ER Travel Nursing: The Good, The Bad, & The Best Months of My Life

As I was anticipating this post I was thinking about all of the amazing people, the fun experiences, and the excitement of new things, but then my mind began to wander to all of the stress, the planning the unknown, all of the things you don't think about when you begin to tell people about your adventures as a travel nurse. Well here it is the good, the bad, and the best months of my life as a Gypsy ER Nurse.

(Leaving my last ER staff shift headed to Atlanta)

Let me start out with the good because I love to start off with all the fun! When you travel you can set your own schedule and you can block schedule meaning you can work which ever three days in a row you choose as long as it works out well for the facility of course. Block scheduling leaves you with four days in a row off to explore your temporary home, travel back home to see family, or simply relax. Block scheduling doesn't work well with all facilities so make sure you discuss this with your recruiter.  During my time off I went on several hikes on the Appalachian Trail and visited several Waterfalls it was fabulous. Adventure is what I was looking for and it is what I got!

(Toccoa Falls in Toccoa, Ga)

Another really fun part of traveling is finding a place to live (insert sarcasm here) of course this brings me to my bad experience which was finding a place to live. My first travel assignment was just north of Atlanta and being a small town girl from south Alabama I wasn't sure at all how I was going to make it in the BIG CITY! When you begin talking with recruiters about pay packages they use terms like per diem and housing and base rate, well word to the wise you want a low base rate (or hourly rate, you get taxed here) and a high per diem and housing. Some companies offer you an apartment or extended stay room but you loose your extra pay for housing which for some is a great trade but I knew I could find housing cheaper on my own and I wanted to get some debt paid off  (I wanted that check $$$) so we opted to find our own housing.  I began the search for apartments, townhouse, and then it hit me DUH get a camper you are a GYPSY! So we did just that one extremely hottt south Alabama day (like 11 million degrees) we began the hunt for a camper that would be my home for the next few months and feel more like a house on wheels that a trip to the woods. Living in a travel trailer is awesome (the only time it was rough was when we found out we were expecting our son at the beginning of my second assignment and lets just say morning sickness in a camper is not something I would ever recommend to anyone). After what seemed like a 100 hours of research and searching online what should've been very obvious was just not, no one had written much about it, I struggled to find any ideas on how to handle housing and pay so I promise to write even more on those later.  This stressed me to the max. After I fumbled through signing my contract, turned in my notice at my staff job, and had bought my travel trailer we were a week out from the start date and still I had no place to stay. I continued stressing and searching and searching and stressing until finally I found a perfect spot between Athens and Atlanta it was within 45 minutes of the hospital (word to the wise don't try to do more that 45 minutes one way driving you're exhausted after your shift and that's cutting into your sleeping time) and they even offered me a beautiful extended stay spot right on the pond! So although it's bad figuring out housing and negotiating pay it won't break you, you can do it, you can get through this stress and into the best months of your life!

(Gypsy Life is so Peaceful Y'all)

The best months of my life, I have many of those but the ones I spent as an ER travel nurse are for sure near the top of that list. Me and the Hubby spent more time adventuring than we ever have, we rekindled our marriage and began to date one another again (distance does make the heart grow fonder, but it is soooo hard), and I met some of the greatest people I've ever had the pleasure of working with. I think every nurse who enjoys to travel should give travel nursing a try but I also highly recommend plenty of experience before jumping off the deep end. Two years of high acuity ER work is what I would recommend to any nurse looking to travel in the ER. Go, See the world, Experience the things, Enjoy new places, Taste new foods, Laugh with new friends, and keep in touch with old friends, Life is so short. Be Wild and don't forget to take your sweet tea. 

Comment below Y'all!


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