When it comes to nursing, and especially travel nursing, the impact RNs have on patients’ lives is substantial, however, we often forget the impact that travel nursing has on the RN. Beyond the flexible work schedules, travel perks, and high salary packages, travel nursing leaves its mark on the lives of healthcare providers in more significant ways. A few of our travel nurses have shared with us how their new found courage, self-awareness, and sense of adventure developed on the road has changed their lives.
For Dana C., RN BSN, travel nursing has been about taking chances and jumping into situations she never thought she’d find herself. From travel nursing, Dana learned to be unbelievably independent and self-reliant. For her first travel assignment in 2015, she took a leap of faith and quit her job as a full-time non-traveling nurse. Packing her 2012 Hyundai Elantra with only 14-cubic feet of trunk space to the brim with backpacking gear and hiking attire—she drove 2,500 miles to Seattle, Washington—a place she had never been.
“I had never been there or even seen the city until coming over the hill on the interstate. Once there, I solo backpacked, drank delicious beer, toured the city and learned a lot about myself. I have been thrown into various living situations, working conditions, dangerous hikes, and conflicts with myself.”
Over time, the variety of working and living situations helped Dana develop a knack for dealing with the “high-highs of some days and the low-lows of some days.” Dana says, “Travel nursing has made me more self-aware, self-reliant, and self-assured. You reach out to total strangers and lean on old friends and family from two time zones across the U.S. You build up your friendships for 13 weeks, then leave a familiar place with good memories and more friends on Instagram to follow adventures with.”
Debbie C., an RN in oncology and hematology has learned a lesson that we often forget when our day jobs are the same, day in and day out. After switching to the travel nurse life, Debbie’s motto is: “LIFE IS GOOD, not short!” Sometimes that mindset is difficult, especially in oncology where there’s a constant reminder of how precious and short life can be. They say it’s the little things in life, and for Debbie, the ability to “have breakfast at Tahoe, go to San Fran and have seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf, live surrounded by mountains, beautiful water, go to Royals and Chiefs games,” and to even be in the same city when her daughter becomes a mother, and Debbie a grandmother.
Having never experienced vacation as a child, Melissa W., is making the most of her current travel nursing situation, and experiencing adventure to the max. “I have spent two and a half years living coastal, enjoying new places, and making too many friends along the way to even count. I spent my childhood having never known a vacation. Travel nursing has since taken me from the New England coast all the way to sunny California, with many stops along the way to enjoy what I had only dreamed of to this point,” Melissa says. On top of the adventure, Melissa has been able to completely eradicate her debt—meaning a worry-free future for her family.
The courage to explore the world solo has changed travel nurse Johanna’s life. With 11 years under her belt, she doesn’t have plans to stop traveling anytime soon, and has even expanded her travel to her personal life with a trip to Europe in the works. “In fact, I do not think I will ever be able to give up the freedom it allows me. I work when and where I want,” Johanna says.
Taking her road bike with her on assignment means she can explore new areas. Johanna’s sense of exploration has expanded from physical adventure to her career. “Traveling has also given me a high level of confidence in my nursing and people skills. I find that I can easily slide into just about any facility, once you get passed the paperwork, and feel right at home with in no time,” she says.
Travel nursing is a lifestyle change, no doubt about it. Going from a permanent RN to a travel nurse can change your life in other ways, too. As these travelers have shared—it can be anything from self-reliance, and courage—to a new outlook on life.
If a life changing experience sounds like something you’re into, contact us today! A recruiter can walk you through all of the details of travel nursing so you can get started making big changes in patients lives, and your own.