Travel Nurses Tout Professional Growth and Career Opportunities

Written by on September 28, 2012 in Features - No comments speaks to three nurse travelers who share about the opportunities for career growth and advancement they’ve experienced as traveling nurses.

Getting to travel and experience life in different parts of the country is certainly one of the main draws to working as a traveling nurse, but some of the more important benefits are the ways it can advance your career.

Charles Duffield, RN, ADN
Critical Care Nurse with American Mobile Healthcare

“I’d never left the Southeast until I was in college, and I wanted to see the country, so I signed up as a traveler as soon as I was eligible.” explained Duffield, who began traveling, accompanied by his wife, last September.

“The breadth of my experiences and my confidence in my abilities are among the most important things I’ve gained as a traveler,” he said. “My hospital back home in Alabama was a 400-bed, level 2 trauma center. On my first assignment, I was placed in a 900-bed, level 1 center; my current assignment is in a small rural hospital. Through these experiences I’ve become more comfortable taking care of extremely sick patients, and I’ve learned how rural hospitals handle sick patients. I have now worked in ICUs with lots of ancillary staff and almost no ancillary staff.”

Duffield feels that his experience working in well-known Yale University Hospital is now a highlight on his résumé, along with the assurance that he could work with confidence and ease in any hospital in the Southeast.

At the same time, Duffield is also fulfilling his dream of seeing the country: hiking in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, touring Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks, and enjoying the coast of Maine during a beautiful New England fall.

“Travel nursing has opened a lot of doors for me. I’ve now worked in 5 hospitals, and we love it so much we will travel for another year,” he raved. “When I go home I can turn in a résumé listing numerous hospitals that will give me glowing references and who would be glad to have me back.”

Ginger Howell-Matheson, RN, BSN
Medical–Surgical Nurse with NurseChoice

Ms. Howell-Matheson first worked as a traveling nurse in 2005 when her husband was sent on a year-long military deployment to Turkey.

“I chose to become a travel nurse for the money and because I like change,” she remarked. “I especially like assignments in small towns.  Small hospitals just love travelers because they rarely see anyone they don’t already know.”

Howell-Matheson is using the extra money she is earning traveling to become debt-free.  She also relishes the opportunities for professional growth.

“Traveling helps you become very adaptable because you have to hit the floor running. When you are in a new place for only a short time, you have to do what they do. I am very confident in what I do.  I feel I can work in any situation in the United States thanks to my traveling nurse experiences.” she said.

Nurse Ginger, has also worked on a couple of electronic medical record (EMR) conversion assignments, notes that she has seen her computer skills improve as she has learned to navigate a variety of systems.

“I have always had great assignments and I’ve never had any problems,” she reflected. “NurseChoice has been a great fit for me because they guarantee a 48-hour work week, the pay is better and the housing has always been very nice.”

Cherith Douglass, RN, BSN
Emergency Nurse with NurseChoice

In her six months working as a traveler, Ms. Douglass has been pleased with her opportunities to broaden her skill set by performing different procedures, using different methods and tools, experiencing new computer programs and learning new ways of asking questions.

“One of the most significant experiences for the trajectory of my career has been meeting new people.  I love to ask them about their plans and it has gotten me thinking about different ways I could go in my career. It is good to hear different people’s perspectives on education and becoming a CRNA or an NP and about different specialties. It broadens my viewpoint,” stated Douglass. “And now I have a much wider range of nurses, physicians and other clinicians in my professional network.”

Nurse Douglass also values the chance she has had to see different examples of management styles and to be able to apply those lessons as she advances in her career.

“I expect that my future employers will be encouraged to see that I have worked at an institution such as Duke [University Hospital]. Also, because of my experience as a traveler, they will be assured that I can adjust quickly to new work environments and that I can work with a variety of people,” she remarked. “I think everybody should give traveling a try. Having this experience in my background will definitely help my future job opportunities.”

By Megan M. Krischke

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