Caridad Atienza, BSN, RN, has been a travel nurse with Cross Country Healthcare Inc. since 1990 working in hospitals in Texas, California and Florida because she loves seeing new places, making new friends and learning new things. Atienza left a good job in Canada to become a travel nurse because she wanted to play golf year-round.
There are some people who are good travelers and some who arent, said the pediatric nurse, who lives and works in Southern California. If youre very settled in your ways, travel nursing would not be a good fit for you.
For Atienza, who doesnt like staying in any one place for long, its a dream job. Average assignments are 13 weeks, but she is almost always asked to extend her stay, she said. Whether to stay and for how long is always her choice. Her longest job lasted 3-1/2 years.
Flexibility is key, Atienza said. She adapts to different rules, management styles and equipment in various hospitals, and is willing to work almost any hours required. She earns the respect of the staff by making sure they know she is there to help them by taking care of patients to the best of her ability. When she shares information shes learned at other facilities, shes careful not to undermine the current hospitals way of doing things.
Travel nursing requires independence. Orientations are brief. Though the company provides furnished housing, nurses must pack and move to every job. Atienza recommends choosing a reliable agency willing to support its nurses. The pay is good, the golfing has been great, but the greatest reward of traveling is the constant process of learning, she said. I dont like to stagnate. The more challenging something is, the better I am.
For more on travel nursing, visit www.Nurse.com/DearDonna/Travel-Nursing.