Crystal Gustafson
Crystal Gustafson
July 22, 2016 - 3 min read

Secret Perk To Travel Nursing: Avoiding Hospital Politics

Close your eyes… now, imagine a day in your nursing career where you go to work, clock in, take care of patients, do a little bit of charting and clock out.

To some of you this may sound typical but to others, a day without co-worker drama, staff meetings, committee duties and mandatory e-learnings sounds like Nirvana.

Now imagine 13 weeks of this pure working environment bliss. Some of you may not realize this but becoming a travel nurse is an excellent way to avoid hospital politics and drama.

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Staff Nurse vs Travel Nurse

The demands of being a staff nurse are on the rise. Between staff meetings, sitting on committees, completing your required e-learnings and working night-shift, you can pretty much kiss your personal life goodbye.

As a travel nurse you do have various mandatory education requirements but not to the extent of a staff nurse and the best part of the continuing education is that you can choose what you want to learn about. If you don’t want to learn about balloon pumps, you don’t have to.

You are not required to sit on any committees or go to any staff meetings. You just show up and take care of patients. You don’t have to worry about who the next manager is going to be, your next eval or what protocols need to be fixed. This new found freedom allows you to focus on the more enjoyable things in life like sleeping and exploring.

Talking Less, But Talking More

“Showing up and taking care of patients” is what changed my nursing practice the most. One of my biggest fears about traveling was leaving behind my colleagues. They were the whole reason I enjoyed going to work. I would tell them my problems, they would tell me theirs; we were a family.

With everyone sharing their business on social media these days, you may find it surprising that as a travel nurse, staff nurses will not spend all night telling you their deepest and darkest secrets. I found this lack of communication particularly beneficial to my nursing practice.

When nobody is talking to you all night you have no choice but talk with your patients and their families. What I discovered, is that I actually liked connecting with my patients. I had never really experienced this before. It was then that I really started to enjoy being a nurse.

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Patient Care Perspective

Being a travel nurse not only provided me with the opportunity to connect with my patients more but it also changed my perspective on how I care for them and my view on the profession as a whole.

I “grew up” in an ICU surrounded by experienced nurses who had been in the profession for 30+ years. Their wealth of knowledge was priceless, however, their perspective on patients and nursing was hardened. Negativity in the workplace is contagious and my attitude as a staff nurse was also becoming hardened.

As a travel nurse you will be forced to work with all different types of nurses; nurses from different cultures, age groups and backgrounds. Having the opportunity to watch how other nurses interacted with patients and with a little help from a compassion series presented by a Buddhist temple, I discovered a new found compassion towards my patients and people in general.

Creating Your Own Practice

My experience as a travel nurse gave me the opportunity to create my own nursing practice. I wasn’t distracted by other people’s drama, pointless meetings or non-progressive committees.

I was able to focus on educational material that I felt helped my nursing practice the best. I learned to connect with my patients and their families without judgment. I became confident knowing that I can take care of anyone, anywhere despite who I was working with or what politics might be going on.

As a travel nurse you will become an expert at dealing with all different types of personalities. Your ability to stay focused on your patients and avoid engaging in negative workplace drama will benefit you for a lifetime.

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