Saturday, February 14, 2009

Travel Nurse-Why Not?

When it comes to the subject of Travel Nurse, there seems to be a few topics that you can explore. I think the first is, why? My wife and I got so tired of being in hospitals where the management was mediocre. The fact that nursing managers are not paid as well as other managers in the same tier means that there is little in the way of motivation for top quality managing types to be drawn to the profession. We have enough trouble recruiting students to even consider nursing as a career. AOL cited a study that stated by the year 2012 there would be more nurses leaving the profession than coming in. Scary wouldn't you say?

Travel nursing has gained in popularity because of the short handedness of all of the hospitals in the country. My wife and I could go anywhere to find an assignment. We were even able to have the same schedules and work the same shifts regardless of common sense rules for that type of hiring. There are a staggering number of nursing vacancies across the country.

Being a travel nurse was appealing to my wife and I because we both have a spirit of adventure that allows us to go somewhere and blend in to the staff and explore a new area. There are so many areas of the country that we have a curiosity about what is it like to live there. The decision to become contract nurses enabled us to go explore.

The road was not always an even one. There were roadblocks along the way. We worked in one hospital where the words "get the traveler to do it", had a very ugly connotation reminscient of the old south and the slave days. Some folks at some of the hospitals we worked wouldn't get too close because they didn't want to be hurt when we left. The issue of loyalty came up several times It was hard to explain to people that the choice to travel was, in part, a business decision. We were broke when we started and getting on the road and doing a few contracts was the quickest way for us to get back on our feet. We were getting dangerously behind on our mortgage and were able to pull that mess out of the tank in one assignment. It wasn't easy and we sacrificed in other areas but the point is it was possible to do that because we were travelers making better money than we were as staff.

Compact Licensure gave our Nursing License and us a portability to move around a lot and not have to constantly apply for new licenses. At the end of our traveling we had 22 states we could go and work and only have a New Mexico License. We declared residency in that state and that was all there was to it. Granted, there were some silly issues along the way pertaining to licensure. We were told, before we went to Virginia that it was a walk through state. It was not. We worked with temporary licenses while our applications were processed. I had to get an extension and was actually on my last day before the second one would expire when my license arrived. Ironically, Virginia joined the Compact Licensure in December of the year we were there. Our agent said it was a walk through and we took her at her word. She was wrong. Thankfully we had all of the paperwork required to get the process started.

Travel nursing had some pitfalls. Recruiters and their agencies was one area we had friction with until we finally settled with two companies. I guess to say much more would spill the beans on my ebook. There are several areas to consider before you decide to travel. It is a gypsy kind of life.

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