Why I Quit Travel Nursing
Hi! I’m Gelli, and four months ago, I finally hung up my travel shoes. After all the wonderful adventures I’ve experienced because of this gypsy life, I chose to pause the ride and rekindle my love for routine.
It was November of 2016 when I started my career as a travel nurse. I totally fell in love with it. I met people from different upbringings, learned useful techniques from different nurses and absorbed hospital policies I never knew existed. Not only did it improve my nursing skills, it also allowed me to wander- I tasted sumptuous local food and explored cities of unique character and nature.
I went to Lufkin and met wonderful people. I met Pearl, Heilene, Ray, Jessica, Beth, Shaquioa, and the rest of Woodland Heights peeps. This was my first assignment and it felt surreal. I never expected it to be a breeze. Prior to this assignment, I expected the WORST. Believe me, I heard and read a lot of horror stories- staff hating you, getting the worst assignment, high loads, tough learning curve. I embraced change knowing all of these things. Fortunately, this hospital is far from those, this became my home away from home. The staff were very accommodating. I also met other travel nurses from other states. It was fun! It opened my eyes to a lot of opportunities. I even extended my assignment from the original three months to six months.
It was also during this assignment that I was able to taste Jollibee again, the famous Filipino food chain in Houston. We were able to go there thrice, I think, being only 2 hours away from Lufkin. And since my assignment city is only 3-4 hours from New Orleans, I was also able to experience the crowd in the very celebrated Mardi Gras. Not only that, I will never forget that time I went to an RV show. There was a seed of dream that was implanted in my heart- that someday, I will own a rig like the one I saw. Imagine having a house on wheels, OMG.
In those six months, I hopped from one adventure to another. Made my way to Kemah Boardwalk and Bourbon St. Visited WWII museum and science center. Did hikings and walked long trails. It was fun and exciting but I had to move on and find another location.
Virginia captured my heart next. I thought it was only first timer’s luck that I had a wonderful assignment in Lufkin. To my surprise, there are many other beautiful places and welcoming hospitals out there, and Centra in Lynchburg is definitely one of them. I met people whom I highly respect- Debra, Nicole, Sharon, Holley, Hannah, Anne and many others. Although I was not positioned in Cardiac Telemetry like I would want to, I enjoyed my time in Diabetic-Renal unit. It was there that I experienced having three low acuity patients in one shift. It was the most amazing shift, let me tell you. The quality of care is really there with the right nurse to patient ratio.
Aside from the fine working environment in the hospital, the majestic caverns in Luray are what stood out in my memory. Nature has its way of connecting to us, and those mineral formations truly spoke to me. Masterpieces aren’t made overnight. It is constant work and nonstop building and creating. I came to a realization that there is an amazing end piece in consistency.
I extended my stay in Virginia, too. It was an easy six months. Not because the patients are easy but because my coworkers are easy to work with. I can see why Brooke (one of the travellers) stayed and applied for a permanent position. Who wouldn’t? If only my apartment is close by. Or my boyfriend’s family lives there too. There are many pros in my list: The atmosphere isn’t toxic. There are many restaurants to try. The cost of living is just right.
Both of my travel assignments served me well. So why did I quit if the adventure was amazing?
I left to learn more. I am the type of person who gets bored easily with the same set of skills. I realized that it’s not the hospital or travel destination that would solve the issue. At the end of the day, it’s what satisfies me.
Travel nursing helped. Great paycheck was a bonus. But the added learning that I’m craving for didn’t go away. I realized I wanted to change something.
I knew at this time, changing my specialty altogether is what I needed.
After a series of hospital haunt and two interviews, I ended up in Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. I know I won’t be able to travel again until I hit two years in this specialty. But I am enjoying my time in ICU like it was meant for me. I am learning so so much. There is no denying that I may get tired of this pace and setting someday. After all, it’s a permanent staff position.
But I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
I signed a two-year contract with a local hospital and got a sign-on bonus that sealed the deal for me. I honestly didn’t expect it but I’m thankful for it. My coworkers are nice, responsible, and welcoming. The unit is small because it’s highly specialized but it feels like family. The cases are interesting and the doctors are the best neurosurgeons and pulmonologists in the valley. I love that the company I’m working for values professional growth more than anything else. It’s also an extra point that we can choose our schedule to accommodate any extra job or advance education that we’re trying to get.
I quit travel nursing, and all I know is, it’s for the best reason.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.“