Hey guys! I wanted to talk about something big that is happening to me and I’m super excited to share with you all! I have a LOT of feelings about this so I’m very happy I have this outlet to write them all down and “talk it out”.
I’m becoming a Travel Nurse!!
This has been in the works since applying in January and though I could have started much much sooner, I have finally decided to make the plunge and jump into this change in my nursing career. I know people I work with in Thunder Bay have heard me talking about it and dreaming all year. It’s one of the biggest decisions that I’ve ever made so it did not come lightly. It’s a little emotional as well but it is something I’ve decided I need to do for myself. Some may say that it’s a selfish decision, and I may sometimes feel that way, but I would rather fail at something than regret not trying. It’s a huge decision to leave a permanent full time job to pursue a dream of travel. The job I have now doesn’t really allow me to have the freedom I need to travel where I want, and even though part of me wants to settle down, buy a house, and stay in one place… a bigger part of me realizes that I need to spend some time exploring first or else I will regret it. My boyfriend Andrew (who means the world to me) just graduated university and is working towards getting his Engineer stamp in four years and then I plan on going back to school eventually to become a Nurse Practitioner. While he is working out of town a lot and working towards his goal, I feel now is the perfect time for me to work out of town, travel, and also make more money in the process. To be completely honest, we had a few disagreements over this and almost broke up in the process. Looking back now, this has made us stronger and on the same page from now on. I don’t want to live apart from Andrew even though he may sometimes feel that way. That’s the hardest part for me and it makes me upset even talking about it. This has been the most troublesome thing to consider to make this career choice because if I was single I most likely wouldn’t even have an address…I would be long gone… travelling and working and probably stay in Manitoba with my parents in between contracts! I can’t do that though because I’ve got this amazing guy by my side who has decided he wants to come along on this crazy ride with me and support my dreams! I gave him an out and he didn’t take it so I guess he is stuck with me! I’m so glad he decided this because I love him way too much to think about living life without my best friend! When it came down to it, all emotions aside, I realized I did need to look at myself and decide what’s best for ME right now and for my happiness before things are even more serious between us. I’m so thankful that Andrew realizes I need to make this change to be happier. I am a firm believer in if you aren’t happy with where you are in life- DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Stop complaining about your job, your relationship, your shitty friend… take action and you will be happier!
I don’t even feel like I’m explaining myself properly but I can’t really put into words the feelings and desire I have to take this unreal opportunity in front of me. Now is the time! Our relationship is strong and I have peace that we can handle it and get through being apart for short periods of time. We’ve done it before and we can do it again. He may not agree with every single one my choices but I know that he supports me in everything I do because I do the same for him. We always say that we are a team and he’s really stepping up as a teammate by accepting this. How lucky am I!?
All mushiness and emotions aside… let me tell you how I became a travel nurse. First of all, I have a dear friend Breanne (@brea.rn on Instagram!) whom I met way back in Pre-Health in College and she also became a Registered Nurse, specifically an ER nurse. I have so much love for this woman- she has always been a huge role model for me due to her strong, independent, and encouraging personality. She’s always been my go to for career advice and she is also planning to further her nursing education like me. About a year or two ago, she began travel nursing and I have just been in awe of her life and kept thinking, why can’t I do that!? I grill her with questions regularly, bless her heart for always being there for me. She told me the name of the recruiting company she works for and I ended up applying in January and paired up with a recruiter named Chantal at Select Medical Connections. (There is also another company in Canada that I know of called Solutions Staffing if you are interested!). You need two years of nursing experience and they cover housing and travel costs to your assignments. Contracts can usually be anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months and you may have the option to extend. You basically tell your recruiter which dates you are available for and where you want to go, they present you to hospitals, and then you get a contract for that location if everything works out. The wage is amazing too! Currently, I float between three different surgical units in TBay (plus our hospital’s overflow units too) and I’m used to being thrown into different nursing assignments on a regular basis and always working with different staff and patients. You learn to become flexible and adaptable to various situations which is a good quality to have when it comes to travel nursing. I’m sure it will be lonely at times and difficult to constantly make an effort to meet new people and friends, but it’s something that I have become efficient at in my life with my family moving often and not staying in one place very long. (I’m 25 and I think I have moved maybe 19 or 20 times!?). I can’t even wrap my head around settling down in one place for a huge period of time, so this adventure sounds perfect for me right now. Everybody I talk to about this opportunity says they want to do it too, so I figured…why not me!? If you have any other questions about travel nursing or getting started, feel free to message me! I’m still learning about it too, but I can ask someone else who knows as well!
I wanted to start travel nursing way back in January when I first applied but it never felt like the right time. We didn’t really know what was happening with Andrew and if he was going to get a job in Thunder Bay, or if we would have to move to a different city. Now that he is for sure working in Thunder Bay and loves his job, we have more stability, so it’s time! That made me laugh writing that last sentence about stability because I feel like as soon as we had some normalcy I’m changing things again! Another reason I haven’t started travel nursing yet is because it’s also really time consuming getting licensing for different provinces in Canada. I wrote the NCLEX nursing exam, so I am okay to work anywhere in North America. However, I have to apply with the provincial college of nurses where I am assigned and pay for a license to practice in that province. It’s a whole other process to work in the United States, so I am just going to work in Canada at this time.
I am not actually that picky about where my first assignment is going to be… I really just want to get out there and get some good nursing experience and explore the area that I am placed. I pretty much just told my recruiter to present me for everything Med-Surg and LTC (medical surgical and long term care) and see what happens. I figure whichever facility approves me is where I will go and that is where the universe is going to take me! I’m sure there is a reason I am meant to be there, even if it is to show me that I hate travel nursing and it isn’t for me! I am hoping that isn’t the case though! 🙂 I dropped down to a casual position back home in Thunder Bay, so I have a back up in between contracts when I come back home. I didn’t think that was going to work out, but it did… and that’s just one more reason of why I feel like this is meant to be and I am doing what I am supposed to be doing!
So I’m sure everyone is wondering where my first travel assignment is going to be!! I was offered a contract in Bonnyville, Alberta for my first assignment. I signed my contract last night and it’s official! I will be starting October 1st for two months in this town east of Edmonton, close to the Saskatchewan border. My plan was to start at the beginning of September but due to licensing fees, the facility and I changed my start date to October 1st. In Ontario, the College of Nurses renewal begins January 1st of each year. However, in Alberta it renews each October 1st. If I started my contract in September, I would have had to pay for the last few weeks of this year in addition to the new year starting October 1st, and it is almost the same price as the full year fee. Alberta does not prorate their fees like other provinces do. I am missing out on a month of travel nursing by doing this, but I am also saving a lot of money in licensing fees.
I am planning on taking some time off during the month of August and enjoying some free time with family and friends! I have a couple of small trips planned and I am so excited to enjoy the rest of summer…stress free. Then I will work casually during September before beginning my new job in October! We also booked a trip to the Dominican Republic in December which we are very excited about! I can’t even explain how happy I am to be making these changes in my life. I’m happy to be doing this for me and that the people I love support me as well. I’ve been stuck in a rut for awhile where I’m at right now and I hope that this will give me the experience and memories that I’m searching for! Last week I went and got a spontaneous walk-in tattoo to kind of represent this huge change in my life and I absolutely love it! I can’t wait to travel the rest of the world and I’m blessed to be able to work and live in beautiful Canada. There’s so much to explore here right at home.
Finally, just to add one more thing… if you are looking for inspiration to fuel your travel nursing fire, I suggest using social media to do so! There are so many awesome nurses on Instagram that I’ve been following who are either seasoned travel nurses or brand new ones being challenged by their first contracts. There are also some Facebook groups that I am apart of with thousands of travel nurses across North America who share the pros and cons and amazing locations of their assignments. I didn’t realize there was such a large community of like-minded people! Let me know if you have questions about something I didn’t cover in this blog post!
Thanks for reading!!