Travel Nurses Unite!
By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
Perhaps it was last week’s tea parties or possibly the recent message by radio and television personality Glenn Beck that we’re not alone and “we surround them” (referring to the political decision makers). Or maybe it was the recent associated press article discussing how the massive group of 50 million uninsured Americans see themselves as individuals, each down on their own respective luck. Is it because health care is such a personal topic to discuss as well as how it connects to one’s financial status? Is the same true for nurses and travel nurses?
Nurses, especially travel nurses, are an excellent example of the “I’m all alone” phenomenon. Doesn’t it sometimes seem as if nurses are more prone to competitiveness than camaraderie? It is all too easy to feel alone, especially in the midst of challenging situations versus feeling connected to other people in the same situations. For instance, I have observed many travel nurses connecting by message boards to express their concerns about being replaced by outsourced foreign-trained nurses. I applaud these traveling nurses for starting this dialogue and even more so for continuing it with each other. Travel nursing is a profession where, without good support systems, a nurse might endlessly feel like the new kid on the block. Forging friendships and online connections with other travel nurses, through this site or travel nursing message boards, is a reminder that you’re not alone. There are many other nurses facing the same challenges and asking the same questions that you are. Also, in the spirit of “power through numbers”, travel nurses have an extremely loud collective voice. A picket line or elections are not the only forums for using that voice.
As the uninsured and unemployed grow in numbers I can only hope they start reaching out to one another, using their collective voice as a majority and most importantly realizing that they are not alone. I hope that nurses and travel nurses continue doing the same thing. Nurses have an up close, personal view of health care that consumers, politicians and the public in general are not privy to. I learned the dangers of the word “assume” as a nursing student. Let’s not assume that we’re alone, that we have no power and that the health care industry surrounds the nurses, when it’s the other way around.
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.