Travel Nurse-Turned-Recruiter Is Paying It Forward
By Jennifer Larson, contributor
American Mobile recruiter Jordan Paredes, RN, BSN, really gets travel nurses.
That’s because Jordan isn’t just a recruiter. She’s a former travel nurse herself who was inspired to become a travel nurse recruiter by the person who helped her learn the ropes.
The impetus to work in travel nursing
This labor and delivery nurse became a travel nurse for several reasons. Jordan has always loved to travel, and knew she could make a good living as an L&D nurse traveler. Additionally, with a history of back injuries, she was eager to shift from a large hospital to a smaller one with fewer deliveries where she might be able to spend more time with her patients.
She spent time working in hospitals in Maryland and California before eventually returning home to Tampa and applying for a position as a travel nurse recruiter at American Mobile. Her role model? Chelsea Wynia, her own recruiter, whom she praises for helping her navigate contracts and find the right travel nurse assignments.
“She really went above and beyond,” Jordan says of Chelsea. “I really love that about her. She was my support and she really made me feel like she cared about me as a person and not only as a traveler to her.”
Now Jordan gets to play that supportive role for other nurse travelers. In fact, working as a travel nurse recruiter allows Jordan to share insights from her own experiences. She knows from firsthand experience what it’s like to walk onto a unit for the first time as a travel nurse on assignment. And she’s happy to share what she’s learned.
“I can help nurses create the lives and careers they want,” she said. “And, indirectly, I’m helping the patients, as well.”
A few of Jordan’s travel nurse tips and insights:
- Consider all the opportunities afforded by travel nursing.
Travel nursing is, of course, a great way to build up your resume and learn new skills. Jordan said she appreciates how she was able to expand her knowledge base by watching others perform evidence-based procedures in different ways. For example, she learned a new way to do inductions at her first travel nursing placement, and she took that knowledge to her subsequent assignments.
But travel nursing isn’t just about the job. It’s also about the experience of living in a new place and meeting new people.
“If you’re a little homesick, get out there and explore,” Jordan said. “Try eating the local food or visit a local museum or a local historical site.”
- Decide the kind of assignment you want to take.
It’s important to know what matters most to you. Make a list for yourself of your priorities when it comes to your ideal travel nursing contract. Don’t talk yourself into a decision that doesn’t feel quite right. “At the end, you’re the one going,” Jordan said. “You need to be happy.”
But be flexible, too. For example, you might prioritize certain locations but be more flexible on the hospital size or vice versa. That can make it easier to land an assignment. Even if a contract doesn’t check off every box, you could be really happy where you end up. Jordan often shares about an assignment that she took in Napa, California, that wound up being so great that she extended the assignment and stayed an extra three months.
- Focus on how you can help your new colleagues.
When you arrive at your new travel nurse job, show them that you’re a team player.
“Help the nurses on the unit,” Jordan said. “Ask if they need anything. Always be willing to do extra work, because the more they see that you are a strong nurse and a helpful nurse and that you are a hard worker, the more that they will want to help you.”
When you demonstrate that you’re willing to pitch in, you’re showing your new colleagues that they can count on you. And you’ll develop a network of people to whom you can turn with questions or concerns. You’ll know where to turn when you need help yourself. “You can use them as resources,” added Jordan.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get the answers that you need. Jordan said she’s pretty sure she peppered Chelsea with questions when she traveling. Now it’s her turn to answer questions from nurse travelers and travelers-to-be. Her experience makes it easier for her to address any concerns that her travelers might have.
“I’ve actually lived it, so they know I’m being honest as to what they can expect,” she said.
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