A License to Wander as a Nurse Traveler
By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, nurse, traveler, adventurer
I was out driving recently and got behind a car with a bumper sticker I immediately loved; it read, “Not all who wander are lost.” There is no better example of this type of wanderer than a travel nurse--or should I say nurse traveler, with emphasis on the last word.
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Growing up, I always felt adventure and exploration flowing in my veins. (But then, when you live in a small town in rural Nebraska, you often feel like breaking out.) As life would have it, I ended up in nursing, and after a few years gaining quality clinical experience, my wife and I decided it was time to branch out and stretch our wings. We wanted to wander. So I decided to take my nursing license on the road and become a nurse traveler.
I met many types of travel nurses during my assignments, and we all came from different roots and had different reasons for taking up this career. But there were also many traits in other nurse travelers I found to be alike, especially with those who were far from home and those who kept traveling. At the Midwestern hospital where I had worked, I hadn’t had much exposure to travel RNs, but I quickly became indoctrinated into this select group.
When I went to my first orientation and saw over 100 travel nurses getting oriented for the Scripps Healthcare system in San Diego, I was blown away. Then we branched out to our individual hospitals where we were assigned, and I still had 10 other RNs going with me to our 100-bed hospital near the Mexican border. I was amazed. We soon found ourselves going on hikes as a group, exploring the bountiful restaurant options that a city close to the sea has to offer, and taking in sporting events of teams we didn’t even care about.
It’s all about the experience. I told my recruiter later on in my career I could do anything for 13 weeks. From Fargo to Corpus Christi, San Diego to Baltimore, there is something in every city you visit. New people, new places, new everything--you just have to be open and adventurous enough to go out and experience them.
Rarely will someone grab your hand and say, “Come with me on an adventure.” But often I found myself sipping on a cold brew with friends contemplating our next one. And you know what? The beauty in travel nursing is that every day off can be a new adventure. So let travel nursing be your license to wander, and live out the true meaning of being a nurse traveler!
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