Tips for Transitioning to a New Travel Nursing Assignment

Tips & Tricks
September 20, 2022 by Taryn Porter

Taking a new assignment can be an adjustment, especially in an unfamiliar city or on a new schedule. We’ve gathered a few quick tips to help you along the way.

In order to make your transition as smooth as possible, we recommend coming to orientation ready to go. Take notes and get a list of questions together ahead of time. Receiving so much information at once can be pretty overwhelming, so set yourself up for success by preparing ahead of time!

If the city you’re traveling to is unfamiliar, try doing some research on local restaurants and community gathering spots you’d like to check out during your stay. You can make the most of your days off by exploring your surroundings and making new connections.

Sometimes, a new assignment will require you to switch to a new schedule. If you were on day shift, but you’re transitioning to night shift (or vice versa), there are a few things you can do to make it easier.

  • As early as you can, start moving your sleep/wake times in two hour increments toward your new shift schedule. For example; if you usually go to bed at 10:00 and wake up at 6:00, try going to sleep at 12:00 and waking up at 8:00. 
  • If you aren’t able to shut down for a full night’s sleep, try to at least get a nap in before your new scheduled shift time. Or, if you drink caffeine, grab a coffee before work! Just try to avoid caffeine at least six hours before you’ll need to return to sleep.
  • To reduce sleepiness during your shift, get as much bright light as possible. Turn on bright lights in your home while preparing for work, and try to get as much light at the facility as possible. Some dimly-lit rooms may be unavoidable during night shift, but seek out some light in the break room if you’re feeling drowsy.
  • To send sleep signals to your brain and induce delta waves, try using the 4-7-8 breathing technique
    1. Lightly part your lips and make a slow whooshing sound, exhaling only through your mouth
    2. Close your mouth, inhaling silently through your nose as you count to four (4) in your head (the length of the count does not matter, its about the overall tempo)
    3. Hold your breath for seven (7) seconds
    4. Exhale from your mouth for eight seconds, making the same slow whooshing sound
    5. Repeat for four breaths, then rest.  Repeat until night night!

We wish you the best of luck on your new adventure! If you’re looking for your next travel assignment, connect with a Phoenix MedStaff recruiter today.