Crystal Gustafson
Crystal Gustafson
August 19, 2016 - 3 min read

Making Friends As A Travel Nurse

One of my biggest fears before I started my travel nursing career was the fear of being alone. I was leaving everything and everyone I knew on an adventure to a place where I knew no one.

I am a pretty outgoing person and I never really had a hard time meeting people in the past but I knew that a 13 week time constraint made it much more difficult; not to mention most of the people I was friends with were my co-workers, so I knew changing jobs every three months might put a damper on my social network.

I was surprised to find that connecting with people on the road wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be.

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Other Travel Nurses Are In The Same Boat

The easiest people to connect with on the road are your fellow travel nurses; we are all in the same boat (for the most part). We are inclined to adventure and are all most likely suffering from a little bit of homesickness.

The best time to meet your fellow travelers is during hospital orientation. The HR specialists are kind enough to have everyone introduce themselves so it’s easy to identify who’s who. I suggest striking up a conversation the first day. I like to ask people where they are from and where are they housed. Often times I have been housed in the same building as my fellow orientees.

I usually get people’s numbers on the first day and ask them if they would like to hang out sometime. If you’re not up for asking for someone’s number, you can always connect on Facebook.

Seasoned Travelers Have Been There

The next best place to meet your fellow travelers is on the floor you work. If you are extremely worried about loneliness, I suggest taking assignments in big cities such as Los Angeles or San Francisco. These cities have a lot of travel nurses both new and seasoned, which makes it really easy to meet new people.

A lot of the seasoned travel nurses who just float around one city are usually pretty open to inviting the newbies out. They also know all the best spots to visit and which hospitals to avoid.

I would also encourage you to participate in any activities the staff nurses offer as well. If there is a sign in the break room regarding mimosas after work, then maybe you should go. It’s a lot easier to connect with people outside of work.

If you end up in a smaller city with a limited number of travelers, you can always join a group. Meetup groups make it easy to find people who enjoy the same activities as you. It’s also a good way to see the city.

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Expand Your Circle Outside Of The Hospital

I have found for me, the easiest place to meet people is at the gym. This can take some time especially if you are one of those people who walk around with your headphones on. I recommend taking some classes or joining a fitness studio. This creates a more intimate group like setting. You can also go as far as picking a local race to train for. Some gyms have groups that train and race together.

If groups aren’t your thing or maybe you aren’t quite ready to ask for people’s numbers, then I suggest perusing the Groupon website for some local deals. This is the best way to see what your new city has to offer and maybe create an opportunity for you to invite one of your fellow travel nurses out.

Bring Home To You

If all of this still sounds a little too much for you then invite your friends and family out from your hometown. If going out with familiar faces is what it takes to get you out of the house then so be it.

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Create Memories

Finding high quality friends while on the road can be challenging and staying connected with them is even harder once you all move on.  I think the goal for meeting new people while traveling is to find people with little to no drama who you can tolerate long enough to enjoy some local activities. They might never be like the friends you have at home and that’s okay.  Creating memories should be low stress and so should your travel nursing experience. 

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