Blog originally published on November 16, 2020.
Updated on October 20, 2021.
Nurses are known for cultivating relationships – both on shift and off. The profession is traditionally recognized for attracting kind individuals with a willingness to help. That’s why making strong connections with others is a natural skill for many Candian nurses.
A top question our Career Consultants are asked by first-time travel nurses is: will I make friends while on assignment? Cultivating relationships isn’t something most of us worry about at home. However, many wonder what to expect when it comes to building bonds on a temporary contract. It definitely becomes a higher priority when you’ve travelled away from family and friends, and still want to feel connected.
The great news is that travel nursing is a fantastic way to make lasting friendships. It’s an opportunity to meet lots of new people at work and in your host community. Some nurses even bring a colleague along on their assignment for the guaranteed company on day-off road trips. Below we explore all the different ways that Travel Nursing can create lasting friendships.
Nursing cross-Canada connections
Select Medical Connections offers placements in ten Canadian jurisdictions, and many facilities we work with are used to having travel nurses. The result is typically a very welcoming experience. When healthcare facilities have positive placement experiences they recognize how valuable those relationships can be. That means they do everything they can to make their nurse guests feel comfortable in their facility. In turn, it’s important for travel nurses to return the favour and recognize their own guest status. Different teams work in a variety of ways and travel nursing offers the opportunity for nurses to observe and learn from others. They can also bring new value and insight to the assignment location. Like any relationship, it thrives with kindness and respect for each other.
While every person and facility is unique, we hear touching stories of friendship from our travel nurses all the time. One of our nurses ended up a bridesmaid in her co-worker’s wedding party, and another met the man who is now her husband! It may take a bit of initiative to ask your co-workers to hang out, but if you can handle that first step, we’re confident you’ll be making friends in no time.
SMC Travel Nurse Arlene kayaking with new friends
SMC Travel Nurse Jenny camping with friends
SMC Travel Nurse Sandra making friends in NS
Rural community opportunities
In rural and northern areas, facilities and their communities are often quite small. This makes the team and your neighbours inherently close-knit. This dynamic can make it easy to build bonds fast while at work and carry over into your days off. Learn more about travel nursing in rural areas.
Meet other travel nurses
Another great ‘source’ of friends while on the road is other travel nurses. Often facilities hire more than one nurse. This leaves you with a group of people who are in the exact same position as you and looking for friends. Naturally, those can be the perfect friends for you as they’ll likely want to see the same local sights as you and will be open to exploring the area.
We’ve had several of our travel nurses become travel buddies after their assignment together concludes. Some also choose to coordinate their future assignments with each other so that they can work together again. Don’t forget! Select Medical offers a referral bonus plan so if you do meet someone on assignment that is interested in joining you on your next contract, you get paid for that connection!
Travel nurse with someone special
We recognize that some nurses are more introverted. Others move from one contract to another and remain for an extended period of time in a transient state of contract work in new locations. There are many reasons why some travel nurses choose to partner up with one another and approach the adventure in a tandem way. The benefits are tangible – having someone close with you on a travel nurse contract eliminates the concern for making new friends. There are also drawbacks – where having someone you know close by does not always allow for you to fully step out and meet new people.
SMC Travel Nurses Jamie-Lee and Arani
SMC Travel Nurses Lucas and Carmela
SMC Travel Nurses Ethan and Katie
Pets are travel nurse friends too
Sometimes the best friend you can bring on assignment is your pet. They can instantly make a house feel like a home, and create a great reason to get out and explore your new community on foot. If you are forever connected to your pet and still want to try travel nursing, you can! Just let your career consultant know and they can help you find a suitable placement that accommodates both of you.
Practice COVID safety
Of course, at this time it is important that you and your new friends ensure you stick to the local COVID-19 recommendations of your area. If gatherings are discouraged, choose outdoor activities where you can maintain a social distance rather than hosting an indoor hangout session. Go for a walk, hike or bike ride, or maybe try something new like snowshoeing, fishing, birdwatching or canoeing. Be creative!