Daisy Award Reinforces Travel Nurse’s Choice of Profession
Travel nursing was on the mind of Daisy Award winner Megan Reeves, RN, as early as nursing school. The Pittsburgh native liked traveling and exploring new sites and thought doing that as part of her work would make nursing even more enjoyable.
After graduating from nursing school in 2016, Megan worked in a hospital for two years to get experience before taking her first travel assignment. That's when Megan met another traveler who told her about her experiences with American Mobile, an AMN Healthcare company, and recruiter Liz Leras.
"I was so happy to be referred to her, and working for AMN has been such a breeze," Megan said. "I've been really happy with my experience."
While she has enjoyed working in new locations, Megan has also expanded her nursing knowledge through travel RN assignments.
"I love adventure, and I love seeing new places and experiencing the local culture at each city I visit," Megan said. "But from a professional nurse perspective, I enjoyed working at different hospitals and just seeing how things were done differently. It enhanced my nursing practice a lot and allowed me to think outside the box and realize that there are different ways to do the same thing. And it gets us to the same results."
Megan had her award-winning assignment for American Mobile in Eugene, Oregon.
"It was because of Liz that I landed here," Megan said. "I had been looking originally for a contract in Denver, and those are hard to come by. And Liz said she had a very cool opportunity in Eugene, Oregon, that I might like because it had similar things to do that you'd find in Denver."
Megan enjoyed Eugene so much that she went back there to take a full-time job after her travel assignment ended. She now works alongside travel nurses.
"I love working with travel nurses," she said. "They bring a lot of culture and good experience for the unit because they've seen different things. They have good recommendations, and they're excellent nurses. I enjoy working with them."
Daisy Award winning care
While on her travel assignment at the hospital in Eugene, Megan took care of a 40-year-old cancer patient in the ICU. Megan had developed a strong rapport with the patient and family. It was especially devastating for Megan when the patient died. But her care had made a tremendous difference to the patient’s loved ones.
"Dear Megan, you were the nurse who was so wonderful to our friend when she was with you in the ICU," wrote a friend of the patient's family. "Your whole team was so great, but I remember your kindness in allowing us to stay with [her] after she heard the devastating news that she had stage 4 cancer. You went above and beyond as you made phone calls so that we could be allowed to stay with her…You carry a great gift of comfort, peace, and competency, and I am sure all your patients are blessed by your presence. Thank you so much for your beautiful gift of care."
Megan said that when she received the letter, it brought back all her emotions during that trying time.
"I felt so grateful for somebody to write that," she said. "To take the time to write that was so special to me and even more so because it was a day that I remember so well and felt in my heart because I had a really good connection with that patient. I still have the letter, and I look at it now and then as a reminder of what is important to me and how I want to be as not only a nurse but as a person."
Megan said the Daisy Award came at a difficult time and helped lift her spirits.
"This year has been hard, and I've been feeling pretty burned out," she said. "It's been hard to dig deep and maintain that sense of compassion and bring that forward to my patients and families during the worst times of their lives. When I received the award, I just felt this overwhelming feeling of absolute gratitude and a reminder of who I am and why I chose this profession to begin with."
Traveling in the future
Megan said that working as a travel nurse again is certainly on her radar. Her partner is also a nurse, and they would do it together.
"Everybody should try it at least once because you learn so much about yourself as a person and as a nurse," she said.
For new travel nurses, Megan offered the following advice:
"Be adaptable," she said. "You see new things, work with new people, and are not familiar with protocols or procedures that a particular unit may use. But you adapt, and you learn.”
“You should also be adaptable in your personal life because you're moving to a new place in a new city and meeting new friends,” she continued. “Adapting and learning are critical to having a good experience as a traveling nurse."
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