Blog Posts, Posts, Travel Nursing, Travel Nursing Resources

Transition From Travel Nurse to Virtual Nurse

Travel nursing was the single best thing I’ve ever done for myself. During those two exciting years of my life, it was what I needed to do for myself in order to grow. I will never forget the six locations I worked in or the seven contracts I completed. Each one helped me in a completely different way and each one introduced me to people who had a great impact on me. A few stick out more than others, but all had a part in completing the experience for me. I truly wish I could do it forever! But my life and career are going a different direction now, and it’s time to move on.

When I first started travel nursing, I was so naive! I of course did not believe that at the time, but when I go back and read my first blog post when I decided to do it, I just laugh at myself! I was so torn to leave my boyfriend Andrew at home and that was one of the reasons I held off from taking the plunge for so long. Looking back, the long distance and separation was one of the best things for us. We both grew so much as individuals during that time and our relationship is so much stronger now than it was. I really wish I would have made the decision to go out sooner because I missed out on a bunch of experiences and opportunities!

So what am I doing now instead of travel nursing? If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen my stories I’ve been posting about my new job. While I was in Bella Bella for my last travel contract, I was contemplating what I was going to do next for work. I wanted to help out with Covid-19 and found a job posting to work for the Government of Canada to help with testing people for the virus. This obviously didn’t work out but while I was browsing for jobs, I stumbled upon some tele-health jobs. I found a posting for my current employer, applied, and after three more interviews, I was offered a full time position!! It all happened really fast but I’m really happy with how things turned out. To sum up my current job, it is a remote position working from home. It’s a private company based out of Montreal, Quebec that large corporations and companies across Canada purchase services as part of their employee’s benefits package. The employees have access to an app and website where they can consult with nurses, nurse practitioners and doctors for their health issues. I am considered a Nurse Clinician and I started off doing Nurse Counselling, counselling patients for home care instructions based on their symptoms either via phone or video calls. I later was trained as Dispatch where I triage patients, send them to the emergency room or walk-in clinic based on any red flag symptoms, or I book them an appointment with one of our practitioners. I later offered to help out with night shift coverage, so now I am considered a Night Nurse which I feel is the perfect fit for me! I can go back to days whenever I want but I really like working nights.

I have been learning SO much! My last few contracts definitely prepared me for this position. It’s basically like an online walk-in clinic and sometimes ER. During my last few contracts in Fort Nelson and Bella Bella, I helped out in the ER and basically helped run the walk-in clinic during the day. I couldn’t actually triage people, but I could do basic things and help with the more complicated ones. By doing all of this, I was exposed to more than I ever was on medical/surgical floors which is my nursing background. With this being said, there is still a lot that I need to learn and I have been doing so….mostly maternity and paediatrics patients! The company I work for has amazing resources available to me and the staff are SO helpful and welcoming. If I have a question, I can ask on our chat program and have an answer within seconds. Patient safety is the most important thing, so if I don’t know something, I make sure to research it and look it up before calling my patient. In doing so, I learn about the issue and know about it for the next time it may come up!

So the big question is….

How hard was it to go from travel nursing to working from home??

You’re probably expecting me to say it was a hard transition!! Allow me to shock you and tell you it’s been one of the easiest transitions I’ve ever done. Yes, I absolutely miss travel nursing and I would love to go back out and do another contract. But being at home right now has been really good for me. There’s a few factors involved…

The pandemic

Right when I got to Bella Bella back in March, the coronavirus was just making it’s way into Canada. I went through a stage of panic when I was stuck on the island I was on when they cancelled all incoming/outgoing flights. It ended up working out with a private charter eventually, but at the time I was spiralling. Something about the pandemic definitely made me want to be closer to home and avoid travelling. I could have taken a Covid contract and helped out in British Columbia, but I for sure wanted to be close to home during that crazy time. I ended up cancelling a contract in Fort Nelson in April/May when I accepted my new job. I felt horrible, but everything did end up working out. I feel like I for sure got off easy in a sense when it comes to working as a nurse during the pandemic. I didn’t have to come into contact with any Covid patients. I was safe inside my home (after my mandatory 14 day quarantine). I for sure do not take this for granted and it makes me appreciate the front-line workers even more. I struggled with this guilt for some time, but when it comes down to it, I was helping in a different type of way. Many patients consulted on the platform asking about Covid symptoms and other health issues. I was able to keep people out of clinics and hospitals across Canada so that the nurses and doctors could focus on those who needed care the most. This isn’t meant to undermine anyone’s health issues, but the pandemic definitely helped in making people realize that their symptoms were not worth going to the Emergency Room and kept them at home or in urgent care clinics where they should be going in the first place. Virtual care is such a huge factor in this. Why go outside of your house during a pandemic, when you can video chat with an NP or MD from the safety of your home?

We bought a house!

This whole winter, Andrew and I have been working so hard (both out of town) to put money away to buy a house this summer. On June 15th, all our hard work paid off and we moved into our beautiful new home!! We are so happy in it and it has been so much fun decorating it and making it our own. I set up a beautiful home office which makes working from home a lot more exciting. I’m still not 100% finished setting it up but once I am, I will share an office tour with you guys! I think being in a brand new house made working from home an easier transition as well because I’m excited and I want to be here! Here are a few photos of the house!

We got a puppy!

Another exciting thing that happened, and also why being home has been so great, is that we got a puppy in July!! Sophie is a golden retriever with a quarter yellow lab and she is honestly the greatest thing in my life! I don’t know what I did with my time before I had her. She is a LOT of work but it will all be worth it once she is older and fully trained! I honestly don’t know how I would have had a brand new puppy while working full time. I’m so lucky I’ve been able to be home with her and bond with her. She is for sure spoiled with attention and I have to make sure I put her in her kennel every so often so that she doesn’t have attachment issues! She’s such a good puppy and we are so lucky! Here are a bunch of pictures!!

Isn’t she precious!?

So yes, as you can see my life is quite different now than it was six months ago!! I’m truly happy with my little fam and our beautiful home. I love my new job and I am currently applying to go back to school for my Masters which is also a big change! I’m so grateful for the two years of travel nursing that I experienced. I’ll never forget the memories I made or the people I met along the way. I truly believe each and every moment has led me to where I am now. I wouldn’t change a thing!!!

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