Critical Care RN Maximizes Travel Nursing Opportunities

By Joan Fox Rose, MA, RN, contributor

“Travel nursing may be nationwide, but it’s amazing what a small community it is and that we are all connected,” said Laura Reynolds, RN.

Laura Reynolds, critical care travel nurse with American Mobile

Reynolds is an ICU nurse who travels with American Mobile Healthcare, an AMN Healthcare company.  “I knew I wanted to work as a critical care nurse ever since nursing school,” she said. “I enjoy the challenge of caring for very ill patients in fast-paced environments, and I’ve always enjoyed traveling. I chose travel nursing because this career offers opportunities to travel to a variety of places and time for personal travel, too.” Reynolds is currently assigned to St. Anthony’s North in Denver.

When Reynolds decided to embark on a travel career, she didn’t go alone. She and a friend left Nebraska for their first assignment at the Washington Hospital Center in the nation’s capital. “We packed up our lives and made the drive to D.C.,” Reynolds recalled. “I’m from Lincoln, Nebraska, and had never been to D.C. or anywhere on the East Coast.”

“I was fortunate that Carrie was with me for the first four months, because having a friend to talk to as I acclimated to a new career in a place I’d never been before made all the difference.”

Travel for professional and personal development

“Professionally, I can’t believe how much I have learned since becoming a travel nurse,” Reynolds said. “I’ve worked in a variety of ICU units that include medical--surgical, post anesthesia care and neurology units. Once I was assigned to a hospital where I was a heart transplant coordinator--now that was a new experience for me. I’ve gained new critical care skills accrued from observing different ways hospitals and doctors care for people who have multiple types of disease processes; I’ve assisted doctors who use different types of treatments that I’ve never heard of before.”

On her assignments, Reynolds has found hospital nurses are supportive to travel nurses and can help them learn new skills. “Although travelers generally have shorter orientations, unit nurses do their best to guide us when we’re in a quandary, or while we are muddling through a hospital-based nursing process.”

Travel nursing friends (l-r) Laura Reynolds, Annie Brademeyer and Blair Wheeler

“Travel has made me a better person and a more self-assured nurse because I’ve experienced life in different parts of the country and cared for people of different cultures, attitudes and views,” she explained. “I’ve learned how to be flexible and fit in well with my nursing colleagues, and I’m more in tune with myself.”

Kudos for recruiters

“My recruiters, Tammy Noto and Heather Frederick, help me with everything, and their kind support is part of why I continue to work as a travel nurse,” Reynolds said. She noted that her recruiters listen carefully and respond with good advice when she has questions about assignments or details like payroll issues. “Tammy and Heather keep in touch with me on a regular basis and support me, either when things are going well, or when they aren’t going as well as I’d like them to be.”

Why should nurses consider travel?

Among other benefits, travel nursing provides many opportunities to forge new friendships and to get to know people from different cultures.

“I like meeting those who enjoy doing the things I like to do and things I might like to do,” Reynolds said. A few memories from her travels stand out. While assigned to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, she enjoyed a number of social and recreational events around the city. When assigned to Denver, she was able to attend an Avett Brothers concert when the blue grass band performed at the Red Rocks outdoor theater.

“I’ve been to baseball games all across the country,” she added. “Among my favorite places is Northern California because it’s so beautiful there.”

“Travel provides opportunities to learn and grow and makes you a different kind of nurse, one who is more knowledgeable and versatile,” Reynolds said. “Travel assignments generally last three months, and, from my view, you can do anything for three months. So, go for it.”

Pictured above:
Laura Reynolds, RN, BSN, enjoys hiking and other adventures on her critical care nursing assignments with American Mobile.

Group photo: Making friends with other travel nurses from different places can broaden your horizons and make assignments more fun, says Laura Reynolds (left), shown on a recent hiking trip with fellow travelers Annie Brademeyer (center) and Blair Wheeler (right) at St. Mary's Glacier in Colorado.

Looking for new opportunities? American Mobile has more travel nursing jobs in more locations. Apply today!

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