How to Cope with a Less Than Ideal Travel Job

December 8, 2022


Megan Bebout

GettyImages-1164339481-minIf you’ve been around the block a time or two as a professional traveler, then chances are you’ve encountered a travel job that wasn’t ideal. If you’ve never been in this position, then thank your lucky stars. However, it’s still possible your time will come. And if it does, you can use this guide to help you cope with a less than ideal travel job.


How to Cope with a Less Than Ideal Travel Job


Why are you unhappy?

No matter the reason, being unhappy at a job isn’t great for anyone. But before we can resolve the problem, we need to figure out why this travel job isn’t the right fit for you. To help narrow things down, ask yourself these three questions.

Is it safe?

The term “unsafe” can mean different things to multiple people, especially in reference to health care. When it come to med travel jobs, unsafe conditions can include provider-to-patient ratios that put you or your patients in danger, working in units you’re not trained in or qualified for, and other concerning processes or procedures.

If you run into a small concern, consider reaching out to the facility management to discuss it. Of course, there’s no guarantee that anything will happen from the conversation, but at least you’ve brought it to their attention. If there’s a negative reaction, know your chain of command and how to use it.

Life hack: choose to work with a staffing agency (like Fusion Medical Staffing) that has a clinical team available to you for guidance. That way, if you run into unsafe working conditions, you have an IRL clinician available to help offer solutions on how to make it better.

Keep in mind, though, there is a difference between unsafe conditions and not liking or agreeing with the way something is done. As long as you’re providing safe patient care and achieving the same end goal, stick to doing things the way the facility does them.


Are the perm staff welcoming?

It can be tough to bond with the perm staff at a new job. It can be even harder if the perm staff don’t seem very welcoming. The most important thing to remember if you’re having a hard time relating to the perm workers is that you can’t control other people (unfortunately).

Instead of trying to please others, focus on yourself, remember you’re there to do a job, and remind yourself that it’s okay if you don’t make friends at this specific assignment.


Is it what you expected?

Imagine this: you can perfectly picture your first day on your new assignment and it’s glorious. However, when you get to the facility and learn more about the job, you realize it’s just not what you expected. Even worse, it’s not what you want.

We’re not going to lie, it’s a bummer to realize that the job you were so excited about isn’t what you thought it would be. If this is your reality, call your recruiter ASAP and share your feelings. While they may not be able to get you out of your travel contract, they can offer clarity and context to help you gain a new perspective.

Pro tip: don’t be afraid to ask questions in your travel job interview before starting your assignment. An interview is the perfect platform to voice concerns with your recruiter and the facility’s hiring manager. Take the opportunity to get answers to your questions and find out if the job is right for you before you start.

It can be tough to work through job issues, whether they're unsafe working conditions, unwelcoming perm staff, or unmet expectations. Luckily, most travel jobs are only 13 weeks long and then you’re on to your next great adventure. If your travel job isn’t filling your bucket, then we’d recommend you don’t extend your contract.


What you can do about it

Unless there are unsafe working conditions or you’re put in a situation where your license is at risk, you may not be able to get out of a travel contract. Instead, stick it out where you are and try to make the best out of a bad situation. We know — easier said than done. But here’s how you can try.

No. 1: Be honest with your recruiter

Whether you feel unsafe, unwelcomed, or catfished by your assignment, be open with your travel recruiter. The more they know, the easier it is for them to help you. Plus, they can intervene if necessary.


No. 2: Talk with the clinical team

Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone who’s been there. If that’s the case, seek advice from an experienced member of the clinical team. At Fusion Med Staffing, this team has over 20 years of collective medical experience and they’re available to provide feedback, advice, and recommendations to any traveler who needs it.


No. 3: Focus on your mental health

Being unhappy at a job can weigh you down. And it can be hard to let go of that negative energy when you’re outside of the workplace. If you’re feeling the consequences of a less than ideal travel job, try these mindfulness tips to maintain your mental health:

  • Experiment with meditation
  • Practice daily gratitude
  • Fuel your body with healthy nutrients
  • Take a break in-between travel assignments



Not all travel jobs are going to be a walk in the park. When they’re not, communicate with your recruiter, talk with the clinical team, and focus on your mental resilience. Try to remember that you’re there for a reason, and take comfort in knowing you’re improving the lives of others along the way.