By Christine Whitmarsh
Epstein LaRue, RN, BS, is a seasoned travel nurse and published bestselling author of several books on travel nursing. Her “Highway Hypodermics” series of books have been best-sellers on Amazon.com. I recently spoke with Epstein by phone about her experiences in travel nursing, her books and her advice for current and aspiring travel nurses.
This is the conclusion of my interview with Epstein.
TNS: What are the greatest lessons you’ve learned as a travel nurse?
ELR: The biggest one is protecting yourself in that contract. Also, shop around for the company that fits your needs. There’s not one company that’s the best for everybody. You need to have a recruiter that fits you. Recruiters are a big part in whether or not you’re happy. They will stand behind you. If something goes wrong you need someone to stand behind you as a support.
TNS: What correlation have you personally witnessed in the last few years between the nursing shortage and demand for travel nurses?
ELR: During the last couple of years there have been plenty of assignments around. I haven’t seen any fluctuations of jobs related to the nursing shortage until the last couple of months. Hospitals pay wages for travel nurses and also your housing and travel expenses. Some of the bigger hospitals are building onsite housing plus offering RV space.
TNS: What motivated you to start writing about travel nursing and how far into your career did you start?
ELR: I started writing books about love and my experiences meeting a man on the internet, back in 1996. I published my first book “Love at First Sight” in 2001, so I was already writing by time I started travel nursing. The day I started working as a travel nurse, I started writing down everything; all the lessons I learned on the job. I published two books with those experiences and lessons and then in 2005 I started publishing my “Highway Hypodermics” series of books about travel nursing. I kept finding things that I hadn’t included in one book and would add it to the next in the series (new nursing regulations, new experiences, etc.).
TNS: What are the biggest benefits of travel nursing?
ELR: You have a lot more freedom over your nursing career as a traveling nurse than as a staff nurse. Most of the time once your cross that line over into travel nursing, there’s no going back to staff nursing. You get used to the breathing room and the freedom of doing what you want. For instance, during new assignments my husband and I take one day to go north of the assignment and another day to go south of the assignment on mini-vacations. It’s nice to be able to get out and travel and get paid for it!
For more information about Epstein LaRue and “Highway Hypodermics”, visit: www.highwayhypodermics.com. The site also features additional information and a slew of resources, forms and checklists for travel nurses.
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.