As an adult it can be harder to make new friends than it was back on the school playground, at the high school football game, or in your college classes. And some Medical Solutions travelers report that it can be even harder to make friends as a travel nurse. After all, you’ve temporarily left your hometown and all your lifelong friends to advance your career and provide great patient care nationwide.
But, like most things in life, it’s all in how you look at it! Can travel nursing be lonely? Sure, it can, but only if you let it be. What if you took the perspective that your unique lifestyle on the road and all the new people you’ll meet along the way gives you even better chances to make friends? With that mindset, you could end up with dear friends all across the map!
In that spirit, read on for some tips about how to make friends as a travel nurse.
Befriend Your Co-workers
Making friends with your new colleagues is an obvious starting point for travel nurses and travel techs to meet new people on assignment. Getting to know each other better can help you appreciate each other more on the job, and it can be like a batch of built-in friends! Get out of your comfort zone and accept invitations to lunch, coffee, or a drink. Beyond that, don’t be too shy to extend invitations to get together with them.
There will naturally be co-workers you gravitate more towards, but don’t write anyone off. You never know, even if you don’t have an instant friend connection with a particular person, perhaps they could be a connector to another potential new friend, event, or group. Chatting with your co-workers and letting them know that you’re new in town and sharing what kind of friends and events you’re looking for can be a goldmine of friendship possibilities. Remember, most of your new co-workers are locals with established friend and family networks, and they can be a huge help to you in making friends on your travel nursing job!
Be a Joiner
So, other than colleagues, how can you meet new people as a travel nurse? First, follow your natural interests. For example, if you’re into music, check out the bulletin board at the local music shop or at a local venue. If you’re a churchgoer, that can be a wonderful place to meet people open to fellowship. Obsessed with your dog? Head to a local dog bar, dog-friendly patio, or play meetup for pups. Into sports? Find a local, short-term league to join or sign up to be an alternate player. A yoga-holic? Strike up a friendly conversation with a classmate or the teacher after class.
Depending on the nature and size of your location, picking up a newsweekly, local magazine, or newspaper can go a long way toward finding events and groups you’d like to join. If you’re in a smaller town or city, word of mouth is an excellent tool. Just don’t be afraid to join in and put yourself out there. The worst that can happen is it doesn’t work out and you try again.
Be Confident and Genuine
When you’re a travel nurse looking to make new friends, always be sure to be yourself. If you aren’t genuine and honest, you could wind up befriending folks who aren’t drawn to the real you. That’s a dead end. When you’re confidently yourself, other people can sense that and will be more drawn to you, too. Make sure that you also show genuine interest in others, be a good listener, and make eye contact!
Also, just be upfront with people you work with, meet, or talk with. If you’re open about the fact that you’re a traveler in town and would love to make friends and meet people, others will be better able to help connect you. Your average person outside of the healthcare industry will hear about what you do and think a career in travel nursing sounds really unique and interesting, and they’ll instantly understand how to better help you meet other people as a travel nurse.
Find Folks Online
Join online travel nursing communities or search an online platform like Facebook for other travel nurses groups and events in your latest location. Meetup is another great platform for finding friends with similar interests all over. Also, a simple Google search that includes your location and the kind of groups and events you’re seeking can yield tons of results. You can try this same tactic by searching social media platforms. These days, the internet and meet-up apps can be awesome tools. Just make sure you keep it safe and maybe meet in a public location when you first get together with a new friend you met online.
Reach Out to Old Friends
Whether it’s a pal from back home or a friend you made on a previous assignment, keep in close contact with your existing friends. Not only is it great to catch up with them but talking with them via phone or video chat will help keep your social skills sharp and remind you why you’re clearly awesome and someone anyone would be lucky to call a friend. And don’t be afraid to tap your existing friends and family to see if they know anyone in your new location.
As you’re building your skills and resume on the road, being proactive about making friends as a travel nurse will also help you grow socially and personally. You were brave enough to take the leap in travel nursing, so you can most certainly conquer this too. Just put yourself out there in a genuine way, be brave, and you’re sure to find many new friends all over — and that means people to come back and visit!
Now it’s time to hear from you seasoned travelers: What tips on making friends as a travel nurse can you share with new travelers?