Are you in a proverbial “rut”? Have you worked at the same hospital for ten or more years? Do you like the staff you work with and the actual work, but not the unit politics? Are the doctors, with whom you work essentially a good bunch of people or is there a definite feeling that they would not support you if there was ever a law suit against them-also implicating the nurses united travel?
This is exactly where I was at, in my nurse career about eight years ago. I worked in a high turnover, fast paced, Labour and Delivery unit at a hospital in Ontario, Canada. Even years later, friends and colleagues from a “sister unit” Neonatal Intensive Care, would say to me “You guys worked like dogs!”
This I knew for a fact. After fifteen years it was time to go!!
I began exploring opportunities in other locations and especially looked at Travel Nursing. One of my good friends told me about her healthcare recruiter and the agency for whom she worked. I made phone contact and began to focus in on my plan. I had been licensed in the U.S. since 1978 after having taken the State Board Test Pool Exams (the ones before the NCLEX) in Oklahoma where I lived for seven years. I had never let that nurse licensure lapse and paid my dues every two years-“just in case”. I knew I did not want to work on a similar unit and was ready for a small, low key kind of hospital experience.
Ironically the first healthcare recruiter I worked with did not manage to find me the type of location I was looking for. I filled out an online application, which I did not realize at the time,went to many different travel nurse agencies.
Within a week a recruiter from one of these agencies called me and we began to look at travel nurse opportunities. By this time, I knew what would be ideal for me so he had a good sense of what I was looking for.
It is important to decide this in advance and also decide if the recruiter with whom you are working understands your fundamental requests. If not, move on or request another recruiter. It is your livelihood so be happy!
My first travel nurse assignment was in Cape Cod, a small, well equipped, brand new unit and I was able to work eight hour shifts on afternoons-no nights. I had long ago decided that at this time in my life I had paid my dues as I had worked night shifts,off and on, for 36 years!
This was one of the best professional experiences of my travel nurse career. I met some really nice people, was credited with actually knowing something from past experiences and felt supported by the staff. Being a registered nurse traveler, I could do my job and go home-not having to get embroiled in the unit politics.
Then, upon return to Canada, the next contract was going to be HAWAII TRAVEL NURSING!! I decided to compromise my desire for no night shift when the offer arrived. Either work night shift and go to Maui-or – don’t!
The choice seemed pretty clear! The result was returning to Maui and its one acute care hospital for five contracts of a six month duration-each beginning in September or October with an extension into March.
Because of this extended five year “experience” on Maui we really were able to become acclimatized to the culture, people and way of life, of course I made life-long friends at the hospital, was invited to many baby showers and events and really became “one of the gang”. We like to think we became Kama’aina- Literally translated means “old timers”.
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