The sudden rise of COVID-19 cases in Arizona this summer thrust the Southwestern state into the national spotlight, with thousands of virus-related deaths and more than 150,000 confirmed cases. Fortunately, coronavirus cases in Arizona are now leveling off, but there is still a lot traveling healthcare workers can do to help. If you’re interested in a travel nursing job in Arizona, you’ll have a unique opportunity to care for patients who really need your help while discovering the wonders this desert state has to offer. We talked to two travel nurses who have worked multiple assignments in Arizona to learn what draws them back again and again.
A pediatric nurse and a “rockhound”
Pediatric nurse Mary Hopkins accepted her first assignment in Prescott, Arizona in 2015 and immediately felt at home. She recently finished a six-month assignment before COVID-19 hit.
“In Arizona, you feel at home after not being here very long; it just feels like you belong here,” Mary says. “And once you’re here for a while, you’re never the same because of all the things that you see and do and learn. You take Arizona with you.”
Hopkins and her husband are self-described “rockhounds” who love exploring the outdoors.
“We didn’t know we would love the desert so much. We just love the natural beauty of Arizona – the trees, the rocks, the plants,” Mary says. “The southwest is my favorite place; there are so many beautiful things to see. There are so many hiking trails and places to explore. There isn’t enough time to see everything you want to see and do.”
The Hopkins spend the time to research new places thoroughly before they arrive, so they can make the most of their time.
“I love using resources like Tripadvisor to get a list and a breakdown of a new place, its history and culture,” Mary says. “Once I have a list, I use Google and Pinterest to see images and review recommendations from people — you can find a lot of actual pictures of the places you want to see. My favorite spot is Sedona. I’ve never heard of anybody going there who didn’t love it.”
Med-surge nurse and taco truck enthusiast
After completing assignments around the Midwest and Southwest, medical-surgical/telemetry nurse Chris Hegglund rates Arizona at the top of his list.
“I’ve fallen in love with Arizona because it has so much to offer that I enjoy,” Chris says. “I love the diversity; you can experience so many different cultures here. I also love that you can golf year-round and it’s a nice dry heat.”
“But my absolute favorite is the abundance of delicious tacos. There is a taco truck on nearly every corner, and I love the authenticity,” Chris says. “My friends know that every Tuesday I’m having tacos and every Friday I’m having fish tacos. I’ve visited at least 30 taco trucks, narrowing down my favorites. Sometimes I think the dirtier the truck the better the food.”
Chris even took advantage of Arizona’s hot summer weather to take a break from travel nursing assignments and start his own shave ice concession truck. He took five months off in 2018 and ran his shave ice business at schools and festivals. At one such event, Chris turned the extra ‘snow’ into snowballs for the kids to have a snowball fight.
“It was so awesome because most of these kids had never even played in snow before, and here we are in the middle of the desert having an epic snowball fight,” Chris says. “The truck was a great idea and a lot of fun. I came back to work in November with fully charged batteries. I think my patient care even stepped up a notch. But I have to say, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without a job like travel nursing. Travel nursing allowed me to have enough money to invest in my truck and take a little time off to recoup.”
Travel nurses considering an assignment in Arizona may already know that the state participates in the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). The eNLC is a multistate nursing license that allows nurses to practice in participating states without having to apply for a new license each time. The multistate license makes practicing across state borders more affordable and convenient, and helps remove the cumbersome expenses and paperwork involved in securing multiple licenses.
Are you ready to give travel nursing in Arizona a try? Give us a call or view today’s job opportunities in Arizona.