You thought it was something you’d outgrow. You know — struggling to make friends in new environments.
Yet here you are, embarking on your dream journey as a travel nurse, still struggling with figuring out how to overcome some of the lonely days.
You’re ready for change, and you’re ready to make some friends!
It can’t be as difficult as it seems to make friends as a travel nurse, right? But how are you supposed to maintain friendships when you hit the road every 13 weeks?
It may seem hard to make and maintain friendships while on assignment as a travel nurse — but it’s also extremely rewarding.
Follow along for our best tips for making, and maintaining, friendships as a travel nurse.
Table of Contents
- Making Friends as a Travel Nurse — The Added Benefit of Travel Nursing
- 7 Tips for Making Friends as a Travel Nurse on Assignment
- Our Advice for Maintaining Old Friendships as a Travel Nurse
- Trusted Nurse Staffing: Supporting Our Travel Nurses & Helping Them Build Connections on Every Assignment
Making Friends as a Travel Nurse — The Added Benefit of Travel Nursing
As a travel nurse, not only do you get to experience new places, but you’re constantly getting to meet new people. For some, this is exciting. For others, making friends as a travel nurse can be a challenge.
But making new friends is an easy way to interact with co-workers and stay busy during your free time. Not only do you have someone to relate to, but you’ll create lasting bonds that will make your travel nursing experience one you’ll be grateful for long after you’ve retired from your travel nursing journey.
If you’re new to the industry, figuring out how to comfortably make new friends can be challenging. How do you reach the point of getting comfortable enough to make new friends as a travel nurse?
We have tips to help you open up and meet new people!
7 Tips for Making Friends as a Travel Nurse on Assignment
#1: Connect With Co-Workers During Orientation
The first day or two in a new facility is daunting for almost every newcomer. Orientation is rarely fun. Learning the processes, procedures, and systems can be almost unbearable.
Although days of orientation aren’t the most exciting days on the job, they are the perfect time to reach out to other travel nurses in your group.
Introduce yourself. Learn a little bit about them — both personally and professionally. Even if the other nurses won’t be on the same floor or unit as you, it’s a great way to gain a friend while on assignment in a new location.
#2: Utilize Social Media & Apps
Dating apps? To find friends?
Today, there’s an app for everything, including building friendships.
Consider apps like Code Happy, an app and social network created specifically for nurses. The Code Happy app allows you to:
- Connect and get to know nurses in the cities you’re traveling to
- Reach out for support during challenging times
- Learn about the locations you’re assigned to
- And more
Not sure an app is the right route for you?
Consider using social media platforms to join meetup groups or other groups for travel nurses. Learn about the people who are in your area and get connected.
#3: Join a Class
Look into local gyms, exercise facilities, or activity centers to pick up a new skill or brush up on old ones.
Staying active while on assignment isn’t just good for your health. It’s good for your soul, body, and mind to join a class.
Enjoy yoga? Want to take up pottery? Ready to amp up your cooking skills?
Not only is this the perfect time to relieve some stress, but you can also meet people with similar interests.
#4: Volunteer During Your Time Off
One of the most fulfilling things you can do during your downtime as a travel nurse is to volunteer.
Need help determining where to volunteer in your area? Look into places like …
- Animal shelters
- Food pantries
- Retirement homes
… and see how you can give back to the community you’re working in.
Contributing to the community you’re working in is not only a fantastic way to feel good, but it’s also an ideal way to make local friends and find out more about the community.
#5: Talk With Your Recruiter
Sometimes, as luck may have it, you’re the only travel nurse on your unit. No matter your age or experience, it can be hard to connect with other nurses who already have chemistry with each other.
Connect with your recruiter if you’re struggling to make friends at your workplace. Your agency or recruiter can put you in contact with other travel nurses in the area.
If your recruiter doesn’t know anyone in your location, they may be able to point you in the right direction to make connections in your area.
Never be afraid to ask for help.
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we want to provide our nurses with community and comfort. Our recruiters are on call 24/7 to offer support and guidance. If we know of any nurses on assignment in the area, we’ll work to get you in contact with them.
Maybe you’re already preparing for your next assignment. We can also help you reach out to nurses in your upcoming location!
#6: Attend Traveler Conferences
Taking time off between assignments? Consider amping up your own network of travel nurses by heading to a traveler’s conference for healthcare workers.
At events like TravCon, travel nurses get the opportunity to:
- Connect with other traveling healthcare providers
- Network with industry insiders
- Earn CEU’s
- Gain knowledge; and
#7: Travel With a Friend
Even as an adult, making new friends can be downright uncomfortable, especially in new cities.
If you’re just getting started as a travel nurse, it’s not a bad idea to get started traveling with a friend.
Aside from helping you become comfortable in new locations, traveling with a friend can also give you the confidence to:
- Get out into your new community
- Take up new hobbies; and
- Begin opening up to your co-workers
Keep in mind that although travel nursing with a friend has many perks, it isn’t ideal for everyone. Be sure to talk openly with your friends and get a clear understanding of what traveling together could look like.
Our Advice for Maintaining Old Friendships as a Travel Nurse
Keeping up with old friends can become increasingly difficult as you move from assignment to assignment.
Don’t even get started on the imposter syndrome you feel when you realize you haven’t connected with your at-home bestie in a month.
It’s hard. Lifestyle changes. Long shifts. Time flies.
But with a little effort, maintaining meaningful friendships from home — or previous assignments — doesn’t have to feel like a burden or leave you feeling guilty for not connecting more often.
Consider trying the following tips!
#1: Schedule “Hangouts”
Technology can be a blessing, especially for those trying to keep up with friends while on assignment. If your friends are too far away to hang out with regularly, try scheduling regular “hangouts.”
FaceTime, Google Meet, and Zoom are easy ways for friends to video chat while away at the touch of a button.
Some travel nurses have even started connecting via the Portal, a camera that connects to your Facebook and television — so you can sit back, relax, and visit with friends on a big screen.
Connect with your friends and find a time that works for you all to hang out regularly, whether that be once a week or once a month.
#2: Encourage Friends To Visit Whenever Possible
Who doesn’t love a little getaway?
Invite your friends to visit whenever possible during your assignments. For example, a three-day weekend is a perfect time for friends to take a quick road trip and site see.
If you’re too far away for a quick visit, consider having friends visit before your assignment has begun or as it is coming to an end. Take some time off and show off the area you’re living in.
#3: Find Things To Do Together Even From Far Away
Book clubs, video games, and even reality shows — cue The Great British Baking Show marathons — can all be fun ways to help encourage communication between old friends.
Finding something you can regularly do “together,” even from far away, can give you something to talk and connect about.
#4: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Support
Being away from home can be hard on everyone involved in your life — friends and family members included.
When you’re feeling lonely, don’t hesitate to reach out to them and express how you’re feeling. Sometimes, just visiting with friends can help all parties feel reconnected and less alone.
Trusted Nurse Staffing: Supporting Our Travel Nurses & Helping Them Build Connections on Every Assignment
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we’re committed to making travel nursing a positive experience for all of our team members.
We never want you to feel alone on assignment.
When you choose to work with Trusted Nurse Staffing, you’re joining a team that feels like family. We maintain clear communication with you to ensure you can keep the level of work you desire, solve problems quickly, and achieve your goals.
Our 24/7 availability is only one of the things that make us stand out above other nurse staffing agencies.
We understand the importance of a healthy work/life balance and strive to ensure your assignments meet your needs — both on and off the job.
If you’re struggling to make friends as a travel nurse, contact our staff. We’ll see how we can connect you with other travel nurses in your area or in our network.
You never have to feel alone when you’re part of the Trusted Nurse Staffing family.