Brittany Hamstra, BSN, RN, is a guest writer with Next Travel Nursing and a current travel nurse.
2018 is (nearly) here, and for travel nurses, a new year means 365 days of endless opportunity! Whether you’re currently on a travel assignment or are seeking your next job, here are four resolutions to adopt as a traveler.
Regardless of your years of experience as a nurse, there are always opportunities for growth. In 2018, decide to push yourself to learn something new! Think about what new skill you want to master, which area of knowledge you want to expand, or even which specialty you want to cross-train in. The most important aspect of goal-setting is to make a simple outline that includes a specific, measurable, and time-bound plan. Write down your goal(s) and set a due date. You might start by researching guest lecturers in the healthcare field who are speaking at a campus near you. Perhaps you subscribe to a research publication of interest. You might choose to enroll for that certification you’ve been meaning to get. You can join a professional nursing organization of interest. Whatever it is, commit to a plan and do it! When 2019 arrives, you’ll be happy you did.
We’ve heard it time and time again, but it really is that important: care for yourself. The irony of taking care of others for a living is that we often do not care for ourselves in the process. Think about specific, attainable changes you can make in your everyday routine. We often neglect our bodies in a variety of ways—straining our backs while bending/lifting, assuming poor posture while charting, relying on caffeine for an energy boost, forgoing enough hours of sleep, eating whatever is gifted from patient families… the list goes on. Ask for more help moving patients, stash some pre-cut fruit in the back of the staff fridge, cut down on screen time before bed. Whatever small goal you decide on, promise yourself a simple plan to help your own well-being.
Keeping a daily gratitude journal has been proven to boost happiness levels and decrease daily stress levels. It takes only a minute to jot down a thought or memory from your full day. Especially given the nature of our career, mental well-being is extremely important. Physically writing your thoughts down on paper gives them a place to rest. You can redirect the emotions you carry at work by documenting special moments of personal growth or patient experiences each day. Weekly, monthly, or at the end of 2018, you can read back through your positive thoughts and memories. Not to mention that you’ll have a cool keepsake to cherish or share with others.
Try a new experience wherever you are on assignment this new year. Even if it is a familiar location, try to explore your city in a new light. Nowadays, there are so many ways to feel connected and try new experiences through the online communities available at our fingertips. Find a meetup group, whether it’s for outdoor hiking, book clubs, paint nights, or wine tasting events. Simply try one new experience wherever you work in 2018 and have fun with it!