Part of the excitement of travel nursing is the variety of experiences you’ll encounter. In your travels across the country, you will meet people from all walks of life and all backgrounds. Even if you’re a social butterfly and seasoned traveler, it is normal to feel a little nervous meeting new co-workers and working with new patients—but there are many ways you can get to know your new colleagues and help break the ice.

Ask Questions
Get to know your new co-workers and patients the easy way: by asking questions. Showing interest in their stories and backgrounds is the best way to develop rapport and overcome early shyness in a new assignment. Even if you feel like a fish-out-of-water in your new assignment, you’ll likely discover much common ground. Find a topic of conversation your new patient enjoys and go with it.

Keep an Open Mind
Depending on your assignment, you are likely to encounter different customs and work habits in your new environment. It may prove wise to go with the flow at first: try to adapt to the pace of your colleagues, get into the rhythm of your patients. Even if things seem a miss or unfamiliar at first, try to respect the expertise of your coworkers and make an effort to understand new protocol and procedures. You’ll feel at home in no time!

Accept Invitations
The most important thing in establishing yourself in a new assignment is to maintain a positive attitude and make yourself available to staff who are friendly to you. If lunch out with your co-workers is the norm, you will do well to head out and get to know you’re new colleagues at first—even if there’s something you’d rather be doing. Putting in time in the beginning will pay off in the long run.

Be Yourself
Finally, remember to be yourself and be honest about who you are and where you come from. Don’t worry about projecting an image—just be friendly, professional, respectful, and maintain a positive attitude about your new assignment. You’ll find that remembering these simple rules will reduce any discomfort you’ll have in a new situation. Don’t expect the worse: you’re likely to make lifelong friends!