A fulfilling new life in travel nursing

by Allison Riley

Medical-surgical PCU nurse Nancy Abelson knows a thing or two about taking a leap. At age 57, she enrolled in nursing school to fulfill a lifelong desire to care for those in need. She graduated at 59, then completed several years in a permanent position with a hospital to apply her training, broaden her knowledge, and create a solid foundation of experience.

From there, she yearned to venture out – to find opportunities to help others and create connections. She sought professional development and personal fulfillment, and found both in the form of travel nursing.

Abelson joined RNNetwork in January 2016. Working closely with her recruiter, Ora DeVito, Nancy has completed contracts in Florida and looks forward to exploring new places.

a fulfilling new life in travel nursing - rnnetwork recruiter ora devito with travel nurse nancy abelson

Professional development

One of the primary professional benefits of travel nursing is broad exposure to all aspects of medical care. Travel nurses work in a variety of facilities alongside colleagues of varied backgrounds and administer care to many patients, each with unique needs. For Nancy, this hands-on involvement with many perspectives and approaches greatly enriched her experience and proficiency her field.

“I have gained a tremendous amount of experience,” Nancy said. “I like learning about new things: new medicines, new procedures, new equipment. I’ve enjoyed learning from other nurses and experiencing different situations at both big and small hospitals.”

Nancy maximizes the professional connections has made to make plans for future assignments.

“I have made connections in hospitals and with experienced nurses that can help me work in new and different locations,” said Nancy. “I can visit friends in other states or go home to southern Indiana to see family and friends, and I can live and work while I’m there.”

Nancy also leverages travel nursing to further develop skills she honed early in her career. As a former technologist in a trauma unit, she brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as a travel nurse.

“At this stage in my career, I may not have time go back and work in the trauma unit. But I can bring the experience I had as a tech forward with me,” Nancy said. “My experience puts me more at ease with what I have to face. It’s reassuring. Because I’ve handled that, I know I can now handle whatever comes my way on a daily basis.”

Personal fulfillment

In addition to the many professional benefits of travel nursing, Nancy also wanted personal growth and enjoyment. Travel nursing contributes to her personal fulfillment primarily through new and genuine relationship she forges with patients and colleagues.

“I love my job. I love my patients, and I love my coworkers,” said Nancy. “I’ve made so many connections with my patients that you take with you when you leave at the end of the day and that you remember. I feel a great deal of compassion for my patients. I’ve always wanted to serve a medical mission, and in many ways, this has been my mission field.”

Nancy was also surprised by the warm welcome and connection she feels with the permanent staff at each new assignment.

“I was surprised to feel so welcomed by my new colleagues at various assignments,” said Nancy. “In travel nursing, we’re often on a different pay scale than permanent staff and I worried they might think I was just in it for the money. But they welcome you. When they’re short staffed, they want you to be there. When they recognize the experience you bring, they’re very glad to participate with you in the care of their patients, especially when they know you’re a team player.”

a fulfilling new life in travel nursing - image of nurse nancy abelson addressing the rnnetwork recruiting team

Advice to prospective travel nurses

Nancy encourages any individual considering travel nursing to establish a solid foundation and gain valuable nursing experience they can take with them to travel assignments.

“Once you have experience, own that experience. You need to be confident in what you do, how you do it and what you know,” said Nancy. “The confidence you have in your job has a trickle down effect. The more confident you are in your skills, the more confidence you provide to your patient, your hospital and ultimately, your agency. If your patients continually give you great feedback, not only will your hospital want you back, they will want to work with your agency again.”

To learn more about a career in travel nursing, connect with an RNNetwork recruiter.

Allison Riley About Allison Riley

Allison Riley is a public relations professional with more than 10 years experience in healthcare and corporate communications. She lives in New York City with her better half and two wonderful daughters. She and her girls are currently contending for world's slowest recorded stair climb to a fifth-floor apartment, and she enjoys writing so she can just finish her sentence already.

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