I cannot believe my second travel nursing contract is already complete! I was in beautiful Muskoka, Ontario, Canada- more specifically Bracebridge, Ontario. It’s a gorgeous area of Ontario surrounded by lakes and cottages. In the summer time swarms of Toronto residents come up to live the life of luxury for the season. The hospitals out here have a hard time finding nurses it seems. A lot of nurses want to work in the GTA instead of in this smaller area. This contract was a short one (only five weeks) but it honestly flew by and I’m sad to have it come to an end! I enjoyed this contract way more than my first one in Alberta. There are a few reasons why.
So I was originally told that I would be mainly at the Bracebridge hospital with the potential to float to Huntsville if needed (another small town in the area). I never did have to float and I’m honestly happy about that because it would have been a half hour drive to the other facility if that did happen. I also would have had to find my way around a whole new hospital with all new staff. I just loved the hospital in Bracebridge. I had a great experience, maybe because it was so different from my first contract? The staff were great; I connected with so many nice people. Everyone was so welcoming and thankful to have me there, which is always nice. I found the manager of the floor to be wonderful and she always checked in to see if I needed assistance or if I needed relief to go for a break. I had to learn a whole new charting system (Cerner) and it didn’t end up being horrible. I still prefer Meditech but it is what I’m most comfortable with. This med/surg floor was about 25-30 beds and was a good mix of medical patients with the occasional surgical patient. It was not near as acute as my home hospital but it was more acute than my previous contract which I found boring so this was a good balance. I also loved the actual patients that I had. I found that all of my patients here were fascinated by travel nursing and everyone always wanted to hear about my travels and where I’m going next. A lot of my patients knew people from Thunder Bay and a couple were from there or nearby which is cool! I was all day shifts minus the last two shifts which were night shifts. Normally, back home I only work nights because I do prefer it and I have a hard time waking up early for day shift. I eventually got used to the day shift life and got into somewhat of a routine which was nice. I still prefer my nights though! I think my favourite part about this hospital was the girls I worked with and I am for sure going to miss them so much! During one of my last shifts, one of them joked that I wasn’t allowed to leave because she just made a new best friend. Thank goodness for social media to stay connected!
Another reason why this assignment was so great was the place that I was staying. The agency I work for arranges my housing for me and in Bracebridge there is a couple named Sue and Bob who have two houses that they house the travel nurses in. The main house was full so I was placed in an upstairs room in their home which was only a five minute drive away from the hospital. I had a big room with a queen sized bed, satellite TV, and a bathroom right beside it. I could use the kitchen and laundry room whenever I needed to and there was also a hot tub! They have an adorable dog who I became buddies with and I am going to miss having him around so much! It was so lovely staying with Bob and Sue. We talked almost every night and sometimes we would even just relax and watch the hockey game with a glass of wine. And if I was tired or just wanted to chill in my room, that was fine too. I think part of the reason I enjoyed my time in Bracebridge so much was because of them and I’m so grateful I was able to meet them and stay with them during my short time in the Muskoka area.
HAVING FRIENDS IN THE AREA
Something else that was good about this assignment was that I knew people in the area. There’s a few people that I wish I could have seen while I was there but my busy schedule on my days off didn’t allow for it! My best friend was going to come up for a few days but couldn’t so that was sad that I didn’t get to see her- but I will see them this summer so it’s all good! On my drive up to Bracebridge (a fourteen hour drive), I stopped in Parry Sound for a night where I have relatives which was really nice. My very good friend Pheonix who I met working in Bonnyville, Alberta is from only an hour and a half away from Bracebridge. I was able to spend a lot of time with her which was awesome! I met her puppy Chai who is the biggest sweetheart and I also met her hubby who is also a huge sweetheart! We spent some time in the Blue Mountains, a ski village near Collingwood and enjoyed an afternoon at a spa. We also went on a hike up the “mountain” for a beautiful view overlooking Georgian Bay. It was so nice exploring the area with someone on my days off! Pheonix and I are going to Quebec City and Montreal in July and I can’t wait to see her again!
During this contract, I was only twelve hour shifts which was amazing. I had a lot of time off in between shifts which was nice. In Alberta, I was mostly eight hour shifts so I felt like I was at the hospital almost every day. There was one week in Bracebridge where I only had one shift! And I still made more money than I would have back home. I also had every second weekend off which was awesome (in Alberta I worked all eight weekends in a row). One weekend off, Andrew came to Toronto and we had an amazing time. Read about it here. The next chunk of days I had off, I flew back home for a few days which was awesome. It didn’t even feel like I was working LOL!
The actual location of my contract was great. There was so much to do and explore in the area. The Muskoka Brewery was right in Bracebridge which I really liked! I hiked to a few waterfalls and walked around a few of the little towns in the region. The fact that it was only a two hour flight home was nice too. Muskoka is ten times nicer in the summer so I really want to return at some point! Every place I went to made me think ‘I wonder how much cooler this would look in the summertime’. I plan on finding out!
All in all, it was a great five weeks. I highly recommend doing a contract here if you are a Canadian travel nurse! They have needs for ICU, OB, ER and med/surg. I cannot wait to go back! If you have any questions, please reach out to me on Instagram!
Thanks for reading!