Travel the country, save lives

“I love Boston,’’ said Mary Kay Moser, a 26-year-old registered nurse originally from Seattle.

“I’m a big history buff and I love getting to experience the buildings here,’’ said Moser. “People in Boston don’t realize how lucky they are.’’

Moser, who has been living in Boston for only the past five weeks, is on a work assignment with a local hospital as a temporary nurse. Her job requires her to relocate around the country for several weeks at a time to assist hospitals when they are short-staffed.

Her travels have taken her to a series of locations from Anchorage, Alaska to a town outside Nairobi, Kenya. Moser said the lifestyle of a temporary nurse agrees with her because she gets to travel around the country for her job.

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“I decided I didn’t want to be stuck in one place,’’ she said. “Every part of America has its own culture.’’

 

 

 

 

Melissa Knybel is vice president of operations for Randstad Healthcare, a healthcare staffing firm based in Woburn that serves approximately 150 healthcare clients across New England. Knybel says wanderlust is a common reason why some candidates choose to enter the temporary nursing profession.

“It’s sort of a ‘grass is always greener’ kind of thing,’’ said Knybel. “Nurses really need that…it allows them to remember why they picked this career.’’

Relocating from place to place also helps nurses avoid getting frustrated with one location.

“Burnout is a very big problem in nursing,’’ said Knybel. “If you’re stuck in a rut in your current environment and need to re-engage your passion in you career to get out of that rut a great way to do that is on a temporary basis to get new experiences.’’

But how can nurses be successful at their jobs while they are relocating to a new city, meeting new co-workers, and adjusting to a new work culture?

Knybel says nurses must be confident in their training. “Whatever work environment they land in, they need to rely on their skill set,’’ said Knybel. “There are different staff members, different colleagues, maybe new computer systems and you have to very adapt quickly.’’

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Moser said she broke out of her comfort zone by asking her new co-workers questions to learn her new hospital’s protocols.

“I started out shy and realized I had to break out of my shell and build a community wherever I went,’’ said Moser. “You have to be confident in your basic nursing skills.’’

Sara Jakub, another temporary registered nurse on assignment in Boston, said the lifestyle of a traveling nurse is an eye-opening experience.

“It’s liberating and terrifying at same time,’’ said Jakub. “You don’t realize how much stuff you don’t need until you go from an entire apartment to two suitcases.’’

Jakub, 30, is originally from Pittsburgh and has been a nurse for about six years. She said coming to Boston was kind of a culture shock. But all in all, she finds Boston to be a “unique’’ place to work.

“It’s pretty much the epitome of learning, but it also has a diverse patient population and nursing group,’’ she said. “I’m positively amazed at how much I learn from my co-workers and patients on a daily basis.’’

But the real key for fitting in at a new location is training and education, said Jakub.

“As a nurse you learn to rely on your skills more,’’ said Jakub. “You don’t have your best friend at work to run something by so you learn to build up your emotional fortitude.’’

Knybel says nurses pursue temporary assignments at both ends of their career.

“Some nurses choose it early in their career before they settle down and get married,’’ she said. “Or they may choose to become temporary after one or two years of full-time employment. It’s a neat benefit to travel around the country for assignments.’’

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But temporary nursing may also be appealing later in life.

“A spouse might be retired or they may have retired from a full-time job and now they are at a point in life where all they want to do is travel,’’ said Knybel. “It’s not simply a job. Nursing is who you are. It’s hard to give up.’’

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