Confidence, resilience, resourcefulness, and humility are some of the main values our PCU nurse Christin instills in her practice. An experienced travel nurse like Christin who’s now working her way into nursing administration truly knows the ropes of the industry. We had the pleasure of speaking with Christin to find out why she started traveling, what’s stood out to her thus far, and what advice she has for prospective travelers.
Why travel nursing?
Originally from South Florida, Christin had been working in the same nursing position for 2 years when she started to feel like it was more of a routine. Though it was a great experience, she felt an urge to change it up and expand her skill set by becoming a travel nurse. Christin yearned to explore other areas of the country and see how other facilities operate, while continuing to do what she loves. What other career allows for that – constant traveling to beautiful areas of the country, gaining experience, learning more from others, and helping people in need? Christin believed this was a win-win, and decided to go for it.
Another reason why she wanted to travel was because she was planning to further her education. Christin is now enrolled in grad school, studying Nursing Administration and Financial Leadership. Being able to travel, work and explore facilities across the nation not only builds up Christin’s experience – it also opens her eyes to different processes and policies that either work well or might need improvement in certain areas of healthcare. Seeing and actually being a part of how different hospitals treat certain patient populations, handle administration conflicts, and disperse funding is not only interesting, but also essential to Christin’s educational and professional growth.
Her husband is 100% supportive of Christin, as his job requires consistent travel. They have a great system of planning trips to see each other every couple weeks or so, and they always schedule times to chat over the phone or via FaceTime. These two have similar goals, so as Christin says, “the idea of travel nursing couldn’t be more perfect.”
How did Christin start with Soliant?
As many other travel nurses do, Christin started by doing some research on social media. Since there are a plethora of travel nursing staffing companies out there, it’s tough to determine which one is truly going to give nurses the support they need. Christin found one of our senior nursing recruiters, Andy, on Facebook. She noticed how much he posted on several nursing Facebook groups, and also how frequently he posted about his family and kids. Christin was thoroughly impressed with the family values Andy exuded on his profile and felt that he was more than just a recruiter. He seemed like someone she could trust to “take care of her” when she was on an assignment. Her first phone conversation with Andy confirmed this feeling, and it has grown ever since! She appreciates the personalized support, consistent communication, and attending to her questions, which isn’t always available from other recruiters or companies. Christin does admit she gets calls from other recruiters, offering positions, but she sticks with Andy and Soliant because she knows she will be taken care of no matter what.
What does Christin like most about travel nursing?
Christin believes that traveling makes nurses more “well-rounded.” She’s been able to see how different facilities across the country operate, and also learn how to treat diverse patient populations from different regions of the country. On her current assignment in North Carolina, she’s encountered some of the most wholesome, friendly people inside and outside of work. A group of physicians and nurses have gone above and beyond to care for patients in need. In one instance, they used money out of their own pockets to ensure one patient in critical condition was able to obtain and take all of her prescriptions. Christin is overwhelmed with the amount of passion the clinicians at this facility feel for their patients. Noticing these acts of kindness really solidified Christin’s view of her profession and travel nursing itself. No matter where she is, she’s thankful to be working in facilities like this where the staff truly cares about their job and their patients.
What advice does Christin have for nurses considering traveling?
Christin’s immediate response to this question is for nurses to “get some solid experience first.” Though facilities are welcoming, being a travel nurse requires a nurse to jump right in and get to work. There’s not a month of orientation, and no one has the time to consistently hold your hand. Staff and patients can sense when a nurse isn’t confident or doesn’t know what he/she is doing. Of course, you’re not going to know everything, but the solid experience you’ve had in your previous nursing or medical positions really provides a foundation for the travel nursing industry.
Her next piece of advice is to be resilient. Problems and issues are going to come up, and you’re not going to know how to solve them right away. Stay calm, and as Christin says with a giggle, “don’t go on the Gypsy Nurse network and rant – that will make you look unprofessional.” Just keep doing your job and learn from any issues that come up.
Along with being resilient, Christin emphasizes that confidence is key in the travel nursing world. Start your nursing assignment by being truly confident about your abilities and experience as a nurse and they will shine through.
When she starts any travel nursing assignment, one of Christin’s tricks is to immediately find out the facility’s policies and procedures, print out a few key policies (i.e. blood transfusions, cardiac drips, critical values, etc.), and keep them on hand for quick reference. If a question involving any of these policies comes up throughout the work day, she can refer to the guidelines related to the issue and be ready to take on that challenge! This makes Christin feel safe and even more confident than she did when she first stepped into the job. She also uses this as a tool with the staff at her facility – since it’s tough to keep up with so many policies all the time, if another nurse has a question, Christin can jump right over with the policy list and help him/her out. This not only helps out that nurse, but also builds trust and camaraderie in Christin’s work environment.
One last piece of advice is for nurses to stay humble. Christin is in her third assignment since she started traveling, and she’s seen her share of arrogant travelers. “A first impression is everything,” Christin says. “Be humble and kind. If 3 nurses are standing, and you’re sitting, stand up and offer to help.” Being a team player has always worked for Christin, and she doesn’t see how it wouldn’t work for any other traveler!
Ready to take the plunge into travel nursing like Christin? Check out our fabulous fall jobs right here.