Finding community as a travel nurse can be difficult, especially when you’re moving from town to town every few months. However, if you find yourself missing the friendships and closeness of your hometown, you should find ways to integrate yourself into the community you find yourself in. Here are a few ways to establish a sense of community as a travel nurse and enhance your experience on any contract.
Be Active on Social Media
A key element to finding community as a travel nurse is to be active on social media. There are tons of online resources and social media groups out there for travel nurses. You can leverage social media to find travel nurse meetups and see who else is living around you. Many travel nurses love using Facebook groups to connect with one another. Here are some examples of Facebook groups that are popular among travel nurses:
Travel Nurse Housing – Although this group is strictly about finding housing, you can still search the group and find out who will be in the same city as you. Reach out and make a connection!
Travel Nurse Network by The Gypsy Nurse – The Gypsy Nurse is a well-known online community for travel nurses, and their Facebook group is always very active with fellow travelers! There are over 180,000 members in the group, so you are bound to find some friendly faces there.
Travel Nurse Community – This is a great group for finding other travel nurses in your area and connecting with fellow clinicians.
If you are looking for specific Facebook groups for your local community, most metropolitan areas will have a “[City Name] Travel Nurses” group. If you go into Facebook and search groups, you should find one that you can join and link up with fellow RNs. While Facebook groups are great for introducing you to people, you will still have to put forth the effort to meet up. It can be intimidating, but putting yourself out there to make new friends can help you avoid loneliness while on assignment as well as establish a sense of community. Keep that in mind every time you’re nervous to reach out to someone new!
Use Your Passions to Find Your People
Do you like to run? Hike? Bike? Craft? Cook? Whatever you’re into, there’s a local community of individuals who love the same things you do, and often do them as a group. Before you arrive at your new travel nursing destination, research local groups centered around your interests. For instance, you could join a running club, rock climbing group, or even a book club. You could even take time to learn something new, like enrolling in a pottery class or taking photography lessons from a local pro. These are great tools for enriching your contract experience and finding community as a travel nurse.
Introduce Yourself at Your New Facility
During orientation at your new facility, make a point to introduce yourself to all the other nurses and clinicians in your unit. If you make sure your coworkers know you are new in town and interested in exploring your new surroundings, you may find yourself invited to happy hours and other outings. You also don’t have to wait for an invitation, either! Initiate your own get-togethers with your fellow clinicians, such as a movie night, dinner out at a new restaurant in town, or even just coffee. You never know when you’ll connect with someone who could use a new friend. An added bonus is that you’ll find people who will help you get to know the area better! This is one surefire method of finding community as a travel nurse.
Check Out Your Local Community Events
Keeping an eye out for events and goings-on in your new city is key to finding community as a travel nurse. Maybe there’s a music festival, farmers’ market, sporting event, charity 5k, or art show that sparks your interest. This is a great opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the culture of your new town while giving yourself a chance to meet other like-minded individuals. Your new city may also have rec sports teams you could join or a neighborhood public pool you can hang out at. If you’re traveling with a furry friend, your local dog park may also be a great spot to meet new people. To make it easier to find social opportunities in your new neighborhood, you may want to follow some local Instagram accounts or subscribe to the local newspaper (online or in print, your pick)!
Without a doubt, the noblest way to establish a sense of community in your new area is to volunteer with local charities. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community, and it’s one of the most rewarding social activities in life. Not to mention, it’s a great way to connect with people who share your passions and beliefs. There are many ways you can volunteer your time depending on your interests. For example, if you love animals, then you should consider becoming a volunteer at the local animal shelter or humane society. If you’re passionate about the environment, join a local trash pick-up effort. There are tons of ways to give back while also being part of a group and meeting new people. Check out VolunteerMatch.org to see volunteer opportunities with organizations near you.
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