Travel nurses are great at stepping in right away and helping out. But any little thing you as a nurse manager can do to help speed up that process will help her acclimate faster and in the end help your unit perform better.
Integrating a travel nurse into your unit is really just a matter of making sure four things happen.
- They know they are welcome
- They know your policies, procedures and systems
- They know what is expected of them
- They know the doctors
Aside from the standard travel nurse orientation program, one of the most simple ways to do this is through designating a travel nursing buddy for your travel nurses.
What does a travel nurse buddy do? Creating this role is really just formalizing what you would hope is going on anyway, that someone is there to answer a travel nurses questions, help her with any new systems she may not be familiar with and just be a friend.
There are multiple ways to do this, but a few options are:
- Choose an experienced nurse for each traveling nurse to pair up with and let them know that they are someone they can go to when you are not available and give each traveler their own buddy
- Choose an experienced nurse who can be the go to nurse for all the travelers
There are pros and cons of both approaches, and they are by no means the only options out there, it really just depends on your units situation, but whatever approach you use the key is to make sure the travel nurse buddy is aware of the four goals of the program and has the kind of personality that makes people feel welcome and experienced enough to handle it.
This can also be a great way to empower your permanent nursing staff and give the some leadership experience, which will only make them better nurses.