Make Friends as a PRN Nurse

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Being a professional nurse is regarded by many as one of the most rewarding careers in the field of healthcare. At the same time, a nurse’s workload involves long shifts, demanding day-to-day tasks, and advocating for their patients under pressure. With that said, there is currently an increased need across the country for PRN nurses who can pick up shifts and cover urgent staffing needs.

Here at Nursa, we have seen loads of PRN nurses make life-long friends while picking up PRN nursing shifts. However, a newbie within the PRN nursing field may find that a spontaneous and varying schedule makes it challenging to build rapport and connect with their new nursing colleagues. We totally get it. That’s why it’s super important for a new PRN nurse to inform themselves about the best ways to “break the ice” and make friends with new coworkers while picking up and covering shifts in different medical settings. 

Are you a PRN nurse, or do you aspire to be one? Read on to discover some excellent tactics to help you break through and build better rapport with your nursing colleagues. 

The Pros and Challenges of Being a PRN Clinician

A pro re nata or PRN nurse only works when needed, making this a highly lucrative position for medical professionals looking for competitive pay and flexibility. But how can on-call PRN nurses build strong bonds with new colleagues? Is it even possible? Absolutely. In fact, we have proof.

Nursa places hundreds of PRN nurses in different locations and medical facilities every day. Subsequently, many of our nurses put in repeated requests to work at the same facility where they met a coworker that they hit it off with. And while most PRN nurses enjoy picking up a variety of shifts at different locations, some individuals may find that traveling and establishing connections with coworkers can be difficult at times due to time constraints and fleeting schedules. Needless to say, this is a valid concern and even more of a reason to understand the best ways to build bonds with coworkers, despite being a PRN clinician. 

How Can a PRN Nurse Build Connection with Their Coworkers? 


First, Ask a Ton of Questions

Lengthy shifts, varying work styles, and even power struggles may hinder a PRN clinician’s ability to form connections with fellow colleagues. Ultimately, in any professional environment, a dynamic mix of personalities will be bundled together and expected to work together harmoniously. Obviously, this isn’t always going to be the case, but there are still plenty of strategies that can help a diverse group of personalities to work together as a cohesive unit. 

With that in mind, one of the best ways to build lasting, strong bonds with your nursing coworkers is to ask a whole bunch of questions. This may sound like an annoying tactic to use while getting to know your nursing colleagues. However, when it comes to communication within a healthcare setting, over-communicating is an extremely valuable tool. Therefore, asking questions and learning how the full-time staff and managers prefer to have things done is key to connecting with new clinician colleagues. 

For example, let’s say a hospital has a particular way they like to organize and maintain medical records while doing a daily handoff of information at the start or end of every shift. Or, maybe a medical facility has a preference on how to administer medications or perform physical assessments and treatment plans. Simply ask how facilities prefer these types of tasks to get done. In the end, asking questions and clarifying your team’s preferences while working as a PRN nurse is one of the most effective ways to establish camaraderie within a new working environment. 

Next, Find Common Ground 

The next best way to form relationships with new coworkers while working as a PRN nurse is to find common ground. Depending on your personality, this may require stepping outside your comfort zone and asking a coworker during lunch break about their interests. This conversation could include asking a clinician coworker about their culinary interests, hobbies, family life, etc. You may find that common ground and lifestyle preferences will enable you to form an initial connection. 

Finally, Lend a Helping Hand or Two 

Firing up a conversation and finding common interests is a great way to form relationships while working as a PRN nurse in a new environment. Additionally, showing that you’re willing to go above and beyond and help out can go a long way, especially in a medical setting. This extra mile means extending a helping hand willingly and consistently, including anything from paying extra attention and adhering accurately to medical protocols to taking out the trash without being asked. Also, pick up after yourself and your other nurse colleagues if needed. In other words, if you see a mess, or make a mess, go ahead and clean it up. Full-time nurses will take note and genuinely appreciate the help. 

We All Need a Little Help from Our Friends—Even Nurses!

PRN clinicians who work varying schedules should prioritize friendships to help make their work more enjoyable, as well as that of their coworkers. At the end of the day, full-time nurses will also appreciate PRN nurses’ ability to cover shifts and share new knowledge with the team. With that said, one of the surest ways a PRN nurse can break the ice with new coworkers is to communicate, ask questions, find common ground, and consistently extend a helping hand. 

Furthermore, PRN nurses may also benefit from the relationships formed within their work setting. One Harvard Health Publishing (HHP) review showed that strong social connections can improve health and increase longevity. Therefore, nurses who work in demanding environments need to offset their stress with meaningful relationships. 

Nursa providers often go into a new facility and jump right into working with people they’ve never met. This type of work can be both exciting and daunting. Luckily, PRN nurses now have the opportunity to join our online community. Here, clinicians can join the conversation, share stories, make lasting connections, and ask questions to other healthcare professionals.
Are you a PRN nurse looking to meet new faces in new places and make friends while enjoying a flexible schedule? You can start using Nursa today and find a facility that accurately matches you to the perfect job for your lifestyle. 

Written by Laila Ighani

Laila Ighani is a writer and editor for Nursa™. On the eternal quest to find the right work-life balance in her own life and curious to a fault, she loves researching topics and sharing ideas that might make others’ lives a little easier and more fulfilling. After years of teaching English, she finally feels that working in this role at this company is exactly where she needs to be. In her free time, Laila enjoys exploring the great outdoors with family and friends and reading novels accompanied by a good cup of coffee.

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