Travel Nursing

Travelers Conference 2015

 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!


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Feeling Hopeful for a Great Assignment!

I never know quite what to title these posts as this is pretty much a summary of our work week in a nutshell.  This week I was scheduled Sunday, Monday, Tuesday day shift.  Sunday was one of those days where all the mommies come in with their water broke who knows what the barametric pressure change was but there must have been an environmental factor.  It was a kind of fun change of pace to take an ambulance ride to Eugene and back.  (I enjoyed, later in the week, talking to the manager at Silverton FBC finding out that since we can’t transport a non stable patient and to date they had never had an ambulance delivery, they no longer send an RN on maternal transports unless medically the patient needs the advanced level of care.)  I was under the impression that once a patient presented to a certain level of care (RN) we could not pass them off to a lower level of care (paramedic, although paramedics are awesome they are not a fan of obstetric emergencies) it makes sense and it would have made staffing the unit much easier as we called all employed RNs to try to get an additional pair of helping hands.  No worries though it all worked out just fine.  Monday had a record number of out patients: triages, NSTs, and follow up newborn appointments.  It went so smoothly the nursing team worked like a well oiled machine.  Tuesday promised to be busy with a few scheduled procedures and for sure the clock was kind to us as we were continuously on our feet with every room full the minute hand may as well have been a second hand.  The day flew by, steady but not insane.  The manager came up from her office and helped with a discharge and NST.  She, a midwife and the nurse that was on with me were working out the details of a nursing conference then turned their focus on housing for me saying, “What can we do to get you to stay here? We are going to find you housing!” I am really enjoying this assignment so far.  I hate to allow myself to feel that way this early when I am still in the honeymoon phase, but I do.  The nurses, the manager, the providers, the unit.  They are not only happy people who enjoy their job, they are passionate about providing a positive birth experience promoting family autonomy by supporting their choices in a loving non judge mental way that I have not experienced since leaving Silverton.

Housing continues to be an adventure and we have pretty much given up on housing and embraced the hotel lifestyle.  Chad’s mom gifted us a crockpot and Chad has dove whole heartedly into the challenge of preparing all of our dinners with this food artist’s medium.  Breakfast of cold cereal or oatmeal the fixing for sandwiches for lunch have managed to be great meal options as well.  Who would have thunk it… A mini fridge and crockpot could be sufficient to keep and feed a family of five for four days every week.  The fact that Chad has happily taken on this challenge has relieved a lot of stress off of me.  Meals out plus hotels each night would have quickly broke our budget.  As much as money is not our primary motivator for working as a travel nurse family.  We can’t exactly afford to spend more on living than we are bringing in, really who could?

 Chad is a certified carpet cleaner which is a notable accomplishment it requires a lot of classes and continuing education credits to maintain.  He was due to take a few credits to remain certified so he had been scheduled for a water damage restoration class this week in Portland too.  As a one car family we were thinking of every option to manage my work schedule and Chad’s class schedule being three and a half hours apart.  Not to mention what would we do with the kids?  Chad and the kids stayed with me until Monday he then reserved a room for me in a hotel with in walking distance and then headed back to Salem where Stephanie offered to help us by watching the kids.  Eve declared that she has always wanted a four or five year old brother follows by a, “Cyrus, will you be my brother?” (Thank you Steohanie and Jayson for all of your help especially with the kids.) After work I walked to the hotel and crashed then got up early got ready walking to Dutch Brothers on the way to work for a Coconut Dutch Freeze breakfast.  The sunrise was beautiful!  I was thankful to get to witness it.  Mary Beth came and picked me up after work we enjoyed dinner at the Tiki on 51st for dinner, my treat.  Ahi wraps and a wicked mocha with extra cayenne…Onolicious!!!  As always and perhaps more than usual we enjoyed our time together and conversation.  Thank you Mary Beth for coming and picking me up I loved the quality time.

  We loved the beautiful flower baskets by the Tiki on 51st.

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First Night Shift, Bay Front and Dinner at Mundos! 

It has been a while since I have had to stay up all night.  No big deal right!? Not so I was having to fight pretty hard to keep my eyes open between 5 and 6 AM.  All in all my second shift at Samaritan Pacific Comunity Hospital went well it may take me a few nights to get the whole night shift routine down pat.  The thing about the nurse that I worked with last night even though it was slow (we did have patients) she used the time she worked, the whole time, on things that bettered the unit and the hospital.  After our routine checks and restocking we ran over test scenarios of how to admit the patients and paperwork/ epic/obix admissions. Then we scrubbed the couches and she worked on continuing education.  I have worked quite a few places now and often when you are on a unit who has a lot of down time there is a lot of FaceBook and YouTube going on.  I love how she continued to find ways to use the time she was getting paid for to do good for her employer.

Chad took the kids to Yaquina Bay lighthouse while I took a three hour nap this morning.  They loved it and came away with the history lesson of: in 1870s kids were not to talk at all during meals and to eat everything on their plate.  This light house was in use a very short time since it ended up being a poorly visible area.  The Yaquina Head lighthouse replaced it in a better location and is still in use today. The kids checked that out earlier this week when we were here.  After a bologna sandwich and the first watermelon from my dad’s garden for lunch (So delicious by the way! Thanks dad!) we headed out to walk the bay front shops.


There was a family with kids ages 8-13ish who had crab pots in the bay just off of the pier.  Hannah and Eve were quite curious the kid explained the whole process and showed them their catch so far.  We stayed and watched for a while.  We loved watching them pull up the pots and throw the crabs that were too little back.  Eve acted as if she was just part of their family getting in and helping touching the crab ropes and pot. It was great!The thermostat said that it was 77 degrees but it felt hotter than that the sun beat down and Myra panted away.  After the bay front we met Grandma and Grandpa Owens at a park and walked to the beach to cool off in the breeze coming off of the water.  I was still tired and enjoyed a beach nap in the soft cool sand with the cool beach wind.  Caleb made his own kite and Hannah tried for a bit to fly a kite we had just bought from one of the bay front shops it was just too windy for kites today. 

   At dinner time we packed up and walked along some of the shops near the beach until we found a unique little restaurant that looked like a good place to eat dinner.
 Dinner was great! Myra and I took a walk out on the bay bridge and now it is time to get a little rest before these next three days of day shift.

   Good night!

Categories: Family Time, Fulltime, Homeschool, Oregon, Road Trip, Travel Nursing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

First Day Samaritan Pacific Community Hospital 2015

This time the I’m nervous feeling didn’t start until we were in Newport about 12 hours out of time to start my first shift.  Even at that it wasn’t too bad until the last 45 minutes.  It is in these first days that I have to frequently remind myself that it is good to be outside of my comfort zone.  And that in the long run the positive consequences of hard work way out weigh the ease of laziness.  (This is an internal battle that I am always fighting and don’t always win.) Ariving 40 minutes early I waited in the car 10 minutes then headed in to try to find my way to L&D.  A small hospital can still be quite disorienting, but I made it upstairs and to my new unit.  The nurse that I will be covering for maternity leave was on, it was fun to meet her and get some idea of what my schedule will look like.  We chatted for a little while as day shift arived.  Everyone was friendly. We got most of the first day stuff done, name badge, door access, computer access, med system access, unit tour, scavenger hunt, first admission and delivery giving me some familiarity with the paperwork, process and a few of the providers.  That is what everyone hopes their first day is like.  You don’t want to go too long with out an admission or a delivery because you don’t get very many orientation days as a traveler and you have to know how to do those things (charting systems and some processes are all a little different at every hospital).  I love it when people tell me it’s ok to ask questions…fair warning now I ask a LOT of questions.  There is no way to learn everything in two days of orientation.  1915 came quick enough, I was definitely ready for the shift to be over.  A headache was starting to creep up on me and I was eager to catch up with Chad as he had been working all day on our housing situation.

Chad picked me up out front bearing gifts from The Gluten Free Place, a delicious pineapple upside down cake.

 Admitting that we may just be spending too much money there this assignment because they had tasted a few things that were all delicious and it wasn’t too far from the hospital.  I have been given a huge gift in Chad as my husband, he is beyond supportive always thinking of ways to make me feel loved by doing something special for me.  So, good news with an awesome GF place in town, but bad news as far as housing goes.  There are a lot of private campgrounds with long term residents, but they (all the ones he drove by, talked to, called) were full.  We could see empty spots on a few that we drove by Sunday but when he called they said they have no monthly spaces available.  There was one (the most expensive one at $700 a month) on a paved lot with no grass say that they probably could do it, but we would have to shuffle around and move sites every week because they also were booked.  We don’t want to pay that much to be in a paved lot and move around every week so, we will continue to look.  We will be checking on a few more places today, as well as our next options.

With computer training in Albany on the schedule next we headed home to Salem.

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Newport Housing

I have no idea why housing on the Oregon beach has been such a bear!  Using Craigslist for our main resource we have put out emails,  texts and phone  calls with very few responses. Those that have responded have said, ”We don’t want to consider anything less than a six month lease.”  It is hard not to get frustrated…  We maybe thinking outside the box a bit on this one.   Maybe tent it for a while and a hotel when we can’t get site, I’m not sure I’m ready for that unsettled of a lifestyle.  I think I’m doing a fairly good job not stressing out since our next assignment starts in < two weeks we would love this all to resolve soon. We know the right thing will come along, and would love your prayers on this matter.

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Feeling the Pressure

It is so good to be home in our own house and in the last couple of days we have visited with couples from our Sunday school class and family’s from our homeschool group.  My agency has been sending me things that have to be done for the next assignment and I feel the pressure of all that mounting.  As glad as we are to take a few weeks off it doesn’t feel like it will be enough.

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Lincoln City Kite Festival

I  don’t know if we have been going to the kite festival for 11 years or 7 years but, every year since Hannah’s first birthday and maybe a few before she was born we have spent the last weekend of June at the kite festival.  (Last year I was in New Mexico but the rest of the family still went with out me.)  It just so happens to be always Hannah’s birthday weekend, Suzanne’s too with only two days between them, so we have made it a family tradition to celebrate at the kite festival.  Most of this post will be pictures.  We had great weather and a beautiful fun weekend.

    There was too much of a breeze to get the candles to stay lit so eventually we just had Hannah pretend to blow out the candles.


  There was not enough wind to get the kites up until around 2:00pm but it was so beautiful ,and the temperature and sun were just right!

                Myra is having her Starbucks (water).   

        We headed back to camp around 4:15-4:30 just in time to enjoy roasting up some hot dogs for dinner.  Eve took a pre-dinner nap.  The guys played a board game, and the rest of the kids ran and ran and ran until nearly dark playing in the central field in our campground loop.

          My mommy must love me…we have some good chocolate to go with our marshmallows.      Elijah was showing off his muscles playing with this ball that was bigger than him.

                   We shared a fun camping dessert we learned with Michael and Kristen Sherman last fall when we visited Indiana, cresant roll wrapped around your marshmallow then roasted.  We even added some chocolate to the inside and it was a hit.  We are thinking it needs just the tiniest pinch of kosher salt and it would be perfect.

 For two nights in a row I got to snuggle this little bug.  It did this aunties heart good since I have missed so much of his life so far, experiencing it through FaceBook and facetime isn’t quite the same.

 A thunderstorm and sprinkles ushered in the day.  It was transient and light for the most part allowing us to get everything packed up with out getting too soaked.

                    Elijah playing kickball with Caleb.   We headed out south toward Newport to take a first glimps of our new hospital…its tiny.

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Starting Our Big Island Goodbyes

 Unless I get put on call, today was my last Sunday getting to attend Kurtistown Assembly of God.  Chad and the kids have two more weeks, but I will be loving on mommas and babies at the hospital.  There was an impromptu baptism after church at Coconut Island.  We were glad that we had grabbed our swimsuits before church and put them in the car just incase we might need them.    There ended up being three or four adults and several children being baptized.  Throughout the afternoon.  The kids, a whole host of them, played in the water and on the beach.  The ones who were good swimmers congregated at the towers to jump in.  Caleb’s friends went several times before he decided he wanted to try it too.  The photo below is the best one I got of him jumping.  He is the one with the orange shirt on that is mid air.     The adults all socialized, joked, talked, really they just enjoyed being together.  Several of the families with small children had stopped at home and picked up lunch food and together they formed this whole potluck buffet of fixings for sandwiches including fruit, chips and dessert.  We had previously asked Pastor and his family out to lunch so we went easy on the food provided which wasn’t easy because everyone is so friendly, welcoming, and generous.  I often wonder how we possibly could give back to this church a gift equal to what they have given us in our time here.  

Wanting to take us somewhere we had not yet been Pastor recommended Kuhio Grille, local cuisine.   

We finally got to try Laulau which has been on our gotta try list since early on! It is a fatty fish wrapped in layer after layer of taro leaves and I’m guessing it is boiled.  I thought it would be way greasy and proportionately more meat and only a little veggie.  I was pleasantly surprised when I descovered it is quite a few layers and the large portion of leaf to fish made the fattyness of the fish not a detraction at all.       The kids played well together and were wiped out after our late lunch/early dinner.     Eve’s hair in her face and mouth wide open were cracking me up.  We then headed up to see the place where one of my co-travel nurses is living on a peacock reserve.  The peacocks were everywhere and are quite loud.  I loved their calls but may not if I heard it all the time.    

We also checked out the pigs who were sleeping.    This curious fellow was keeping an eye on us.    The kids loved the swing and kept taking turns  on it.       Isn’t this house just breath taking Tiffany’s apartment is on the bottom and is so cute!        Bird cages on the side of the house.  The below picture is of her awesome Lani.  I would be spending all of my time in here if I was her.         Tiffany was so good with the kids.  They were in heaven with her pushing the swing and feeding them string cheese.  It rained off and on while we were there and so we were blessed with the sight of this beautiful rainbow.       I was adoring this house too on our way up so I grabbed a pic on the way back down.  They have an amazing view of the ocean out of all of those windows. This park is where Tiffany goes to get her water we could hear the water rushing up stream a ways.  We took a muddy trail upriver but only saw rapids, no waterfalls.         

It was pretty impressive to see Tiffany maneuvering around mudpits and under this tree across the trail in flip flops with Eve on her back.  Eve was eating it up!  Yay they made it!

 Thank you Pastor Damien and Andrea, and Tiffany for a very fun day!  

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Countdowns and Updates

2 weeks (only 14 days I can’t even believe it) until my mom comes to visit!!!!!!!!!!!

24 days left in Hawaii….mixed feelings on that! 

13 shifts left at work, yes, more than half of the days we have left will be spent at work.  Good thing I love the work and my co-workers.

3 Sundays and Soup Kitchens and I think I work most of them :0( that sure makes it hard to say goodbyes.   

The kids did their Memory Verse-a-thon this week and loved getting to call Pastor Erika and tell her all their verses for the purpose of raising money for kids camp this summer.  Together they memorized 68 verses new to them (50 for Caleb, 18 for Hannah) which went a long ways towards First Kidz collective goal of 150 verses…the prize you ask?!? Pastor Erika will dye her hair pink.  We haven’t heard the final tally yet but are watching FaceBook for pictures!  Go Salem First Kidz! 

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Visiting with Ricki

I had the pleasure of working with Ricki at my last assignment in Southern California.  Since that time we have been planing to visit with her when she was here on the big island for her grandsons graduation this last week.  It has been a pretty busy week for both of us and I was beginning to wonder if we would miss each other in the busyness.  It just so happened that she was in our neck of the woods today and headed to one of our favorite beaches.  We made tenitive plans for a picnic at noon. We got there a little before their group did so Chad hung the hammock we enjoyed the tide pools and quite pond just off the beach.  








 Eve found some girl friends, she is such a social butterfly we have to watch her pretty close.   

  It was good to see Ricki’s beautiful smiling face and meet her family.  It took the kids a little while to warm up and start playing together. By the time it was time to go they were playing really well together.   

      There were sea turtles everywhere and as many times as we have been to Punalu’u beach I have never seen them out like they were today! Five of them were resting on the beach.   

      The kids are now crashed out in the car!  


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