This week we want to share the story about two of our amazing Vero Travel Nurses – Brittany Luers and Amy Edwards, Emergency Room RNs. This new friendship sparked a new adventure in the world of travel nursing. Keep reading to hear what they have to say about their experience thus far!
How did you two become friends?
Amy: I’m from Tennessee. I met Brittany while we worked together in West Virginia. When we met, we got along so well and thought, why don’t we start traveling together? There is safety in numbers.
Brittany: I’m from Ohio. In August, I started working at a facility in Beckley, West Virginia. I went by myself and jumped right into my role. I met Amy my first day and we just instantly hit it off.
What inspired you to start a career in travel nursing, especially in the ER department?
Amy: I thought about it years ago, but when my son became 17 I was finally able to do it. I was ready to meet new people and it was time. I’ve worked in the ER for 11 years now, I’ve also worked Geriatrics, Med-Surg, and was even an EMT at one point in time. By my best fit is in the ER.
Brittany: For me, life changes happened, and I just decided to go for it. I got divorced, and previously it was something I always wanted to do but was afraid. I heard from many people that they loved travel nursing. I wanted that opportunity to explore. I worked as an LPN for a long time at first. You name it, I’ve done it, from special needs Pediatrics, to ER tech jobs, and everything in between. Because I love nursing. So far as an RN, I’ve only worked in the ER, but as an LPN, I’ve worked all the specialties. ER is a good fit for me. My dad was a firefighter, so I’ve always been a jack of all trades, and quick on my feet, just like him. Not to mention a sense of humor.
Describe traveling together. What are the best parts? What are some challenges?
Amy: The great thing is that we know each other’s nursing skill level. We can work a shift and not fear what we're walking into. It’s also nice to have someone be there. If your car breaks down, you have someone to call. If you’re sharing an apartment, you have someone to split the rent. So, it’s all advantages. For us, we haven’t had problems finding an assignment. I worked in West Virginia for some time, and then was transferred to another facility in Kentucky. If you have a good reputation as a nurse, that improves your chances of finding the job you want.
Brittany: We’re lucky enough that we mesh well together. I’ve lived with roommates that you just don’t get along with and that can be a pain. Luckily, we have the same shift schedule. I love working with her because we both work very hard and we are teammates. I know when I work with Amy, I’m going to have a good shift because if I’m drowning, she helps and vice versa. I also love companionship. At first, I was doing everything by myself and I got homesick quite a bit. Having a friend on each assignment makes it more comfortable and I feel safer.
How would you describe your current assignment in Kentucky?
Amy: The area is very rural. But the smaller hospital is more of a family. We go to dinner with our co-workers and have fun. I am in the Navy Reserve, and the hospital works great with my drill schedule. It’s a very good assignment for travelers.
Brittany: At first you must get used to the flow of a new facility. That’s just one of the downsides to traveling, you just must go with it. But I do like that people are so friendly. I remember my first day, the staff nurses said, ‘We like you, we’re going to keep you.’
When you’re not working, what do you both enjoy doing?
Amy: We are outdoor people. We love the warm weather, hiking, rafting, horseback riding, and kayaking. There are many of these activities in West Virginia and Kentucky that we do.
Brittany: We are adventurous and do lots of activities together. We also hand out with friends at restaurants in the area, read, and go for walks all the time. We also visit our hometowns or other relatives in different cities from time to time.
What do you enjoy about working with Vero, why did you choose to work with Kelly Kidder as your recruiter?
Amy: Vero is a smaller growing company, that appealed to me. You can make good money, just as good as working with a bigger company. At Vero, it’s personalized and I’m not dealing with 5 different recruiters. Kelly is our recruiter. She is very honest, and I can trust her. She’s the best recruiter that I’ve ever had. She constantly stays in touch with us. That’s very important to me.
Brittany: I enjoy working with Vero because of the personal connection. Amy found Vero and passed the information onto me. Our Vero Recruiter, Kelly Kidder is in Ohio, and because I’m also from Ohio we all just connected on a very personal level. Kelly doesn’t hesitate to help us outside of the 9-5 work hours. Kelly told us from day 1 that if there's an issue, even at 3 AM she would expect us to call her. She is our safety net and someone who has our back. As a travel nurse, you go into these places feeling vulnerable, and unsure of how you'll be treated. But Kelly gives us the feeling of 'I got you.'
She checks in on us regularly, but not in an annoying way. She’s very supportive, almost like a motherly figure.
What advice would you give to someone seeking their first travel nurse assignment right now?
Amy: With the Coronavirus, you must be more aware of everything. We are wearing our masks, continuing proper handwashing, and other procedures. I’ve been doing this for 11 years, so I know the risks. We as healthcare workers must keep calm all the time. We can’t freak out, we set the mood for our patients. If I’m reluctant, then that breaks the trust between me and the patient. But on the inside, it is still very scary.
Brittany: I can’t imagine being a new grad doing this. As a travel nurse, we have to make sure that we are comfortable in our job to prepare for times like this. I worked for 5 years in the ER before I started travel nursing, which has helped. One of my first assignments as a travel nurse, I was just thrown onto the floor. They aren’t handholding you. To anyone looking to travel, make sure you can do your job very well. Master the basics before you take a travel assignment. I’m so happy that I can consult with Amy as a resource.
What’s one thing you absolutely cannot travel without?
Amy: My pillow and my dog.
Brittany: My Chapstick and my caffeine.