How do I deal with a travel nurse?
Rule #1: Say hello and introduce yourself. It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many nurses skip this obvious step.
Remember that the travel nurse is there to help. The sooner she feels welcome, the better. So tell her a little about yourself and ask about her areas of expertise. Most travel nurses have an impressive skill set; learning about her background will help put her at ease and enable you to make the best use of her talents.
Provide a thorough orientation. Travel nurses are pretty good at hitting the floor full stride, but they still need to know where the linen closet is and how to operate the phone system. Take the time to explain any especially important policies and procedures, and introduce her to the docs. Clue her in, too: If certain doctors like the charts to be pulled before they come to make rounds, let her know.
Be sure she knows her job responsibilities as well. Are RNs responsible for their own linen changes on your unit, or do CNAs do all linen changes and personal care? Who’s responsible for counting narcotics?
Check in with the travel nurse frequently, at least during her first few shifts. A simple “How’s it going?” can make a big difference. Also make it a point to include the travel nurse in any unit activities. She might not officially be a part of the gang, but she is for the time being and deserves to be treated as such.
Consider inviting the travel nurse to experience the town with you. Most travelers love to partake of local culture, so give her an insider’s glimpse of the area. Who knows? She just might invite you to visit her when she travels to her next assignment!
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