Meet Carmilla R., Vero Psych Travel Nurse. Carmilla chose travel nursing as a second career in 2017. She was inspired to start nursing after she received excellent care during the birth of her second child. And since then she hasn’t looked back. In her own words, her career is so rewarding, and she works with amazing people each day. She is passionate to provide excellent behavioral health care to patients. In her free time, she likes to enjoy music, movies, and shopping.
“I will try anything at least once,” says Carmilla. Keep reading to learn more about Carmilla’s journey.
Why did you become a psych/behavioral health travel nurse?
My degree is actually in anthropology. But when I was in the hospital with my 2nd child, which was born early, I had an amazing nurse who did not leave my bedside. She gave me such an enormous amount of love and care that I appreciated so much. I wanted to make others feel the same way. She is the reason I became a nurse.
I choose this specialty because I have a strong family history of mental illness. While in schooling, during the clinical psych rotation at the hospital, everyone else was intimidated by the patients. I was not. I got offered a job that day because I worked so well with the patients. That’s just who I am and what I do. I took on the traveling world in 2017. First, it was to make extra money because I was caring for my sick father. After he passed away, I decided to explore outside of Indiana, my home state.
What’s your most memorable experience of working as a Psych Nurse?
For the most part, I’ve had excellent experiences. I’ve seen how differently mental care is delivered across the states, such as the rights that patients have in certain locations. It’s opened my eyes. At one point, I was working in a high acuity facility, where many patients were coming from jail. These patients were very violent, but all of the healthcare staff worked well as a team, and I worked with some of the most amazing people who became life-long friends. Teamwork makes all the difference during very difficult assignments.
You are currently a psych travel nurse assignment in Newburgh, Indiana. What’s the best thing about this assignment?
Now, I work in a stand-alone facility that has two units, one side is for regular psych, such as depression and bipolar patients and the other side is for addiction and detox. We also get a lot of soldiers as patients. Some are active duty, while others are retired, but many experience PTSD. It’s an honor to take care of them. I have really enjoyed working with them, they are the most wonderful group of people to take care of.
This location is a small city in Indiana, and I didn’t know what to expect at first. But they have the best food in all the areas. One of my favorites is Catfish Philly’s, which is a Cajun seafood restaurant. They serve alligator, and you can’t just find that everywhere. Plus, Newburgh, is only a few hours away from Indianapolis and Louisville, and just a short distance from Evansville.
What advice would you give that could make life easier for other travel nurses?
Priceline has been a good resource for me to find discounts on travel. Typically, I pick assignment locations where I have family members or friends. If I don’t have that, fortunately, every place I’ve ever gone to, there has always been a nurse that has offered to let me stay in their home. When searching for housing, find a location that is close to your job. While in Seattle on assignment, I used Airbnb, and to this day I’m still friends with the host. I always plan ahead. I recommend using AAA for added preparation and have a good working vehicle and phone service.
Also, as a travel nurse, always remember, you are at someone else’s house. Be respectful and gracious to all.
What do you enjoy about working with Vero?
It’s been a pleasure working with my recruiter Phillip. He makes me feel comfortable and provides great service. I am very appreciative of all the services Vero offers.
What’s one thing you absolutely cannot travel without?
My insulated water bottles. It’s important to stay hydrated on-the-go.
Do you have any words of encouragement for your fellow nurses?
Don’t give up! Nursing was my second career, so it’s never too late to go after your calling. Also, don’t forget to take care of yourself and get your rest. My fiancé and I, exercise regularly together, which helps. I try to pamper myself when I get the chance. Remember you have one of the most stressful jobs, as a caregiver. It’s important to find a home-life balance. Also help other nurses, as they have helped you.