Best Way to Experience a New Location as a Traveling Nurse
Meagan Madden has be en a traveling nurse in Alabama and Florida for the last year. She didn’t want to get too far from home and family in Alabama when she contracted with Jackson Nurse. “I never have a problem finding adventure in a new location because social media has helped me search for fun things, and I also like to Google ‘fun things to do’ or ‘best restaurants in the area,’ ” she says.
Currently, she is working at the Jupiter, Fla., Medical Center on the medical oncology floor. “Since being in Jupiter, I am less than two hours away from Orlando. So I have been to Universal Studios for the weekend and tried some of the top restaurants there as well,” she adds. Because the weather is conducive to outside living, she has made a few trips to the beach and taken a boat cruise to Jupiter Island, where professional golfer Tiger Woods lives.
“I never feel intimidated or lonely in a new location because I am very friendly and social. I meet new people on my first day of orientation and that makes me feel better about being somewhere I am not used to,” Madden explains.
Fellow co-workers also have given her great pointers on the best food and fun in an area where she is a travel nurse. “Whatever someone’s motivation is to be a travel nurse – monetarily, relocation or some other personal reason – it can be an amazing journey,” says Meg Vernon, managing partner of Stability Healthcare, a travel nursing agency founded in 2009. “It’s fun. You just have to get involved, and find the things that interest you.” You may not get that all coveted spot yet in Hawaii. But great destinations across the country can offer great times and memories, she says.
Social media – “This has given people access to everything,” Vernon adds. For instance, Meet Up can be a great one to join in your area to find groups who hike, quilt, bike or whatever it is you enjoy. They often have get-togethers at restaurants, cooking classes or a park for picnics.
Facebook and Instagram – Search different cities by hashtags and interesting things to do.
Websites – Groupon, Living Social, Woot, and similar websites – These connect subscribers with local merchants by offering activities, travel, goods and services. A few less known but fun ones to try include:
Luxury Excapes — Book upscale and ultra-luxe holidays for up to 65% off regular prices, and also pay them interest free over 6 months.
Blackboardeats – Restaurant deals in the cities you choose.
Cudo — Gives buyers the chance to enjoy selected items at discounted deals within a specified timeframe after which the product reverts back to its original price.
TripAdvisor – “I go there all the time for different tours and reviews. Not everybody will put positive stuff on there, but you can get a sense of what a business or restaurant is like,” Vernon says.
AirBnB – Has added a section about what to do in different cities.
Yelp – Lots of recommendations on what restaurants, activities and hotels in your city.
ChooseChicago and other cities’ tourism websites – These can help with maps, free days at museums, public transportation information, theaters and other scheduled entertainment.
Get info at hospital orientation – Many times the hospital, they will have an orientation for travel nurses. Get all the information you can from them including any brochures, coupons and more. If there are other travel nurses at the orientation, trade phone numbers and emails, in case you aren’t in the same department or have the same schedule. Forge friendships and start doing things together on your days off.
“You are there for such a short time, so take advantage of all the fun things,” Vernon says. “You can meet up with one of the other travel nurses in the same hospital or town and go experience the city together.”
Attend the annual TravCon – The Travelers Conference is held once a year and is for, about and by healthcare travelers. This year, it will be Sept. 9-11th at Bally’s, Las Vegas.
“It’s a growing industry,” Vernon says. “A couple hundred travelers get together and make some cool connections.”
“It’s fun to get out of your comfort zone. There are travelers all across the country. They are adventurous. It’s good to shake things up a bit because life is too short,” Vernon says.