You’ve accepted your first travel assignment and you’re ready to get started in your traveling medical job. Congrats! This is a new step!
You may be excited and happy, but sometimes your “yay” feels can get overshadowed by fear or stress. You’re starting a NEW job in a NEW city! That’s enough to shake up your head and your heart a bit.
In fact, according to The Financial Diet, the five emotional stages of moving to a new city are: excitement, terror, doubt, apprehensive enthusiasm, and acceptance. So, wherever you are on your emotional journey, here are some things you can do to combat the new job jitters and get going on your career journey.
How To Combat Your First Time Travel Job Jitters
Nervous is Normal
Somewhere between the excitement, terror, and apprehensive enthusiasm feels are the looming nerves. But like many medical travelers who have come before you, nerves are so normal. You’re shaking up your life and trying new things! Being nervous can be good for you too. In an Elite Daily article, Embrace The Butterflies: How You Can Use Your Nerves To Get Ahead, Paul Hudson says, “Finding the right focus while feeling nervous will boost performance.” So accept that nervous feeling and let it push you forward and motivate you.
Focus on What’s Ahead
It’s easy to start missing friends and family before you’ve even packed your bags. You’re probably asking things like: What if I don’t make any friends? What if there’s nothing to do there? If you’re stuck in “what-if” mode, it’s time to take a deep dive into what you’re going to be doing and where you’re going to be headed. Which brings me to…
Do That Research
A new job and a new city are two-fold on the research front. Tackle them one at a time. First, delve into your city and get your bearings. What’s the closest coffee shop to your new place? What do people like to explore on their days off? How safe is your neighborhood? Are there any cool monuments or bucket list items for you to check off your list? Then, tackle the job. What’s the vibe like at your new facility? How do people work and mingle together? Having a sense of your upcoming surroundings gives you a sense of control and calms your nerves.
Identify The Source of Your Stress
Why are you freaking out? Is it the uncertainty of the job? The new town and new digs? The fact that you’ll miss people you care about? Find out what’s bugging you about this next step in your life, and then work to address it before you head out. You want to go into your travel assignment with a clear head and heart.
Tell People About It!
The more people you tell about your new plans, the more the follow-through becomes real for you. You’ll have supportive people and you’ll probably also have people offering their opinions and challenging your decisions. This is good, though. It gives you an opportunity to think about and defend your decisions.
“There’s a six-word formula for success: Think things through, then follow through.” — Eddie Rickenbacker
Remind Yourself Why
It’s one of the most important reasons! Why did you choose a traveling medical career? Reminding yourself what led to this life choice can reinforce your choices and help you realize that you’re living your best life. When things start to get a little scary, solidify your decision with all the reasons why you want to travel, how you got into the healthcare business, and all of the steps you’ve taken to get to this point in your career.
“Where you go becomes a part of you somehow.” – Anita Desai
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone Before You Go
Who says you can’t make the most out of adventuring before your travel assignment starts? If you haven’t already, start doing some solo things around your town. Go to a movie alone, try a new restaurant alone, or venture to a part of town you never really explored before. Chances are you’re going to make new friends on the road, but it’s important to get comfortable with being uncomfortable too.
Get Into A New Routine
Anne Dorko from Without Boxes says, “When you’re in a new city, everything you do is new. If you’ve made much of a geographic move, even grocery shopping will be at a new chain with new brands.” A new routine can help you establish a sense of familiarity and home. Make a plan to start new routines the week after arriving to your new travel assignment. Get into the habit of waking up at the same time each day, if your schedule allows, and find your “staple stores” in your new neighborhood. Become a regular at your local coffee shop. Start your day off with some yoga, reading or watching the news, or some motivational articles or YouTube videos. Whatever you choose to do
Find A Mentor
Believe it or not, you’re not the first person who decided to become a traveling medical professional. There are travel nurses that came before you and went through all the emotions, questions, logistics and decisions that you’re currently going through. Seek out someone in your field with ample experience to help you keep your goals in check. They can share their experiences and “lesson learned” moments with you, making it a little easier than starting from scratch. A mentor in your field ensures you have a friend and a colleague, and that you’ll be set up on the right path for success.
Make A Work Friend
Along with finding a mentor in your field, reach out to your coworkers and colleagues. Even someone who is also going through the same transition to a traveling medical career can be a good ally to figure things out together with. Everyone needs a friend, especially when moving to a different city and starting a new job. Calm your nerves by having a regular lunch with your colleagues and sharing your experiences, stories and insights. Ask them questions about their own job experiences and travel lives to gauge the vibe of your new facility.
You know how they say that your home and work space are reflections of your inner mind? Living and working in chaos will make your brain emulate the same. Moving to a new city and starting a new job as a medical traveler can put your brain (and, honestly, your boxes of stuff) in a tailspin. And managing your time to keep it all together or put things away and get organized can get dicey too. Carve out some time each day or two to get settled. Seriously, as easy as it is, don’t live out of boxes. Spruce up your space and make it your own, even if that means just hanging up clothes or putting a little houseplant in the window. Although you’re only living there temporarily, your mind needs some semblance of a solid, semi-permanent locale in order to cope with the changes and help your head stay in the game when you’re on the job.
Time management is one of the key duties of a medical professional when they’re on the job, but you need to make sure you’re taking the time to keep things organized in your personal life too. Need a little help organizing? Check out our post about tidying up and bringing joy to your travel life, a la Kon Mari method.
Boost Your Self-Positivity
It seems pretty obvious, but it is surprising how fast we all can get down on ourselves. If you’re frustrated at work or during your move, remember that a few bumps in the road are normal and that you’re still doing amazing things. Feeling negative about ourselves really ramps up the stress and nerves, which just cycles back into negativity all over again. Break the cycle and give yourself some positive reinforcement about your skills, your life, and everything you’re aiming to accomplish as a traveling medical professional.
Give Yourself Kudos
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” — Steve Martin
While the life of a travel nurse or traveling medical professional is one of perpetual learning and growing, it’s important to understand how far you’ve come already, just by making the leap to travel life. Remember where you came from, where you started at, and now what path you’re currently on. You’ve worked hard to start your best traveling medical professional career and you deserve to give yourself some credit! Victories!
The most important thing to do to combat the new job jitters is to remember to breathe. Get your bearings. You’re going to feel a whole variety of emotions when starting your traveling medical professional journey—some of them will be positive vibes and some will make you doubt yourself or maybe even panic. Go through all of these emotions and thoughts with clarity and acceptance of your skills, capabilities, decisions, and most importantly—you. You’re exactly where you should be.