We sat down with some stellar travel nurses and asked them about the challenges and triumphs they’ve experienced in their travels. In our first interview, travel nurse Megan Nash reflects on the confidence her career has inspired in her, the importance of speaking up for yourself, and how to prepare yourself for your next travel nursing gig.
How did you get started as a travel nurse?
I always knew I wanted to be a travel nurse. It was one of my goals in nursing school – to get to that two-year mark at my home hospital.
But, I loved my home hospital, so it turned out to be not as easy to get started as I thought. It’s often difficult for me to make a decision.
My TotalMed recruiter was really patient. He helped me narrow down my thought process. He helped me see that I could give travel nursing a try.
After I finished my two years at my home hospital in Ohio, I tried a position in Florida for six months. That’s when I knew for sure that travel nursing was for me. It was a great decision.
My recruiter is great, too. Other recruiters are always trying to get me to work with them, but I don’t want to change a good thing.
What are some things you love about travel nursing?
I love everything about travel nursing. I love the change and the new experiences. I love working in different facilities. I love that there’s always a learning opportunity within the job itself. It keeps me on my toes.
I enjoy traveling, but I can’t be on vacation all the time! So, I pick places that I really want to see. I started out in Wisconsin on a surgical floor, and then I started zigzagging across the country — to Texas, to Washington state, and now in Minnesota. The change is always good.
Travel nursing has made me a more confident nurse. I’m proud of the fact that I can go into these new hospitals, adapt to new policies, work with different patient loads and with different coworker personalities.
Travel nursing has given me a push to be a better nurse. When hospitals are going through changes that I’ve experienced in other hospitals, I can be even more of a resource to them than they ever expected.
What challenges do you face as a travel nurse?
Every hospital presents its own, unique challenges. When I read the travel nursing blogs, they say that travelers get the worst assignments or that the other nurses dump on travel nurses. But I haven’t experienced that at all. There are some bad days, but everyone has those bad days.
I don’t feel singled out. One of my supervisors even said, we just knew you could handle the harder assignments. It helps that I’m not one of those people who’s afraid to speak up if an assignment feels too heavy. If it is, I’ve always been able to make a change. The attitude of my supervisors and my agency has always been: we’re here to help.
What advice would you give to a travel nurse just starting out?
Be prepared. Read Google and Yelp reviews of hospitals so you know the kind of environment that you’re headed into.
Be open minded. You’re going to gain a lot more confidence as you go, so you can’t let what anyone says scare you off. Everyone’s experience with travel nursing is different. It’s up to you to decide if you can make it or not.
Be easygoing. You can’t be uptight, and you have to be willing to do things for yourself and for others. Let everyone know that you’re there to help them, that you’re more than just a warm body in the hospital.
And above all, always be yourself. Don’t try to be some idea of the perfect nurse.
Would you like to be interviewed for our travel nursing series? Shoot us an email and tell us a little about your travel nursing experience.