Travel nursing was popular even before the pandemic. The income potential and the chance to see the country are attractive perks. But as the public knows by now, climbing caseloads related to the pandemic drove a gigantic surge in 2020, and the demand for travel nursing grew by 35% between 2020 and 2019.
But some nurses who once traveled have decided they want a stable workplace that shares their values, where they can make a lasting contribution. As a nation of nurses decides on their next moves, here's what motivated two assistant nurse managers to choose a progressive telemetry unit at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.
Assistant nurse manager Caitlin McNulty-Blétard
I’m originally from upstate New York and worked as a traveling nurse for about a year and a half. When COVID happened, I really started bouncing around, from South Carolina to Buffalo, New York.
By February 2022, I was ready for a change. My husband and I were looking for an area a little further south that wouldn’t get 3 feet of snow in October. I have a child with special needs, so I was also looking for a location that had expansive medical care. In my job, I wanted a management team who understands how difficult it’s been the last couple of years for nurses and appreciates everything the profession has gone through.
One assignment when I was traveling was on a COVID unit at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. I really felt supported there. My manager was with patients in their rooms, even helping them use the restroom. The managers were always supporting the floor. I was really impressed. I’ve worked in eight or nine hospitals, and you don’t always see scenes like that in other medical centers.
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Assistant nurse manager Allie Carroll
I worked for a year in Nashville, followed by two years in Los Angeles before I began as a traveling nurse in California. My boyfriend is from North Carolina, so I decided to start traveling around the state, including the neuro unit at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.
I was at a flexible point in my life. I would work at one place and when it got really tiring during COVID, I was able to go someplace that felt new and learn new skills without having to permanently change which floor I worked on. I was able to see how different hospitals operated.
When I was ready to settle down, I wanted a team that had an emphasis on working together. There can be a lot of personalities on a floor that don’t mesh. Sometimes people can have a negative attitude. I’ve had nurse managers who kept their doors closed and locked. Even after eight months at one hospital, the manager didn’t seem to know my name. I wanted a good team and a manager who cared about us.
I also knew I wanted to try something different than traditional floor nursing. I spent a while looking at every kind of job in the field. It made the most sense to transition to a role where I get to support nurses in a different level of leadership and still get to do education and patient care.
When I joined Presbyterian Medical Center, some of the nurse managers and assistant nurse managers took the time to say, “This is what I do. Come in and take a look. You can walk around with me.” They’re super open and friendly. They’ve welcomed me in, which has been really awesome.
Nurses can be tough on each other. When I worked in California, the nurses who had been there longest got seniority over everything and made it known that they did. They were reluctant to help and wanted new people to be on night shift because they didn’t trust any of them. They would grill those nurses during report. It’s an intimidation tactic, I guess, and some competitiveness. Here, what I’ve seen is that people are generally pretty happy for each other when they get a new role or go to a new floor.
We've decided on our floor that when we need help, the leadership team will jump in. I'm willing to do what's needed to make sure that our team feels supported as they provide care, and our patients are well cared for.
These are things you should be asking about in your interview. Ask to shadow the floor. Remember you don’t have to take the first job you see. Nurses have choices.
It’s a rebuilding time for every hospital as people return from traveling and come back into the nursing workforce in general. The environments are not all toxic and insane. I think people get nervous coming back after traveling to so many different places and having some bad experiences. Our floor is really awesome and our team is really great, so it does exist.
Why become a Registered Nurse at Novant Health in North Carolina?
- Named one of the nation’s 150 best places to work in health care by Becker’s Hospital Review.
- Leapfrog grade A ratings.
- Leadership development programs.
- Eight Magnet-Designated medical centers.
- Designated as Best Places for Diverse & Women Managers to Work by Diversity MBA Magazine.
- Team Approaches in Quality Improvement Award Recipient from the Society of Hospital Medicine.
- Recognized by CMS for quality and safety with six 4-star and two 5-star Acute Care facilities.