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How Travel Nurses Can Look After Their Mental Health While Away From Home

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One of the most fulfilling experiences in life is taking care of another person. However, for nurses the job comes with baggage. And the emotional toll and exhaustion rise to a new level when you’re a travel nurse. With the constant travel, drastic changes in climate and culture, adjusting to new living spaces, and shifting routines, it’s essential to prioritize your mental health.

In addition to the compassion fatigue most nurses experience, the physical and emotional strain of constantly being on the move can erode your mental health. A 2022 study discovered that 92% of travel nurses feel their mental health has suffered due to their profession. This is more than any other kind of nurse.

The same study found that travel nurses are reporting higher levels of burnout, dissatisfaction, and problems with work-life balance than other nurses — and were least likely to say that nursing is a good career choice.

In my experience, I’ve learned a few travel and time-friendly ways to maintain my state of mind. Here are some ways you can take care of your mental health as a travel nurse.

1. Make Time for a Hobby

We often forget the joy of having a hobby as we become adults. Making time to practice your hobby not only gives you peace of mind and happiness, but it’s also an opportunity to explore other fields and interests.

Many of us love traveling. That’s probably one of the reasons you became a travel nurse. If you love traveling and are ready to take on new adventures while growing professionally, Travel Nurses Inc offers travel reimbursement to help you not miss out on exploring the places you want.

2. Say ‘No’ When You Can

Nursing is more than a profession, it’s a service. But when you take care of yourself first, you will have the energy and strength to take care of someone else. Remember, in an emergency aboard an airplane they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first.

Take your days off seriously and get some rest. If you get sick, we provide financial and emotional help. Never postpone health check-ups or counseling sessions. The reality of travel nursing is that it’s difficult. If you suspect you’re headed toward burnout, get help now.

3. Be Curious and Stay Current

The field of medicine is ever evolving. Try to be more connected with the community and stay up to date on the latest certifications and resources. We will cover your continuing education units up to $300 per year. This is a great way for you to stay current on the latest developments in the field and grow your career.

4. Build a Support System

Having a friend you can share the details of your day with or a colleague who can help you through stressful situations is vital. Connect with your colleagues and friends back home often. This helps you stay grounded.

Professional support improves the quality of the time you spend at work. This enhances your effectiveness as a nurse and increases your job satisfaction. For example, if your patient is experiencing intense scanxiety about an upcoming X-ray scan and you’re with them every day in their fear and emotional distress, this will have an impact on you.

Talking to a therapist, sharing your burden with a good friend or family member, or joining an online meditation class can help you relax at your pace and deal with your own anxiety.

5. Always Be Honest with Your Recruiter

If you’re experiencing increased stress and anxiety, it’s best to be honest and open with your recruiter. Notify them if you’re exhausted from long hours of tiring work, or if you feel you’re experiencing or approaching burnout. A simple reassurance from your recruiter can be a massive help to you. Plus it will keep them mindful about the number of hours you can handle. Nobody can read your mind, so it’s your responsibility to communicate your needs. 

6. Get Good Quality Sleep Whenever You Can

Not getting enough sleep, or not getting quality sleep, can exacerbate mental exhaustion and make you more vulnerable to worry, anxiety, and depression. It can be difficult to leave work at work, but going to bed with a clear mind puts you in the best headspace to give your best the next day. Green tea or calming balms can help you get some much-deserved sleep undisturbed.

Final Thoughts

Remember that nothing lasts forever. If you’re exhausted from your current assignment, or if you’re burnt out from a long string of difficult assignments, easier days are ahead. You will likely be out of your stressful situation soon. Try not to fixate on your problems. Instead, communicate them to your therapist and close loved ones. You aren’t alone, and they will help you get through the tough days. You’ve got this!

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