I once thought that travel nursing was something I could never do. I suppose there is no rational reason why I had come to that conclusion, but after my family had grown and left the home, I realized I had more time on my hands. Frankly, I was getting bored and wanted to spice things up, become more adventurous.
Then one day, a friend pulled me aside and talked to me about travel nursing. Though I had never thought about it before, I knew it was something I should at least consider.
Having run the typical rat race and having not achieved some goals I had envisioned, I was quickly drawn to the financial benefits of travel nursing. After all, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result each time, $18 an hour was proving truly insane. So with this goal in mind, I made a decision, albeit hesitantly, to venture down the road I thought I could never take. After talking with several travel nursing agencies I took an assignment. With a pay rate of up $40 per hour, guaranteed overtime and fully paid travel and housing it has proven to be a very wise decision. And my recruiter has been terrific!
My first assignment was at a hospital in Washington, D.C. This hospital was buckling under the nursing shortage and there were several travelers working there at the time I arrived. My first day at the new job was very challenging. As I walked into the OR department, my new supervisor wore a frustrated and anxious look on her face. Suffice it to say, the first words out of her mouth were not, “Good morning,” or “Welcome.” Her first words to me were, “Do you scrub hearts?” I replied, “Yes.” She hugged me and said, “Welcome aboard.” And so began my traveling career.
Through the last few years as a travel RN, I’ve learned so much more than I ever thought I would, things I probably never would have known if I had not taken a chance.
One of the biggest and best experiences has been learning more about myself and the kind of work I’m capable of. I’ve remembered what it was like to begin the day upbeat, to be ready for anything, to make the best of situations as they are, and to carry the poise and confidence to work through difficult or awkward situations, adding a little flair while I’m at it.
Had it not been for travel nursing, I would not have had the opportunity to live and work in places such as New York City, San Francisco, St. Thomas, Hawaii and many more, too numerous to mention. And it is exciting to think that there are so many more yet to be explored. I’ve experienced people, lifestyles and even cultures vastly different from my own, and the wisdom I’ve gained is irreplaceable.
All this began three brief years ago after a simple talk to a friend and working with my recruiter. At my request, last year my recruiter kept me on the road eleven months out of the year, and got me some of the best assignments ever. I’m so thankful for that opportunity, both experientially and financially. I can truly say that travel nursing has been one of the best experiences of my life. And now, when anyone asks me what I do for a living, I can proudly reply, “I’m a travel nurse, and I love it!”
Cynthia Hobrock has been a nurse for more than 27 years. For the last three years, she has been a travel CVOR nurse.