Most people implicitly understand that nurses are special. After all, no other profession has been ranked as the most trustworthy for a whopping 21 years in a row. And while nursing is a challenging job, many wouldn’t want any other career. In honor of National Nurses’ Week, here are three stories of travel nurses who love their jobs, and how they make a difference in their patients’ lives.
Traveling around the country
Chloe Callicoat had been a nurse for a decade before she decided to try travel nursing. But instead of taking an assignment in a hospital, she gets out and about every day as a home health nurse. “I get to see the countryside along with seeing my patients,” she says.
Having that patient contact is one of the main reasons Chloe loves working as a home health nurse. Before switching to home health, she’d spent a lot of time working at a desk. “I started in home health to get my skills back, because I hadn’t done any bedside nursing for a while,” she says. She quickly realized home health is where she’s supposed to be.
Working as a home health travel nurse allows Chloe to spend more time with her patients, getting to know them and providing education. In fact, the main downside she sees in travel nursing is having to leave patients she’s gotten attached to. “It’s not having the longevity with the patients that you normally would. That makes it a little tough,” she says.
Despite having to leave her patients, Chloe says the opportunity to travel the country with her daughter, as well as double her income, makes it all worth it. “I’d never have had that opportunity if I hadn’t started traveling,” she says.
Taking care of patients
Nine years into her second career, Karen Ganci says caring for people is what keeps her going.
She had worked in the finance industry for nearly two decades when an economic recession forced her to re-evaluate her career goals — and she decided to become a nurse. After several years of schooling, she worked in several permanent nursing jobs, focusing on med surg, telemetry, post-op surgical, and ER admissions.
Eventually, Karen decided to try out travel nursing. While she continued to stay relatively close to home, she took assignments in various locations. “Seeing other places and learning from others is just wonderful,” she says. “Every day is a new experience of what I’m doing. I think that’s why I love it.”
In addition to the variety traveling offers, Karen enjoys nursing because she likes taking care of people.
“It got to the point where I would go in and I’d work, and I’d go home, and I’d feel good because I helped somebody. I made somebody’s day better,” she says. “You’re there to support, you’re there to listen, you’re there to hear. You’re an advocate, you’re there to take care of the patient and do their wishes. I always liked that.”
Making a difference
Christine Harrison is a veteran ER travel nurse who has crisscrossed the country on numerous assignments. She believes that constant movement keeps burnout at bay, and it allows her to have new experiences, meet new people, and pursue her hobbies.
One of the more memorable experiences she’s had while traveling happened in a small town in rural Vermont, when a teenage boy named Cameron arrived at the ER with serious injuries. She was able to stabilize him enough so he could be relocated to a better-equipped trauma center two hours away.
A month later, Cameron returned to Christine’s hospital for further treatment, and she saw him again when he came into the ER with a broken wrist six months after that. After spending so much time together, Cameron had specifically requested that Christine be his nurse.
“A doctor once told me we’re blessed, and we’re lucky to be in this profession to take care of people on their worst days,” says Christine.