By Mary Pitman
Are you on the fence about travel nursing?
Let me tell you what my life is like as a travel nurse.
First of all I decide what part of the country I want to go to. I get the shift I want. I can request days off that are written into the contract. Why would I need days off in an area where I don’t know anybody? Because I treat my days off as vacation days. I am the grand master at finding fun stuff to do wherever I go. You can too.
Here’s what to do:
Request a visitor packet from the state tourism board. Allow enough time for it to get to you before you have to leave home. It will be loaded with upcoming events and festivals. This is where being able to request days off come in handy. You’ll also likely get a real map of the state. Don’t count on just using your GPS. A real map gives you the big picture and lets you be able to find other routes around traffic jams.
Check out Groupon for the area you’re going to. I wouldn’t advise actually buying the Groupon until you get there, but make note of the days so you can request them off. Hold off on buying tickets to outdoor events until you know what the weather is going to be like.
Also on Facebook on your phone in the lower right corner are 3 horizontal lines. Click on that and look for events. Make sure you change your location. If I find something that looks interesting I go back to Groupon and see if I can get a discount. I rarely pay full price for anything.
Talk to locals for insider info. I was talking to a man who told me about a walking trail that will take me to a beaver dam with beavers doing their thing. This is not on a map nor is there a Groupon for it. It’s still pretty cool. So what else can you do?
This assignment outside of Boston, I’m taking a class on making mozzarella cheese, going whale watching, white water kayaking, sunset cruise on Boston Harbor and going to the New England Hot Air Balloon Festival plus the 4th of July fireworks in Boston. I did Falconry (letting birds of prey like falcons, hawks and an owl fly up to you and land on your arm) went to the Ben and Jerry’s factory and am going to see the tall ships in Boston tomorrow. Many of these things are free.
If you like concerts, get the BandsInTown app. You’ll know when performers you like will be playing locally. I have to admit this is my biggest problem. There are so many shows in this area I’m having to limit it to bands I haven’t seen before.
Another thing you can do is plan a trip at the end of your contract. When I was in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins, I went to Iceland for 4 days because the airfare was $322 round trip. I offered to extend at Hopkins up till Christmas to help them out but I would need to be off for my vacation. They agreed.
I bought a large desk calendar from Staples to keep track of what I’m doing and what I’d like to do. I also put my scheduled days on it.
Let me add one thing—I just turned 62 so if I can do it you can do it. My only regret with travel nursing is that I didn’t do it sooner.