Unprofessional travel nurse conduct – don’t make these mistakes

Inevitably there will be individuals within the travel nursing community who make mistakes that jeopardize the reputation of all travel nurses. 

Jun 12, 2023

While travel nursing is exciting and adventurous, it also comes with considerable responsibility.  Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses have been among the front-line health care providers who are heralded as heroes.  Most of our travel nurses covet their ‘hero’ label and understand what professional conduct looks like, both on and off the job.However, inevitably there will be individuals within the travel nursing community who make mistakes that jeopardize the reputation of all travel nurses.  Whether those mistakes are out of ignorance or blatant disregard, they threaten to deteriorate the professional reputation of not only themselves but of all the incredible travel nurses that recognize and respect the privilege of serving communities across Canada.We’ve put together 9 guidelines for you to follow to ensure you don’t tarnish your reputation as a travel nurse while out on contract:

1) Your Patients are priority #1.  Not your phone.Please avoid the rookie mistake of constantly being on your phone while at work. This contributes to distraction and can quickly deteriorate both your professional reputation, and a healthcare facility’s professional work environment, not to mention endanger the proper care of patients. Leave your phone in your locker and only refer to it on your break.

2) Don’t post unprofessional behaviour on social media.   Hospitals are sensitive work environments. Posting photos from work or about work to social media platforms can have profound legal and career implications for you. Please don’t post negative comments about co-workers, patients or the facilities in which you work. Please don’t post videos while on work premises and please do not post images or references to patients or facility premises.

3) Take advantage of a great opportunityBe flexible and ready to learn. Adapting to your new work environment and sharing your skills without dominating your new workplace is a great way to win friends. Refrain from commenting how “we do it differently back at home…” and be ready to listen and be open to learning other ways of doing things. This approach will not only gain the respect of your colleagues, but it will also add to your growing experience as a nurse.

4) Remember, you are a guest in your new community & accommodationsThe healthcare facility and your new community is expecting you to leave your accommodations in the same condition you found them.  Treat your temporary home with respect from the beginning. Do your part to keep the space clean and take pains to respect house rules, especially when you are sharing your accommodations with others.

5) Please don’t change your schedule before communicating with your superior.Be sure to consult your career consultant and contract manager before offering to take or switch shifts with a colleague. You may not be aware of the implications or consequences this could have on payroll, scheduling, your new co-workers, etc.

6) Be punctual. While on contract, give yourself plenty of time when commuting to work, so you arrive on time and focused. Arriving early and focused on your first few days will quickly establish your credibility and professionalism within the unit. 

7) Understand the policies and procedures of your new facility.  It’s essential to understand the policies and procedures of your new facility at the beginning of your contract. If anything is unclear, before you arrive, during your orientation, and while on shifts – ask questions! If you don’t get the answers you need, please bring it to your career consultant immediately.

8) Be a team player.We get it – It’s not easy being the new nurse on a team. Feelings of hesitation when dealing with permanent staff nurses is not uncommon. Remember that most nurses are professional and courteous and happy to have you onboard. Prioritize formal introductions to your new colleagues in your first shifts, and ask what you can do to help out!

9) Check-in with your career consultant throughout your contract. Inform your career consultant of any questions or concerns you might have about your contract, accommodations or anything else related to your contract. Please raise these questions or concerns as soon as they come up.

After working with thousands of Canadian nurses just like you, we know that following these 9 guidelines will be sure to give you a successful travel nursing contract. We are here to help you build your career and want your travel nurse experience to go as smoothly as possible for you, the facility, and the community. We’re all in this together!

Select Medical ConnectionsSelect Medical offers an extensive list of travel nurse jobs throughout Canada. Call one of our experienced career consultants toll-free at 1-877-525-3870 to help you get started. Or fill in our short application here.