From Small Town Girl To Travel Nurse: Meet Courtni
Born and raised in Rosebud, Texas with a population of approximately 1,300 people, Courtni Sladek, always had the urge to travel, but she never expected her travel nursing career could also be her way to explore the country.
Q: What made you want to become a nurse
The desire to become a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) nurse came to Courtni when she was a high school senior band student performing at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, in Dallas. “In high school I was a band nerd and played the clarinet,” said Sladek, “Every year we’d have to do at least one performance at a children’s hospital, and in my senior year it hit me that I wanted to help these kids. Plus I’ve always said I have the food and movie taste of a five year old, so it just makes sense.”
Q: Where did you attend school?
Courtni attended the University of Mary Hardin Baylor and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Afterwards she continued working in Texas until her third year of nursing when her husband, Ryan, gave her the push to pursue a career in travel nursing.
Q: How did you decide to become a Travel Nurse?
“I had mentioned travel nursing before, but it was actually Ryan’s idea to pick up and move,” said Sladek, “It’s the most rewarding decision I’ve ever made for my life.” The Sladek couple’s original goal was to pursue a life in the Travel Nurse industry as a way to find a location suitable for them to settle down, but four years later they are still happy to be driving around the country every three to four months.
Q: Do you have a favorite destination that you’ve been located to?
They’ve taken on a total of 14 assignments, and lived in destinations such as Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, and Baltimore, but out of all of the places San Diego has been Courtni’s favorite. “I still say San Diego is my Soul City. We lived a quarter mile from the beach and definitely took advantage of the boardwalk and the great views,” said Sladek.
Q: How was the hospital you worked at in San Diego?
Along with being near the beach and in exceptionally warm weather, the hospital that where Courtni worked made her feel like like she was had been working there for 30 years. “There was something about Rady Children’s Hospital –, the people I worked with were great, and the staffing were set well and made it feel like you were supported,” said Sladek.
Throughout each assignment Courtni has not only grown with in her knowledge of all the cultural differences that from state to state, but she has also grown her knowledge in the nursing field.
Q: Do you think there are challenges when it comes to being a Travel Nurse?
“One of main challenges that I’ve seen while working as a travel nurse is the different nurse mentalities,” said Sladek, “people do tasks in their own way and if one unit does it a specific way, then they may think your way is wrong.” Courtni said that even though this has been one of the hurdles she has had to deal with while being a travel nurse it has actually helped her personally, giving her more confidence in knowing that she is doing her job well, and letting go of her insecurities. “Coming into a new unit and potentially being judged by the way you do things definitely breaks you out of your comfort zone and allows you to be different,” said Sladek. Although there are minor challenges when it comes to being a travel nurse, the benefits can usually out way the hurdles.
Q: Do you have any advice for those interested in the Travel Nursing industry?
“Definitely just do it. Bite the bullet and and do it,” said Sladek, “The most important thing is to do more than one assignment. Do it for a year with three of four assignments. You’ll learn a lot, I know I have. ”