Emergency room nurse Robert Kiefer wanted to expand his horizons as a nurse — and he figured travel nursing would be a great place to start. Now on his second assignment with RNnetwork, Robert is happy with his decision.
“We oftentimes can become stuck in our ways of thinking and practice,” he says. “Travel nursing has opened my eyes to different geographical regions as well as cultures, both in the community in which I work and in the hospital community.”
For Robert, originally from Missouri, a favorite assignment so far was in the Providence, R.I., area because he got to explore New England. He says travel nursing allows him to meet amazing people and learn many new things from them.
“I have the opportunity to explore areas of the country I haven’t explored before, virtually for free. I have opportunity to truly change people’s lives,” Robert says. “Being the one person to not judge and listen to an individual patient — or colleague, for that matter — can and does change lives, no matter what the situation is.”
Robert says the challenges of travel nursing include the unknowns of the facility, housing and shift schedule and the need to be spontaneous and open. He saw if you can go with the flow, however, there really aren’t many downfalls.
“I am continuously striving to improve my communication skills, both in my professional and personal life. Effective communication is key to any successful situation,” Robert says. “Communicate well, not only with your patients and patients’ families, but with other staff, managers and recruiters.”
Though he’s only been a travel nurse for a few months, Robert is excited for what’s ahead and shares advice with other nurses thinking about taking assignments.
“Talk to other travel nurses and join travel nurse boards on Facebook. Ask questions and be frank with your recruiter on your desires (hours and shifts),” he says. “Let your recruiters know your big picture and craft your assignment around it. Thoroughly explore all the different pay matrices and seek guidance from others. Most importantly, have fun!”
Interested in what other RNnetwork nurses have to say? Read Mark Moon’s spotlight to find out how he became a travel nurse.