Travel Nurse Burnout

Travel Nurse Burnout

I’ve talked in the past about Nurse Burnout being relieved by travel nursing but what happens when the travel nurse experiences burnout from being on the road and away from family for too long?

Diagnosis nurse burnout burn-outI’ve recently experienced this ‘new to me’ phenomena.

I’ll generally take time off Travel Nursing around Thanksgiving so I can spend some ‘holiday’ time at home before the mad rush of the actual holiday begins.  I work the holidays…always have.  It normally doesn’t bother me to be at work on Christmas day, Christmas eve and the new Year holidays.  I take a certain joy in the fact that I can work and allow someone else to take the day off to spend with their family.

This year was different.  I don’t know the reason, I’m still trying to process everything.  The holidays this year for me were lonely and I couldn’t wait to get home and spend time with my family.  I think I was experiencing Travel Burn Out and I’ve learned some lessons along the way.

Suggestions to Eliminate Travel Nurse Burnout

  • Know what ‘family’ events are important in your life and KEEP them Important.
    • For me, this was an awakening.  I always knew that going home before the holidays was important, I’d always planned around it in order to be able to.  Neglecting this time with my family was detrimental to my mental well-being.  It’s not always about the physical health but also your mental health. If you can’t go home to the family bring the family to you!
  • Take time off from Traveling and Re-connect with family and friends.
    • Nursing alone is a stressful job that we need to take time away from to hold onto our compassion.  I’ve found that making sure to take time to do the things that I enjoy with people that I enjoy being around has made me a more caring nurse.  I was recently on contract and had just come back from a short hiatus. My co-workers were stressed, and exhibited a lack of patience with the patients.  I’ve experienced these same episodes in the past but this time was different.  Having had taken time off to re-connect with ME, I felt I was able to truly take better care of my patients. I was happier. I was less frustrated with the hospital and staff inadequacies.
  • Know that it’s ok to take a break from being a Tourist
    • While working in a new city one of the great things is that we get an opportunity to be a tourist.  In any given area, we develop a list of ‘To-Do’ things that we want to see, do, or experience in our short time.  I find myself occasionally feeling guilty for the day off spent lying on the couch catching up on a favorite TV series or simply taking a day out to rest and relax.  Feeling like you have to spend every waking moment (when not working) out exploring and checking things off your list can become almost a chore.  Remind yourself it’s ok to take a break. Another option is to combine tourism with something that you enjoy. These running tours are the perfect example (if you are a runner).

I would love to hear from you. What challenges do you face that lead you to Travel Nurse Burnout?  What tips do you have for the travelers to elevate these?  Please comment below.


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As a travel nursing educator, Candy aka Gypsy Nurse, RN has worked in healthcare for nearly 20 years, working up the ranks from CNA to LPN to RN. For the past eleven years, she’s worked as a travel nurse, allowing her to practice and live in 15 states throughout the U.S. Candy still works occasionally as a travel nurse but spends most of her time providing a supportive information and resources through and it's affiliated social networks.

3 Responses to Travel Nurse Burnout

  1. Staci says:

    “Taking a break from being a tourist” is just what I’ve been trying to do recently and words I needed to hear! I’m currently on assignment in South Florida and have been a busy body on my off time to get out and explore. The past 2 work weeks have been exhausting and I have to tell myself that its ok to stay home and relax and recharge even if the gorgeous S FL weather is beckoning me outside! Thanks for saying those words I needed to hear! :-)

  2. […] all experienced burn out in the nursing field, even if we switch specialities and take a vacation. For me, nursing in the […]

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