work days, evenings or nights, it’s important to get quality rest every day, generally 7 to 8 hours each time. When you don’t get enough sleep, it effects everything you do. It can lead to grumpiness, difficulty focusing, make it easier to blow little things out of proportion, and even lead to weight gain. (Related: Tips for a better night’s sleep on a travel nursing job)
Venting is a great way to relieve stress, but sometimes, it’s just not an option, and, your co-workers probably already have their own stresses their dealing with. Instead, consider journaling after your shift, or before you go to bed. Write about your day, dumping all of your thoughts onto those blank pages. Oftentimes, once you’ve done that you can let it go.
Another good practice before bedtime is deep breathing. It’s a great way to relax and to relieve stress. Simply take a slow, deep breath for five counts, hold it for five and then exhale for five. Do this for several minutes and you’ll immediately feel stress melt away. You can use this at work too – just find a quiet area to head to during a break or between rounds.
Make Time For Yourself
Don’t put yourself last on your list of priorities. Be sure to make some time for yourself to do something enjoyable, whether it’s creating art, getting a massage, reading a good book, going to a movie – whatever you truly enjoy.
Nurture Social Connections
It can be difficult to connect with others while you’re on a travel job, but aim to make time to eat a meal with a co-worker occasionally. You can also join a group through sites like Meetup.com to find friends with common interests, as well as speaking with friends and family back home through video chats and phone calls. (Related: Tips for making friends on a travel nursing job)
Remember What You Love About Your Job
There’s a reason you decided to work in the profession that you do. Take time to think about the positive things, remain open and avoid becoming jaded.
Take a Break Between Assignments
One of the perks of travel nursing is that you’re in control of your schedule. In between assignments, be sure to take time off, whether it’s to go on a vacation, or take a trip back home to spend time with family and old friends.