Nursing is a calling that strikes a chosen few, some of whom know they’re meant to be in the field early in life – Carly is one of those nurses. Recognizing her passion for caring for people, she decided she wanted to pursue the profession way back in middle school. She’s been realizing her dream for three years now, and has specialized in pulmonary, post-op and med-surg. Now that she’s working as a travel nurse, her advice to those considering this option might surprise you.
Q1: What triggered your decision to become a travel nurse?
Before graduating from nursing school I was already interested in travel, but I didn’t have the experience yet. After getting a few years under my belt, I was able take the leap and become a nurse traveler. I chose my first assignment’s location because my family is considering a move to this area one day. As a traveler, I can test out the area to see if we would enjoy living and working here. I also have extended family who lives here, so I’m getting to spend time with loved ones I wouldn’t get to see otherwise.
Q2: Do you think there is a certain point or time in everyone’s life or career stage that we should start evaluating new adventure or opportunities?
I absolutely think people should evaluate their opportunities for the adventures of travel nursing. You can go anywhere and do anything as a travel nurse, and get paid for doing what you love to do. If anyone has the opportunity, they should seek out travel nursing.
Q3: How did your prior clinical experience prepare you for travel nursing?
After finishing school I wanted to do something that would give me the best experience, so pulmonology and post-op helped educate me on all aspects of nursing. Now that I’m in med-surg as a travel nurse, it comes easily to me and I’m comfortable with what I’m doing.
Q4: What’s the most rewarding part of being a travel nurse in your specialty?
Going to help a unit that needs help. It can be different everywhere, but everyone is very appreciative of me being there. Patients are similar anywhere you go, but I’m always doing what I love and helping a community of people.
Q5: Describe a typical day in the life of a travel nurse. Did it take you a while to sync into a rhythm of work/play in a new city?
It came naturally – the first few weeks were the hardest, with getting used to a facility’s different way of doing things. I’ve learned that it’s important to plan ahead so I can make the most of my time off.
Q6: What advice do you wish someone had given you before your first assignment? What advice would you give someone else?
For your first assignment, try to find a facility that uses the same charting system you’re using to ease the transition. There are plenty of aspects in a new environment that you can’t control, so already having familiarity with the charting allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the other things you’ll learn as a travel nurse. Remember you’re there to help a unit in need, and if it’s not your favorite place you won’t be there forever.
Q6: What’s was your favorite thing about your assignment?
The adventure of being in a new place. I like to challenge myself and learn new things, to not be in comfort zone. The patient population in the area I’m traveling is different from what I’m used to. Meeting new types of people is exciting.
Q7: How would you describe the whole experience of working with a recruiter?
I met my recruiter, Anna, through a traveler in the hospital where I was working on staff. Coming highly recommended, Anna reached out several times, gave me the most information, replied quickly, and overall prepared me for the experience of travel nursing.
Q8: What will be your advice to candidates who are evaluating their next steps in their careers or just life, in general?
Don’t be afraid to take the next step; reach out to a recruiter or someone who can give you more information. Working with my recruiter eased the nervousness of trying something new, and made the process so easy. Put yourself out there, get information – it might not be as scary as you think.
If you’re thinking about putting yourself out there, and would like to learn more about becoming a travel nurse, contact Cirrus Medical Staffing to be put in touch with a recruiter. Carly said it best – it might not be as scary as you think!
Check out our travel nursing jobs for med-surg, post-op and pulmonary nurses on our job board!