Opportunities are endless when you are a traveler. Whether you’ve taken to travel nursing, therapy, or locum tenens work as a physician, the benefits of travel are immeasurable. Being a traveling healthcare professional can take its toll if work is where all your focus is, so be mindful of these 7 ways to make sure you keep your work/life balance in check.
1. Bring a Bucket List
It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day actions of work, and even more so when you’re being introduced to a new hospital, school system, or other healthcare facilities. The key to taking travel jobs is to bring a bucket list with you so you can hold yourself accountable for big and little goals you have for your next destination. Whether you want to hike a famous mountain or try a cup of coffee from every cafe in the area, write these wishes down so you can check them off! It’ll give you things to look forward to, and make you feel accomplished as you complete goals outside of work.
2. Find Your Community
Another somewhat simple way to engage yourself outside of travel nursing and locum tenens physician contracts is by embracing new communities. This could mean meeting more nurses, finding a group of doctors and nurses who have weekly game nights, or something entirely different! Find out about events going on in your area with Meetup.com, Facebook events, and don’t be afraid to ask the locals what they recommend.
3. Embrace Solo Exploration
When we’re lonely, work can feel like a welcome escape. But too much work and not enough play tips the scales of your work/life balance, which creates distractions, diminishes productivity, and even creates health concerns. Embrace your time alone for the quiet, but also the excitement! When you’re living in a new place, a staycation is a vacation! A quickly-packed suitcase and a few-hour drive can find you in a new environment. Go exploring and see what you can find on your own. It’s part of the locum tenens lifestyle to be a little adventurous!
4. Learn to Say No
While some find their work/life balance is faltering because of working too much or taking on hermit-like qualities, others find issues by being too friendly and dependable. Part of finding harmony is learning to say no when you need it. Balance doesn’t always mean work hard, play hard; it can be work diligently and rest well. Take the time you need when you need it, and don’t be afraid to say no.
5. Make Time for Passions
Are you the next Nailed It! Baker? Do you have a passion for writing? Is fitness your go-to for happiness? Whatever your cup of tea, remember to make time for your desires outside of work. It’s understood that as locum physicians and locum nurses, caring for patients is a passion, but overworking and putting too much of your heart into one action can throw off your work/life balance. Explore and foster other passions outside of healthcare and see where they take you!
6. Learn and Teach
You are a well-rounded individual with many talents. It’s time to use them! In your travels, you will meet new mentors, learn new procedures, and discover ways to become more efficient and helpful to your patients. Don’t forget to pass that information along! While you have the opportunity to work with a locum medical group or travel nurse staffing company, others may not. Teaching is one way to give back to your community and improve the care of patients. It’s essential that you are as open with your knowledge as you are open to learning from your peers and supervisors.
7. Be Mindful of Your Reactions
It is no secret that healthcare facilities can go from calm and collected to feeling out of control and fast. With emergencies and distractions around every corner, burnout seems inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be. If you can be mindful of your reactions, you can shift your response and rebound more quickly. Next time you find yourself flustered or angry, take a moment and figure out exactly what was happening and how you reacted to it. The more you are aware of the details, the better you can create an action plan. Then, anytime a similar situation occurs, you will be ready.
Wherever your travel contracts take you, it is vital to continually check in on your work/life balance and make changes as necessary. With the right attitude, community, and time to spend on patients and passions, your travel career will be a great success!