TRAVELER EXPERIENCE BLOG - CAITLYN E. (2)
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 2 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.
What made you choose OneStaff Medical?
Kayla Cash is the reason I chose OneStaff Medical. She has proved through example that she is not only a recruiter who can find you exclusive contracts but also genuinely cares about your needs as an individual at the same time. In my experience, this is not a trait that all recruiters exhibit. Furthermore, many companies are so large that they cannot adhere to your needs due to the amount of nurses that they employ. Each time I ran into an issue on an assignment, staff was friendly and efficient in resolving problems that I had while on assignment. Kayla still reaches out to me from time to time to chat and catch up about my life. At OneStaff, they genuinely try to build a relationship with you as a nurse and connect with you. You will not feel as if you are “just another employee”. Instead, they will integrate you in their family.
Where have your nursing travels taken you so far?
I have lived in Charleston, South Carolina (6 months), Burlington, Vermont (9 months), Washington, D.C. (3 months), Bangor, Maine (3 months), Charlottesville, VA (3 months), Eureka, CA (1 year), San Francisco, CA (1 year) and presently Los Angelos, CA.
Where do you hope they will take you?
My goal for travel nursing was to absorb the world by experiencing new cultures that will ultimately help me evolve and grow. The last 5 years of my life proved to help me expand past my comfort zone and forced me to do just that. I have been searching to find a professional community that would invest in me. I have also hoped that I would land in a place that brought me an abundance of joy and happiness. One in which I could eventually call my new home. OneStaff Medical played a role in aiding me on this journey to find a place in which I could settle. I am thrilled to announce that I am starting a new chapter in my professional career by taking a full time job at Cedars-Sinai in the cardiac step down unit, 5NW. While the travel nursing stage in my life is now over, I am confident to say that I can return back to this lifestyle whenever the time arises and calls me back to being a nomadic spirit.
What challenges have you faced in your travels?
I’m not sure where to start with this question. Traveling has been difficult for me because I develop very deep connections with other nurses who have the same lifestyle. Because you experience similar emotions such as loneliness and frustrations when starting a new contract, these friendships are unlike others that I have had before. Each time I moved to a new location; I mourned the loss of the place I had left. I then would become elated by the adventures that I sought with newfound friends. 6 weeks into the assignment, I would find myself reminiscing of home. I also found that I became homesick for multiple places simultaneously. We humans are fickle creatures, ha. 9 weeks into the assignment, I realized that time was my biggest unrenewable resource. I would spend my days off with friends exploring the outdoors, eating at the local’s favorite cafes, and soaking up every minute I had with these individuals I may never see again. I’d develop nostalgia for a place in which I still lived. It’s a process of emotions that I felt the entire time I was on the road. Work was challenging due to the fact that you were constantly learning new things. In saying that, there are national similarities that don’t change. I have gained experience throughout my career that stationary nurses can never comprehend. Every facility has the “best evidence-based practice” and deems their procedures to be the most advanced. I learned very quickly to observe and mold myself into the new environment. When I left a facility, I took the information that I had gained and applied it to my practice to improve as a nurse. I have learned that there are many ways to do things and that scientific data within policy is always a safe bet.
Favorite travel memory?
I have so many lovely travel nurse memories that I cannot choose just one. Travel contracts generally had a theme for me - bodies of water, national parks, and teaching facilities. I would weigh out the risk versus benefit of each contract I chose and then make my most educated choice based on financial compensation and my happiness.
Favorite activities to do on days off?
HIKE, surf, roller skate, EAT ALL THE DIFFERENT FOOD, spend time with Leroy, explore the town in which I live.
I love to ask the townies what they do for fun and I keep a notebook in my phone with a list of things to do on my days off! Try it! It’s taken me some awesome places. Even if you don’t travel, you’ll learn to be a tourist in your own town.