Finding Housing

I don’t know what aspect of travel nursing would cause you the most anxiety.  Would it be interviewing and finding a new job every three months, adjusting to a new city and cultures, being far away from family and your support system, or finding a new home sight and neighborhood unseen?
Well the thought of doing all these things the first assignment out was a little overwhelming.  Knowing I was a newby, the travel nurse company “held my hand” (walked me through everything one small step at a time).  The interviewing is more like a friendly chat since they aren’t hiring for a permanent position and the company has screened you fairly well to make sure you are a competent nurse.  You talk about the hospital, the number of deliveries, C/S rate, the state/area and the opportunities it offers (that is them selling you on their location).  They ask you some of the normal interview questions.  You don’t feel like you have to sell your nursing abilities, the questions come from you as much as they do from the Managers.  I guess they can tell a lot by the questions you ask as well as how you present yourself on the phone.  It must pay to be relaxed and not uptight, because it has made the process quite enjoyable and I have had positive responses.  (I suppose that this is a bonus of my faith in God and that he as called me to do what I am doing and it’s all in his hands, so there is no reason for me to worry or be anxious).
Navigating a new state and city is fun, Chad is the master of finding the local grocery stores, malls, Petsmart, library, and parks.  This task really isn’t as scary as it would have been 10 years ago.  Smart phones, our little traveling multi-taskers, put GPS right at our fingertips and boy oh boy that makes a big difference.  There sure are big cultural differences from region to region.  Although I have learned a lot about the Navajo people, and the German descended badgers of Wisconsin, I am excited to be headed back to a land of Spanish practice opportunities around every corner. I’m a bit out of practice.  Being away from family has definitely had it’s effect.  I can’t hug my little sister to comfort her on the loss of a much wanted pregnancy/baby.  I can’t help my other sister move, or attend the birthday parties for my niece and nephews that I formerly would not have missed for the world.  The kids miss their cousins and friends and frequently request to see grandma and grandpa.  Chad has to deal with the most social isolation having to be so far from friends and family just like the rest of us , but unlike the rest of us he doesn’t meet new friends in Sunday school or on the playground, he doesn’t go to work where there is daily interaction with other adults. We can however make that phone call, and make Face Time chats with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Facebook, email and text messaging has also kept us in the loop.  Although we are not present physically for our friends and family we are still there for them and they have still been there for us.
Housing when taking into account tax laws and restrictions would still have my head spinning, I’m a nurse not an accountant you know.  Chad having a degree in business is definitely more of that mind.  That doesn’t mean I understand it any better, but at least one of us does.  In order to simplify things we took company provided furnished housing for our first assignment.  We arrived to a perfectly furnished apartment albeit with moderately worn Ikea furniture, but the beds were soft, the essential dishes filled the cupboards, and we didn’t have to procure it ourselves. Wow though, it was steep! So in order to go about the next assignment in a more budget friendly manner we opted for unfurnished company provided housing.  A three hundred dollar Walmart trip was a good deal when compared to the $2,000 furniture rental for 16 weeks would cost.  We bought three air mattresses (Caleb picked out a cot at Goodwill), sheets, pillows, wash rags, bathroom mat, silverware, cheap plastic plates, bowls and cups, a strainer, cheap pots and pans which turned out to be a mistake, tin foil, ziplock bags, an ice tray, a fold up camping table and four $5 camping chairs. We use our cooler for a fifth chair. We got a cot, coffee maker, and a reclining camp chair at Goodwill and a ice tea pitcher and a few utensils at the dollar store. The pots and pans started flecking off their non stick coating right away and we continued to have additional teflon flecks in everything we ate for at least a month until it was pretty much all off, needless to say the pots are going in the trash when we leave.  The camp chairs will to.  They have served us well, but are coming apart at the seams.  We lost one of the air mattresses to excited kids who mistook it as a trampoline.  We have discovered the reclining camp chair to be unnecessary, as we rarely sit in it.  It’s main function has been to hold clean laundry.
This next assignment we are braving the task of procuring our own housing which will also be unfurnished.  Craigslist was our friend this time. We opted for a bigger apartment complex very close to the hospital. This is taking some additional risk as we will be the ones held responsible for the lease (3 months) if something unexpected happens with the job, but it has it’s payoff as it does save us a good deal of money not having to pay a second party to find it and organize everything. I guess we will see how it all works out, all part of the adventure. I don’t want to let this go to my head. But maybe I’ll feel like a real travel nurse after this, having conquered finding our own housing.
From Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, “O powerful Goodness! Bountiful Father! Merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates, accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for the continual favours to me.”


Categories: Travel, Travel Nursing | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Finding Housing

  1. jenn

    Girl best thing I bought was a fold up table and 2 fold up benches from Walmart and they all stack thin and take up no room at all. I also had hubby hit goodwill and Craig’s list free furniture listings. Except for our electronics or and good pots and pans and coffee maker and crockpot. Whole apt was like 250$ and except we really want the travel trailer so less packing and unpacking can’t wait!!! You are doing so much more than we do. We will get the big wide world soon😊😊😊. Soon as hubby is done with his temp job

  2. Great Article. Just wanted to say thank you for this blog. We are finding it very very helpful.

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