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March 1, 2018

Cynthia is an ER nurse who has been traveling for under a year.  Most important to her travels are a great recruiter and location followed by salary and benefits.  She prefers a two bedroom apartment.  She is not currently traveling related to her first travel experience.  She doesn’t have a favorite hospital, but did not do well in Baltimore, MD, or Reading, PA.

After her first travel assignment, she came up with her own not so short questionnaire.  Her first experience cost her time, gasoline, mileage on her car, and worst of all, her own self-worth as an RN. She was a small hospital ER nurse (5 bed ER in a 25 bed hospital), and her first assignments were in two metropolitan ERs and one was even a trauma center!  She was cancelled by the two hospitals and put on a year probation, with the requirement of two references in order to get back with the same agency. The agency paid well, but the nurse had to be able to function “competently” on the first day…For the future reference, from now on, she figures that she has to walk on water and turn water it into wine, or she will not, repeat, will not travel again. She would sooner starve on the unemployment line, than have a horrible experience like this again.

What did she learn from her first experience?  Beware of those bearing too good to be true promises and verify EVERYTING.  She also suggests making a very large list of questions to be answered by recruiters.

**Note From Epstein:  I included this for one very important reason.  I’m not sure how much experience Cynthia had as a nurse, but it is so important to be confident with your skills and to have at least one year of med/surg, rehab, psych experience if that is your specialty of TWO years of the more critical care fields, including ICU, PICU, ER, OB/GYN, and  OR.  As a traveling nurse, you are expected to hit the floor running and know what you are doing.  Cynthia I’m sure is a great nurse who just got in a little over her head and couldn’t tread water fast enough without a support system.  I’m sure that she would have done fine in a small ER like she was from, but the mistake that she and the company she worked for made was putting her in too deep of water for her first assignment.  YOU have to be realistic about how much you really can handle as a nurse and don’t let the recruiters SELL you to the highest bidder and biggest hospital because that is what they have available.  There are plenty of other agencies who have a lot of other assignments available.