August 16, 2022

Finding Community on Your Healthcare Travel Assignments

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve just had to pick up and go, and it’s become second nature.”

Nicole, a hospital contract manager with TNAA, was born into a culturally diverse military family that stayed on the move during her childhood. She grew up not only in multiple states but in multiple countries, including Panama, Germany, and the United States. Her time in the United States included moves between Puerto Rico, Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina.

Nicole and husband traveling

“Growing up on base, I was used to seeing kids from all over the world,” she recalled. “The one thing we had in common was that we had so much culture. It wasn’t something you thought about, really. I didn’t hear about any division or anyone making fun of people because of their background.”

Nicole’s transition into civilian life was a stark contrast to the acceptance she felt in schools on military bases. Like any child, she was looking to carve out her identity. Her mother is from Panama, her dad was born in the United States and raised in Germany and Italy, and Nicole experienced a bit of it all. But in the civilian world, her expression of her heritage was often invalidated by her peers. She felt that she couldn’t claim her heritage because she wasn’t “Latin enough,” “German enough,” or “American enough.”

“When you hear that stuff when you’re really young, it doesn’t sit well with you,” she explained. “It kind of scares you and makes you question who you are. There was a big shift for me from then on because I started seeing how many people had biases in the world.”

While her peers in school tried to invalidate who she was, Nicole has embraced her multicultural background as an adult.

“I like to say I’m a chameleon. You could stick me anywhere, and I’d figure it out. I’d adapt to where I’m at,” Nicole explained.


Healthcare travelers must also adapt and thrive as the career keeps you on the road. As you branch out of your comfort zone, Nicole advises staying empathetic and open-minded. Make friends who have different backgrounds. Be willing to listen and learn from others.

“Just because someone is different doesn’t mean it’s scary – it’s exciting!” she said. “I like change. It gives me energy, and I like people who welcome it the same way. I try to portray that energy so that I attract that energy.”

And as you embrace different communities on each assignment, don’t be afraid to show yourself along the way.

“Be unapologetically you. Don’t be scared to be vulnerable with people,” Nicole said. ”Be respectful of the culture, but once you learn that culture, jump in and show people who you are. Some travelers I know make friends who are friends for life.”

Find Your TNAA Community

At TNAA, our healthcare travelers and internal employees represent diverse backgrounds, beliefs, abilities, and interests, and each person has a unique story. Learn more about your TNAA community, and share your story with us by posting on Instagram with #facesofTNAA and tagging @travelnurseacrossamerica in your post.