Many of us think it would be fun to be a travel nurse. But not many take the plunge as it is a risk that we don't think we can/should take advantage of. In this article, I share the most significant memory of my time as a travel nurse.
Like many of you reading this article, I always looked at travel nursing as an excellent opportunity for the adventurous and risk-takers. It always looked like fun, but the opportunity never presented itself to me to make the change.
New Year's Eve 1987
My memory begins on New Year's Eve in 1987 when I visited my then-boyfriend in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He had moved there a few months earlier for a new job, and we were trying to make a long-distance relationship work. We were out to dinner on New Year's Eve, and he proposed to me!
As we talked about the next steps, we knew we would live in Fort Lauderdale as his job was there, and he was happy. I said I was open to moving as I knew I could get a job as a nurse. As we discussed our plans, we decided to get married as soon as possible so we could start our new lives. I left Fort Lauderdale on January 2, 1988, with a list of things to do in a very short time.
When I returned to work after my vacation, I let my manager know I would be getting married on March 12 and resigning on March 1st. Everyone was happy for me as they knew this was what I had wanted!
Next, I had to figure out how to sell my condo and my fiancé's home. I was lucky as I knew a realtor who could handle both properties, and she said this was an excellent time to move. I signed the paperwork for my condo, and she worked with my fiancé on his home via phone.
Discovering Travel Nursing
One night, I read a nursing magazine, and I saw an advertisement for a travel nurse company. I read about it and learned that those who signed a contract, the company would move you, set you up in a job, and provide housing! The best part was that they had opportunities in ICU, the ED, and Med/Surg in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. I could not believe it and called the next day to check out the process. I learned that the commitment was for 6 weeks at a time. If I liked it, I could renew the contract!
The recruiter said there was an opening in the ED at Imperial Point Medical Center, a small community hospital in Fort Lauderdale. The next day, I was set up for a phone interview with the nurse manager. We talked, and she told me about the staff and the setup of the ED. I was happy to hear I had the credentials and the experience they required. The interview went well, and they had 7-3 with an occasional 3-11 shift open which would work perfectly with my future husband's schedule. The nurse manager offered me the job, and we agreed on a start date of April 1st.
My next call was to the recruiter to let him know the outcome. We talked about moving and living arrangements. He said he would have the moving company call me to set up a date when they could move me and the process. He also told me that this assignment came with a housing option. My future husband had been living with a friend he worked with, so I knew we would want our own place, so I signed up for housing.
In a week, I had put my notice in with the nurse manager, put my condo up for sale, booked the church and the venue for a reception, got a new job and a place for us to live in Fort Lauderdale! I was starting to breathe a little easier.
Over the next few weeks, I checked off other to do’s and all of a sudden it was my wedding day, March 12. The wedding and honeymoon went well. After saying goodbye to my family and friends a few days later, we took off to Fort Lauderdale.
On April 1st, I found my way to the hospital and was greeted by one of the ED nurses at the time clock. She said, "Are you Anne? You must be the new nurse who just got married? Let me show you to the ED” It was a nice start to a new job. I was welcomed by the staff, and everyone asked me how I managed to get married, leave a job and move to Florida in such a short time. I told them being a travel nurse and a little luck allowed things to fall into place!
Living at the apartment complex was fun. My husband and I were happy to be together and starting a new life. We loved the apartment, and it was full of travelers who worked at the hospital I was working at so I knew people. I worked the day shift and 3-11. My husband had a similar schedule. We made sure we had the same day off to explore the area and take in the sights.
On the days I worked from 3-11, I spent time at the pool and met the other travel nurses staying at the apartments. It was interesting talking to them and learning where they had been and their experiences on previous assignments. Listening to them, I thought, “why didn't I ever do this before” ? Looking back, I think I have the personality to be a traveler: I am flexible, I get along with people, and I have always adapted to new situations quickly. Taking the travel nurse assignment gave me a new career option that fit perfectly with how I am, and I am so grateful that I explored the opportunity.
Travel Nursing is A Flexible Career
For those who want something different, are flexible, and like to travel, I highly recommend checking into travel nursing – it would be a great career move! Learn more about travel nursing and how Tailored Healthcare Solutions can help jumpstart your travel nurse career.
About Anne Llewellyn: Anne is a registered nurse with over 43 years of experience in critical care, risk management, case management, patient advocacy, and healthcare training and development.