As a traveling nurse, one of the things you have to get used to is meeting new people all the time. Forming new work relationships and following different procedures are part of the job.
While that can be exciting and motivating, it can also be a little nerve-racking. It’s normal to feel a bit anxious when stepping into a new workplace and trying to connect with co-workers, especially in a medical setting.
First impressions count. They can make or break how a fellow nurse, doctor, or other staff member sees you from the very beginning. So, when you’re working in a new hospital, making a good first impression is key.
Thankfully, it’s easier than you might think. Let’s cover a few key strategies that will start you off on the right foot, whether you’re a first-time travel nurse or you need some help fitting in at new locations.
Basic First Impression Etiquette
From your very first day on the job, your co-workers will form an impression of you. Before you speak a word, people can judge things like punctuality, the way you’re dressed, your ability to listen, and your attitude. Carrying yourself professionally and showing up with the desire to be a team player are great ways to say a lot about yourself before your first introduction.
When you finally do get to talk to a co-worker, there are a few tips that can make it easier for your first impression to be positive, including:
- Making eye contact
- Preparing talking pieces
- Being mindful of body language
- Offering a genuine smile
Those tips might seem like common knowledge, but they’re easy to forget or overlook when you’re nervous about starting a new job or meeting people. Practice them in front of a mirror, so you’re prepared and confident when it comes time to put them to use. No matter who you’re talking to or meeting, these actions matter. If someone establishes a negative first impression of you, they could mention it to someone else and “taint” another person’s view before they even get a chance to meet you.
Utilize Your Soft Skills
As a travel nurse, it’s just as important for people to develop a positive impression of your skills as it is for them to like your personality. That includes your hard skills and medical abilities, of course. But, soft skills are just as important for making the first impression. Many soft skills in the healthcare field across various positions. The best skills for medical billers and coders, for example, are very similar to the best traits a traveling nurse should have, including:
- Strong communication
- Active listening
- Problem-solving skills
- Conflict management
- Organizational skills
You’ll stand out even more if you adopt an attitude of growth and display a willingness to learn. You can use your skills and experience to help and support other members of your staff. But, be open to learning new things, too. Not only can that openness improve your career, but it will make you more approachable and give you more knowledge to pass on to others as needed.
Finally, one of the most important skills to have is flexibility.
Traveling nurses find themselves in a variety of environments and situations every day. You have to be willing to adapt to your location and the needs of the staff and patients almost immediately. If you’re standoffish or “stubborn” about doing things a certain way, that’s going to negatively impact your work and the way others in the field perceive you.
At the end of the day, your skills as a nurse are what matter most. But, you’ll have an easier time at any hospital when you’re able to establish positive relationships with other team members. Keep these suggestions in mind to make a good first impression wherever you are, and you’ll be more likely to enjoy every minute spent in each location.
We hope you found these tips for making a good first impression at a new hospital helpful.