The Travelers Conference has grown quite a bit since we last attended in 2013. This year there was 77 vendor booths, many of which were travel healthcare recruiter companies, but others who specialized in financial planning (A Dave Ramsey approved company I was so glad to see his name flashed at the conference as there are a portion of travel nurses who travel because they are trying to pay down debt or because their debts have become so great it is the only way to keep from drowning), nursing shoes, a company specializing in short term housing location, Travel Tax, Pan Travelers, an online company where you can store PDFs of all of your nursing documents and they send you reminders when licenses and certifications are going to be expiring as well as immunization records, Highway Hypodermics who have written a book that gives potential travel nurses an understanding through stories about many of the aspects of travel nursing and more. We skipped some class and discussion time to talk to the venders and still did not make it to everyone, that maybe mostly my fault as I can talk and talk and talk about things that I am passionate about. The one I was amazed to see was Mercy Ships!!! Also there were two break out sessions one on Volunteering internationally as well as working internationally. This is new (Chad reminded me that they did have a working internationally class two years ago), and I love it! We nurses give of ourselves to others daily at work, but there is even more of a benefit to the satisfactions we have with our work when there are times we can give with no expectation of receiving anything in return (paycheck). With approximately 700 nurses and allied health providers attending the conference ranging from “dreamer” to “veteran” traveler it really was an amazing sight to see.
Day one we learned about Lead Generation sites which was pretty enlightening, we attended classes taxes and health insurance as well as tax homes. Missing the round table discussions to visit with vendors we did make it in for the closing presentation by the Keynote Speaker Jeff Solhiem which was also foreign mission focused and was amazing to hear. I am eager to go home and look up the tv special “A Night in the Jungle” on YouTube just out of curiosity. We then made our way back to the room for a rest. To same my self some work later I read through the pamphlets I had been given and weeded through the business cards. The JCAHO accredited ones, the ones where the recruiter impressed upon me the character values I look for in a team mate (as if we were to work together we rely heavily on each other). I take a little notes on the cards to prompt my memory of the conversations we had had with each. It is recommended that as a travel nurse you work with not just one but a handful of companies, 4 or 5. I have worked with three different ones AB Staffing because of their Indian Health Services contracts, Genesis Medical Staffing Solutions because the recruiter who contacted me initially and I got off on a good foot and we have enjoyed each other’s friendship (we are still friends, but she has since moved to another company which happens a lot in this industry) and the third company Medical Staffing Solutions LLC who I initially started working with because they specialize in Hawaii, Alaska, and now the Virgin Islands I worked with them for my Hilo assignment and am excited to work again with them for my up coming assignment which has yet to be completely finalized. I don’t plan on jumping ship with any of them but I do still like to keep my eyes and ears open as we look to eventually in the next year look towards the east coast as many of the companies are regional. At 7:30 pm we headed down to dinner as we had been invited by Everine and Medical Staffing Solutions LLC to come and have dinner with them. Búzios was a seafood resaurant I enjoyed my scallops thoroughly and Chad enjoyed his steamer plate, but the best thing of all was the company! I sat next to one of the owners who was very personable as we discussed their recent tour of the hospitals in the Virgin Islands, oportunity for cultural exposure and the safety concerns that would need to be addressed with each nurse who considered an assignment there. There is defiantly something nice about a company that checks out each hospital before they would be willing to send a nurse there. It was a low key hang out with friends dinner getting us back to our room a little after 10:00pm. The lights out our window were fabulous and we kept the curtains open all the way absorbing the view as we settled into bed.
Day two started 45 minutes later and was a little more casual, I don’t remember seeing any grumpy people, the overal feel was positive and energetic. Breakfast and lunch again were delicious (day one the only gluten free lunch option was potato salad, and it was very good. Chad said that the rest of the food was great as well) the coffee was, no joke, way better than Starbucks and I like Starbucks. We arived early to talk to more venders but seriously making a valiant effort there was about ten we never made it to. Medical staffing Solutions LLC had a photo booth right in front. Everine and I took advantage of the opportunity to get a photo together.
Everine was my recruiter for Hilo, she is a Hilo local and worked hard to get me a car and housing that would fit our family of five and our budget. It was so amazing to see her working so hard for me. Below is Belinda and her husband they were my introduction to travel nursing as I worked for quite a while with Belinda at Silverton Hospital, so when it was time for us to make that leap of faith we could ask her any questions. What a great resource and friend!
My handsome captain, Chad works the hardest of the the two of us! He does a lot of my paperwork as well as cook, care for the kids and teach them. So fun! I love this picture of us! We learned about cyber protection, VPNs, international volunteering and working, as well as traveling in an RV (all different types compared) vs. apartments.
Vietnamese food for dinner and more sorting of papers and “goodies” for the kids, we pre packed our bags a bit and went to bed.
This morning we enjoyed the most delicious corned beef hash and then checked out of the hotel. We didn’t pre arrange an airport shuttle because this is not our first rodeo and it has never been a problem before. We asked at the front desk about it and they said we had to have reserved our seats 8 hours in advance so it would not be available, we would have to call a cab. Walking out to the front of the hotel Medical Staffing Solutions LLC owners were headed out at the same time with a lot of stuff so we held the doors for them. We asked how the after party had gone since we did not go, and chatted about the conference over all. They asked us if we were taking the shuttle to the airport so we told them our dilemma. They said, “come with us, we will take care of you.” We followed them around to the shuttle loading area and loaded the shuttle to the airport. We asked about covering the gratuity at least and they said, ” No, we have you covered.” ️Thank you thank you thank you Medical Staffin Solutions LLC seriously! We may have walked to the hotel from the airport but it took a while and we could have gotten a cab, but we really enjoyed the company and it WAS SO MUCH EASIER!! Bye Las Vegas, and in response to the nurse pride going around this week, I am so glad that I get to be a nurse!