Top 4 Key Attributes You’ll Need as a Travel Nurse

key traits to be a successful travel nurse

Being a travel nurse has many benefits and rewards, but thriving in this dynamic profession demands a unique skill set. From navigating diverse healthcare settings to quickly adapting to new environments, travel nurses must possess a blend of adaptability, flexibility, resiliency, good communication, and a love of travel. Read on to learn more about each of these skills and how they will help you succeed in your travel nursing career! 

Travel Nurse Skill #1: Adaptability/Flexibility

Adaptability/flexibility is one of the most essential skills you’ll need as a travel nurse. Being thrown into unfamiliar environments with new colleagues and workflows demands a unique skill set. While there may be different approaches to patient care, prioritizing safety is paramount. Embracing diverse practices and methodologies while ensuring safe patient outcomes is critical. People who can flex and bend with changing requirements are valuable team players, and your coworkers and managers will take notice. 

Moving from one location to another every few months requires high flexibility. Those who can seamlessly integrate into new hospital settings while fostering personal and professional growth possess a significant advantage in this field, even more so if you understand you are there to fill their needs and schedule.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I handle change easily, and can I adjust my working style to fit my employer’s needs as long as I still provide safe patient care?
  • Do I embrace new things, experiences, and processes?
  • Do I learn from my experiences and grow?
  • Am I able to take direction without being told?

Travel Nurse Skill #2: Good Communication Skills

Joining a new team for a short time means you need to communicate effectively. Keeping important things to yourself, being too closed off, and saying offensive things won’t win you any friends on a new assignment. You need to be able to communicate in a clear, friendly way so you can do your job well. 

You also have to communicate effectively with your agency and recruiter so they can help you succeed as a travel nurse. Very early in the process, give them a list of your must-haves and deal-breakers. If your plans change at any time, let them know.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you consider who you are speaking to, what they need to know, and how best to express that message before you speak?
  • Do you anticipate and deal with all causes of confusion as soon as possible? 
  • Do you ask questions to make sure they understand what you are saying?

Travel Nurse Skill #3: Resiliency

Personal resilience is a strategy that all nurses can use to survive and thrive in their profession. Very resilient nurses take action to maintain their preparedness for situations. Nurses who engage in self-care activities are more likely to be better prepared and more resilient. Maintaining a good work/life balance improves mood, reduces anxiety, and combats stress. Travel nursing will help you achieve your desired work/life balance. Always remember it is okay to say “No!”

Travel Nurse Skill #4: Love of Travel

It is not a skill per se, but it is too important to exclude: a love of traveling is essential to being a travel nurse. Some nurses consider taking a travel assignment only for the paycheck but are unhappy with moving around frequently. You need to love exploring new cities and seeing new things; it’s one of the biggest perks of travel nursing. You can “try on” new places and hospitals and see if they are a good fit for you. You may find places you can’t wait to visit again! 

If you answer “yes” to these questions, you likely love to travel:

  • Am I excited whenever I get the chance to explore a new city?
  • Do I have a bucket list of places I’d like to visit?

Improving Your Travel Nurse Skill Set

These four skills can help you get the most out of your travel nurse journey, and each of these skills can be developed if you find yourself lacking in one of the above areas. It just takes a growth mindset, self-awareness, and a willingness to change. 

Observe how you interact with others and reflect on areas for improvement. Before you know it, your relationships and career will improve because you have changed for the better. These will fuel your success and help you have a better experience in a new travel nursing assignment. Adopt the mentality that you can do anything for 13 weeks – it flies by, I assure you! Happy Travels!

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