Tag Archives: assignments

Perhaps to Travel Again

So, the hunt begins. Finally, we are at the home stretch to be able to travel again. It has been a long process, working this past year towards getting my husband’s papers permit so he can travel too.

I am approaching our 1 year wedding anniversary. I can’t believe everything that has changed. We finally have his bio-metric appointment, and should have his permit to work and travel shortly after that. There will still be a final interview, but at least he will be able to move about freely in the US.

It is more than that though. This has been a journey and process for him as well, leaving his country, his friends, his family. acclimation to the US. Having his web-based business become successful. But mostly a journey of the spirit for him and us. Before, I did the traveling. I took assignments and worked in the US while he stayed at home in Mexico. Then everything changed and we moved here. Still, we live on the border, and it is much like being half in Mexico and half in the US. I continued as agency, and PRN at 2 jobs. I then took a full-time position for benefits, and continue PRN agency at the other hospital.

It was a wake up call for me as well with taking the permanent position. The first one I have had in several years. I don’t like it. I don’t like the politics, the crap, the people. I am so tired of the stagnate medicine, the ongoing issues that never seem to resolve. My heart yearns to travel again, to explore new places, meet new people. I have the soul of a travel nurse. I never want to stop learning.

I also am battling personal illness. Which is another reason I took this position, so I could have health benefits. All the years of playing fast and loose with my health, working 80 hours a week, have caught up with me finally. I can’t anymore. So in the end right now its better that I am stuck. It is forcing me to take care of myself for the first time in years.

I have learned something important about my husband though with this. After coming home from a particularly vile experience with work, with nasty awful hateful backstabbing people, I was heart-sick. I didn’t want to be here anymore, working in such an untenable place. I told him I just don’t want to be here anymore. he turned to me and said “that is ok honey, WE don’t have to be, we aren’t going to be here forever”. This was revolutionary for him. He had reached the point where he is ok with leaving the border, leaving his comfort zone, exploring new cities, going further into the US. Leaving his family. This is huge. He is with me, completely, whole heartedly, now and forever. To travel with me, as he only needs internet to work. This was so freeing for me. Took a huge weight off my chest, and made everything bearable again. A light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. To know that my love is with me, at my back, to go where I go, be where I am, together.

I still need to take care of business first. I need to get my health together, and then plan smart to travel again. We will keep our house here, perhaps take short-term assignments with a company that offers benefits for sure. My dream is to work just 3 days a week, take online classes, and travel to exotic locals for short assignments. Come home, work PRN  a day or two here and there, then back out to travel again. Heaven! The exciting thing is it looks like it really will happen. Now I just need to decide where to first! the sky is the limit!

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New Things

Well exciting…I have new hair and a new contract! I interviewed for the position in Edinburg. No problems. I have been forwarded an 8 week contract, I am approved for my 2 weeks off that I need for Hawaii, squee!! Everything seems to be falling into place. They want to start with 8 weeks to make sure I like it, and then extend if I want. works for me.  It has been interesting, because I realize that I am quite unusual. Travel nursing is all about flexibility. you have to be flexible and be willing to try different things- different shifts, different places, just be different.

I am not sure how I will navigate it- its an hour drive time according to my map on my phone. of course I am sure traffic could affect this too. I will have to figure out if I am going to go and stay when I am there and work my days or drive back and forth. I guess I will see what happens once I have my schedule. The first week is going to be a challenge, as I am still finishing up my contract at VRMC. I will end up having 3 days orientation at the new hospital in the daytime and 3-4 nights working VRMC that week. but it will all work out. I think this is going to  be great- I will be able to get the money together for my trip, have 2 weeks off in beautiful Hawaii- do overtime in a more constructive way and have some new experiences. I think some of my frustration level is working so many hours in the same location. its easier to do more hours per week with different jobs. it breaks up the frustration and issues because you are not having to deal with the same crap for days on end. I am hopeful I can get on a good groove at the new place- I really want to try 6 on 8 off. if I work Thurs- Tuesday, that will allow me a whole 8 days off to recover, and to work extra somewhere else if I want. its like having a mini vacation every other week. and I can pick up Friday and Sat. nights at VRMC if I want every other week too. that will be premium pay and make it very doable.

Now I just need to get my ducks in a row, update my TB test, get my drivers license and nursing license renewed soon. my eating has been very good- I have been consistently eating between 12-1500 calories per day for almost 2 weeks. I just need to get my exercise going more consistently. its really hard when I am working so much. I managed to stay away from the chocolate brought into work last night, which was a miracle in and of itself lol. I think I am going to take advantage of my time on call tonight, go for a walk, take a shower and clean the house a little, go to the grocery store. this will put me in good stead for tomorrow- I have a date with a friend to go see the avengers and go out for Japanese food yay! So lets see what happens. I feel so good about all the new possibilities in my life. 🙂

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Decisions

ok, well oddly enough I have found myself in the same place for almost a year. this means I am approaching the need to make some decisions. I like where I am, but I also need to consider everything. The main issue, is that I have opted for the tax advantage program of pay- this allows me to work for less of an hourly rate, but receive a large stipend tax free in my check each week. this helps me when I do overtime, because I do get an overtime bonus- but I don’t get knocked into the next tax bracket. when I work for straight hourly pay, a large portion goes to uncle sam.
so that being said, you can only do this for 12 consecutive months in the same location, or you have to change to the straight hourly as “non traveler”.
now, there are pluses and minuses to both. I am comfortable where I am, its close to where we are living, I like the area and I like the people I work with. the down side is the financial. the hospital corporation has its own agency it uses, and their pay rate is significantly higher, but they only offer a 401K plan, no insurance of any kind. I don’t have insurance currently, but I was going to enroll with my agency this month for that. If I convert to hourly with my agency, I will end up with a significant pay cut, at least 400 per week. that is not a good thing at all. plus any overtime will be taxed at the higher rate, which frustrates me beyond all reason.
so…basically I can either take something with my agency for 13 weeks and add an hour+ commute everyday, go out of state for 13 weeks, or change to the hospital staffing agency. the other option is to take something for 3 days a week in McAllen, and go with the local agency for 1 day a week where I am. that at least should get me 4 days per week consistently. I don’t know though. lots of things to consider.

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Got my Ticket

Ok, I have my ticket ready for my next assignment! I bought it through the American Airlines website. they do not do anything on orbitz anymore. they are having some good specials right now. I also noticed that American has some of the lowest baggage fees. you can get tickets on Expedia for American, and can compare to some of the other companies too. I think Delta might have been close to the same price, but with American I can get miles and the baggage fees are less. my ticket ended up being
265 dollars, and for this assignment I am getting a 300 dollar travel reimbursement! sweet! I will get 150 my first check and 150 my last one. that will pay for the airplane ticket. I also like American because you can buy the tickets one way or make multiple stops without too much hassle. it saves money for me, because I go from 1 location to another rather than round trip. it also gives me some flexibility on my return dates.
I looked into mailing stuff rather than taking it on the plane with me, but the baggage fees are cheap enough that it will be fine to get another suitcase and split my stuff between the two. I shouldn’t go over the weight limit on those.
so, now its time to wrap things up here and move on! looks like I will be heading to Phoenix on Friday, spending the weekend with a friend who will take me to the airport the crack of dawn on Sunday. wooo! I am excited now. I will get sushi and get to play with my friend before I go 🙂 it’s all good!

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Filed under Transportation, Travel Deals, Websites

Leaving Yuma

well, I am completing my first travel assignment here in Yuma, AZ. I have learned a lot here for my first experience with this. pro’s and cons, and feel like I will be able to tackle my next assignment with even more confidence. I have met a lot of new people, made some new friends, and really have enjoyed myself immensely. I would say the best thing I have done, was in getting to know people. this has been an outstanding experience for that. if I had to break it down into top 10 things I have learned it would be the following.
1. Research Your Surroundings. I discovered after I had already been here for a while and had spent quite a bit of money on a rental car, that the cabs are ridiculously cheap. I could have saved myself 500 dollars my first 3 weeks here.

2. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional and take risks. I rented a motel room for the first week I was here, then met someone in orientation who needed a roomate. it has been an awesome experience. not only have I saved money, but I have made a really great friend. If I stuck to the traditional route of provided housing or keeping to myself, this would not have been nearly so financially lucrative, nor would I have developed this friendship.

3. Search out your transportation options way in advance. I lost money coming out here because it was kind of last minute, and the travel options were limited. if I had researched things a little more, I would have found out I could fly into a major city and take a shuttle to my location, saving me time and money.
4. Portable Internet. This is a must. everything is online now, and while I brought my laptop and I have my iphone, I did not have real internet access for most of this trip. I assumed I would have it in the apartment, but it was more challenging to get. I ended up getting something through my phone company that is portable and I can hook up to 5 wireless things into it. for 50 bucks a month, it can’t be beat.
5. Travel Light. I have too much crap with me. I have to buy another suitcase to take the stuff with me home that I have now. its really not necessary. half of the clothes I brought with me I have not used, and there are things I wish I had.
6. Have Distractions. its very lonely being away from your family and friends when you travel. you don’t notice it on the days you work, but on your days off, you have to find things to do. its especially hard working night shift, because you feel like such a zombie on your days off.
7. Talk to your neighbors and co-workers. I have gained a lot of tips and information by networking with people. just by being open and friendly, I have learned new things and gotten great tips on local stuff. anything from where to eat, to what to do on your day off. the local people can help you, and the other travelers can offer pointers.
8. Be Flexible. I have floated all over the hospital, and had as much work as I want. I try to be all about what I CAN do, not what I WON’T do. it has put me in good standing in the facility, and really helped me financially.
9. Be Goal Oriented. I have to remember why I am here and what I am doing this for. I make small little goals- get through this week, earn x amount of money…it makes the time go by faster and makes it much easier to adapt.
10. RELAX. this is about the experience, the journey, the adventure of being somewhere new. just roll with it. it is fun being somewhere I don’t know! yes, some people call it being “lost”…I call it exploring. you have to have the right personality for travel nursing, and you have to be flexible. nothing is perfect, no place is perfect. if it was, they wouldn’t need travelers. but its exciting, and its temporary. so if it sucks, it will end eventually. and it is all about what I make it.

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Filed under Agencies, Hospitals, Nursing, Regions, Travel Experience