In her own words, Kelley tells us what it’s like to walk a mile in her travel nursing shoes…
I have been a nurse for nine years and a travel nurse for two. My nursing career goal from the start was to be travel nurse as I always enjoyed traveling.
What I like most about travel nursing is that I get to enjoy traveling the country with my BFF — aka my husband – and, at the same time, I get to enjoy regular time with my children and grandchildren who live in different states.
We actually travel in a Tiffin Motorhome so our grandchildren are always excited to go “camping” with Grandma and Papa Tony!! Beyond being mobile, the advantage of traveling in our motorhome is that we don’t have to pack up to move each time I go to a new assignment as we have our own bed, food and belongings with us everywhere we go! Another major advantage to motor-homing is that we camp at local campgrounds, so we get local information from local people; sometimes I even meet other travel nurses! The only disadvantage of traveling in our motorhome is that there truly are some bumps in the road and accompanying repairs because, after all, we are moving our home on wheels and over potholes!!
My advice to new travelers? Treat every new assignment as your first job, and one that you plan on staying with for a while. I also suggest becoming a “local” as it helps you to feel comfortable with your new situation more quickly. Ask questions, be helpful, and come in with a “can do” attitude. Through your actions, let people know: I am here to help and eager to work with you. I enjoy learning from others as much as I hope they enjoy learning from me. We all have one goal in mind: to help others. The end result of this attitude is that I have extended or at least been asked to extend at every assignment.
My favorite travel assignment was one I took in Indiana where we lived at Jellystone campground and spent the whole summer with my grand-daughters!! They love camping, and we were able to participate in lots of activities with Yogi Bear and friends during my time off. It was a summer to remember! They also were able to fly to New Hampshire on my last assignment to spend a week with us there. My travel adventures are enhancing their life experiences for sure.
Another good habit is that I always arrive early to my new assignment destination. I visit the hospital once or twice so I know the hospital and the layout as well as the travel time to work. I use Google maps to uncover more details about our location and figure out where to bank, laundry, shop, etc., so I feel as comfortable as possible – as soon as possible – in my new location.
The scariest part of an assignment? Initially, it was the uncertainty. I extended at the end of my very first assignment and then – two weeks from completion – I was told the hospital was cancelling all travel contracts! I was devastated!! I contacted my recruiter Donna right away, as I did not know what to do – all I knew is that I was going to be jobless!!! Donna got right on it and went out of her way to make sure I was okay. She even called me in the evening during her off hours! Lucky for me I had a great relationship with my manager at the hospital who had given me a heads up about the situation. I was also lucky to have Donna who was awesome in making sure I had another assignment lined up and I received some compensation for those lost weeks.
And Advantage RN? I have to admit I have not had a single bad assignment with them — even when my assignment got cancelled early. I actually went back to that same hospital the next year! How things can quickly change! I have to also say that Donna Cresanta – who is the only recruiter I’ve ever worked with – is the best recruiter in the business, and everyone from Payroll to Compliance and in between at Advantage RN has been awesome to work with!! I plan on traveling with Donna and Advantage RN as long as there are places to work and visit. And that currently looks like a long time!
Inspired by Kelley’s story? Then join her and become a travel nurse! The team at Advantage RN is here to help you meet your professional and personal needs. With thousands of jobs around the country, there is sure to be one just right for YOU. Check out Advantage RN’s Hot Jobs, and begin planning your career as a travel healthcare professional today and be sure to connect with us via: