How to Beat First Day Anxiety at a New Travel Nursing Job

by Premier Medical Staffing Services on September 8, 2023 in Career Development, Travel Nursing


Whether you are new to travel nursing or a seasoned contract warrior, it is extremely normal to be nervous about your first day on the job at a new facility. There are new co-workers to get acquainted with, new routines to adjust to, and a new set of patients to care for. When you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything that’s unfamiliar, just remember, you were hired for this travel nursing job because you are a qualified and skilled nurse. (Plus, if you work for Premier, your recruiter has your back.)

Follow these tips to help you overcome first-day jitters and have the best possible start to each new travel nursing job.

Tips for the Week Before

The week before every new travel nursing job, you and your recruiter should chat about the necessary details to prepare you for day one at the new role. These will include what time to arrive, where to park, where to sign in, who you will report to, and include a basic overview of the facility.

If you’re feeling a little nervous about arriving on time, do a trial run of your commute the week before you start so you know exactly what to expect on your first day. Take the time to drive the route during your normal commuting time, or get familiar with the local public transportation, so you can have a sense the amount of time it will take you to get to work to ensure you will be punctual when your actual start date comes around.

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First Day Fit Check

Be sure that you know about the job’s uniform requirements before you start. If you need to purchase a new color of scrubs to match the rest of your unit, make sure you do so at least a few weeks beforehand so you can have them ready to go for your first day. When starting a new travel nursing job, it is important to have a working badge holder and a reliable pair of nursing shoes ready to go as well. The night before your first day, pack your lunch, lay out your clothing, and set out your first-day paperwork. This way, you won’t be rushed trying to get everything together when you’re heading out the door!

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Make Self Care a Priority

When dealing with anxiety ahead of a new travel nursing job, a few self-care exercises can go a long way in easing the nerves. Take some time to name your specific fears: knowing what is actually making you nervous will empower you to tackle those first-day jitters head-on. For example: maybe you’re nervous about meeting your new supervisor and coworkers, or maybe you’re worried about the volume of patients at your new facility. Knowing exactly what is troubling you before your new contract will help you create specific action steps to confront those fears and ease your mind. In addition, do what you can to get adequate sleep before your first day on the job. Wake up in time to eat a healthy meal and have time for meditation, yoga, or another practice that will help you get centered before you start the day.

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Be Ready to Learn & Ask Questions

At any new travel nursing job, your first week will mainly consist of new hire orientation and getting familiar with the new facility and its daily operations. Being open-minded and ready to learn will help you gain confidence in your new role. During these initial days on the job, you will complete paperwork, get your new badge, and be shown around your unit. Be intentional about soaking in all the information like a sponge, and if you feel the need to take notes, don’t be afraid to do so. While it is likely that you have experienced different ways of doing things in your previous positions, your first day on the job is not the time to critique this hospital’s systems, but to learn how to be an effective team member in this new environment.

One of the most common mistakes travelers make during their first week is feeling like they can’t ask questions. New hire orientation is the perfect time to get all your burning questions answered, so don’t hold back! Whether it’s your recruiter, nurse manager, or orienting nurse, you should ask any and all questions you have about your new role so you can move through onboarding with confidence.

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Confidence is the Name of the Game

No matter what your nerves are telling you, remember that you know how to be a good clinician. Take the time to think about specific skills you are confident in and how you landed this contract in the first place. And most of all, come back to work the second day with a smile on your face. The best is yet to come!

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