We believe hearing from our travel nurses about their experiences firsthand is extremely important; they are full of insight and lessons learned. This is part 1 of 3 of Caitlin's experience as a Travel Nurse. We hope you are able to learn something from her own experience to better your own.
Name and Specialty?
Caitlyn E., RN, ADN - Med/Surg Tele
Travel nursing allowed me to expand my skills professionally from working in Medical/Surgical, Orthopedics, Urology, Limb Salvage, Neurology, Step down Neurology, Trauma, and Step-down telemetry.
How long have you been a traveling nurse?
I have been a travel nurse for 5 years.
How did you originally discover travel nursing?
I was in an abusive marriage at the age of 24 years old. Travel nursing was the path of least resistance that assisted me in liberating myself from an unhealthy relationship. I was able to heal and transform personally and professionally from my experiences on the road. I was also able to pay off my ex-husband $29,000 in 9 months due to crisis contracts that were offered through Onward Healthcare.
What made you want to go into nursing?
At the age of 18, I chose a senior mentorship program with the guidance of a nurse practitioner. I was enthralled by the level of knowledge, Kim Bradley, APRN, gained through her education and experience. She is an iconic example of a humble female that impacts my local community through her practice and personal life. To this day, I still look up to her for the way she lives her life in and out of the workplace. I also have an innate ability to sense others needs and help them. Earning a degree in medicine made this characteristic even more powerful.
How is the travel nursing experience different than being a staff nurse (Pros and Cons)?
Travel nursing allowed me the autonomy to choose what hospital environment I want to grow in. As a new graduate, I was unable to become hired at the University of Kentucky due to my previous nurse technician experience solely in a long term care facility. Instead, I had the opportunity to work in a small community hospital in Danville, Kentucky called Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center. While I loved the sense of community that I had developed at this hospital, I longed for something more, professionally. Over the last few years of travel nursing, I was able to expand my experience to the top rated hospitals in the United States. The first few contracts that I chose to sign were at smaller community hospitals where the nurse to patient ratio was cumbersome. It was difficult to provide the care that I felt like my patients inherently deserved. However, my experience in these communities allowed me the fortuity in refining my skills and practicing more efficiently. I relied on my critical thinking skills to help me advocate my patient’s needs to the physicians on their case. After working at community hospitals for several years, I began to refine my travel nursing search to university hospitals or teaching facilities. This expanded my resume to allow for institutions such as University of Vermont Medical Center, Medstar Georgetown, University of Virginia Medical Center, UCSF, Stanford University Hospital, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. I was able to negotiate the pay along with establishing long vacations in between assignments. On one such occasion, I took a 3-month sabbatical and hiked 800 miles on the El Camino de Santiago. It is a religious pilgrimage throughout the country of France and Spain. Having a full time job would never allow me to take time off from work in order to accomplish a lifelong goal such as this.
A permanent position allows you to have the stability and security of a steady paycheck. I also enjoyed having continual education while being employed at Ephraim McDowell. However, most companies will pay for ACLS, BLS, or other continual education if it is a requirement for your job description. OneStaff is always happy to accommodate your needs if you communicate openly with your recruiter.