MedPro Blog

Feeling Overwhelmed on Assignment? Here’s What to Do

Every job comes with its fair share of stress. But nursing, especially travel nursing, sometimes has more than meets the eye. Consider long days, busy caseloads, difficult patients and the need to think on your feet! Nurses work hard and it’s important to allow yourself to decompress on a regular basis. So what can you do as a travel nurse to stress a little less?

Too much built-up stress is bad for your health in the long term. With these stress reduction tips, you can learn to calm your nerves:

  1. Just breathe. When you’re feeling frustrated or unsure of your emotions, take a few minutes to breathe. You can calm your autonomic nervous system and heart rate with the following technique: Go somewhere quiet and close your eyes. Then, breathe in for four counts, hold it for seven counts and breathe out for eight counts. Use the 4-7-8 method a few times in a row until you feel your stress melt away.
  2. Ask questions. This is the best way to learn and understand, which can make for a smoother transition to a new assignment. When you need more information to do your best, never be afraid to ask questions of doctors, other nurses or the healthcare team. Good communication is key!
  3. Take a quick walk. Sometimes—especially when dealing with a difficult patient—it may be best to just walk away for a second, if possible. Clear your head, regain your perspective and stay positive. Remember that patients often feel a loss of control over their situation and this can cause them to lash out—it has nothing to do with you.
  4. Build a support network. This can include your fellow nurses, other members of the healthcare team or colleagues from previous assignments. You can also rely on your travel nurse recruiter if you’re dealing with a recurring frustration on assignment.
  5. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep on its own can lead to higher stress levels. Most people need six to eight hours per night to get the full health benefits of proper sleep. Make sure your room is quiet, dark and cool with a comfortable mattress. It can help to keep electronics and pets out of your room, too.
  6. Eat well and exercise. When you take care of your body, it’s naturally able to fight stress. So eat well by including fresh fruit and veggies, lean meats and fish, low-fat dairy and whole grains in your meals, with plenty of water. Avoid processed, fried and salty foods. And even though it may seem hard to do, try to fit physical activity into your day. You may find it helps to get some exercise at home before you get ready for your shift.
  7. Try yoga or Pilates. These time-honored practices can help to build strength and balance while calming the mind. You can join a gym or yoga studio, or visit a website such as, to get in on this popular fitness technique.

Looking for your next travel nurse job?

If you’re wondering how to find a travel nurse job, it’s a snap when you work with a travel RN recruiter like MedPro Healthcare Staffing. The experts at MedPro will help you find placements in the best cities for travel nurses. And because we want each assignment to be your best yet, we offer the MedPro Experience program—providing you with travel nurse tips, support and even gifts while you’re on the road. To learn more and begin your travel nurse career, contact us today at 1-800-866-8108, or apply below.


Keep reading with our past posts: