For Traveling Nurses: How to Avoid Watching the Paint Peel

Travel nurse (Photo credit: travelnursingcentral)
Travel nurse (Photo credit: travelnursingcentral)
Travel nurse (Photo credit: travelnursingcentral)
Travel nurse (Photo credit: travelnursingcentral)

Taking a job as a travel nurse can be one of the most exciting decision you will ever make. The experiences and connections you make have the potential to stick with you for a lifetime. However, what do you do when that punch card kicks out and that three day weekend is looming ahead of you? Depending on whether you have taken a rural assignment or metropolitan, you may find yourself discouraged or overwhelmed with how to navigate your time outside of work. Below are five great ideas that will give you a leg up on the boredom blues and help ensure that the next travel nursing assignment you take will be the best that it can possibly be.

Co-workers and Work Events

The first place you can look to find activities to fill up that free time doesn’t have to go any further than your break room’s resource board. More often than not, large hospitals and clinics will have several committees or groups that meet together once or twice a month. These groups can be a great way to get to know your new coworkers outside of your working environment. These events can also be a wonderful way to flesh out your future resume and add another bullet to your skills set while making some great connections in the process.

Intramural and Teams

Have a hobby like soccer or softball? Perhaps you have always wanted to try out a sport but just haven’t had the chance yet? Being on a travel nursing assignment puts you in the unique position of having a little more free time on your hands than you have had previously. Check out what different intramural options your new home base has to offer; before you take off to your new job. Start your research online to see what teams exist in the area and jot down some contact numbers to call when you arrive. Being a part of a team sport is an excellent way to make new friends and connections in your new location.


Nursing assignments in rural areas can initially present themselves as a hard place to find something to do. While the access to local nightlife and other metropolitan activities might not be available, rural nursing assignments generally have a wealth of outdoor activities that can be found with just a little nosing around. See what opportunities present themselves for activities in the way of hiking or mountain biking. Finally getting that 5k under your belt can now become a reality.

Join a Gym

If you aren’t already an active member of a gym in your current location, use your travel nursing assignment as an opportunity to get into the shape you’ve been dreaming of. Numerous studies in the area of exercise have shown the correlation to implementing a good exercise regimen has a direct impact on workplace productivity and efficiency. Before you head off, take a moment to search the internet for a great gym in the area you’ll be living in. Most gyms have a wide variety of classes and boot camps that can also serve as a great meeting point for developing new friends and relationships.


Taking an assignment in a large metropolitan area can be potential headache as the number of nightlife destinations can be overwhelming. If you are an avid clubber or foodie, you can make use of some of the great apps available on most smartphones to see just what spots will have the best scene for your weekend free time. Apps like “Happy Hour”, “Yelp” and “WHERE” can be great assets when you find yourself in a new location and are unaware of the best places to spend your time. Most of these apps have a review section where patrons can write their own accounts and experiences of their time at the bar or restaurant.

It’s important to realize that the experience you have during your travel nursing assignment is all what you make of it. Go into your job with a lackluster attitude and chances are the experiences you have will follow suit. Go in prepared and ready to experience a new and exciting chapter of your life and you can be sure the resulting experience will be everything you wanted it to be and more.

Kathryn Norcutt can often be found researching and reading about the newest innovations in the health care field. In her free time, she loves to work at perfecting her strength and fluidity in her Vinyasa yoga. Kathryn currently writes and blogs for RN Network.

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  • D Restcon

    Great advice! I have been a traveling rn for several years now and I love it! The key to constantly moving to a new location is finding things in each location that are fun. I feel like I become a better nurse with each new job placement!