MedPro Blog

Avoiding Burnout in Your Travel Healthcare Career

To paraphrase the late, absolutely awesome Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), “Being a healthcare professional isn’t for sissies.”

If you’re an experienced nurse, PT, OT, pharmacist, speech therapist, or other allied healthcare worker, we don’t have to tell you how much of a toll working in healthcare can take on your body as well as your emotions.

Burnout is not uncommon. In fact, according to a 2013 survey conducted by and Harris Interactive, (and reported in, more than 60 percent of respondents reported that “heavy patient loads, smaller staffs and higher stress levels” were causing them to feel burned out.

Working as a traveler has its own stresses – the constant moving from one apartment to the next, learning an assignment location’s particular ways of doing things, leaving family and friends behind and then leaving new friends behind as you leave one assignment and go to another. And so on.

Signs of burnout include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Lack of motivation
  • You find it harder to pay attention and/or concentrate
  • Your on-the-job performance slips
  • You’re not taking care of yourself (not exercising, not getting enough sleep, eating junk food too often)
  • Thinking about work, even when you’re not at work
  • Feeling less satisfaction and joy in your job/career

So, we’ve put together some tips to help you spot the signs of burnout and how to avoid it.

  • Build a support network wherever you work. Yes, it can be harder being the “new guy” or “new gal” at your assignment location, so you’re probably going to have to be the one to reach out to your new co-workers. Invite them over to your apartment for pizza or ask one or two to join you for a walk during your lunch break. In other words, reach out and get to know your co-workers!
  • Speaking of walking, make sure you exercise regularly. Walking is possibly the perfect exercise, as it requires no special equipment, no special clothes (except for a good pair of walking shoes) and you can walk just about any time. Swimming, exercise classes, running/jogging, skiing (in winter), etc., all can help keep you from becoming burned out. Many forms of exercise are easily done with a friend, thus helping you build a support network.
  • Work to make sure you get consistent sleep for 7-8 hours at a time. We know this can be hard, especially if you’re working the 2nd or 3rd It’s also hard getting a good night’s sleep in new surroundings. But do what you can to get that rest. Sound sleep is critical to keeping your mood up and staying healthy!
  • Make sure you take the time off allotted to you as a traveler. Don’t feel guilty for taking a full hour for lunch and even heading outside to eat your lunch under a tree. If you’ve been volunteering for overtime regularly, talk to your work scheduler about making sure you get three to four days off in a row at least once during your assignment. If you have a two-week vacation scheduled with your family between assignments, and your staffing supervisor calls you with a “terrific” assignment, turn the assignment down!

If you’re an experienced allied healthcare professional and would like to take your career in a new direction, consider working as a healthcare traveler. Contact a recruiter at MedPro Healthcare Staffing today.