This month we spoke to Jane, who had dipped her toes in travel nursing a few years ago, but had decided to try it again this year because of the increase in demand.
“I got into it this year because I’ve never seen so emails sent out for travel nursing as this year, and I’d had those two experiences with travel nursing – staying at a motel and filling the gap – so I knew what I was in for. So, this year with the staffing crisis, I got an email for a role in Whanganui, and my daughter lived there, so I thought, “Why not?”, I wanted to see her and the timing was perfect.”
When we spoke, Jane was on her third travel nursing placement of the year.
“I’ve only been to two others this year; I was in Tauranga for nearly two months, and then they asked me to stay an extra two to three weeks, and then I went up north, and that was for three months, and they were so desperate that they asked me to stay another three months, so I ended up being there for six months.”
When on placements, travel nurses typically stay in motels. Despite her extended stays in what most would consider temporary accommodation, Jane maintains that she didn’t have a problem with it:
“Let’s just say I’m so used to motels; you get used to it, you get your room cleaned in the morning, but you just treat it with respect and you get to know the staff, and they look after you. That becomes your home. It’s ok, but if you’ve got loved ones and family you miss them. You have to live like a traveler.”
Jane said that she was glad to lend her experience and advice so that there would be a resource out there for people considering travel nursing, or even agency nursing in general.
“It’s like any experience, you’ve got to look into it. Mostly it’s provided, you get accommodation, these are your bonuses, but my advice would be to just be professional – how you would be at a normal job – but be prepared to grow and develop. Let’s just say it brings you out of your comfort zone, and it teaches you to be more social and develop your social skills […] A lot of companies that you go to the staff are strained and stretched, but if you’re humble and just fit in with them and be calm, you’ll just fit in like a glove. And that’s the good thing about agency nurses, you do it that many times that it just becomes the norm, you do develop that ability to get along with people and fit into the environments because you’re adaptable, and you learn to become that.”
“In terms of more specific advice… you have to learn to live like a traveler. You’ll likely have to bring your own cooking facilities for long stays, or the client might pay extra for accommodation that provides that.”
Jane also said that it’s good to be vigilant about accommodation, because you should be well looked after and not housed in subpar accommodation. She recalled this happening to her once, but she got in contact with our Medcall team, who spoke on her behalf to the client and had her moved into suitable accommodation.
“I would absolutely say Medcall were supportive in that situation. Because they’re RNs too, and they know what we have to put up with out there, they know discrimination and bullying, and broken contracts, so to have that support and have someone on your side, it makes a huge difference. If it gets beyond me I’ll go to my manager and it gets sorted from the top, so you don’t have to go into battle and jeopardise your badge or your reputation; you can still maintain that dignity and professionalism. To have that support – and they have been so supportive – it’s very important, and I’m very hugely grateful for that.”