Travel Nurse Spotlight: Taking on New Adventures Across the Country
In the Travel Nurse Spotlight series, HCT Today is highlighting travelers’ own unique stories and perspectives.
Working more than 40 hours a week with very little time for vacation or recreational activities, Renee B. and her husband, Gabe, were ready for a change. With 25 years of experience as a staff nurse, which includes 19 years in endoscopy, Renee looked into the healthcare traveler lifestyle and in 2018, her and her husband began a new exciting chapter in their lives.
They were intrigued with the “tiny house, big living” phenomenon, which also happens to be a great, flexible housing option for travel nurses. In 2018, they “pulled the trigger, bought the RV, the truck, and started the downsize mission,” Renee said.
And they were off! Renee started working with a few different travel nurse agencies and was happy to land her first travel RN assignment in Upstate New York. Renee shares what travel nursing has taught her so far.
Renee’s Travel Nursing Tips
- Budgeting. As pay and cost of living varies from state to state, Renee recommends creating a weekly budget for each assignment so you know exactly what you can afford.
- Deal-breakers. Communicate any deal-breakers you have with your travel healthcare agency, whether it’s the type of shift, call duty, length of contract, location, etc.
- Recruiters. Renee highlights having and maintaining a good relationship with your recruiter. They are your main supporter and oftentimes become a friend. If you have unresolvable issues, ask for someone else.
- Networking. While travel nursing, you meet a lot of different people in various departments. Take advantage of those connections. You can gain tremendous insights about other units or hospitals by just asking others.
- Extending. Use extensions to your advantage. For example, Renee extended her first travel RN contract while she waited for her California license to process. She extended in California because she wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather before the summer heat.
- Patience vs. Perseverance. Traveling has so many moving parts and you’re constantly introduced to new things, experiences and people. Having a patient, open attitude always wins.
“Remember to have fun, and know it’s only 13 weeks if you’re not having fun,” Renee added. “Personally, my stress level has decreased tremendously. I know that no matter what, the assignment is temporary, and I always put my best foot forward from the get-go.”
Exploring Coast to Coast in a RV
Florida-natives, Renee and Gabe love the traveler RV lifestyle and experiencing new cultures across the U.S. For every new location, she does thorough research for the best things to do and places to go, including The Food Channel’s Guy Fieri’s favorite places to eat. While on her first assignment in Albany, New York, they visited Lake George, Niagara Falls, Saratoga and of course, the Big Apple.
“Traveling on the road has allowed us to see various treasures in the country’s landscape,” Renee said. “We’ve been able to live amongst the natives of each state and experience local cuisine, activities, history and climate. Every weekend and every day off is a potential getaway to explore historical landmarks and attractions.”
Since traveling, Renee’s mindset has changed. She no longer prejudges a new area without seeing it for herself, which is how she has found many “diamonds in the rough” throughout her travels.
Renee’s favorite travel RN assignment so far was in Bakersfield, California. “Not for the city but for its location,” she added. “We were able to do so much exploring in California including Winchester Mansion, Hearst Castle, San Francisco, Pismo Beach and Los Angeles.” Her and her husband also attended the popular TV game show, The Price is Right.
Meeting new friends along the way and cultivating lasting relationships has also been a big part of traveling for Renee. Friendships lay the foundations for possible reassignments in the future or planning a fun visit to see each other.
Currently, Renee is working in Dallas, Texas and is already booked for a new contract back in her home state of Florida at the end of the summer. Renee and Gabe eventually plan to move home in two years to spend more time with their grandchild and family, but for now they’re loving the flexibility and adventures of RV life across the country.
In the Travel Nurse Spotlight series, HCT Today is highlighting travelers’ own unique stories and perspectives. Want to share your story? We’d love to hear from you.
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