I started my first travel nursing assignment with the naivety that is often present in my life. I told myself that it was going to be easy since this hospital didn't typically use travelers and that since it was a nice, wealthy facility that would somehow make my job easier. I was in for an eye opening experience. I was "lucky" to get 3 days of floor orientation and 3 days of general hospital orientation. From what I've heard/read, 1-2 days is about average for orientations. Then you just get flung into the mix to fend for yourself. That's when I went, what the HELL did I get myself into?!! Let me back up and point out some of my mistakes in taking this assignment and how it has contributed to my happiness (or lack of) in this job.
1) I stupidly accepted 5, 8 hour shifts a week instead of 3 12's which is what I was originally told I would get.
2) I went from working in a 500+ bed teaching hospital with doctors galore to a teensy tiny 75 bed community hospital with not an MD in sight.
3) Oncology has been the only area I have worked in (I've been and RN for almost 2 years), but since I couldn't find a job in it in the area I wanted to be, I accepted a Med-Surg position.
4) I took a job that is an hour commute from the city I am currently living in.
My first week was about as hellish as I could have imagined. I stayed at least an hour late each night and cried on the way home. I did not think I was going to be able to handle this. I kept asking myself what I was doing in this crazy place. I kept thinking about the awesome, supportive co-workers I'd left in Florida and how much I missed them. And how I missed the comfort of my old job. I then realized that, in addition to trying to learn the ropes of the job, I was also being tested by the nurse that makes my patient assignments to see how far she could push me. There is a feeling among many "regular" staffers that since travel nurses make more money, get perks, etc. that they should be able to give them the crappy patients and the admissions and discharges. After 3 days of just trying to not drown (and not kill somebody), a nurse I work with mentioned that she thought it was wrong how I was being treated and that they needed to lighten up on me. I then basically started venting and expressing how I was about to call my company and see what I needed to do to get out of this job. That I did not feel safe in my patient care because of the massive amount of work I was being dealt. The RN pleaded with me not to call and that she really wanted me to stay and she said she would talk to the other nurses about it. The next day...voila I had 4 easy patients and a great night that I desparately needed. Since then the job has gotten progressively better. I'm learning the system and getting to know who to ask for help. And I can finally say.....I think I'm gonna be okay.