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Nurses and Their Niches

August 27, 2013

Finding one’s niche as a nurse can be difficult. I’ve only been a nurse for 2-years and already feel pressure from within myself to find my specialty, to find my true passion that lies within nursing. Many of my coworkers know exactly where they want to end up in nursing. Some know they want to deliver babies, some know they want to work in clinics, others know they want to work in the ICU or the emergency room. Some want to be travel nurses, others are happy just where they are: in Cardiothoracic and Vascular surgery. For me, what I know is that I enjoy traveling. I also enjoy the adrenaline rush when patients are having acute issues. I also enjoy getting to know the patients and their families admitted for many consecutive days. I enjoy watching my patients  progress from their first day out of heart surgery, sweaty, with multiple chest tubes, pacer wires, in pain, often in rapid afib, to having all tubes removed, giving them their first shower, walking with them in the hallway and caring for them all the way through discharge.

The last time I wrote, plans were in full effect to start travel nursing this fall/early winter. My, how plans change. As many of you know I am a renter, have no children yet, don’t have a car payment (My 1994 Volvo that I purchased for $1850 years ago runs like a gem), don’t pay for internet, live sans cable television, bike to work, and live in a city where cost of living is relatively “cheap” comparable to other cities I’ve lived in. Aside from the thousands of dollars in student loan debt, I’ve managed to keep my monthly expenses quite low. My partner in crime, N.M and I try to live our life as simply as possible, our main priority: be good employees, save money to go on adventures and travel as much as our finances allow. That is why we thought travel nursing could be the secret to satisfying our passion for travel, while maximizing saving money.

In the many months of research spent scouring the internet, talking to recruiters, and fellow nurses who have worked as travel nurses, we have come to the conclusion that at this point in life, travel nursing is not the secret to making our passion for travel a reality. We realized travel nursing would be quite an experience, but would make our life over-complicated with the paperwork, the tax information, always searching for our next assignment, health insurance, trying to score similar schedules or at least similar time off, which we already have now. Travel nursing would make it more difficult to travel for “pleasure”  since we would be on the road so much for work. Also, travel nursing would mean leaving Burlington. Obviously. Somehow in all of the planning to leave, it didn’t occur to me how wonderful we have it here. We are easy traveling distance to family, have the ability to hike, bike, run, ski, swim, and camp all in one city. Travel nursing would not only be the opposite of living simply, but mean leaving my coworkers, some dear friends and a life I’ve worked hard to build for the past 2 years. Moving to Burlington changed my life and I’m not ready to give it up just yet.

Somehow in the midst of planning to travel nurse, to deciding not to travel nurse I had heard from one of our attending heart surgeons about a program that travels to Rwanda performing heart surgery to those with rheumatoid heart disease. I had applied to be part of this team back in May and hadn’t heard anything until, ironically the week we decided not to move out west to be travel nurses. N.M also had applied and we both found out we were accepted to go with the program in February/March of next year. I am beyond excited.

So for now I may not know exactly where my passion within nursing lies, but for now, staying just where I am feels pretty darn awesome and we’re going to Rwanda in February!

Will post more details about Rwanda as I learn them!

Thanks for reading.

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