Ever heard of the description of someone who “wears many hats”? Well, ER Nurse Lisa is just that! We interviewed one of our fantastic Soliant nurses recently to share her story, insight, and advice for other nurses looking for a similar journey.
This amazing nurse has many talents and many responsibilities, including being a mom, wife, PRN nurse, full time summer travel nurse, and nurse educator. During the school year, Lisa is a university nursing instructor along with working PRN shifts at a hospital in her hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Since she has summers off of teaching, she started travel nursing last summer and is back at it again this summer.
How and why did she take on so much, you ask?
Let’s start at the beginning. Lisa always had a passion for helping people in the medical industry, along with a passion for always keeping busy no matter what! She started out as a volunteer firefighter, then took an EMT course and transitioned into paramedicine, where she eventually met her husband. They started a family soon after, and to stay active while raising her boys, she acted as an American Red Cross and American Heart Association Instructor. Because of her family’s background in real estate, she started working in the industry (which helped her learn about how certain areas of housing work – great knowledge for travel nursing) which took a turn when the state administration changed. She had to make a decision of what to do next after that. Lisa thought back to where her heart lies – the medical industry – and worked her way up the nursing ladder. She completed her Associates of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree, then bridged to her BSN and subsequently obtained her MSN. Keep in mind – she was still raising and caring for her family while working this entire time!
Her love for nursing grew to her love for teaching, which led to a position as a nursing instructor at Western Kentucky University. After multiple years of teaching along with continuing to work PRN as an ER nurse for a hospital in Bowling Green, she grew curious about the positive aspects of travel nursing. Could it work out? Would there be opportunities for her to travel just in the summer? Would the dates align with her teaching schedule, and could she trust a company to support her in this transition?
How did Lisa get started with Soliant?
Her first step was to do some research. In this day and age, one of the best ways to find out reviews and personalities of companies and employees is social media. Lisa searched Facebook for nursing recruiters, where she eventually came across a Soliant Nursing recruiter’s page – Andy Millette. She noticed that he was from Eagle River, Alaska, which is just south of her mom’s Willow, Alaska home. This intrigued her to reach out to Andy and see if all the positive content on his page was for real. Once they connected, Lisa was very up front with Andy, explaining her current schedule and needs, and that everything needed to be met in order for a travel nursing assignment to work out. She wasn’t necessarily afraid of traveling itself, but more concerned to make sure she kept up her obligations to her family and work in Kentucky.
Andy did his research to find her a suitable travel position for the summer, which almost didn’t work out due to the start and end dates. Luckily, when the facility called Lisa, they were more than accommodating to her schedule and welcomed her to their team. This started Lisa’s first venture as a travel nurse in Manchester, New Hampshire for the summer of 2015. One of the reasons why Lisa had such a great experience was because of Andy. She says, “everyone needs a recruiter like Andy who tells them what they need [in their contracts].” She and Andy have a great relationship that works because they’re honest with each other. When the summer of 2016 approached, she was more than willing to return to Manchester to take her break and travel.
After Lisa talked about her initial journey into travel nursing, we had the opportunity to ask her some more questions about the experience:
Did you try something new?
This was actually Lisa’s first time seeing northern New England. Her assignment was in a great area that allowed her to explore more major cities like Boston, MA, and is even in close proximity to visit New York. Even better – international travel is just a short distance when you’re working in the northeast, so why not explore it? Lisa took advantage of her work location’s proximity to Canada this summer by exploring Nova Scotia during the week of her birthday. Her middle son, Chase, who shares the same wanderlust for travel, even flew up to celebrate with his mom. Now that’s a great way to celebrate a birthday! When asked which locations she’s dreamed of working in, Lisa enthusiastically responded with Hawaii or the Virgin Islands (but hey, wouldn’t we all love that?)!
Would you go back?
Lisa says, “that’s the big question” every summer. She is happier when she is traveling, and loves the flexible schedule she has during the school year and in the summer. She appreciates being able to work out her nursing schedule to be able to take some time to visit home if needed or take a fun trip for her birthday like she did this year. Because of the positive experiences Lisa’s had with Soliant these past few summers, she’s contemplated traveling more. “In a perfect world,” Lisa says, “I would love to travel all the time.” However, she still has obligations – her family, most importantly – at home, and still loves teaching and working PRN for a hospital in her hometown. If the dates work out for travel positions next summer, she would love to travel again!
What advice do you have for nurses who are considering traveling?
Lisa says (with serious enthusiasm), “DO IT! You’re a nurse! Even if you go back home, you’re going to still have a job wherever you go. Take the adventure – that’s the beauty of this profession.” Travel assignments are typically 13 weeks – according to Lisa, you can do anything for 13 weeks! No matter how challenging or easy a certain travel position is, she encourages trying it at least once. Lisa is so passionate about nursing that her oldest son followed her footsteps into nursing after initially considering medical school. He saw the diverse opportunities his mom continued to seize as a nurse and realized how beneficial and diverse this profession would be for him and others. He met his wife through nursing and is currently completing CRNA school. Lisa’s adventures in travel nursing have encouraged her nursing family and several of her former nursing students to consider pursuing the wonderful world of travel nursing.
Lisa loves to share her proud moments as a nurse on social media, too! Follow Lisa’s travels on her Facebook page.
Ever thought about trying travel nursing but feel as though you have too many obligations? Don’t hold yourself back – as Lisa showed us, it can be done! Check out our latest travel nursing opportunities now!