When Vivian Health caught up with registered nurse (RN) Anna Springer, she spoke to us from a pit stop in Texas during a 2,500-mile road trip from Oregon to Alabama. Currently a telemetry travel nurse, she was headed from one travel nurse position to her next one.
“My husband and I travel in an Airstream camper,” Springer told us. “So we stay at Airstream courtesy spots that other Airstream owners offer up for free. Recently, we were backing into a rather tight site. We got stuck on their fence, and we had to saw off part of our bumper!”
Pitfalls like a broken bumper haven’t dented Springer’s sense of adventure as she continues more than four years of travel nursing in positions across the United States.
“I’ve always loved traveling,” she said. “I didn’t really know about travel nursing when I started, but a childhood friend mentioned it to me and connected me with a recruiter.”
Testing the Travel Waters and Finding Rewards
To test the waters of travel nursing after two years in a staff position, Springer tried a contract that was barely 50 miles from her home in Georgia, remaining within the state.
“Even two years into nursing, you’re still solidifying your confidence, so it was slightly terrifying,” Springer recalled. “But the people there were wonderful and helped when I still wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. That kickstarted everything.”
Soon, Springer was ready to venture further afield, taking a contract in Virginia.
“My best friend was moving to Virginia, and she asked me if I wanted to come with her,” Springer said. “We booked an apartment without seeing it. We signed up for the job without seeing it. I just packed everything I thought I might need into my car and started driving with her as a totally new adventure.”
Springer’s travel nursing job in Virginia turned out to be a lesson in the politics and social skills needed when working in some units.
She explained, “The nursing assistants and the nurses didn’t work together quite as well as at my last post. We had to figure out how to be assertive as new, temporary staff while also trying to balance wanting to be accepted and also not coming across as rude. I’m not naturally a super assertive person, so it was a learning experience. It took a little bit to figure out, but I ended up really enjoying the staff there after my three months were over.”
The experience in Virginia also ended up having an unexpected bonus for Springer – she met her husband and now travel partner while on that contract.
“I went on a date with this guy, and we just connected instantly,” she said. “Six months later, we got engaged.”
Getting to Connect with Patients in Telemetry Nursing
RN Springer has worked in several areas, including progressive care, neurology, cardiac care, a Covid unit and a surgical unit. But the area where she found herself most at home is telemetry nursing, where she gets to have deeper interactions with her patients.
“As a telemetry nurse, I care for four to six patients,” Springer said.
Rx for Success series readers may remember that this is a higher ratio than the one or two patients per nurse in the trauma ICU discussed by Venessa Thompson, whom we spoke with a few weeks ago. Springer explained why she’s happy with the higher patient ratios in her field.
“In telemetry, they’re usually less acute than ICU or Progressive Care,” she said. A lot of nurses look at those ratios with a little bit of concern, saying, ‘How do you deal with so many people?’ but I actually enjoy it because I find that the patients are able to be a lot more interactive.”
For Springer, patient interactions keep her inspired. She recalled one day when she was responsible for several patient rooms and one older gentleman positioned in a hallway bed.
“People often complain about being put in that bed, but he was nice about it,” she said. “Finally, I got a chance to talk to him. He told me about his background and all that he achieved as an author. I get to talk to these unique people that I would never probably have the time or opportunity to meet anywhere else, but in telemetry nursing, I do.”
Telemetry nursing is an in-demand field and a great place for new nurses to start, according to Springer.
“When I look at the job postings, maybe half of what I see is med-surg/telemetry,” she noted. “It gives you exposure to many different diagnoses, and the patients aren’t in critical condition, so you usually have time with each patient to learn skills.”
Searching Travel Jobs as a Vivian VIP
As a nurse who loves travel, Springer swears by Vivian to help her find her next job.
“Vivian is actually the main way I look for travel jobs,” she explained. “I really like it because of the different filters. If we know a state that we want to go to, I can search in that state. And then I like to work 36 hours a week. I do not do nights anymore. So I can filter things out like that.”
After joining the Vivian VIP program, which is free to Vivian users when they download the mobile app, complete their profile and update their job preferences, Springer noticed an improvement in recruiter responses.
She explained, “It seemed like the time between me clicking to say I’m interested in a job and then being contacted by the recruiter about it was faster as a VIP. They had my information already in the system because of the VIP program.”
Now that she’s been on the road for four years, many of Springer’s early trepidations about travel nursing have long since expired.
“I think I was really worried when I started to travel about leaving family and friends that I would just be a disconnected free floater,” she said. “But the travel community has just been amazing.”
In her most recently finished contract, Springer worked with 12 travel nurses, all placed through the same recruitment company.
“We went whitewater rafting. We went out to dinner, and it’s just like instant family,” she said of the group. “That disconnect that I was afraid of really has not happened. And I feel like I met people all over the U.S. that I still keep in touch with. The connection you can make with friends has just been one of my favorite parts of the experience. It’s a really welcoming community.”
Find your own welcoming community with a travel telemetry nurse job using Vivian Health.