Sarah has been traveling with trustaff for a few years now and we are so honored to have her on our team. She’s such a hard worker and dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for all her patients.
After every assignment, we hear nothing but amazing feedback from the facilities. She’s flexible and compassionate, all around a great travel nurse and friend to our team.
Her recruiter, Jase Simpson, nominated her for the trustaff Traveler Spotlight. Jase said, “Sarah is amazing! She is the great RN to have but also I consider her more a friend than anything! She’s a huge advocate for trustaff and we are so lucky to have her. She’s even stopped in and met our team!“.
Tell us about YOU! Where are you from? Family? Friends? Pets?
I am from Oklahoma, originally. My parents are back there and I have one sister who lives in Michigan.
Why did you decide to go into healthcare?
My first career was so far from the medical field that when I decided to quit and become an aide, it was a shock to most everyone who knew me. I felt the medical field would be interesting, exciting, rewarding, and solid. Little did I know all those years ago that I was making the best decision of my life!
What prompted you to start traveling?
I have always been adventurous. When I discovered that there was an opportunity to combine my career with what I love most about traveling, I could hardly contain myself!
What was your first assignment like?
My first assignment was in Kentucky, 14 hours from home and the life I knew. I was so excited, nervous, thrilled, and terrified all at once. On my first day on the floor, I second guessed myself and wanted to run home immediately. I wasn’t sure I could handle this. The people were nice enough. The facility was nice enough, but it was so new and foreign to me. Luckily, I was able to clear my head, get through it, and I ended up staying for 6 months! I still talk to those coworkers almost daily. I discovered that I am capable and able. It helped me grow as a nurse and as a person!
What’s your favorite thing about traveling?
My favorite thing about traveling is the thrill of something new. New people, new coworkers, new accents, new foods, new local customs, new hospital policies, new methods of doing our jobs, and new surroundings. I get to see all kinds of things through a locals eyes and everywhere I have gone I have had the chance to experience things that I never would have heard about if I had stayed home. It’s like a permanent vacation!
What is the most challenging part about traveling? How do you overcome it?
My first day on a new unit in a new hospital is always the most overwhelming. Sometimes finding the bathroom can be a challenge, much less figuring out which doctor to call, how to page them, and how to get hold of pharmacy. My first day of orientation on the floor I carry a small notebook in my pocket so I can write down codes to doors, processes of discharges and admissions, which notes this facility needs me to write, and anything else I find different than I have seen other places. I carry that notebook and add to it or refer to it for the first 2-3 weeks. Some nurses have called it my handy dandy notebook. But it has saved me countless times!
I also make sure to smile at everyone. It makes me seem more approachable, makes you more memorable, and lets the other staff know that I see them and I’m here to help. I also tend to call my mom every day on the way home for the first 2 weeks to help me process things. Sometimes verbalizing differences makes me realize what I can do to streamline my approach.
Another difficult thing is loneliness. We tell stories of how awesome this is, but let’s be real. Some of us are single, have no pets and are multiple hours from home. There are multiple apps that get random groups of people together for activities and events. Also, sometimes it is okay to go to lunch with a new coworker. Ask them about things in the area. Find a local animal shelter and volunteer. Local universities have things like sporting events. There are hiking groups, local gyms, YMCAs, libraries have book clubs, etc. Getting involved in the local community has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done for myself!
How many assignments have you taken and where?
I have had 5 assignments spanning a little over 2 years. I have been to Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma (Mom had surgery and I needed to go home, so it was super easy and convenient to arrange care), and now Pennsylvania. I was also able to volunteer at a camp for kids over the summer. It wasn’t through trustaff, but I had been able to save up enough through their contracts that I didn’t have to worry about money for the summer.
What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about starting their travel career?
1) Truly sit down and be honest with yourself about a budget. How much to you HAVE to make per month to cover bills? Some things to remember would be insurance needs, retirement funds, savings, etc.
2) If you are worried about being homesick, try a contract in your state or even within a decent driving range. I didn’t do that, but this wasn’t a concern for me.
3) Ask yourself what you are expecting from travel. Experiences? Money? New places?
4) Talk to another person who is already traveling!! There are so many groups on social media, so reach out or even talk to someone you currently know at your local hospital.
5) Jump on in! The water’s fine!