Friday, May 17, 2013

Can You Commit?

You might say I have a problem with commitment. In fact, you could say it right out to my face, and I wouldn't really be able to take offense (just then I wanted to type "offence;" I've been reading a novel by a British author, and I guess I can't even commit to UK or US English).

I don't own a house, I'm not married, and I don't have children. Whenever I start a sentence with one of those statements, whether I'm talking to another person or just thinking to myself, I'm quick to add "yet!" As in, "I don't own a house yet," etc. But let's be real. I have a problem with commitment, and that "yet" may not have any place in a sentence about my future.

That's part of the reason why I'm travel nursing, right? Because even though the cons of being a travel nurse can be a pain --no PTO, not much say over my weekly schedule, currently working nights when I prefer days--the big pro is: no commitment. I'm committed to the terms of my contract, and that's it. If I don't schedule myself to be on assignment during a certain holiday, I don't "owe" my unit working it or any other holiday. I'm not on a hierarchy to determine when I get vacation; I can take an unpaid vacation between assignments, or not at all. I'm not stuck in any one city.

Well, I'm not stuck in any one city due to job responsibilities, that is. But I've given my word that I'll come back to the Hoosier state when this job is done. And I'm looking forward to it. My old unit will likely be happy to have me back, if I so choose. Still...hmm. It's hard to commit to a permanent job again. I keep dragging my feet on sending that email to my old manager, confirming that I'll be back for sure. Because once I do, and once they offer me a job if one is open, I'll be in the position of making a commitment. And I don't relish that.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fighting that Lonely Feeling

Unless a nurse is traveling with a spouse/partner or friend, moments of loneliness on the road are inevitable. In general, I enjoy solitude, and I need to have time alone to recharge, especially after the constant interaction that is being a floor nurse. Still, I'm human, and I like to socialize. Fellow travelers can be a lot of fun to hang out with; on both my last contract in Seattle and during my time in LA, I met other cool travel nurses who were great companions with whom to explore, hike, or just grab a beer.

This time in Seattle, though, I've been hired before the wave of travelers that will come in during the summer months. I didn't need to attend an orientation, because it's been less than a year since I left the same hospital, so I didn't meet any new travelers that way. The three RNs I hung out with the most last summer in Seattle are all on different assignments currently (in Alaska, Delaware, and Florida, respectively). The other nurses on my floor are very welcoming, and they have included me in group outings, but they have their own permanent lives here and aren't necessarily looking to form a friendship with me.

One resource that's worked for me is It has groups for so many interests: book clubs, running, hiking, wine tasting, singles, volunteering, and anything else you can imagine. So far I've found running buddies using the site, and it's helped stave off the feeling of isolation that can hit any one of us.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Back in the Emerald City

It's a been a while since I've posted. No excuses, just trying to survive LA.

I hung in there for my entire 13-week assignment. It was rough, a lot of the time. I never really did get the hang of the disparate paper-and-three-separate-computer-programs charting/MD orders. The support systems of the hospital were not as I would have liked, due in part, I think, to their being understaffed and overworked. And while the beach and the weather and my apartment and some of the other (travel and permanent) RNs I worked with rocked, overall, life in LA wasn't for me. Tough three months. 

When a former co-worker from my Seattle hospital called while I was still on my assignment in LA and told me she thought they'd have a need for me due to some upcoming maternity leaves and RNs leaving, I called both the unit manager and my travel company. At the same time, I asked my recruiters to continue submitting my application to other hospitals, including a teaching hospital near San Francisco where I've really been wanting to take a contract. The Nor Cal teaching facility called me back the day after I accepted the offer from the Seattle hospital. Bummer, sure, but it's great to be back at a great facility, working with professional, hard-working, pleasant staff and up-to-date computer systems. And I love Seattle. If it weren't for home obligations, I would definitely think about making a permanent move here.