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How to Survive Your Nightmare Nursing Assignment

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How to Survive Your Nightmare Nursing Assignment

Life doesn’t always shower us with sunshine and roses. As a travel nurse living miles away from home, a bad travel nursing assignment can be a horror movie in the making. Gruesome bosses. Upsetting charting systems. Hostile housing. In the moment, it seems near impossible that you’ll survive.

But you’re resourceful and fearless (it’s what makes you a good nurse). Instead of being a victim, here’s how you can take charge of several nasty situations that may come your way.

Don’t Go It Alone

In horror movies, going off alone screams trouble. Though nurses don’t deal with poltergeists or crazed maniacs, a close support system is still a godsend. Homesickness can chop down your door and poke through its deranged face to say hi, but family and friends can ease it away with social media and Skype. However, more complicated situations require professional help.

Your agency recruiter can be an incredible resource. Like Halloween’s Sam Loomis or The Shining’s Dick Halloran, a good travel nursing recruiter can get you through ugly situations alive. Travel nurse recruiters have dealt with enough hospitals, nursing contracts, landlords, and other complicated issues to give you sage advice on a number of topics. So, if your thoughts are on quitting, they can be a sounding board and help you avoid regrettable actions.

Nightmare on Your Street

Your house is worse than haunted. It’s falling apart. Or infested. Or in a neighborhood where you just don’t feel safe. Call your travel nursing agent. If the house was provided by the agency, they might be inclined to take action. Most solid travel nurse agencies will make a point to improve your housing situation, as long as you voice your dissatisfaction.

Did you use your housing stipend to find your own place? There are different hurdles to overcome. Always contact the landlord first. If they remedy the situation (infestation, mold, or hazards that imperil your safety), problem solved. But if you’re reading this article, chances are that measure didn’t work.

Review the lease agreement. If your living situation is month-to-month, you have greater flexibility. Find a place, move out early, and eat the cost. Longer lease agreements require different measures. Take photographs of the health hazard, document all interactions with your landlord (a paper trail is your best friend), and read up on state law.

Before you ever refuse to pay rent, be sure your actions are protected. Professional help when breaking your lease is important, so reach out to your travel nurse recruiter and find a reputable lawyer who knows the local laws.  

Hospital of Horrors

Being the new kid on the block can be frightful. Though most hospital staff members are pleasant enough, dysfunction is out there. Sometimes, you get cultishly close coworkers. On rare occasions, you’re working with people who might as well be possessed. Either way, you need to exorcise the problem without getting dragged down with it in the process.

The solution? Get in touch with your conflict management side. Every nurse has had to deal with crazy patients. Since you can’t dodge them, learning to deal is the only option.

·         Have a coworker with a short fuse? Stay calm. Apologize but don’t go on the defensive. It just adds more fuel to the fire.

·         Dealing with a manipulative coworker? Be aware of their intent and keep a handle on your emotions. Manipulative coworkers win when you lose your composure.

·         Stuck with an arrogant coworker? Shrug it off and keep control of your bias. Remember, your time with that person is thankfully limited. 

If you’re dealing with a bad boss, you’ll need to take a different approach.

·         Does your boss seem crazy? Determine your boss’s true motivation. Demands that might seem nitpicky or crazy might have a rational origin. If the motivating source make sense, try to appease.

·         Does your boss micromanage? Work to anticipate his or her needs. Your boss can’t micromanage if you beat him or her to the punch.

·         Does your boss easily get angry? Find out his or her trigger points. Then, avoid them.

And as always reach out to your travel nurse recruiter if you need help. They’ve dealt with enough HR nightmares to give you reliable advice.  

A Cursed EHR

Some EHRs are so rough, it wouldn’t surprise us to find out developers wrote a curse into the dashboard’s code. Because charting systems like this are so important to your job, you can’t just avoid them (unfortunately). However, you can use a bad EHR as a way to make connections on your next travel nursing assignment. 

For starters, seek out the local EHR charting system expert. Get their perspective. Learn the secret tricks to making charting a breeze. Plus, make friends with the local IT department. They can be a great resource with charting systems and it never hurts to have a tech guru in your corner.

There’s even an added bonus. Once you figure out all the best tips, you’ll be not only coveted in future jobs, but you’ll become a valuable member of the local team.

Want to continue having the best travel nurse experience? Travel Nurse Circles can provide you with further details. Register with us and you'll find out that travel nursing doesn't need to be so scary.