We sat down with some stellar travel nurses and asked them about the challenges and triumphs they’ve experienced in their travels. Here, travel nurse Jamey Rains talks about avoiding hospital politics, learning from new environments, and enjoying the ride.
How did you get started as a travel nurse?
A nursing school friend of mine was a travel nurse. She posted on Facebook, asking if any of her friends wanted to give travel nursing a try. That’s how I got my start — it was appealing to me. I have two kids — one who I’m putting through college. Though I travel a bit further from home for my gigs, travel nursing helps me make better money to support my family.
I work with a great group of people at TotalMed. I haven’t had to do much legwork on my own because everyone there — the recruiters, the support staff, everyone — has given me all the info and guidance that I’ve needed.
What are some things you love about travel nursing?
I love new environments, new learning opportunities, and new people. I love meeting new people.
There are so many travel nurses. Whenever you go to a new hospital, you meet other travelers, so you make tons of friends along the way. You learn how to make each other feel welcome, and you have a common ground. That really helps you to connect.
I also like having more control over my world than I did when I was a core staff member. I don’t have to deal with the politics being a permanent part of one hospital. I don’t have to get caught up in what benefit changes the hospital is making or the fact that they’re cutting PTO. I love not having to deal with that drama.
If the facility isn’t great, if the people aren’t great, then hey, in just 13 weeks, you get to go the the next place. It’s not permanent, it’s not your life. It’s nice to leave and feel that you’ve accomplished something, that you helped exactly as you needed to.
What challenges do you face as a travel nurse?
It’s tough to get acclimated to the new facility. Most travel nurses have pretty easygoing personalities. We adapt and adjust fairly. With that outlook on life, you don’t face tons of challenges — though people may define challenges differently. But for me, the biggest challenge is learning where everything is. You get better with that over time, too.
What advice would you give to a travel nurse just starting out?
If you’re welcoming, if you’re open to suggestions, then you’ll have a much better time getting along with new staff. Every facility has its little quirks. Some places take things more seriously than others or put more importance on different aspects of the job. It’s important to learn what’s most important to the core staff in every hospital you work.
Be open to the way they do things. You might not understand at first, or you may have been trained another way, but the best way to learn is to stay open to how every hospital does things just a little differently.
Just enjoy the ride! Every situation is what you make of it. So, it’s really important to have a good attitude.