A Friend in Scrubs is a Friend Indeed
The one thing I missed the most about being a staff nurse was the personal connections I had with my co-workers. When you spend 12 hours a day in the trenches of bedside nursing, your co-workers become your closest friends.
Making connections on the road can be difficult but not impossible. There are thousands of travel nurses looking to make the same connections you are. It just takes a little open mindedness and willingness to step out of your comfort zone.
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No One Can Relate Like a Fellow Nurse
The personal benefits of connecting with your fellow nurses are limitless. Your co-workers provide support in difficult times, whether it be helping you through a stressful shift or having a shoulder to lean on during tough times at home.
There is no one in the world who can relate to you like a fellow nurse; not to mention nurses are extraordinarily fun to hang out with. As you probably know, it’s easier to hang with your co-workers because they have the same schedule and sleeping habits as you; they understand that if you work night shift, doing anything before noon is unacceptable.
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Professional Benefits of Nurse Friends
Not only are there personal benefits to befriending your fellow nurses but there are professional benefits too. We would all like to believe that getting a job in the medical field is based on your skills, experience and personality but the reality of the matter is that for the most part, it’s all based on who you know.
The nursing world tends to be small. Any one of your personal connections could turn into a professional connection, possibly giving you the inside scoop on a new job.
I also recommend talking with your fellow travel nurses about their contracts and the companies they travel with, especially if you are unhappy with your current travel agency. Ask them about where they have traveled and what hospitals and cities they recommend working in or avoiding; it may open your eyes to a destination you never even thought of or help you dodge a bullet.
Making Friends in Far Away Places
Travel nursing can become very lonely especially if you know absolutely no one where you are heading. Learning how to connect with people will be vital to your happiness on the road.
There are many different ways to meet new people. Social and professional networking websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and allnurses.com allows you to connect with people without actually having to meet with them face to face.
Making new connections may be as easy as posting online that you will be traveling to a new city and are looking for recommendations on things to do. I met my fiancé in Los Angeles, California through a personal trainer I met in Tucson, Arizona. All I did was ask if he knew anyone in LA that could show me around and voila!
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Connect Using Common Bonds
I personally prefer to meet new people in person. Breaking the ice is actually quite easy with travel nurses. All you have to do is ask the nurse why they decided to travel. There is usually a good story behind this and it is one that you can probably relate to.
If you don’t like to get that personal right off the bat, then you can always start with asking where they are from and where they have traveled to. Three months is not a long time when it comes to making new friends so I recommend introducing yourself to your fellow travelers right off the bat in orientation.
This is a good time to connect with people on Facebook and let them know that you are open to hanging out. If there aren’t a lot of travelers at your hospital you can always join Meetup groups to find people to hang out with who have similar interests.
Nurses Share a Connection Regardless of Location
Connecting with new people on the road and in such a short period of time is difficult. You will have moments where you feel lonely but it’s important to keep in mind that in nursing you are never alone.
Travel nurses come and go but as demonstrated by Miss Colorado, Nurse Kelley Johnson, nurses all over this country and even the world are connected and have your back regardless of location.