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  1. Mee, Cheryl L. RN, BC, MSN

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I always wanted to be a travel nurse but never took the plunge (although a dip in warm waters sounds particularly appealing at this time of year). Many of the benefits of travel nursing seem fairly obvious: flexibility, rewarding opportunities in new environments, possibly sign-on bonuses and incentives. But have you considered the additional benefit of learning from new groups of people, meeting new colleagues and friends, and perhaps even learning about people from different cultures?

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Although I recently taught a class on cultural diversity, I'll never be an expert in all cultures. As a travel nurse, you have a unique opportunity to learn more about other cultures firsthand. If you're caring for a patient whose culture is unfamiliar to you, ask him about it. You'll probably find, as I often have with my patients, that he's proud to tell you about his heritage and beliefs, and your questions show your respect for his culture.


Observe his body language and eye contact when he interacts with family and friends to help learn respectful communication practices and learn about his cultural beliefs related to health. For example, he may consider direct eye contact rude in some circumstances. Follow his lead to communicate respectfully with him and his family. Your knowledge and sensitivity can make a big difference in his recovery.


The travel experience can be so enriching, and I hope that you pursue the possibilities before you. Rather than being intimidated by the unknown, experience new people and cultures-and enjoy the rewarding and unexpected treasure that travel nursing offers.


Bon voyage!!


Cheryl L. Mee