When Rebecca Devine, RN, finished her 18-month obligation to the Philadelphia hospital that had provided her a nursing school scholarship, she was ready for an adventure. First, she spent four months exploring Costa Rica. Next, she signed on with travel nurse staffing company American Mobile Healthcare and, in January 2008, began her first travel nursing assignment in Denver, Colorado.
“My parents always took me traveling when I was a child and I loved it,” stated Devine, who grew up in Ocean City, New Jersey. “Travel nursing is like being on a luxury road trip. Moving from my assignment in Denver to my new assignment in San Diego, I drove through the Canyonlands in Utah. I’d never been out West, so it was a completely new experience. As a travel nurse, I get to see things I’d never have seen as a staff nurse working in just one hospital.”
In addition to the thrill of seeing new places, Devine thrives on being active. Her schedule of working three 12-hour shifts per week enables her to spend the other four days taking advantage of the outdoor activities that are specific to the area in which she is living. While on her first assignment in Denver, she went snowboarding every day she wasn’t working; in San Diego, it was surfing. And, now, in Seattle her activity of choice is hiking.
“I do something here every day because I want to experience all these new things—like going pumpkin picking today,” Devine said. “I still hope to go to Hawaii, Alaska, and eventually, New Zealand as a travel nurse.”
Devine has nothing but rave reviews for travel nursing, not just for the adventure, but also for the wide variety of work experiences it offers.
“Travel nursing has made me more adaptable, confident and competent. Each hospital has a different protocol, so I learn new ways of dealing with problems. Plus, at each hospital I’ve worked in a different area of nursing. In Denver, I worked in neurology, orthopedics, and trauma; in San Diego, oncology,” Devine explained. “And, now, I’m a med-surg float. I wouldn’t have learned all I have if I had just stayed in Jersey working in neurology.”
“Probably the hardest part of being a travel nurse is starting in a new hospital, because you only have one day to orient to the floor. Even so, I’ve found that the staff nurses are usually very helpful. I particularly like my current assignment at Virginia Mason Medical Center, because it is a teaching hospital and they are accustomed to people asking lots of questions. They are also really appreciative of the travel nurses and our easing the short-staffing situations.”
Devine is enjoying living in Seattle and working at Virginia Mason so much, in fact, that she just extended her assignment from 12 to 19 weeks.
“I would recommend travel nursing to anyone who has even the slightest interest. It is like a three-month-long vacation. The company provides amazing housing—the place I’m in now overlooks Puget Sound—you get to meet new people and discover new places. And, even if you happen not to like traveling, it is only three months and then you can go back home. “
Following her stint in Seattle, Devine’s next assignment will take her back to again enjoy winter in Colorado.
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