Travel Nursing

Just Dreaming

Yesterday after finally getting my UDS done we stopped at an RV lot to dream I mean drool. We are inching closer to a year on the road. We now know that we really love not only the job but the whole family bonding experience. We have looked at floor plans for RVs. If we ever got one would we want a fifth wheel, trailer, or Motorhome. Trailers are the most reasonable, but then you have to consider the cost not only initial but in gas mileage of a tow rig big enough to pull a trailer or fifth wheel long enough to have the living space for five people. Hmmmm. Also to consider is the fact that we are stationary for three months at a time and use it as a hub making short trips from there. So maybe the Motorhome with a more efficient tow vehicle would be the best fit for us.
It is a good thing that we aren’t really in the market yet anyway. Dave Ramsey would say that you can not afford something if you can’t pay cash for it and for sure we are not even close to being able to pay cash for a fulltime RV. It was still fun to look and dream.




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One week

We have only three more work days at this assignment. One full weekend, a garage sale, family day at the beach, and a whole lot off packing fill the to do list. Better get busy…

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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

Here a CC family, There a CC family, everywhere a CC family

I don’t think Neenah is the Classical Conversations (CC) Capitol of the world but we have run into several families in this area that are part of a CC group (homeschool co-op) there was the family at the library a month or so ago, the family at the Oshkosh Saturday market a while back, and last night I had an Abecedarian tutor as a patient, and the director of their program as a visitor.  She was telling me how many CC groups they had in a 60 mile radius, I don’t remember the number but it was huge.  There is four groups in Neenah alone and Neenah is a fairly small town. It was super fun to have her.  We had a running conversation that continued every time I was in her room to check on her or help her about CC, homeschooling, Ken Ham, serving God in this fallen world, and life in general. I feel like I was at work all night getting blessed by my patients.  Is that backwards?  My cup overflows!

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Okay, that didn’t work.

I’m never quite sure what to do with the one on one off one on shift schedule with night shift hours.  If you are able to only rest a short time before your first shift, you can’t exactly stay up all day after you have worked all night and been awake the whole day before, but if you sleep you waste your one day off, and if you don’t sleep you will feel terrible all day.  I have never really tried to just stay on my night shift hours on a day I was not working but it seemed like an option worth trying.  So I got home from work, stayed up for a few hours had breakfast with the kids and walked the dog.  Then I crashed hard, waking up around 3:00pm making it down stairs to join the party about a half hour later. We had planned to carve our pumpkin so we did that after dinner and after the kids went to bed and our blog was typed up and posted I settled down with a book.  I had planned to go to bed around 12:00 or 1:00 but was still wide awake at those times, but by 3:00 I thought it best to get some rest.  I fell asleep quickly but was awake with back pain by 8:00 am and was wide awake after that.  I wanted to feel rested going to work but I couldn’t get back to sleep and didn’t want to have to pull another all nighter on five hours of sleep.  I took melatonin.  I talked with two recruiters and a friend off and on trying to get things lined up for our next assignment, which didn’t help me fall asleep but was necessary.  I did get a little more sleep between1:30 and 3:45.  Hopefully that will carry me.  Maybe I should have stayed up until 6:00, I don’t know, I hate to miss a whole day with my family when it is a day off.  Hmmm, not sure that it helped at all maybe I will stick to sleeping all day getting up for a few hours then sleeping all night, being awake the next 24 hours (all day and all night.)  I wish I could figure out a way that worked well.

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I am kind of relieved to be on nights even if it is only for a week and a half.
On the way to work as usual, I hoped for the best and braced for the worst, asking God for strength.   I won the assignment lottery again.  Not because I had the easiest patient, but I had one where I felt like I could make a big difference.  It was a natural (no epidural) induction with a very hands on patient.  Baby was really feeling the pressure and the provider rushed in with barely enough time to get a gown and gloves on as the baby delivered in the hands and knees position.  So awesome! The patient was up quickly and after breastfeeding twice showered with a full bed change by two hours out.  But as I was sitting down to finish all of my charting I got a call from the lead nurse telling me that as soon as my patient was all recovered I needed to report off to another nurse and go help at AMC.  I had parked the car far away and again I was left wondering what lay ahead for me at AMC.  Switching hospitals in the middle of the night is some how creepier than in the day.  Following GPS through dark deserted streets knowing full well that I really had no clue where I was.
I was pleasantly surprised when I got to AMC and had a lite load.  The time passed quickly and before too long I was headed home again.

This week we start doing all the leg work for our next assignment …I am eager to find out where we will be headed next.

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PALS (pediatric advanced life support) Getting up at 5:00 AM was a treat, with an extra hour of sleep I did feel more rested. I hopped in the shower, dressed, then snuck out of the house.  The plan was to go to Starbucks and cram, having to work nearly everyday since getting my book there had been very little quiet time to study.  I climbed in the car and double checked to make sure I had the printed off copy of the pretest.  I flipped through the book where I had safely tucked it in preparation and it wasn’t there, I flipped through it again, nope.  Where did I tuck it? I know I tucked it in the book, but it isn’t there now. Shoot, I turned the flashlight on on the phone and searched the car, then I got out and made my way back in the house where a little one was now up and in the bathroom…I was trying not to wake everyone and searching for a paper all around the house was not helping.  At this point I had looked everywhere it could possibly be besides work, it must have fallen out at work. I have to have that paper or they won’t let me in the class, it’s not like I can just print another one.  We don’t even have a printer.  I felt like crying, the only three hours I had to read and study were being spent looking for a paper I had so carefully tucked in a spot it could not be forgotten accidentally.  I woke up Chad to help me then searched the car a second and third time.  Then the kids started coming down stairs. I gave up on Starbucks and started warming up some cold oatmeal. We grabbed the laptop and checked Office Depot’s hours (or Office Max I can’t remember) they opened at 8:00AM and my class started at 9:00AM.  We resubmitted the pretest to be printed and put on a pot of coffee.  I crammed while Chad made a special breakfast for the kids who were now all up an hour early.  Then took the laptop as precautionary incase the paper was not printed and they couldn’t find it.  I crammed some more in the parking lot while waiting for the clock to strike 8:00AM.  They quickly printed the paper for me and I thanked them profusely.  The operator at AMC directed me to the correct room for the class and I checked in a whole 30 min. early.  I kept my cramming until class started and inside I prepared myself for a day filled with potential most embarrassing moments.  I feel so out of my league in these situations. I’m rusty with my rhythm strips and unfamiliar completely with all the recessitation meds other than epi.  It is a good thing that that is almost always the first med given in these code situations.  Luckily there were no most embarrassing moments and I wasn’t the only rusty one.  You gotta just roll up both sleeves and jump in in these situations and not worry what other people think.  I love learning and wish it was practical to take many more classes and tests, and it ended up being a nice breather since I’m looking at tomorrow and Wednesday being both super busy shifts.  The test was good, although maybe not a true picture of my PALS knowledge since the whole class is taught to the test so if you listened you had been given all the test answers throughout the day.  Now what do you think the chances are that I will remember it for two years, maybe three months for ACLS in January? Probably not.  Not with out a chance to practice, and I hope to shout we have none of that in OB.
The kids greeted me at the door Eve had no accidents today and her head is looking better.

IMG_1852.JPG Hannah had drawn a picture of a Unicorn giving birth to Pegasus’ baby.

IMG_1855.JPG this mama could nurse a whole litter of little ones.  And We got the new tin whistle books in the mail.

Eve proceeded to have an accident on our bed just before bedtime, it’s a good thing the dryer is quick.  Good night all.

Categories: Family Time, Fun, Travel Nursing | 1 Comment

A weird sort of day

When I arrived at work and looked at my assignment, I was sure I was missing something.  A vaginal delivery who would be discharged by noon and a really easy antepartum, was I supposed to have an induction coming in too?  This was very uncharacteristic.  So I rounded on my sleeping patients, then stayed in the nursery so the other nurses who had a baby in the nursery could get out and assess their patients.  Did some baby assessments, a bottle here and a CCHD screen there.  I got out and rounded again and everyone was still sleeping, so I headed back to the nursery and helped a nurse with a heavier assignment by taking her twins out and helping the mom breastfeed.  About 9:00 am my patients started coming around, but it didn’t take long to get their stuff done, so soon I was back to helping hang blood and fetching a wheel chair.  The assignments were seriously lop sided.  Although the one nurse with the heaviest assignment got two of her three patients including the twin babies discharged by noon, I had a triage who in addition to my post partum went home by noon, the two other nurses on discharged pts too, so that we were down to very few patients on the floor.  Every one got lunch.  Then we admitted an SROM but she was given to someone else, I admitted another antepartum and then the pt we hung blood on was discovered to be bleeding internally so she was whisked down stairs to the main OR.  A patient came in in atrial fibrillation (or Vfib, the report was unclear, I’m pretty sure it was Afib they just said Vfib on accident a few times, there is a HUGE difference between the two) either way, No, you can’t cardiovert her on an OB unit we will come to you and monitor the baby!  Yikes!  Then came in an ethics committee case.  I am pretty sure in my 10+ years of nursing that we have never had to call the ethics committee, oh and the police (although I have had to do that a few times).  The charge nurse was saying, “why me, these things always happen to me.”
Then in an effort to be helpful another nurse also named Sarah changed bed linens for the patient in the main OR and accidentally sent her new nursing bra down the laundry shoot with everything else so we wondered the halls in the basement of the hospital going up strange back stair cases and taking a freight and shipping elevator wondering if we were going to get lost or locked in somewhere looking for the room where the laundry shoot comes out so we could sort through and find the patients belonging.  Security ended up helping us and they weren’t even quite sure but after a while we found it and only had to go through about 7 bags of laundry before we found the missing item.  We were so glad that the birth center has different sheets and gowns than the other floors so we could easily identify bags belonging to our floor.  We were careful not to let anything touch our clothes I could imagine C. Dif being our fate, so we washed and sanitized really well.  The family was so glad to have the item back and we were glad to be headed home before anything else weird happened.

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I so forgot my lunch this morning

Working 15 hours yesterday with no lunch break got me home and in bed with enough time to squeeze out six hours of sleep.  The alarm came early, but I was showered and down eating breakfast before usual, which gave me enough time to eat my breakfast sitting down, and believe me my stomach was thankful.  I got out in good time and didn’t have to scrape my windows.  I got to work in good time, and as I climbed our of the car discovered that I had forgotten to grab my lunch out of the refrigerator.  I grabbed my debit card in hopes that the cafeteria would have something I could eat if the opportunity arose to eat a lunch.
Two fresh c/s patient and one antenatal,  two insulin dependent one with a pump.  It was steady.  Very steady.  I walked some serious miles today, and felt like I took good care of my patients.  There was no lull where lunch was possible until after I discharged one antenatal and picked up another one two hours before the end of the shift. I made it down to the cafeteria to discover that at 3:30pm on Saturday the options were sandwiches (no GF bread) pudding, chips, fruit and bottled drinks,  so I had a lunch of champions.
My usual lunch consists of a baked sweet potato, an apple, and an orange with a granola bar for dessert, which I do love, but it was so great to eat a whole meal of crappy food.  Maybe I shouldn’t have enjoyed it so much.  The chocolate pudding was fabulous, with two very small bags of jalapeño chips, then a banana and a bottled Starbucks coffee to follow.  I don’t know if it was the chocolate, the coffee, or the jalapeños but it hit the spot and I was uninterrupted for a whole 30 minutes.  I made it back up stairs, tied up all my loose ends, left all my patients with no immediate needs, taped report and got out on time.  It was such a beautiful thing.  One more day before we switch back to nights for a few weeks.
After dinner I headed up stairs to get ready for bed, this is at 7:40pm, when it dawned on me that I had not gone to the bathroom all day since I woke up at 4:15 am.  Yep, it was busy, but good.  I better drink a liter before bed.  Good night.

Categories: new mexico, Travel Nursing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beautiful Delivery

I did not want a labor this morning, I was less excited when I found out it was a first time mommy, even less when the night shift nurse hinted at back labor.

Can I just say that was the most beautiful birth I have seen in a long time, and one rock star mommy.  So refreshing.

Chad tells me that Eve did great with potty training, and made it to the bathroom for everything today.  Two things to celebrate.

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