This RN Enjoys the Surprises of her Job Assignments

Today, Tammy Jones-Conn, RN, says she likes to “get up and see where the wind blows me,” but that was not always the case. Jones-Conn worked as an LPN for 15 years before earning her nursing degree three years ago at Spencerian College in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. She was happy in her first job as an RN, working in a Level I Trauma Unit at the University of Louisville Hospital, with no plans to follow any other career path.

“I had never considered travel nursing,” Jones-Conn said. “But I have a cousin who is a travel nurse and because of the unusual nature of the job, my mother was intrigued by it. She encouraged me to give it a try.”

Following her cousin’s lead, Jones-Conn signed with leading travel nurse staffing company American Mobile Healthcare and also has the same recruiter.

“Our recruiter, Marina, and her assistant, Jennifer, are great,” Jones-Conn said. “In fact, I’ve referred two other travelers to them.”

Jones-Conn is the mother of an 18-year-old autistic son and is able to travel because of the excellent support system provided by her parents and other family members who assist in his care. One of her assignments was at home in Louisville and she is hoping for another local assignment opportunity.

“I need to be close to my son,” she said. “He is between group home placements now, but once he is resettled, I’ll be on the road again.”

Jones-Conn describes herself as curious and impulsive, but shy.

“The life I lead while on assignment is pretty ordinary,” she said. “In a new town, I like to drive around to see what’s there, go shopping and hang out in libraries and book stores. I live to read. My mother is a librarian and I think I got the reading gene from her. I also spend a lot of time on the Internet, looking at nursing sites and forums.”

Jones-Conn, currently in the midst of her fifth assignment, said her favorite was in Lewes, Delaware.

“I lived alone in an awesome four-bedroom beach house,” Jones-Conn recalled. “It was only two blocks from the shore—it was just stunning. I was there in colder weather months, January through April, but I enjoyed walking on the beach. The sunrises were beautiful. I loved the people; I loved the hospital, the beach and the town. I wish I could go back there.”

The Delaware assignment also gave her the opportunity to reconnect with a cousin she hadn’t seen in years, who is also the mother of an autistic child.

“I spent several weekends with them, we spent Easter together and we traveled to Amish country in Pennsylvania,” she said. “We had a great time.”

Not many people would consider cold, icy weather to be a scenic attraction but the winter ice storms she encountered on assignment in Omaha, Nebraska were a phenomenon to her.

“Coming from a warmer climate, I had never seen anything like it before,” she said. “So I was fascinated by the ice and how pretty the trees looked with ice on them. Of course, no one else could understand why I was so excited about something that was causing them so much inconvenience.”

Jones-Conn cheerfully remarked that, as far as her travel assignments are concerned, she likes last minute surprises.

“It isn’t always the case, of course, but on the last day of my assignment in Tyler, Texas, I found out I’d be going immediately to Omaha, Nebraska,” said Jones-Conn, who typically doesn’t take advantage of the 30-day break between assignments that agencies offer. “But, that kind of short notice is fine with me. I just pack my clothing, books and family mementos into my trusty little Ford Focus, and off I go.”

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