Travel Nursing


Being 45 minutes out of town has had its advantages and disadvantages.  The kids have really enjoyed the freedom to roam outside and use their imaginations, the birds and frogs make a continuous joyful noise, and the road out to our house can be best described as a roller coaster.  Infact one of the hills is called roller coaster hill.  While the commute is fun, I have to eat my way home in order to make it that far with out falling asleep, because let’s face it as all night shifters know. The windows down, music blasting, and face slapping does not really do anything.  This week my schedule is kind of crazy.  Two twelve hour night shifts, two eight hour night shifts, and one eight hour swing shift.  The one eight hour shift that I already completed I got called to come in early.  I don’t feel like it ever really pays to work over time as a traveler because so much of your paycheck is housing and incidentals that are not included in your hourly wage that it is a bit of a slap in the face to work a whole extra twelve hour shift of overtime and have your check be maybe $200 more, so as a rule I don’t do overtime as a traveler at least.  I am hoping to be put on call for one of my shifts this week, that would be great.  

We have been pleasantly surprised at how many activities in Hawaii are free.  Food is very expensive, but you can do that part reasonably if you stick to the foods that the locals eat.  Gas so far has been cheaper than the mainland. But the beaches, and parks are pretty much all free.  No charge for parking, no charge for entrance to state parks, so hikes and snorkeling are free as well as just chilling in the sun.   

Here are a few pictures of what the kids have been doing to entertain themselves!  Checking out waterfalls, dancing in the rain, water fights, coloring on the cement with chalk they found, coloring brown paper bags, catching frogs, long walks, checking out lizards, swimming, finding shells, and making forts and boats out of branches they have found.  Have a blessed week love the Owens family!

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Work Day 2 &Coconuts

I assumed wrongly that the day started at the same time as the previous day. 0700 today instead of 0730.  Thank goodness that I got to work early so even after stopping in the ER to talk to someone it was only 0715.  The problem is I get very nervous about time and try never ever to be late, so now for the first time in my travel career I was late….also I was 5 min. late yesterday do to school busses and school traffic.  We left the house an hour before work…..they were very laid back about it, but I still feel terrible. How could I not see the time was different.   

Meditech training this morning was great.  Again the staff were very friendly.  I am not really a sit in front of a computer girl though.  It took a lot of focus to keep my mind from wondering.  

Finally after lunch I got to be on the L&D unit. Our induction that I was looking forward to practicing the admission, orders, and charting on did not show up until shortly before it was time for me to leave.  I stayed as long as I dared and got to help with all the hands on stuff.  I am having trouble finding the balance between being proactive and too high strung.  

Chad and the kids drove around and found some cool new parks and coconuts by the road.  They were an hour away at some cool beach park when they looked in GPS at how long it would take to get to the hospital and discovered just how far they had wondered.  Now we just can’t wait to get home and get into the coconuts….we have no idea what we are doing. 

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Hilo Medical Center Day 1

I think Hilo Medical Center is going for most complete orientation for their travelers.  Three days of non unit orientation.  Well, one full day and two half days.  Today I leaned how to use feeding pumps, wound vacuumes, pca, IV pump, point of care testing (my blood sugar after lunch was 105 not sure if I should be worried about that :0( ), facility tour, and packets of information to read on my own time.  Everyone was very nice  including the L&D manager.  I was still missing the correct Pyxis test (instead of just saying I needed to take the Pyxis certification test they said the Pyxis 4000 thank you for telling me exactly what I needed to do so that I could do it).  After work we sat in the McDonald’s parking lot and took the Pyxis 4000 test and got the additional certification.  Few.  This is the culinary offerings of the McDonald’s in Hilo, now we have not tried them yet, but I thought you all might enjoy seeing the advertisements. 

While I was at work Chad worked on getting everything sent to Joseph at Travel Tax who specializes in traveled allied health taxes.  We are kind of scared to see how taxes go with having to file state taxes in four different states.  They also visited Rainbow falls.  

They just looked from the view point, they are waiting for me to really get out and check it out. 

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Up early out late

Thank goodness Chuck and Donna set their alarms last night because I thought Chad had and so didn’t set one which is out of character for me.  We usually both have our alarms set. We got a text wake up call from Donna at 5:30AM.  I jumped up and grabbed the load of our previous day’s clothes out of the dryer so we could put them back on.  Grandma also had a stash of clothes that she had found on clearance at Kohls and saved away for the kids.  So between the two piles the kids picked clothes to wear and the rest got tucked away in their backpacks.  Cold cereal  or cold pizza were the options for breakfast.  Eve was the last one to get up.  I went around grandma and grandpa’s room folding the blankets from their sleepover making some noise in an attempt to wake her up slowly.  She stirred but did not wake.  I then lifted her up asking her if she was ready to go to Hawaii.  She said “no, I want to stay here with grandma.”  Poor thing she never does too well with getting woke up before she is ready.  

We had to take two cars to the airport so Chuck rode with Chad and I rode with Donna and the kids.  

We were pleasantly surprised when for three people for three months we were able to get away with five backpacks, two carry on sized bags that we checked more for convenience than necessity and two car seats. 

We had to get the group feet PDX photo and I love it!  Just another way to document the many blessing that we have been given by God.  Family, adventure, and another job provided just as he has promised to be our provider. 

The kids were tired but good.  Five hours in a plane was almost too much for Eve.  She would slip out of her seatbelt and run down the walkway to the bathroom not waiting for accompaniment, too much longer and it would have started getting less cute to our fellow passengers. 

Caleb made collages for his inflight entertainment.

We split paths in Oahu.  Chad and the kids continued on to Hilo and me taking a jaunt to the Board of Nursing to get my temporary nursing license which is in the beautiful King Kalakaua  building which, can you believe it, I did not take a picture of.  The whole jaunt took maybe an hour and two taxi rides but was definitely a stretch for me to go somewhere without Chad to tell me what to do and keep me organized.  I am so dependent on that guy which says a lot about his dependability, but it is good for me to stretch myself and this time I got there, got my license, and got back in a timely manner and all in one piece.  

Had one expensive dinner from Starbucks…decaf soy latte, veggies, bag of chips and what I thought was chocolate covered coffee beans came to $17.  That wasn’t my smartest money spent. Finding gf food at airports is always interesting and time at home was just too quickly spent on the most important things and meal planning ahead did not make the list.  We were lucky to get our bags packed in time.  Wednesday evening when we finally opened our vacuum seal bags to pack I had just about decided that none of it really mattered as long as the kids made it on the plane and I was able to get my nursing lisence without a hitch.  I had almost four hours until my flight so it wasn’t too much longer until I went in search for a bathroom and just a little bit more food.  I noticed a few books at the store that would be great.  I knew I could probably get them cheaper on Amizon, but I still got one.  The ultimate Big Island guidebook that I am pretty excited about. 

Now I am not putting credence into mythology, but I like to learn about the culture and beliefs of the people and places we visit .  

Finally it was my turn to fly to our new home tuching down at  9:06 PM Hawaii time.  So ready to check out our new place. 



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Big Check Off List

Four days seems like a good enough amount of time to get a considerable amount of things done and preparations made.  The most urgent thing on our list was getting the last three hoops jumped through for Hilo Employee Health.  Where other companies and hospitals have been fine with my childhood MMR series and proof of one adult booster Hilo wanted either two boosters or a titer (blood drawn proving I am immune).  They wanted not only the size of the respirator mask I needed but the numbers had to be of certain kinds so even though I had a respirator fit test in July, and my face hasn’t changed much.  The provider wasn’t specific enough for them it had to be a mask from the 1860  series?! Don’t ask me I just show up for the fit test and they do what they like.  I am no respirator mask expert.  Then my full medical screen in July and my “I’m healthy enough to work” paper signed by my primary care provider in April that have been sent now three times to the new company were not adequate.  I kept asking for the specifics of what was missing so when I went into the doctor I could tell them exactly what I needed. Bingo!  Finally I asked the right person that question.  Because after two weeks of fighting that battle a half hour later they were calling me telling me that what I have works, few! First major battle won! I got into my primary doctor’s office, really just the lab, for a titer draw thinking it would be resulted quick when after the draw was done the phlebotomist informed me it could take up to 48 hours for results, but most likely they would come in 24. (This was a problem because There is a everything has to be done by today or you have to wait another week to start work thumb on me)  shortly after we left the doctors offic and were on our way home to pick up the kids from Stephanie my OB provider clinic after a week of looking (not their fault storage facilities fault) finally found my chart and was able to fact my rubella titer to the company from a few years ago yay!!! Another one down!  The earliest I could get in was tomorrow to occupational health and Hilo employee health would not do it for me even though they do it for their own employees. Frustrating, but I guess I understand…maybe.  They said we understand you had the fit test and you where that mask, we just need a note signed by a doctor saying so.  OKAY! Now your talking.  I know plenty of doctors who would love to help me with that one.  Done!  Few. We stopped in and visited Louanne at work as she hadn’t seen the kids since summer. Then we had lunch with the kids and Grandma Owens at Subway.  It was good.  Poor grandma the kids pile around her one on each side one one on her lap.  I have to check periodically that they haven’t smothered her as they have to be touching her all the time.  I think she was enjoying it, but still, good grief.  

Grandma took the kids for a sleep over after lunch and we headed North.  I had a friend that I hadn’t seen in over a year that was at the top of my must see and hug list so we took the rest of the afternoon to visit with her.  We enjoyed the beautiful drive and quiet time.  It was medicinal for both of us to catch up.  Chad and I were practically silent the whole ride back, so many thoughts swirling around in our heads.  We stopped in at the friend recommended Joe’s Crab Shack for a date night dinner, and watched the sun set. 

We finished dinner and checked the GPS.  If we hurried we still could make it to Costco in Salem to pick up pictures with two minutes to spare before they closed.  We B-lined it through Portland and actually made it with 7 min. to spare.  Chad got gas as I ran in and picked up the pictures. We the. Headed to the church to watch Jayson play church league  basketball.  The sound of squeaky tennis shoes on the gym floor and the pounding of the basketball down the court brought back so many good memories from highschool.  I guess I haven’t been in a gym watching sports since my sisters were in highschool and that has been a while.  There were more familiar faces and I took the oportunity to visit with a friend that recently had her fourth little bundle of joy.  I just love babies!  Babies and new mommies! Of course this is not her first but still….that is when you know you are doing what you were made to do.  It (being with and supporting moms and babies) is what I would chose to do even if I wasn’t getting paid.  Kelly thanks for letting me love on little Charlie.  

– side note: I didn’t get confirmation that all was received because my confirmation texts and emails were unanswered.   A call this morning reviewed that the fit test had not yet been received and now they are questioning that I might need another titer of some kind…….thank you for all your prayers that this would fall into place.  And LORD in the meantime help me to feel peace in knowing it is all in your hands. 

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Travel Nursing: Living On Purpose

I know it is easy to complain about the hard parts of our jobs.  I always steel myself for the worst, abolishing any thought that it’s going to be easy or that I’m going to love it.  There are definitely hard parts, so far though I have been pleasantly surprised every time.  For us travel nursing equals a working vacation, learning about the United States, visiting family, seeing the sights, hands on experience, and meeting new friends.  It is a constant challenge, as soon as you get comfortable it is time for a new assignment and starting all over.  We felt like God was calling us out of our comfort zones, away from our support system to a place where we were required to put our faith and trust solely in him.  During this next assignment we will hit the one year anniversary of our life as a full time travel nurse family.  Our original plan was for this period in our lives to be up to five years with purposeful reassessment and prayer for God’s direction in our lives yearly. With Easter just around the corner (our one year anniversary) we would appreciate your prayers specifically that God in his time will make clear the path that we are to take.  That he would continue to open the doors that we are to walk through and that we would be receptive to his leading. 

Categories: Heart, Travel Nursing | 1 Comment

Goodbye Victorville

Chad is getting quite good at packing all of our stuff into the car.  It is a big job, and as it falls we usually leave an assignment right after my last shift, so I’m working, sleeping, working go and am of very little help in the packing arena. These last three shifts were perfect, better than I could have hoped for.  And although I am running way low on sleep I feel so blessed to have had the chance to work these last 13 weeks in Victorville.  We are sad to say goodbye to our extended family, new friends, and our time here in Victorville, at the same time, we are so thankful to be headed towards home.  

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2/25 Breakfast with Anne

I’m not exactly sure why we waited so long to go out to breakfast together, but I’m glad we didn’t completely miss our opportunity.  Anne is a young energetic nurse who is solid in her skills and really cares about doing what is right/best for her patients which has made her so fun to work with.  Anne chose a homey breakfast cafe she had been wanting to try.  With the old school warm atmosphere, an omelet, and such good company 7:00am passed then 8:00am.  As it neared 9:00 I got a call from Chad to make sure I was okay. We decided that it would probably be prudent to call it a day, so I could get a little sleep before work came around again.  We hugged goodbye, see you later really, as she has family in Oregon not too far from Salem where we plan to meet again sometime.  Thank you God for putting people along this journey who encourage me to grow in my walk with you.  Thank you Anne for the many memories that will have me smiling for months (maybe years) to come. 

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Strength, Grace & Peace Please

Well we have now spent our last night at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for this visit.  As we said goodbye to Grandma she said, “hey, we spent a LOT of time together and didn’t even drive each other nuts.” In a pleasantly surprised tone of voice.  We left Hannah Banana there and they will bring her when they come to pick up their futon and vaccume in Thursday so it isn’t goodbye goodbye yet, but we are all feeling it.  Caleb said, “the universe is unfair.” This will be a hard next three days.  I have dosed up with Tylenol, ibuprofen and coffee just to keep my headache at bay, I’m not sure if it is stress, tiredness, or emotion, but as I sit here in the hospital parking lot getting ready to go in to work I am both so thankful for this journey and praying that God gives us the strength we need for this next couple weeks.  

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Inconvenience me for your purposes

I should number the inconveniences…
1. A change in our Saturday plans = no Mary Beth, no color run, a chance to head home a few days earlier, and visit to Yosemite.
2. A long time friend of Grandma’s landing her self most likely a one way trip to ICU = getting to watch my grandma do what she does best and that is friending the unfriendly, letting no one she knows die alone and getting to be her copilot and support as this is the first dying person she has supported since the death of her own daughter to cancer in November.
3. Needing to take two computer tests mandate we stay one more night with grandma and grandpa the very last one for this assignment and now after several hours on the computer I have three more CEUs and I have a certificate saying I know how to use Pyxis (a med dispensing machine that I have a ton of experience using already) and a completion certificate for the NIHSS Stroke assessment scale test why I will ever need that in labor and delivery is unknown but just in case…,I’m prepared.
4. Hawaii Nursing License- we have been watching for the check to the Hawaii Board of Nursing to be cashed and after two weeks gave them a call to discover that they still have not reviewed my application. This is a problem, they don’t exactly let you work in any state with out the appropriate nursing license. Lucky for us Hawaii offers a temporary nursing license but I have to go to their office in Honolulu to get it. Honolulu just happens to be on a different island than Hilo. So I will need to take a shuttle flight to Oahu on Friday after we arrive so that I can get the necessary temporary license, that won’t be cheap, but there must be a purpose for all of this. May God use it for his glory and may I be patient and not complain.




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