Friday, December 22, 2006
Hi all, I am blogging this time in reply to a comment on my last post. Lots of nurses and nurses-to-be out there still have lots of questions on how this travel thing works. I understand, I had lots of questions when I started too. Here are the basics as I see them, please send questions if you have them. First, most companies won't hire a new grad, they require at least a year of experience. I think a little longer would be better, but, I started traveling after 10 years of experience. There are tons of companies out there, like going to buy a car, have a list of things you must have and the rest is fluff. I require insurance day one. I refuse to pay for a one bedroom furnished apartment. I require a TV and some place that is cable ready. I need a first floor apartment. All these little things you can ask for. You can ask for a bigger apartment but most of the time you will have to pay a little. You can travel with whomever you want, husband, boyfriend, kids, dog,cats, or another nurse. You generally get travel money at the beginning and the end of your contract in your first and last paycheck. It's all about the same 400-800 dollars. I require weekly paychecks not bi-weekly. You can stay with one company or switch with every assignment. For me it all depends on who has what I want. Believe me not all companies have assignments in all the cities where you want to go. Sometimes they do and you can see who will pay you the most or give you better housing. Assignments are 4 weeks to 6 months or longer if you extend. I have not done a 4 week assignment but I think I would. I have been here in Phoenix since August and plan to stay until April. Whether you stay or not depends on the hospitals needs and how well you get along with others. Being a traveler means being flexible and calm. I have been floated after 4 hours on my unit, one time after I got report in the morning and just started seeing my patients I was asked to go to another unit. I smiled and said sure, if that's what you need. We are here, not as doormats, but as helpers. If you treat others as you wish to be treated, you won't be mistreated. Most hospitals don't purposely try to aggrevate their travelers, they know we have a network and let others know which places treat you well. I don't expect to be treated like a staff member, because I am not, and I don't wish to be...I am there to fill a need. Most hospitals give you 2 days orientation, one day of half hospital orientation and half paperwork and a day of orientation on the floor. Some places give more, I have had up to a week of orientation at some hospitals which I think is great, it's like free money to me. All I have to do is sit in a classroom and stay awake for 8 hours? No problem. I also see it as a waste of money for them. I won't retain half the stuff they are trying to tell me once I get out there. Lots of traveleres complain about their schedules, I think it's a waste of time to complain. If there is a certain day or days you have to have off, have it put into your contract or tell the staffing person on the first day of your orientation. We have to be flexible. I personally love to work weekends, there are less doctors around and on the weekdays I can go and shop and play while people are at work. Hmmm, what else? I travel with my husband and our dog. No, he does not have a 9-5 job. He sells on Ebay and does all the house work, plus he drives me to and from work. It's a rough job, but he got used to it. I have met people that travel with their husbands or boyfriends and they get jobs in each town they go to. I also have friends who do exactly what we do, I work and he stays home and does housework and cooks. It can get rather boring for him but he tolerates it because it's better than the alternative. Yes, we survive very well on one income because we have no housing costs. The hard part is the in between assignment times...we have to plan for the trip to the next assignment and for the amount of time I will not get a check. But, a little planning and it's no problem. Yes, I get to pick where I want to go and for how long. I have left an assignment without notice, but we had our own housing at the time so we incurred no cost. If we had lived in corporate housing we would be responsible for the remainder of the cost of the housing. Yes, I make lots of friends along the way and it's hard to leave. But, sometime your friends follow you when you go and it's a blast. Well, can't think of any more...send me your questions. Happy travels and first do no harm.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Hi all, I've been really busy with the holidays and working. It's amazing to me how many people come and go at Good Sam. One nurse I worked with yesterday is moving to Texas just before Christmas, too expensive to live in Phoenix plus she is a country girl. She grew up in the midwest and so did her husband, they ended up out here because of college. Arizona State University is one of the largest universities in the country. Also, one of our nurses is fulfilling her National Guard duties this week and next week. That's how I got my extra set of hands. It's really nice to have another person to work with, especially when they want to learn and work. It's funny she's completely amazed that we get out of work on time. I told her it comes with experience. I worked with her all last week, we had a chest tube and a new peg tube, the other nurses on the floor had some patients that got really sick so she got to experience that as well. One of them was going in and out of V-Tach and the other one was in respiratory distress and had to be intubated and they were both taken to ICU. All that before 9 am...I hate mornings like that. But my extern got to see what all happens, the code team and the resource nurses showed up and we were able to focus on the rest of the patients. Giving insulin and pain meds to the other nurses patients and making sure they are all safe. It was a good team work experience. I really enjoy teaching new nurses, I know some people don't. I spoke with another nurse who also has an extern, but all the extern wants to do is talk about her personal life and go on breaks. I have a really hard time with people like that. I am at work to work and take care of people, socializing is low on my list of priorities. Maybe that comes from experience as well, maybe it's just a character flaw. Either way, I'll keep it and I think my patients appreciate it as well.
Other than that I'm trying to get my Christmas shopping done, mostly online, while working 48+ hours a week...not easy but it will be worth it. Because on Christmas day I will be in my favorite place ....Las Vegas. Nothing like the sound of slot machines and Christmas carols...it's amazing. I hope you all have a great holiday...remember first do no harm.