When Disaster Strikes and You Lose Your Job

SR fire

We have all seen the horrors and the effects of many recent disasters.   Fires in California, flooding from a hurricane in North Carolina and Florida.  Whole towns destroyed in the matter of a few hours.

I just read a story from a nurse on duty in a hospital in Paradise, California when the hospital was overtaken by the fire.  If you have not seen it on the news you can read her story here.  Her experience was unreal and horrifying.

All of these events were devastating and has left so many people wondering what they will do next.   Many have lost everything and are now going to have to start over.  Just imagine that on top of all the loss you find yourself without a job or an income.   This is the case for healthcare workers in the town of Paradise and towns in the Panhandle of Florida.

Recently a friend of a friend posted on Facebook that the hospital in her area is now closed and 800 workers are now jobless.   She was posting in hopes of finding some help to find a position somewhere close to her home. I posted that maybe a Travel Nursing position would be an option.

Being a travel nurse means travel away from friends and family.

That is not necessarily the case.  There are many travel nurses who choose assignments close to their homes.  They can choose shifts allowing them to get back home for three or four-day stretches. Imagine an assignment within an hour or two drive from home that offers three consecutive 12-hour shifts.  A traveler has the benefit of a travel assignment but the opportunity to be with family at home often.

However, there are some hospitals and facilities that don’t allow local nurses to apply for travel nursing assignments. Check with a recruiter to see if there are opportunities for travel nurses close to home in your area.

Traveling nurses move to a new city every 13 weeks.

Travel nursing assignments are normally 13 weeks but you may have a chance to extend longer.  There is a benefit to all concerned parties for a nurse to stay longer, the nurse, the travel agency and the hospital.  The other option is that a nurse can stay in the same city or area for multiple assignments at different hospitals.

Does Travel nursing provide a stable income?

Travel nursing is actually a great way to make a steady income for you and your family.  Travel nursing jobs pay well and there are plenty of them available. You may have to take an assignment out of the area you desire in the beginning to learn where the best jobs are.  By careful planning of your assignments, you could turn travel nursing into a travel nursing career.

As Travel nurses, you have the chance to choose the assignment where you want to work. You can choose an assignment where there is a lower cost of living to your money to buy more.

If you choose the right agency there might be benefits such as free housing, travel reimbursement, per diem allowances and bonuses to supplement your income.

Travel nursing is for nurses of any age.

Travel nurses need to have at least 2 years of experience in the specialty they choose to work.  Many nurses who begin to travel are in their 40s or 50s with plenty of nursing experience. A more experienced nurse will have the confidence to step in and help out in a new environment right away.

Becoming a travel nurse later in life has a surprising benefit of being able to share the assignment with their family.  A nurse could take a retired spouse along with them.  There is the benefit of having the opportunity to tour the country visiting relatives and friends who live in other parts of the U.S.

Travel nursing can be a perfect job for any nurse who wants to see the country or explore the possibilities of new career opportunities.

Travel nurses can bring their family and/or pets on an assignment.

Many travel nurses bring their retired spouses and/or families with them on travel nursing assignments.  A travel nursing job is a great way to take your family on an inexpensive vacation and give them a great chance to see new places while enjoying new experiences.

Taking the family pet along on assignment is possible and a good idea. What a great way to make your temporary housing feel homey by bringing your fur baby.  It is also a good way to keep you safe in a city you are not familiar with.   You may have to upgrade your housing with the agency you are working with in order to keep your pet on assignment with you.

Make sure your recruiter knows early that you’re planning on bringing family and/or pets with you on your next assignment.

Are you looking for a job?

Do you or someone you know need a job?  Are you one of the several hundred nurses who has been displaced as a result of a catastrophic event? Now might be a good time to consider travel nursing.  There are many open positions across the U.S just waiting for a nurse.  Visit our jobs page to search for an opening in your area.


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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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