Travel Nursing: What I’ve Learned in My First Year Pt. 1

There has undoubtedly been a surge in the number of nurses making the leap into travel nursing since the beginning of the pandemic. Travel nursing can be a very lucrative way for nurses to make competitive salaries without obtaining an advanced degree. I think the pros of travel nursing are very clear, but there are some things every nurse should know before signing their first contract.

The more nursing experience you have before traveling, the better.

It’s not impossible to get a contact as a novice nurse, but it is very ill-advised. Although the money can be enticing, there are certain aspects of nursing that new nurses just don’t have. When you become a travel nurse, facilities expect you to hit the ground running with little to no orientation. You are an aide to the facility, so you’re expected to be an expert in your respective field, possessing the confidence and critical thinking skills needed to independently care for your patients.

Have money saved up before you travel

While this is not completely necessary, I wouldn’t recommend leaving your staff job without at least 3 months’ worth of bills saved up. From the time you sign a contract, to your actual start date is about 6 weeks to complete the onboarding process. You want to have savings in case your start date gets pushed and/or your contract is cancelled for any reason and your job search restarts.

Rates fluctuate, so be prepared to negotiate

More than once, I’ve found myself negotiating my rate with my recruiter. Once you begin your travel nurse journey, you may find yourself wanting to negotiate for a higher rate. I can’t count the times I’d signed a contract, then found another agency offering a higher rate for the same job. To negotiate, I would contact my recruiter to discuss the other agency’s rate and see what could be done to adjust my rate.  I’ve only been unsuccessful once, due to the facility not being willing to budge.

I’m excited to share what I’ve learned during my travel nurse journey, but I’d love to hear your experiences as well! Feel free to leave a comment below and subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss parts 2 and 3!


Should You Get The COVID-19 Vaccine?

NOTICE: FDA Grants Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine


DISCLAIMER: this post is not to tell you whether or not to get the coronavirus vaccine. The information provided in this post is to strictly help you make an informed decision about what you feel is best for your health and well-being.

There is a lot of fear and speculation surrounding the coronavirus vaccine. A lot of people are leery of this vaccine for many reasons. Regardless of your feelings about the coronavirus vaccine, it is important to have factual, up-to-date information to make a well-informed decision.  

Is the coronavirus vaccine safe? I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen on social media that the coronavirus vaccine will “mess with” your DNA. Respectfully, this is simply not true. The coronavirus vaccine is a mRNA vaccine; however, it does not actually enter the nucleus of the cells where DNA is located. This means that the vaccine does not and cannot alter your DNA.

The fact that this vaccine does not alter your DNA, does not completely speak to the safety of the vaccine. Since mRNA vaccines are still new, and clinical trials are still underway, there is no concrete evidence that speaks to the safety and long-term effects of the coronavirus vaccine.

That being stated, the CDC states that “Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be authorized or approved for use. The known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine for use.”

The current form of the vaccine being developed in the US does not use a live virus, meaning the vaccine will not “give” you the coronavirus. Keep in mind, that there are other forms of coronavirus vaccines currently in development.

I wish I could provide a definitive answer on the safety of the vaccine, truth is, we will have to wait and see. The CDC does have protocols in place to monitor the safety of any vaccine once its accepted by the FDA such as vaccine safety monitoring, but even still, you can’t predict how individuals will be affected by the vaccine.  Please keep in mind that this holds true for any vaccine, not just the coronavirus vaccine.

Who can take the coronavirus vaccine? It’s projected that the first round of the vaccine will be limited. The vaccine will first be offered to healthcare workers and those in long term care facilities. Afterwards, the plan is for the vaccine to be administered to those aged 16yrs and older.

If I have already had COVID-19, do I still need the vaccine? If you have already had COVID-19, you may think you are immune to the virus. That is not completely true. Just as you can catch a cold and the flu over and over, you can catch the coronavirus multiple times as well.

The CDC website states, “At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person.”

 It is not yet known how long immunity will last after recovering from the coronavirus, which is why it may be recommended to you to receive the vaccine.

Will the coronavirus vaccine become mandatory? There are some vaccines that are mandatory for children to attend public schools, daycare, and for adults to hold some jobs. i.e., working in a hospital. Knowing this information, it is fair to question if the coronavirus vaccine will become mandatory for students and employees. However, at this time there is no evidence supporting/or refuting whether the vaccine will be deemed mandatory.

The best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus is to maintain proper hand hygiene, quarantine when experiencing symptoms and/or exposed to someone who has tested positive, wear a filtered mask and maintain a social distance of at least 6ft from others when in public areas.

The information in this post was obtained from ONLY evidence-based, credited resources.

I truly hope this post helps make your decision a little easier and allay some of your fears. Everyone is entitled to their feelings regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and their decision to vaccinate or not. It’s important for us to be respectful of the opinions of others, especially during these uncertain times. Please feel free to leave any questions or opinions in the comment section below.

When researching information, be sure to always use credited resources. For help finding credible information, you can visit this site: Finding Credible Vaccine Information | CDC

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5 Reasons You Should Become A Nurse – Even During A Pandemic

Nurses Change Lives

Nurses can make a huge impact on a patient’s life, especially with the current state of the world. Currently there is a no visitation policy at hospitals across the nation. As a nurse, this means that often you will share your patients last moments since their loved ones cannot be there.

There Is A Need for Nurses

Now more than ever, nurses are essential in all forms of healthcare everywhere in the world!  The World Health Organization (WHO) report, State of the World’s Nursing, estimates that “the total number of nurse graduates would need to increase by 8% per year on average, to address the shortage by 2030 in all countries.”

Nurses Can Work Anywhere – Literally!

Nurses work in different settings including hospitals, schools, nursing homes, government agencies, etc. You can freelance, work for insurance companies, law firms, or use your nursing career to help you travel the world; the possibilities are endless!

Nurses Can Make Excellent Earnings

As a nurse, your annual salary will vary based on numerous factors including education, specialty, location, and years of experience. Currently, nurses of all specialties stand to make some serious money. Nurses who opt to work with COVID-19 patients are making anywhere from $5k-$8k/WEEK in some states like NJ.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2019-2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the average salary for LPNs & LVNs is $47,480. For Registered Nurses it is around $73,300, and for advance practice nurses the potential salary increases even more. For example, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioner’s median salary is upwards if $115,800.

Nurses Can Specialize In Anything

In my opinion, the best thing about nursing is the flexibility. There are opportunities to fit any lifestyle.  Typical areas of interest include Critical CareEmergency MedicineGerontologyNeonatalHospice, Public HealthOncology, and Pediatrics. You could also go the business route or go into other areas such as quality control and informatics if you do not enjoy direct patient care.

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