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Kelly’s Story: It’s Never Too Late to Live Your Dream

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With the help of Elysia Ezell of Medical Staffing Options, I am currently living my lifelong dream of being a travel nurse. I'll try not to bore you with my story, but hope that parts of it might benefit someone.

I can remember wanting to be a part of the medical field from the time I was in elementary school; but like a lot of young girls, when I graduated from high school, I chose to get married and have children. Not that it was a bad choice, but with only a high school diploma, a good job was hard to find in the 70's. And once the children came along, my medical field dreams were even further out of reach.

By the 90's, finances were better. I had 2 kids in school and a toddler in daycare so decided to go for it. I was accepted in both nursing and respiratory therapy school; but chose respiratory as it was only a 10 month course. My husband and I were divorcing and I needed a quick in-and-out career.

During my Respiratory Therapy years, I spent most of my free time in the ER and always thought I would love to be an ER Nurse. But...I never thought I was smart enough. So over the next 20 years, I took the scenic route.....I went to Surgical Tech school (horrible job in the 80's); to Radiologic Technology school (loved my clinic job then my doctor up and quit and I was unemployed). My current husband said "go to Truck Driving school and drive with me", so I went, and became a Team Truck Driver. I absolutely loved the travel, but couldn't understand why we couldn't just stop and sightsee with a load of veggies or fruit. I soon decided truck driving was just too hard and since I had really enjoyed my Mammography rotation in school, decided to try to get a mammography job back home. I Interviewed going down the highway in CA, went straight back to AR and worked at a mammography clinic in Little Rock. After 9 months, just kept thinking of all those places I had seen on the truck and decided I absolutely had to travel, so passed the registry and by 2007, I was traveling.

Travel Mammography in the Allied field is more sporadic than nursing so, by 2009, I was finishing up in Plano, TX. With no other assignments on the horizon, I was preparing to sit at home and draw unemployment for awhile which I really did not want to do. I had been doing some praying about it and woke up one morning with the idea of going to nursing school. My husband told me to come home and we would talk about it. I left TX on May 17th and started my pre-req's on June 1st. No assignments came through during the summer, so I continued with class is in the Fall and Spring. My husband then said that if he could find a better job, so that I wouldn't have to work then I could go to nursing school. Within a couple of weeks, he was offered a better job and I was accepted to nursing school. I even got accepted to the fast track program and graduated in 18 months.

I got my first ER job in Jan. 2012 and after very little orientation and 4 months of fumbling around by myself, decided to go somewhere else in hopes of getting the training I needed to reach my goal of becoming an ER nurse. I moved to my Dad's house in Houston, but due to basically no experience, was still unable to get a job in Houston. One recruiter for Memorial Hermann told me that there was such a nursing shortage that they didn't have enough nurses willing to train a new grad and without proper training, they were set up to fail. And fail is what also happened to me at my second ER job. The best thing that ever happened to me was getting transferred to MedSurg. I got a new director, named Robin who put me with a wonderful nurse named Jona. I truly believed God sent me to them, just when I was about to throw my nursing license in the trash. They were patient and kind and gave me the orientation that I should have gotten in my first ER job.

During this time, I began talking with Elysia Ezell with Medical Staffing Options. Not really sure how I found her, but had decided MedSurg was not so bad after all and wanted to travel. She was so sweet, very encouraging and seemed not to mind answering my questions and stayed in touch, even though I didn't have enough experience at that time. After my 9 month apartment lease was up, we moved back to our home in AR and I worked prn in a small hospital close to home, floating in ICU, MedSurg and ER. I still felt I needed more ER experience in order to travel so in September of 2013 moved to Harrison, AR where I orientated with another nurse, sent by God, named Asa.

In June of 2014, we made the decision to travel. Elysia actually got me the first assignment, which was fitting as she had been there for me for so long. I travel with my husband, Greg and my 7 year old granddaughter, Amori, along with 2 cats, Reese and Sophie. I am 54 years old and have been a nurse almost 3 years and an ER nurse less than 2 years. Do I know everything? Absolutely not and will probably never. But feel I am finally living my dream.

We would love to hear your travel nursing story! If you are up to the challenge, you can easily submit your story online. Whether you are just getting started as a traveler or have traveled for several years, your story could inspire others and help them decide if travel nursing is right for them. Thanks!