On the first day of your travel nursing assignment, you’ll learn all about the new hospital or clinic, their procedures, equipment and, most importantly, their people. Sometimes other nurses feel nervous around new travel nurses, and that’s okay! They want to make sure that their patients are getting the best care, and that you’ll do a good job. Here’s how to win the trust of your coworkers and patients on the first day. We’ve included some GIFs — because contrary to popular belief, building trust is fun and easy!
1. Be credible
First and foremost, you need to be a good nurse. It might be intimidating on the first day, but you’ll need to work hard, and show the other nurses that you know what you’re doing. You likely know the basics — show up on time, dress neatly, and work effectively. But beyond that, remember to be confident in what you know. Lots of hospitals and clinics like having travel nurses, because they bring a new set of skills from working at other locations. Don’t be afraid to show them off.
2. Don’t forget to be human
While people will trust that you’re credible, they won’t completely trust you if you come across as too calculating or intense. If you’re nervous, it can be difficult to be warm and relatable, but a big part of trust is being able to relate to your coworkers and patients. Even if you’re nervous, take small steps: smile when you meet people and crack jokes when you can (but remember your credibility). Hopefully, you’re excited about your first day — let everyone know how excited you are to work with them.
3. Ask questions
This may come across as the opposite of credibility, but asking questions is a great way to earn trust. Your coworkers don’t want someone who acts like they know everything. Take the time to ask questions about things you don’t understand. By asking questions, you end up increasing your credibility by helping your coworkers see that you’ll ask for clarification when necessary.
4. Stick to your word
A very important part of trust is consistent follow-through. If you offer to do anything for a coworker or patient — from completing some paperwork to getting a snack for a patient — it’s absolutely paramount that you follow through on it. If you get busy and can’t complete what you offered to do, communicate that with your coworker or patient. If they’re relying on you to do something, and you don’t do it, you quickly lose trust, and it becomes more difficult to earn back.
5. Tell the truth
We know people have told you this since grade school, but tell the truth. Dishonesty causes people to instantly lose trust in anything you do. This includes small things such as your explanation as to why you were a few minutes late to huge things like how much experience you have. It may be tempting to stretch the truth, but you’re better in the long-run if you stay 100 percent honest.
6. Use your body language
One of the easiest ways to gain trust is to use your body language effectively. Make eye contact with the people you talk to. Stand up straight. Use hand gestures, and avoid fidgeting your hands. Keep your arms open, so people know you’re comfortable with them. Last, react to what someone is saying with your body — nod along, look focused when someone talks about detailed information, laugh with something that’s funny and frown over things that are sad. All of this may seem natural, but if you’re nervous, it’s harder to do all this. Take a deep breath, and actively work with your body to show that you’re engaged and interested in the conversation.
7. Follow up
So you’ve earned trust on your first day. Congrats! While it’s most difficult to earn the initial trust, you keep trust by following up on the work you did to earn that trust. Continue to be credible. Keep asking questions, and ask follow-up questions if you need to. Thank people for taking the time to answer your questions. Keep being consistent and honest, and admit to any mistakes you make. Check on your body language, especially if you’re feeling tired or stressed. Overall, trust is about communicating that you care about your patients, your coworkers, and everyone’s happiness. Show that, and you’ll be set for any travel nursing job you take.
Do you have any tips you use to gain trust as a travel nurse? Share them in the comments below.