Travel Nurse Talk: Traveling as a Med/Surg Nurse and Treating Patients as a Family
Travel nurse Michelle McAfee comes from a family dedicated to healthcare. Her mom was a nurse, her husband and daughter are paramedics, and Michelle herself has been nursing for over two decades. She took up travel nursing for the higher salary and opportunity to help those patients who needed it the most.
I knew it was time for me to spread my wings.
I’d been thinking about travel nursing for a long time before I jumped into it. I waited until my youngest was 16. I’ve worked in my home hospital for 25 years — it was the hospital I was born in! So, I knew it was time for me to spread my wings.
A nurse I worked with put me in touch with David, my recruiter at LiquidAgents. He’s been great from the beginning. He calls or sends me a text every week, just to check in. He always works hard to get me to just the places I want to be. He helps me stay close to home so I can spend time with my family.
I’ve never been a person who shies away from hard work.
Right now, I travel back and forth between my home hospital here where I’m on-call for about 36 hours per week and my full-time travel assignment in Springfield.
I’ve never been a person who shies away from hard work. I’m the kind of nurse that just wants to fix everything for my patients. It’s what’s kept me in nursing so long — I care a lot. I put my all into every assignment I’ve had.
One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting new people. You get exposed to different kinds of patients, each with their unique needs.
Working as a Med/Surg nurse has made travel nursing even more interesting.
My specialty at my home hospital is outpatient surgery in a GI lab, but I travel as a Med/Surg nurse. There’s such a need for good Med/Surg nurses. I love it — you can see a wider variety of patients and conditions than when you have a narrower focus. Working as a Med/Surg nurse has made travel nursing even more interesting. You can float to different floors and just constantly expand your learning.
I’m here to comfort my patients.
I’m here to comfort my patients. My husband and daughter are different. As paramedics, they see a lot more trauma and emergency. They are running on adrenaline all the time.
Once, there was a shooting here, and my husband and I were nearby when we heard the shots. We ran towards them and were the first medical responders. Then, the ambulance arrived, and my daughter joined us — she was the lead paramedic. It was a horrible situation, but it was wonderful to work with my family. My daughter started organizing everyone, she started giving orders. I was so proud of her. Seeing her take charge and shine in her position, it brought me to tears.
Everywhere I’ve gone, the nurses are really kind and more than willing to show you the ropes.
The first few weeks at a new travel nursing assignment can be tough, but from my experience, it always gets better. Nursing is nursing everywhere you go. You just have to get oriented, figure out where everything is, and get your routine down. To help with that process, it’s important to always ask questions. Everywhere I’ve gone, the nurses are really kind and more than willing to show you the ropes. If there’s anything I don’t understand or if I feel lost, I always look to the other nurses on my team.
My recruiter always has my back. LiquidAgents is like my second family.
LiquidAgents Healthcare has always been really nice and helpful. Once, I was floated to a psych unit. The placement made me really uncomfortable because I don’t have any psych experience. David went out of his way to help me. He spoke to my charge nurse, made sure my exposure to the ward would be limited, and that I would be assigned the least acute patients. My recruiter always has my back. LiquidAgents is like my second family.
Looking for more travel nurse interviews? Check out our entire Travel Nurse Talk series.