Written By: Infinity Scrubs
Life as a travel nurse can be both exciting and rewarding. It allows you to see new places, meet people from all walks of life and enhance your professional skills. No matter how much a travel nurse loves their job, though, homesickness is a common problem. Even the nicest short-term rental unit rarely feels like home, and it can be challenging to adjust to being far away from friends and loved ones.
However, the good news is that there are many ways to make temporary housing feel cozier. Whether you’re new to travel nursing or a seasoned pro, here are a few things you can do to make your temporary residence feel a bit more comfortable.
Unpack and Organize
If you want your temporary housing to feel like home, you need to treat it like home. That means not living out of your suitcase for the duration of your contract. From your favorite modern scrubs to your toiletries, unpack everything and neatly organize it in your new space. Fill up your closet with stylish scrub jackets for women and other work and casual essentials, and organize the kitchen and bathroom to your liking.
When you’re finished, put your luggage away rather than leaving it out. Tucking them away is an easy way to make your temporary residence feel less temporary.
Do Some Decorating
Time and space constraints make it impractical to redecorate every temporary home completely. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add a few personal touches to make the space feel more like your own. Bring along some of your favorite photos and artwork, and display them. If you’re staying in a tiny apartment, adding a few inexpensive mirrors can make the space feel larger, too.
Think about investing in a few small, easy-to-pack accent lamps. While your temporary digs may have plenty of overhead lighting, bright ceiling lights don’t create much of a homey feeling. Adding a few accent lamps can make your living space feel warmer and cozier while eliminating the sterile feeling that lingers in many short-term rental properties.
Bring a Pet Along
Nothing makes a short-term rental feel more like home than having a furry face waiting for you when you return from work at the end of a long day. Roughly a third of travel nurses bring a pet along with them, and the practice is widely accepted.
Keep in mind, though, that you may incur additional costs when traveling with a pet. Many short-term rental owners require additional fees or deposits for pets. Your furry friend may also need veterinary care while you are on the road. For most people, though, the financial costs are negligible compared to the amount of joy and comfort their pet brings them. Furnished Finder is a great place to search for temporary accommodations that allow pets.
Pack Your Own Linens
Linens are commonly provided in fully furnished short-term rentals. This is convenient, of course, but it doesn’t make the unit feel like home. If you have room to do so, consider packing your own bedding. Whether it’s a favorite set of sheets, a cuddly blanket, or your pillows, having your own bedding to cuddle up in at the end of a long day evokes a sense of peace and comfort.
Add a Houseplant
Did you know that houseplants are scientifically proven to improve one’s mood and ease stress? In addition, the act of taking care of something — even something as simple as a houseplant — supports mental health.
You don’t have to have a green thumb to have a houseplant. Plenty of plants are easy to care for and adapt well when being moved from one location to another. If you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for plant that’s difficult to kill, a snake plant is a great option. Snake plants require very little maintenance, and they do a fantastic job of purifying the air.
Don’t Live on Take-Out
When you arrive in a new city, head to the grocery store to stock up on everything you need to prepare home-cooked meals. Eating every meal out is unhealthy, and the cost adds up quickly. Cooking for yourself is a powerful act of self-care that is incredibly comforting.
Filling your new home with the aromas of cooking and enjoying your favorite flavors is a great way to make yourself feel more at home. Plus, inviting your fellow travel nurses to your place to enjoy a home-cooked meal is an excellent way to make new friends and combat loneliness.
Get to Know Your New City
When you aren’t working, spend some time checking out local coffee shops, stores, and restaurants. Say hello to your neighbors, and ask them for recommendations on the places you absolutely must-see while you are in the area. Go for a stroll around the neighborhood. Exploring your surroundings may seem a bit intimidating at first, especially if you are new to travel nursing. Still, it really will help you feel much more comfortable in your surroundings.
Temporary Housing Doesn’t Have to Feel Unfamiliar
Whether your assignment lasts a few weeks or a few months, your temporary place of residence doesn’t have to feel cold and unfamiliar. With a little bit of planning, you can make nearly any space feel warm and cozy. From bringing your pet or some of your favorite things from home to exploring your community, there are many ways to make yourself feel more at home while traveling.
From travel nursing beginnings to seasoned pros, the tips listed above will help you overcome homesickness and make it easier for you to enjoy the perks of working in a new city.
Written by: Infinity Scrubs
Nurses are healthcare workers who have incredibly stressful — and often thankless — jobs. And, right now, they need support more than ever before. Whether there is a nurse in your family or you are looking for ways to show your support and appreciation for healthcare workers as a whole, there are several things you can do. Here are a few suggestions.
Make a Donation
Even as more and more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, healthcare professionals will still be feeling the effects of the virus for a long time. While personal protective equipment has become more readily available, donating essential supplies is an excellent way to show your support for healthcare workers in your community.
Whether you stock up the healthcare worker in your life with antimicrobial laundry detergent, drop off some N95 masks at a local hospital, or even make a financial donation to a healthcare organization, your contribution will be greatly appreciated. You could even sponsor a lunch for the employees at your doctor’s office. If you aren’t sure what to donate, contact a facility or organization in your area to find out what they need or want.
Financially unable to donate cash or supplies? Consider donating blood instead. The Red Cross has an ongoing need for blood and platelets. If you are eligible to donate, your donation could save lives and help healthcare workers care for their patients.
Give a Thoughtful Gift
Healthcare providers don’t expect to be rewarded for their jobs, but thoughtful gifts are always appreciated. Consider buying some high-quality mens’ print scrub tops and giving them to a nurse or doctor you know. Or offer to cover the cost of a pair of new nursing shoes. This type of gift is thoughtful and practical and would be appreciated by anyone who works in the healthcare industry.
If you would rather give a gift that is not work-related, gift cards for local restaurants and entertainment venues are always appreciated. A spa day or an appointment with a massage therapist would make a great gift, too.
Remember that a great gift does not have to cost a lot of money. If you have kids, help them make cute gifts to pass out to local healthcare workers. Even a tiny token of your appreciation will mean a lot.
Help Them at Home
If you personally know a nurse or another healthcare professional, offer to help them out at home. You could lend a hand with childcare while at work, prepare a healthy meal, or offer to mow their lawn or tidy up their house. Even picking up their grocery order or running simple errands would be greatly appreciated.
Healthcare workers are exhausted. By offering to help them out at home, you give them the gift of having one less thing to worry about. When it comes to lending a hand, no gesture is too small.
Don’t Clear the Shelves in Stores
Hoarding is not as problematic now as it was in the early days of the pandemic, but there are still those who panic buy much more than they need. And, in doing so, they make it difficult for people like nurses to find supplies. Folks who work long hours don’t have time to run from store to store trying to find toilet paper or other essentials. Make their life easier by not clearing the shelves when you go shopping.
Also, this should go without saying but do not “stock up” on supplies by taking them from hospitals and doctors’ offices. Even if it seems like they have an abundance of face masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and gloves, etc., these supplies are not there for you to take and use at home. Medical facilities do not have unlimited supplies of personal protective equipment and other essentials. By taking what they have for your own use, you take it away from the healthcare workers who desperately need it and drive up healthcare costs.
Say “Thank You”
Showing your gratitude and support does not have to be complicated or cost a single cent. Remembering to say “thank you” when interacting with nurses, doctors, therapists, and other healthcare professionals is a simple gesture that could mean the world to someone with a rough day.
Working in healthcare can be a thankless job. And, during stressful times, feeling unappreciated is even more difficult. Anytime you interact with or see a healthcare worker, offer up a smile and a thank you. You might make someone’s entire week better.
Remember That They Are Human
Healthcare workers have been the superheroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to remember, though, that they are human at the end of the day. They face many of the same challenges as you are, and they have the added stress of having incredibly demanding jobs.
Recognize that nurses and other healthcare workers — especially those working on the frontlines — face unimaginable hardships. Let them know how much you appreciate them and cut them some slack if they don’t seem quite as cheerful as usual. They have had to show superhuman strength over the last several months, but don’t let that make you forget that they are human.
*This post about nurse gifts may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure page for more info.
From stylish and comfortable nursing shoes to badge clips, new nurses need all sorts of things when beginning their careers. While they have likely acquired some stuff while in nursing school, it is never a bad idea to acquire some new gear to prepare for their first job. With COVID, there are some supplies that nurses need now that would not have been necessary in the past.
When you consider the added stress of graduating into a pandemic workforce, it is clear that 2021 nursing school graduates could also use some fun and light-hearted goodies to brighten their day as they embark on a challenging journey.
Whether you are thinking about giving something practical or something fun, here are some ideas for the special nursing school grad in your life!
Badge Clips and Stethoscope IDs
Any new nurse would love a cute badge clip or stethoscope ID, especially one that matches her personality or interests. These accessories always make great gifts, and they will not break the bank.
If you are shopping for someone you are close to, consider stocking their closet with cute printed scrub tops. High-quality scrubs are durable, comfortable, and sure to make any new nurse feel great. For nurses graduating into a pandemic workforce, scrubs with antimicrobial properties make an especially great gift.
Many nurses are on their feet for 12 (or more) hours each day. A good pair of compression socks help with blood circulation and can help the wearer remain a bit more comfortable throughout their shift. Compression socks come in countless colors and designs. Choose ones that match the intended recipient’s preferences or interests.
For nurses, a high-quality pair of comfortable and supportive nursing shoes are a must. This might not be the best gift to give as a surprise, though. Instead, let the nurse in your life know that you would like to buy him or her a pair of nursing shoes. Let them pick out their preferred brand and style, and then cover the cost for them. Giving the gift of happy feet is a wonderful option, but it’s best to let the recipient pick out and try on their new shoes themselves.
While nurses know the importance of staying hydrated and tell their patients to drink plenty of water, many do not consume nearly enough themselves — especially while they are at work. Dehydration is common among nurses, but you can help by giving durable drinkware that will keep water cold all day long.
Cell Phone Sanitizer
Did you know that a typical cell phone is ten times dirtier than a toilet seat? Yikes! Nurses’ phones are exposed to germs, bacteria, and other nasty things every day. Help your favorite nurse stay safe by giving her a cell phone sanitizer. These handy devices kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria in just six minutes, and they are must-have items for anyone in the healthcare field.
If you are looking for a fun, fashionable, and practical gift, you cannot go wrong with a smartwatch. Used for everything from tracking steps to checking emails to looking up medications, a good smartwatch is like a personal assistant that wraps around your wrist. Check out the best smartwatches for nurses to find one that is perfect for the new nurse in your life.
Is the nurse in your life starting their career on the night shift? If so, a set of black-out curtains is the perfect gift. They are an absolute must-have for anyone who works nights and can help your favorite nurse get some much-needed sleep during the day. Add a pair of earplugs, and you have an easy gift that will be deeply appreciated.
Badge Reference Cards
Just about every nurse has a hard time remembering everything they learned in school when working in the real world. From medications and diagnoses to daily tasks, nurses have to remember countless things while on the clock. Badge reference cards are a great gift because they act as a quick reference guide to medications, medical abbreviations, and much, much more. Several companies make these handy reference cards. MDpocket is one great option, though.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Nurses always need PPE, but it is more important now than ever before. Unfortunately, it has come to light in the COVID-19 pandemic that many hospitals and other medical facilities do not have nearly enough equipment to protect all of their employees adequately.
To keep your loved ones safe, consider giving them a high-quality reusable mask. A 3M respirator (with extra filters) is a good option. The EnvoMask, a reusable NIOSH N95 respirator mask, offers superior comfort and has a secure seal that keeps glasses from fogging. If you don’t know what brand or style of mask the intended recipient would like, ask. As a recent graduate who will be starting their first real-world healthcare job amid a pandemic, they likely have a certain type of mask or other PPE on their wishlist.
Rest and Relaxation
The next several months will likely be challenging for the nurse in your life, and that’s putting it lightly. The first year of nursing is always difficult, but entering the healthcare field presents even more issues during a pandemic.
If you are looking for an awesome gift for a new nurse, consider giving the gift of rest and relaxation. There are several ways to do this, and it does not have to cost a lot of money. Gift certificates for massages, pedicures, and other pampering services are always appreciated. They certainly are not the only options, though.
Offer to prepare a healthy dinner and drop it off at your loved one’s house on a work night, watch their kids so they can go out and do something they enjoy or ask if they need some help tidying up around the house. An act of love that eliminates a bit of stress is always a great gift.
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*This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure page for more info.
While every day is a great day to show appreciation for the nurses in your life, the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) official National Nurses Appreciation Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th. Since 1896, the ANA has supported nurses and promoted the nursing profession through special events, continuing education opportunities, conferences, and much, much more.
If you are looking for heartfelt ways to celebrate a special nurse in your life, there are plenty of options. From giving them a new pair of supportive and comfortable nursing shoes to sponsoring a luncheon where they work, here are a few of our favorite ways to celebrate National Nurses Appreciation Week.
#1. Give the Gift of New Gear
Any nurse would be thrilled to receive new scrubs, nursing shoes, or compression socks as a token of your appreciation. Scrubs for women come in a wide variety of colors, styles, and patterns, and men’s scrubs are pretty stylish, too. This makes it simple to find something to suit virtually anyone’s taste.
Because nurses spend 12 or more hours on their feet each day, nursing shoes and compression socks make great gifts, as well. Ask the nurse in your life to give you a workwear wishlist (including sizes) and give them some new gear to celebrate National Nurses Appreciation Week.
#2. Treat Them to a Gift Certificate
Saying “thank you” with a gift certificate is always a good option and works especially well if you would like to show your gratitude for a nurse you do not know personally. Gift certificates for local restaurants and spas are popular options, but there are plenty of creative alternatives. Covering the cost of a fun activity — like ax throwing or wine tasting — is an awesome and unique way to help someone unwind.
#3. Sponsor a Workplace Luncheon
When you want to show your appreciation for more than one nurse, sponsoring a luncheon is the way to go. Whether you have pizzas delivered to your doctor’s office, coordinate with staff to buy lunch for the nursing staff at a hospital, or give a nearby clinic a large gift card from a local restaurant, sponsoring a meal is a great way to say thanks.
And if buying lunch for an entire nursing staff is a bit out of your budget, taking a nurse you personally know out for a meal or having dinner delivered to their home works, too. Whether you go big or go small, a free meal is something that everyone appreciates.
Nurses appreciation week
#4. Share a Thoughtful Gift
Being a nurse is a grueling and stressful job. Help the nurse in your life unwind by giving him or her a thoughtful gift. A set of cute wine glasses — and a bottle of wine, of course! — a cuddly bathrobe, a relaxing candle, or even a box filled with their favorite sweet treats would all be great gifts for helping someone special unwind.
If the nurse in your life loves tea, consider giving her an adorable teacup and a selection of tasty loose leaf teas. If the nurse you know enjoys gaming in his free time, present him with a popular new game or one from their wishlist. Think about the things that make the recipient happy, and give them a gift that matches their interests. When it comes to giving a gift to help someone unwind, a little bit of thoughtfulness goes a long way.
#5. Get Your Kids Involved
Gifts from adults are great and always appreciated. There is something extra special about a handmade surprise from a child, though. Have your little ones make cute “Thank You” cards for the nurses at a local doctor’s office, hospital, nursing home, or even veterinary office.
If you happen to be a teacher, daycare provider, etc., consider having everyone work together to make something special. Even an adorable video of your students or the kids in your care saying “thank you” would make any nurse feel special.
#6. Have Coffee Delivered
Most nurses power through their days with the help of copious amounts of caffeine. Give them a break from the usual hospital coffee by having the good stuff delivered from a local cafe or coffee shop. A tasty cup of coffee is a great way to put a big smile on just about any nurse’s face, so this is an awesome way to show your appreciation for the nurses at a clinic in your area.
#7. Give the Gift of a Helping Hand
If someone with whom you are close is a nurse, one of the best ways to show your appreciation is by helping them out. Show that you understand how hectic their life is and that you want to lend a hand by offering to clean their house, watch their kids while they are at work, or prepare a meal for them on a work night.
Lending a helping hand may not seem like a huge deal because it doesn’t require a major financial investment. For someone who is working 12+ hours a day, though, the gift of help is priceless. Offering your assistance is a true gift from the heart, too, and one that shows how much you care.
Closing Thoughts On Nurse’s Week
There is no wrong way to show a nurse how much they mean to you. Celebrating National Nurses Appreciation Week is an excellent way to make a kind gesture, but remember that nurses deserve our gratitude every day. They put their own needs aside and dedicate their lives to taking care of other people, and they are there for people on some of the worst days of their lives. The least you can do is treat them with kindness and respect and remember to say a heartfelt “thank you” from time to time.
The ideas above are just a few of the many ways you can show appreciation for the nurses in your life. Feel free to get creative, come up with another kind gesture, or ask the nurses you know for suggestions.
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Mental Health Check For Healthcare Professionals
When it became clear that COVID-19 was a pandemic in early 2020, many in the healthcare profession began referring to doctors and nurses as “like soldiers going to war.” But the truth is that managing mental health issues among healthcare professionals in the United States has always been an ever-present and tricky situation. The arrival of COVID-19 further highlighted many major issues that have always been there.
Registered nurses and other healthcare professionals willingly put the needs of others before their own under very stressful circumstances, many of which involve severe illness and loss of life. Moral injury is now a common term that more accurately describes how moral consciousness and values become injured for healthcare workers in the aftermath of horrific work events. These distressing events often produce extreme guilt and shame – and lead to mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and in extreme cases, even suicide.
Over the course of my nursing career, I have seen this many times. I have often tried to explain to friends and family (who don’t work in direct patient care) about the physical and moral demands that are placed on nurses. But unfortunately, I have found that if you aren’t there to witness it directly, then you don’t have the experience to really understand it. As a result, many healthcare professionals are gaslighted and think the problem is them, and not the healthcare system they are a part of.
It helps to look at the big picture and know that you are not alone in your struggle. Take a look at the below infographic to see how mental illness is affecting healthcare workers since the pandemic started and what you can do to help yourself.
You can find additional information about resources for frontline workers struggling with moral injury and mental health amid COVID-19 here.
Take care of yourself first, always.
Graphic created by Mozzaz.
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(This post about what to wear under scrubs contains affiliate links. See our disclosure page for more info).
Many nurses and other medical personnel appreciate the gift of wearing medical scrubs to work for each shift. And who can blame them? After all, scrubs are as comfortable as a set of pajamas, and they take the guesswork out of what you should wear at work each day. They can also save you a lot of cash that you would otherwise spend on clothing over time.
Some medical institutions require that you wear a specific color and brand of scrubs. This can offer additional benifits – both for staff and visitors. Assigned scrub colors help patients and other staff understand what you do. For example, when I was a nurse at UCLA Medical Center, all of the nurses wore navy blue, the CNAs wore army green, our ER techs wore bright blue, and anyone who worked in radiology wore brown. Assigning a scrub color helps patients and family members to know what you do when you walk into their room, which can help alleviate a lot of confusion.
At the medical spa I work at now, all nurses wear Figs scrubs in black (side note, the FIGS jogger scrubs are the best scrub pants I have ever worn!). Patients automatically know who the clinicians are, and it gives the office a more professional, streamlined look.
Needless to say, scrub uniforms are great for many reasons. But unfortunately, they don’t leave a lot of room for individuality. You may even begin to feel you are lost in a sea of medical staff, and after a while, that might feel a little boring.
But there are other ways to project your own style that are both functional and fashionable. And it may also help you out if you are wondering what to wear under scrubs in winter when it’s cold on your commute into your 6 am shift.
What do nurses wear under scrubs?
There is a common term that nurses and other medical professionals use to explain what they wear underneath their scrub uniforms, and that is “underscrubs.”
Underscrubs are exactly what they sound like they would be – clothing designed to be worn under medical scrubs. They are often as comfortable as the scrubs themselves, durable to last hundreds of washes (depending on the brand), can add a flair of color, and will keep you warm in the coldest of operating rooms and medical units.
(Many underscrubs can be worn alone as workout gear. So, if you work out, you will definitely get your money’s worth on many of these items!)
What do you wear under scrub tops?
One of the best ways to make sure that you have enough under scrub tops to make it through the week without having to do laundry after you get home from a long shift is to buy them in packs of 3 or 5. That way, you know you will have one to keep you warm when you are at work. They come in 3/4 sleeves and long sleeves.
#1. Adar Long Sleeve Underscrub for Women (3 Pack)
What to wear under scrubs pants?
There are many options for you to stay warm under your scrub pants. A pair of breathable yoga pants, thermal underwear, or form-fitting spandex shorties are always a safe bet. You want to make sure that your scrubs are loose enough for the material to fit underneath your scrub pants. If necessary, you may want to size up a little on your scrub pants if what you want to wear underneath is not form-fitting.
What to wear under white scrubs?
In all honestly, white scrubs have never made a lot of sense to me. Studies have shown that when a nurse wears white scrubs to see a child on a pediatric unit, they appear scarier and even more intimidating than nurses who wear colorful scrubs with cartoon or holiday themes. Not to mention that they also clearly display every blood and bodily fluid stain, which looks pretty gross from a patient’s perspective.
Even more importantly, though, depending on the material, white scrubs can sometimes show your underwear! If that is the case, you want to wear something neutral, so underneath won’t show through.
Even though white scrubs can be a pain, many institutions and nursing schools require white scrubs as part of their medical uniform. If you are in this group, you have no choice but to wear them for the foreseeable future. But the good news is that there are still options that you can wear under your scrubs to stay warm and be comfortable.
A white underscrub will help keep you warm without breaking the rules. But if your workplace or school allows it, consider a colorful underscrub so you can stand out from your peers.
Since my early nursing days, I have been a big fan of compression socks when I worked as a novice nurse on a neuro/trauma unit. Unfortunately, I didn’t start wearing them religiously underneath my scrubs until the middle of my first pregnancy.
There is something about compression sleeves that I like even more than compression socks – I think they provide more compression. And I also wear them when I work out go running as well!
The most obvious thing that you might expect a nurse to wear underneath their scrubs is compression socks. You can find them in all different colors and patterns, ranging from the silly (like bugs bunny or polka dot) to festive (like Halloween or Christmas themed), and everything in between.
I rarely see a nurse in a boring pair of compression socks. Why would they, when it is one of the few ways medical workers can bring some unique style to their medical uniform?
I hope this article helped you answer the question, “What do I wear under my scrubs?” One final tip you might find helpful is to bring your scrubs with you to the store so you can try your underscrubs on with your uniform before you commit to buying.
If you are ordering online (and who isn’t these days), try them on with your scrubs before removing any tags. You don’t want to wear them to work before realizing that they don’t fit right or aren’t comfortable, so you can return them if necessary.
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