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Building Routine as a Travel Nurse

Building routine as a travel nurse

A nursing career comes with stressful work, unpredictable days, and times of disorder. Having a routine can help you balance your life a little and create some sort of structure - especially when you are a travel nurse.

Whether you’re starting your first travel nursing assignment or have been on the road for a while, it’s easy to let go of healthy habits because of a busy schedule or lack of resources.

Most people thrive when their lives have some routine. Having no routine or structure is much more mentally, physically, and emotionally draining than any routine could ever be.

Establishing a positive daily routine is certainly a self-investment and also a way to do your best for the rest of the world.


Find what works for you

Having and maintaining a routine also provides additional benefits, such as giving you structure, building forward-moving habits, and creating momentum that will carry you on the days when you feel like you don’t have the strength to carry yourself.

Following a daily routine can help you establish priorities, limit procrastination, keep track of goals, and even make you healthier. It lowers your reliance on willpower and motivation. 

But remember, what works for someone else, might not work for you. That’s why it’s important to pick the activities that resonate most with you and push you to become the best version of yourself.


Set attainable goals

What do you want to achieve during the 13-or-so weeks at each location? You’ll need to figure out how to stick to a routine that will help you stay healthy during your travel nursing career. Outline your goals on paper and tick them off if that helps. Be prepared for your next assignment before it begins and have your suitcase ready in advance. It may help to keep a list of supplies, clothing, and toiletries you want to take with you.


Focus on yourself, first and foremost

Most adults require 7–9 hours of sleep each night, but they don’t always get it. Fatigue can make you apathetic and be damaging to your physical health. If you’re finding it hard to sleep in an unfamiliar place, try using earplugs or a white noise machine to block out distractions.


Eat as healthy as you can

Preparing healthy meals doesn’t have to be complicated. Choose one day of the week to cook and store your meals in the freezer for the week ahead. A good example is a whole-wheat couscous and frozen vegetables which are easy to prepare and make healthy additions to your plate. Healthy cooking apps and websites, as well as YouTube and Pinterest, can also be great sources of inspiration. If you opt for takeout, order small portions—or divide larger portions and save half for later.


Find a stress reduction technique that works for you

Feeling anxious or out of place? Practicing some simple relaxation techniques, such as yoga poses and deep breathing exercises helps lower your stress levels. Another way to combat stress on the road is to focus on a project. Find a hobby or activity that will keep you busy and help take your mind off work.


Incorporate some regular exercise into your routine

You may feel like you’re too tired to work out, but exercise actually improves your energy levels. Travel nursing assignments are a great time to embrace portable fitness activities. Resistance bands and a yoga mat can easily fit into your suitcase, or you can search YouTube online classes to do in your living room.  Join a cycling club or invite your coworkers to take regular walks with you and build your network.

Once your assignment begins you may find you have unpredictable hours, long shifts, or extra stress. While these conditions are beyond your control to some extent, you can work to build a routine.

Don’t forget to make time for some fun activities during your time off. Think of your interests and hobbies and try to nurture them. Find museums, galleries, libraries, parks or fun adventures to do during your off days.


Working as a travel nurse is an adventure. You have the chance to visit new places and get diverse work experience. A routine can help you stay grounded through the chaos and unpredictability this rewarding career can bring.