Advice on How To Overcome New Travel Nurse Anxiety 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

Nursing can be a stressful environment in familiar territory, and even more so when a nurse  chooses to accept a traveling position. A traveling nurse job can offer premium pay, benefits, patient care ratios, better shifts, and new experiences, but is it worth the potential anxiety? 

We think it is! We’ll share some tips, misconceptions, and approaches that can be employed to overcome anxiety in the world of travel nursing.


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Factors That May Cause Anxiety in Newer Travel Nurses

Congratulations, you have landed a fantastic opportunity as a travel nurse! Not only will you be able to serve others within your nursing career, but you will also be able to experience new places and adventures within this opportunity. 

However, prior to embarking upon this great adventure, you may develop some anxieties as you consider the “unknown.” 

What factors contribute to a travel nurse’s potential anxiety? Obviously, each individual’s anxiousness varies by person and situation, but some of the factors may include:

  • Unfamiliar facility
    • Layout of the facility
    • Processes/procedures, policies
    • New coworkers
    • Demographics of the facility
    • Culture of the facility and the patients whom they serve
  • Unfamiliar location
    • Where should I live? Which neighborhoods are safe (or not)? 
    • How long does it take me to get to/from work? 
    • What mode(s) of transportation are necessary?
    • What will I do when I’m not working?
    • Where will I purchase food and necessities?
    • How long do I anticipate living here? 


how to overcome new travel nurse anxiety


How Long Does New Travel Nurse Anxiety Last?

Don’t worry, your anxiety is normal! But how long will it last, and will you ever not be anxious in travel nursing? If you are new to travel nursing, you may feel as though anxiety is extreme, but rest assured that you will eventually become more comfortable in roles.  What anxiety levels and patterns can you expect to experience?

  • The anxieties may be high before and upon starting an assignment
  • Your orientations and preceptor/mentorship relationships are vital — take this time to learn all you are able
  • Anxiety may peak again upon finishing orientations as you will be practicing independently
  • Anxiety levels may be exacerbated during any transition of assignments to new roles or locations

Nurses that venture into the realm of travel nursing come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, and some may have more confidence in their skills than others — many times this will be a direct correlation to their years of practice.

Experienced nurses may struggle more with becoming accustomed to new locales and policies/procedures; other less-experienced nurses may have longer-lasting anxieties while they become confident in their skills.


8 Tips for Overcoming Travel Nurse Anxiety


#1: Be Overly Prepared

A new position can be overwhelming in itself — that’s not something you are able to control. However, you can alleviate other stresses by being organized and prepared in other aspects of your life.

Arrive at your new location a few days or even a week prior to your first day of work. Explore the area to figure out where you’ll get groceries and other necessities. Purchase food for your meals on breaks, make meals ahead of time after a long shift, or locate some nearby restaurants if you prefer not to cook or meal-prep. 

Consider how you plan to travel to and from work and take a “test-drive” for travel time to your assignment, whether that is driving your personal car and parking, utilizing public transportation, or even a walking route if that is a possibility. 

Organize work and personal items that you will need for your first day/shift. Make sure uniforms are clean and/or ironed. Prepare your meal and place the lunch bag in the refrigerator where it’s ready to grab.  Place shoes, work bag, badges, keys, etc., by the door so that you are not scrambling to find items.  By organizing your necessities, this may alleviate unnecessary stress as you begin your new adventure!


#2: Ask Questions

Be confident in your skills, but also be willing to ask questions!

Remember, you were selected for this job, so have confidence in yourself. However, the humble approach goes a long way when you’re willing to ask questions. 

You may have years of nursing under your belt, but be willing to admit you don’t know it all and be willing to ask your supervisors, preceptors, and coworkers for help.


#3: Remain Positive

Whether this is your first travel nursing assignment or you’ve become a veteran in these gigs, be sure to chalk it all up to experience and learning opportunities. 

Every assignment will not be the best fit for everyone, but each experience (positive or negative) makes you more knowledgeable in the long run. 


#4: Be Confident and Believe in Yourself 

Use positive self-talk as a confidence-building tool. Positive affirmations can go a long way in overcoming anxiety as a new travel nurse. Remind yourself:

  • I am making a difference.
  • I will show kindness every day to every patient.
  • I will stay calm.
  • This cannot break me.
  • This is a tough job, and I’m proud of myself!


#5: Develop Stress-Relief Practices

You may do a super-hero’s job, but after time, the stress of the responsibility and tense environment will build-up and can negatively impact you. Nursing professionals must be aware of these stressors and develop outlets that will help shed that stress.  

Effective outlets to alleviate or reduce stress can be widely varied, as some may be a physical activity, while others may be a quiet and introspective approach. 

Consider some of the following for relaxation opportunities:

  • Routine exercise: cardio, yoga, pilates, team/organized sports
  • Creative outlets: crafts, photography, painting, etc.
  • Reading
  • Faith-based activities
  • Activities with friends or new co-workers 
  • Exploring your new location and embracing the “travel” opportunity


how to overcome new travel nurse anxiety


#6: Take Care of Your Body

Along with the need to decompress and take care of the mental fatigue related to a nursing career, you also need to care for the physical strains on your body. If you ignore the physical demands on your body, ultimately you will suffer mentally.

Taking care of your physical side includes:

  • Adequate amounts of sleep 
  • Exercise 
  • Healthy diet
  • Limited caffeine 
  • Hydration 


#7: Remember To Practice Self-Care

Nurses take care of patients all day, every day. Some of those days will feel like tasks are completed smoothly and you were effective as a caregiver — others will feel like nothing good happened.

Dealing with high stress levels on a daily basis can result in chronic fatigue, feeling burned-out, and being emotionally drained. Practicing positive self-care is not just a suggestion, but a necessity. 

Self-care approaches involve:

  • Good nutrition/hydration
  • Movement/exercise
  • Journaling, meditating
  • Relaxing showers or baths
  • Music
  • Limited screen time 
  • Exploring nature
  • Watching or participating in creative performances
  • Communicating with family and friends
  • Resting


#8: Use Your Support System

Travel nursing is not you being stranded on a deserted island, you have numerous people who want you to succeed in these ventures! Reach out to those you trust to help you overcome your anxieties. This may include your:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Facility staff/supervisors
  • Nurse recruiters at Trusted Nurse Staffing

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, our number one goal is helping our nurses succeed. Our team can assist you in identifying what you enjoy about your assignments along with potential problems to help guarantee success in travel nursing.


how to overcome new travel nurse anxiety


5 Common Travel Nurse Misconceptions That Can Contribute To Job Anxiety

There are common misconceptions that may deter nurses from pursuing travel nursing and increase their anxiety levels should they accept a travel nursing position. 

While anxiety is normal when pursuing anything new, these misconceptions may ultimately hold someone back from fulfilling and fabulous opportunities, so we’ve debunked some of the most common ones here. 


Misconception #1: Travel Nurses Are Isolated and Lonely

Travel nursing may seem lonely at first, but keeping an open mind and allowing the assignment to be an adventure can help. Many nurses find themselves connecting well with other professionals in nursing or related healthcare fields, and even developing friendships that may have never happened without accepting a travel nursing position. 

Additionally, professional networking can be a strong source for furthering your practice in knowledge and skill, as various facilities may approach a care need or diagnosis from different perspectives. 

Aside from the work assignment, travel nurses are provided opportunity to explore hobbies and interests in their free time/off hours, along with being able to choose a locale for an assignment. 

Travel nursing can truly allow an individual to expand their experience within the job setting and outside of work responsibilities.


Misconception #2: Constantly Switching Assignments Looks Bad on Your Resume

Some of the truly amazing aspects of the nursing field are the opportunities and diversity of practice — there are not many other professional employment fields that provide as many avenues of practice as nursing. 

Consider the main levels of nursing care approaches, such as:

  • Acute care
  • Post-acute care
  • Long-term care
  • Outpatient/clinical practices 

There are also a vast array of subdivisions within these categories. While a nurse may have a skill-set and education within one care level, they still have an opportunity to cross-train in a similar setting if a job change is desired. 

In travel nursing, the opportunities are even more enhanced, as you may choose a role within an assignment that ultimately is not one you enjoyed.

The good news is that after the contract is fulfilled, you can easily switch to a different speciality or setting. Along with way, you are building your practice, experience, and knowledge base with each assignment AND becoming more and more marketable to future employers!


Misconception #3: Travel Nurses Get the Worst Assignments

Truthfully, how many days in the nursing field do you really have without difficult patients?  Every day presents nurses with its own challenges, but ultimately each day is unique.  

Surely, some nurse managers may grace you with some of their more challenging patients on purpose, but they will not burden you will all of them, as it is unsafe for the facility and you as their nurse


how to overcome new travel nurse anxiety


Misconception #4: Travel Nurses Are Treated Unfairly

Travel nursing is not a new concept, but the evolution of the field post-COVID-19 era has shed significant light on the travel nursing approach to a career. 

Facilities often utilize travel nurses to:

  • Allow their regular employees to have time off.
  • Supplement their facility staffing.
  • Transition to a long-term position if the assignment is a good fit for the nurse and facility. 

Travel nursing appears to gaining momentum as a long-term solution rather than just a temporary or short-term bandage to nursing shortages. Facilities and hospitals are also becoming more creative in their approaches to staffing solutions by instituting their own internal travel programs within hospital systems. 

As travel nurse assignments have become more the norm, these nurses are generally welcomed by regular facility staff, as they understand the necessity of the employment assignment. Expectations and responsibilities for both the traveler and the facility should be discussed at length prior to accepting the position so the travel nurse can develop a clear picture of the assignment before an agreement is signed. 


Misconception #5: Travel Nursing Has a Lack of Job Security

The American Hospital Association reports:

About 100,000 registered nurses left the workforce during the past two years due to stress, burnout, and retirements, and another 610,388 reported an intent to leave by 2027, according to a study released by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.”

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects job growth and opportunity, in which a typical occupation would have projected growth needs of 3% to fill vacant positions, but the Labor Board projects growth in the nursing field of 6% in years 2022 to 2032.  So, as the veteran nurses retire and the anticipated needs are even higher than most professions, we can expect nurses to be in great demand. 

Some of the most in-demand Registered Nursing positions include:

  • Emergency Department
  • PCU
  • Telemetry
  • OR
  • L&D

Travel nurses are able to be utilized almost anywhere, but the following locations are the top travel destinations:

  • California
  • New York
  • Washington
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia


Trust in Trusted Nurse Staffing To Help Guide You Through Travel Nurse Anxiety

Trusted Nurse Staffing is a travel nursing agency that offers 24-hour support to nursing on every assignment. We understand our nurses may have anxiety accepting and/or continuing in a challenging assignment, so professional support is available any hour of the day for questions, concerns, and to offer resources as appropriate. 

Allow our team to assist you in pursuing nursing experiences beyond your imagination!


how to overcome new travel nurse anxiety