4 yr. old: “Where are you now Nana?”
Me: “I’m in Indiana”
4 yr. old: “Indi-NANA?”
Me: “Yes, baby. Indi-nana”
After the first nursing travel assignment in WA State, which was necessary to obtain all proper requirements and documentation, my goal was to obtain the next assignment in Indiana; hopefully closer to our home. Now that I had a SSN, I was able to acquire an Indiana nursing license. My nursing agency was able to locate an assignment in Indiana! BUT it was a 175-mile commute! At least it was in the same state!!
The 175-mile commute on the Crossroads of America highway wasn’t something I wanted to dismiss to easily, but I knew I could make this work!
Each new assignment presents new challenges and new rewards. As much as it made me happy to be able to drive to the hospital, stay 2 nights at a hotel, and drive home for my 4 days off. The roads in the dead of winter, in northern Indiana, with the “lake effect” snow, and sub-zero temps (-7F) was a very new experience for this fair weather pacific northwest gal! It was also a new experience for my car when the windshield washer fluid froze! Brrrrrrr!
What I also found to be a challenge was learning another computer system, learning the rules & policies, attempting to “fit in” with the nurses, and adapting to the “culture” of yet another department. I’m not going to go into much detail about the computer systems or unit culture as I plan to have a separate post about that later; however, I didn’t realize “fitting in” was that important until a gal needed a little help! And I found I needed a lot of help in this particular ED. I was scheduled to work 3pm-3am, which wasn’t a terrible shift as it allowed me time to drive up the morning of. BUT, when arriving at work at 3pm, you are essentially walking into the busiest time of the day. Typically, because of my schedule, I wouldn’t be coming in to send someone home, instead I would be assigned to an area where the beds had been closed all morning and now were “open” because it was staffed. So, if you can imagine available beds in the ED fill up quickly and lucky for me, triage filled these beds before I got there, anticipating my arrival. I would often come into a full assignment of 4 brand new patients, no assessments, no treatments and likely a pile of tasks requiring completion. Talk about hitting the ground running!! So, friendships are where it was at!
I made some amazing friends here (kinda had to survive) but they were actually really good people. And sometimes friendships come in the strangest moments. I had an opportunity to care for a staff members family, it was a difficult time in their lives, and I feel very special to have shared it with them. These opportunities create special bonds with people, and I will always carry that interaction with me. Caring for people is what we do but caring for our work families brings us closer together.
I will be forever grateful for the friendships made in this ED!
What’s your experience with making friends in temporary locations? Would love to hear your stories…leave me a comment!