Home health nurse Amanda Truog hadn’t thought about changing careers until one of her patients mentioned she had a family member who loved the travel nurse lifestyle. At the time, Amanda was employed by a small home health company, and a difficult boss was causing her some frustration. It was enough to motivate her to give travel nursing a closer look. She decided to call RNnetwork, and it changed her life forever. “I’m ever so grateful for the domino effect that came from one phone call,” she says.
Travelling with family
Amanda started her career as a nurse in 2014, then switched to travel nursing two years later. She’s since enjoyed assignments in Florida, California, and Missouri. “I try to do 26 weeks if I can,” says Amanda. “Those are nice because I have kids.” Her nine-year-old, two-year-old, and newborn are her travel companions, along with her husband.
“Mr. Dad” makes Amanda’s job of home health travel nurse a breeze by taking care of the kids while she works. He’s the owner of a carpet cleaning business. He’s turned over the day-to-day operations to his brother, so he can manage the company and still travel with his family. Travel brings out the best of their teamwork.
Even Amanda’s nine-year-old daughter does her part. The longer assignments allow them to place her in local schools which she adapts to with total ease. “She excels academically pretty much anywhere we go,” says Amanda. “It’s really enriching her to meet so many different people of other cultures because she is more open-minded,” makes friends easily, and — with social media — keeps the friends she makes close.
The family gets to enjoy their travel destinations despite Amanda admitting she’s a workaholic. “When we get time, we’ll usually go fishing. My husband is a big fisherman — saltwater fishing is his favorite. We like to go to the beaches, we like to see new places, we like to go to festivals. Anything special in the area we go out and see.”
Treating COVID-19 patients
Much of her work lately has been treating COVID-19 patients in their homes. “Doctors who are sending patients home are really utilizing home care now,” she says. “We act as the eyes and ears for doctors, because they are just still really nervous about things. And, of course, they want as many COVID positives to stay home until they either don’t have symptoms or they can manage at home.”
Amanda and her husband welcomed a new arrival to their family this May. And when the due date arrived, hospital protocol mandated she be tested for COVID. She was shocked when the results came back positive. From the start of her pregnancy, she had avoided respiratory patients and patients suspected of COVID or those with active COVID, so she wasn’t expecting to be a carrier.
“That’s the thing about COVID — you don’t know who has it if they are symptomatic or asymptomatic,” says Amanda. “Of course, I didn’t get the results until the next day,” she continues. “So I had exposed my husband, kids, and the baby. Everyone in the family had to get tested, even the newborn.” Thankfully, the family’s results came back negative. Although she was asymptomatic, she was sent home the next day when C-section patients like her usually stay three days in hospital.
The fear of the unknown during the family’s two-week self-isolation was especially trying. She describes the chilling feeling: “Is that cough or the sneeze that the baby just had, is that COVID? Is my baby going to die, my two-year old, my husband? It was scary the whole time. I think all of us at some point, even years from now, will be positive, even if we don’t know.”
A recruiter who is like family
When Amanda grew impatient to get back to work, she called the person who helped her get her travel nurse career off the ground, RNnetwork recruiter Ora DeVito.
“Ora is like family, and I don’t mean that just to say it,” says Amanda. “If I have any problems, even in my life, I can call this lady, and she would answer just as if she was a mother or sister figure. When I went through my divorce and custody of my daughter, she was there for me. Traveling to places you don’t know, and you get a little uneasy with the area? She finds me an assignment where she’s had other nurses and knows it’s a pretty safe area.”
Ora came through as usual after Amanda’s coronavirus recovery, answering her questions and helping her meet all the guidelines required for a successful return to the career she loves.
Happy as a home health travel nurse
Amanda is immensely happy with her career choice of home health travel nurse. “Traveling’s a glamorous kind of lifestyle,” she says. “You get to go places, and you get paid well. No strings attached, and you get to change your environment often.” What could be better than that?