While a rewarding career path, nursing can also be incredibly challenging. It takes passion, dedication, hard work, and it helps to have a thick skin. Add the element of travel into your job title and it can be even more pressing, since you'll be moving from one assignment to the next and meeting all different types of personalities. Some patients and coworkers will be encouraging, kind and caring, but others will be judgmental and harder to work with. Whether you're new to the world of travel nursing or you've been practicing all over the country for years, growing a thick skin will keep your spirits up and help you reach career milestones. Here are a few tips for taking harsh criticism as a travel nurse:
Change your perspective
It's always easier to say "don't take it personally," than it is to not actually take that comment personally. Instead of dwelling on harsh comments that are directed towards you, look at it as criticism towards the situation. Maybe a coworker didn't like the way you handled a patient's complaint, or maybe a patient made a comment about liking something better when another nurse did it. Take these comments with a grain of salt, your coworker or patient are mostly likely frustrated with the situation instead of being frustrated with you. Instead of perceiving these comments as personal criticism, take a step back and look at the situation from another perspective. Is your coworker frustrated with you, or with the training you were provided by the facility? Does the patient like something better when another nurse did it, or do they have a preference to how that task is done?
Get feedback from someone you trust
Maybe you're overthinking the situation. Perhaps you're not sure how to handle harsh feedback. Reach out to someone you trust, like a family member or a nurse friend from you last job, for insight into how they would've handled the situation. This lets you analyze the situation from a different perspective and can help you think differently moving forward. "Someone who knows you well can help you to sort the situation out and present a different viewpoint about what occurred," Rose O. Sherman, EdD, RN, FAAN wrote for Emerging RN Leader. "You may just have been hypersensitive."
There's no denying that you'll run into people with poor attitudes during your ventures as a travel nurse, but don't let it keep you from pursuing the career of your dreams. Think about all of the kind individuals you get to meet and places you get to explore as a travel nurse. This reminder can help you grow that thick skin and continue to pursue travel nursing.