For a travel nurse in either a new city or a new country, maintaining a balance between work and exploration is a skill worth mastering.
Being a Travel Nurse starts with the art of self-care. Let’s face it, nurses are by nature the world’s nurturers. Your compassion for others is your ‘why’ for your chosen career. In order to be really good at what you do, however, you know you have to put your own metaphorical oxygen mask on before you help the passenger next to you. Adventuring can help you achieve the life balance you need.
Work from a Lifestyle of Self-Care
Adopting a philosophy of self-care first will give you the confidence to work the rest of the balancing act without compromising yourself in the process. Whether you’re home or on assignment, developing a lifestyle of self-care including a healthy diet, exercise, quiet time, and personal time to explore interests will make you a happier person and a better nurse. Self-care is the foundation of the life you create; everything springs from this single well. Only a healthy, rested, energized travel nurse can have satisfying adventures and a joy-filled career.
Travel Nurse, Know Thyself
This is where you give yourself permission to design your own life and own it. Exploring your likes and dislikes can help frame your work life. If you don’t like hot weather, then a job at a higher elevation in Panama would be a better fit than one on the coast. Maybe you can’t get enough of big city monuments and museums, or maybe off-roading the high desert revs your motor.
Does adventure mean the adrenaline surge of base jumping or dropping into a monster wave to you, or is your idea of adventure exploring a new culture or hiking through a deep forest? As a travel nurse, you have the flexibility to follow your bliss – so figure it out, own it; go there, do that.
Make a Bucket List, and Check It Twice
Let’s say you get a nursing assignment in New York City. (Who wouldn’t jump at the chance?) Sit down and make a list of all the things you dreamed of doing if you ever made it to The Big Apple. As Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind flows through your headphones, get busy on that list: the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square; your list of urban adventures continues to grow. Let it all out. Once you finish your list, circle your top ten choices. This is the must-do content for your upcoming adventure schedule.
You’ve developed a habit of self-care, figured out the kind of environment that suits you, and explored the kinds of adventure activities that give you the emotional response you crave, be it excitement, fearlessness, accomplishment, or something else. Now it’s time to turn ideas into reality.
Insist on a Predictable Work Schedule
There are few careers, especially in helping industries, where those you serve aren’t constantly pushing against your boundaries. Responsibilities scale up, downtime gets encroached upon, clients become more particular or demanding, and everyone has an opinion about your job description. Of course, you want to play nicely and be accommodating where you can (after all, that’s kind of who you are), but your schedule is the one place you need inviolable boundaries. Even if it isn’t the schedule of your dreams, predictability is the only sure way to strike a work/adventure balance as a travel nurse.
The rest of the plan hinges on your ability to say no when you need to, so you can protect the space you’ve created for self-renewal, also known as an adventure!
Use Your Adventure Tools – Books, Maps, and Apps
Lonely Planet is one of the best travel guide books you can own for nearly any region of the world. You can get them as trade books or downloadable ebooks. They’re excellent for detailed maps, local attractions, lodging, restaurants, regional planning, and travel advice. They’re also updated often. You can become fairly well-informed about an area before you ever get to your next gig.
Schedule Your Upcoming Adventures
Planning helps you get the most from your free time. On your calendar, fill in your work hours and see where you can schedule a day trip to a nearby town, a three-hour snorkel tour, or even an hour-long stroll along a boardwalk. Even if it’s only a few hours a week or a weekend a month, there’s something about formalizing your adventures by writing them out that makes them stick. Well-laid adventure plans help you make the most of your downtime and bring balance to your life.