Travel nursing is a great adventure, but sometimes it can get a little lonely. You’re new in town and new to the hospital. It can take some time to really connect with people.
There are many ways to feel part of a community, even if you’re just visiting for 13 short weeks. Here are some tips for creating community as a travel nurse.
Put yourself out there
Enjoy the culture — get out there and make friends. The way you enjoy traveling is by putting yourself out there. Do things that you wouldn’t normally do… Do something out of the ordinary. — Jennifer Klein
If you just go from the hospital to your home and back to the hospital again, it may be difficult to meet people or to really nurture new friendships. It takes a lot of confidence and initiative to be a travel nurse — and you can use those same skills to reach out to people on a personal level.
- Don’t forget to leave the house 🙂
- Be up for anything
- Pay attention to people who make you happy
- Engage in activities and hobbies that you feel passionate about
- Follow up with new friends so they know you’re interested
Reach out to other travelers in your hospital
“There are so many travel nurses. Whenever you go to a new hospital, you meet other travelers, so you make tons of friends along the way. You learn how to make each other feel welcome, and you have a common ground. That really helps you to connect.” — Jamey Rains
Luckily, you aren’t alone. There are other travel nurses on this journey alongside you — probably even on assignment with you. Travelers tend to flock together and help each other out. When you meet other travelers at orientation, on the floor, or when floating, reach out. Let them know that you’re not just there to keep your head down and work — you want to meet people, too.
Take newer travelers under your wing and give them any tips you learned in those tough first weeks. And, when you’re off the clock, introduce them to any restaurants or hangouts you’ve discovered on your days off.
Join online travel nursing communities
“Connect with other nurses. Facebook has different travel nursing groups based on area. Meet up with other travel nurses and just talk. I’ve met complete strangers and made lifelong friendships.” — Jennifer Klein
As you likely know, travel nurses love their online groups. They’re an easy way to stay in touch with all the great people you’ve met on other assignments — and to make e-friends along the way, too.
The groups are usually based on location, which makes it easy to connect with new nurses wherever you travel. There are also plenty of forums that offer advice on how to deal with different hospitals, find fun places to go, and tackle other travel nursing conundrums.
Stay connected to family and friends from home
“The best thing is, my family and I have grown closer, even though I’m farther away. Technology makes it so that my family is just a tap away. I can hit a button and call my sweet family.” — Tiffany Cash
We all know there is no place like home, and sometimes the best cure for loneliness is just to reach out to someone you already know and love.
- Schedule weekly or monthly phone calls with your family and friends. Sometimes it can be hard for schedules to link up — especially if you’re working the night shift and your sister works 9 to 5. Plan calls to make sure you can connect.
- Skype and travel nursing go hand-in-hand. Use video chat to see those faces you’re far away from, to give them tours of your new life, and to see how the kids you love are growing up.
- Email your family and friends. We’re so used to messaging and texting, but email can be a great way to share your life and thoughts with those you love.
- Use your time off for quick visits. Even a weekend at home can rejuvenate and reset.
Look for connections outside of the hospital
“I’ve discovered that MeetUp can help when I want to connect. If I want to go out to do something, take up a hobby, or join in an event, there are MeetUp groups in every city I’ve been to.” — Nancy Koopmeiners
Avoid “all work and no play” syndrome. Having fun is a big part of travel nursing, so don’t work so much that you forget to meet new people and have adventures. It’s healthy to have a social life that includes people from outside of work, too.
- Ask your friends to introduce you to their friends in your new town.
- Find groups to join on MeetUp like Nancy.
- Attend the same workout each week. Arrive early and hang around after so you can strike up conversations.
- Take a creative workshop or a skillshare class.
- Go to cultural events, festivals, and other fun gatherings.
- Reach out to your neighbors. Introduce yourself, offer to water their plants when they’re out of town, and otherwise be friendly and helpful.
- Get a roommate! Look for someone who won’t just do their dishes and pay rent on time, but who also wants to hang out.
- Start a supper club or host a board night and invite people over.
So, there you have it – how to grow your community when you’re traveling. Any tips we forgot? Let us know in the comments.
For more advice and tips on how to rock your travel nurse career, check out our eBook, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Travel Nurses.