5 Smart Ways Travel Nurses Make Friends
By Suzanne Delzio, contributor
A question new travel nurses often ask is “what if I get lonely while I’m on assignment?” Travel nurses live a unique lifestyle that takes them away from home and familiar surroundings, but the benefit of that lifestyle is that they make new friends wherever they go. And some of those wind up being friends for life.
Experts tell us that expanding a friend circle stretches an individual. Moving beyond the styles and perspectives of a limited geographical area helps us question our assumptions, adding new dimensions to our identities, which leads to a richer, deeper life.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways travel nurses can make friends while on the job. Here are just a few tips suggested by experienced American Mobile travelers:
1. Travel with a friend! While you may start out your travel nursing career on your own, chances are you’ll make friends with travel nurses who share your interests. Book an assignment together in an exciting destination and create memories that will help you develop a lasting friendship.
2. Leverage social media. First and foremost, join your travel nursing staffing company’s social media sites. By watching the messages and comments closely, you can try to connect with other travel nurses who may be assigned at the same facility. Even if they have their “tax home” (city or state) different from yours, connecting with another travel nurse who will be working in your assigned city could lead to dinners and other local outings together. The two of you could have your whole site-seeing itinerary scheduled before you step off the plane!
Related: New Principles Guide Nurses in Using Social Media
3. Like social media, online nursing forums are a great way to connect. Many forums have have chat rooms specifically for travel nurses. Posting a message saying you’ll be in a certain city during a certain time could connect you with another traveler.
With both social channels and forums, be cautious about disclosing personal details like your home address or the hospital you’ll be working in too soon. Meet up with the person or have regular discussions via phone to get a sense of their honesty and reliability. No place like the Internet to disguise true identity and get up to various hijinx!
Another way to leverage social media is to let Instagram and Facebook friends know that you have a short or long-term assignment in a new city, and would welcome any local social referrals they may recommend. This move may be for the brave of heart, but giving it a shot doesn’t hurt, particularly if a friend is from the city to which you’ll be traveling.
4. Be Bold! Post a notice on the hospital’s internal social network or bulletin board. Another one for the courageous only. Alerting others to the fact that you’re a “Travel nurse looking for a good Zumba class nearby” or “Travel nurse looking for a tour of city’s best clubs should get you some responses quickly. Your shyness will dissipate once you see how ready others are to help you or open themselves up to new experiences. Another good way to quash the self-consciousness is to add a little humor to your notices. “Is Bigfoot really in the area? Travel nurse missing her dog would love to know about that and other Seattle attractions. Do you have 30 minutes to tell a travel nurse how best to ‘Mess with Texas?’ Lunch in the cafeteria on me!”
Related: Travel Nurse Friendships: Why They Mean So Much
5. Be friendly and take the initiative at work. If you smile and indicate interest in hanging out with the staff nurses, you may find yourself invited along to happy hours and other outings. Any social group needs new blood from time to time. Your unique experiences and perspective can invigorate a group of friends.
Don’t think you must wait for an invitation either. Initiate your own social outings, such as a movie, shopping, or just coffee. Loneliness doesn’t impact only the traveling nurses. Friendships and lives are always in flux. You never know when you’ll connect with someone who could use a new friend. Plus, staff nurses are often curious about travel nursing jobs. Give them the details while getting some insider information on the hospital you’re assigned to.
Find out about medical surgery, emergency room, labor and delivery travel nursing jobs and more in the destinations of your dreams! Tour the United States while gaining the skills and experience to master your profession.
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