When Sarah Weaver took a travel nursing assignment in Raleigh, North Carolina, to be closer to her ailing grandfather, she knew the next 13 weeks would be memorable — but she had no idea they would change her life.
Forming a connection
“As a nurse, you come into contact with many families that hold a special place in your heart. The day I met the Campen family was the day they decided to place their husband and father, Doug, on comfort measures,” Sarah recalls. “As his primary nurse, I spent a lot of time with Doug and his family and developed a very special connection with his son, Brad. It was like we knew each other our whole lives.”
Since Sarah’s grandfather was being placed in hospice care the next day, she told Doug and his family she would not be back the next day to care for him. Somehow, however, she ended up coming to work anyway, though on a different floor of the hospital.
Saying their farewells
“I’d left my stethoscope in my home unit and decided to visit the Campen family and let them know I ended up coming to work. When I walked in the room, our care partner was holding hands with the family and praying. Doug then took his last breath,” Sarah says. “At that moment, I knew I came to work for a reason. It was one of the most emotional moments in my whole nursing career and one I will remember the rest of my life. We all cried together.”
Sarah gave Brad and his family her contact information and said goodbye. When her own grandfather passed away the day before Doug’s funeral, Sarah could not attend it. She didn’t expect to stay in touch with anyone in the Campen family.
Reconnecting and kindling a romance
“After some time, I received a Facebook message from Brad saying how thankful he was for everything I’d done. We decided to keep in touch and exchanged numbers. I thought we would be friends since we had so much in common and both lost someone so close to us,” Sarah says. “Once we got to know each other outside the hospital setting, things started falling into place and deeper feelings developed.”
Though she didn’t realize it at the time, Sarah says she is certain that Doug and her grandfather, Sam, wanted her and Brad to meet.
“Brad told me that the moment he met me for the first time, he wanted to get to know me. Being part of this sacred time instantly created a connection,” Sarah says. “We started dating, and I knew I could fall in love with him.”
Honoring family and making new memories
One year later, Sarah was vacationing with her family in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, a place her grandfather and several generations had enjoyed for 75 years. Brad arranged for his family to come and planned a dinner for both families.
“In order to get me dressed up, we took family pictures. We were going to reenact one of our first pictures together. While walking to the spot, I turned around and he was down on one knee!” Sarah expresses. “Our families were there, and it was a special time for all of us. We wanted to create happy memories, as the previous year we both lost someone important to us.”
Reflecting on future travel nursing opportunities
Now engaged and planning a wedding in September 2019, Sarah continues to value the flexibility travel nursing assignments offer.
“I was at a point in my life where I needed a change and needed to focus on myself. Travel nursing was the perfect opportunity to do so,” Sarah says. “I can choose where I want to work and for however long I want without a long-term commitment. It allows me the chance to explore other parts of the country and get paid to do it! It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Sarah’s recruiter, Christina, at RNnetwork has also helped her find opportunities that allow her to grow.
“Christina is friendly, patient, and easy-going. Now that I do local travel, she works hard finding assignments that aren’t too far away from my family and fiancé and fit my skill set and scheduling needs,” Sarah says. “RNnetwork has also been a great company to work for. They provide continuing education and credentialing assistance and never leave you feeling like you have to fend for yourself.”
Though the unexpected is the norm on a travel nursing assignment, Sarah is grateful for the changes that came her way in Raleigh.
“It’s true what they say: You never know when love will find you. I had no idea I would meet the love of my life in a hospital room,” she says.