Working in the emergency department inherently means I am around sick people most of the day. My immune system is taxed regularly. I eat a healthy diet (but let’s be real… I cheat too), I try to get enough sleep (most days), exercise and minimize my stress levels. But I am also a full time travel provider. I live on the road, in new environments all the time, in and out of hotels and on planes multiple times a month. My immune system needs all the help it can get.
My neti-pot is an awesome part of my night time routine (4-5 nights a week). I love this one because it is porcelain. I avoid plastic for many reason, but especially in this case. I have had this neti-pot for over 10 years. I can throw it in the dishwasher and wash it by hand. I swear this has helped me stay healthy during cold and flu season, allergy season (and I do not have allergies that I know of) and with all my regular plane travel.
THIS IS NOT A POST ABOUT HOW TO USE A NETI-POT. Youtube it, ask a sales person at your local health food store or talk to a friend. But do make sure you use distilled water, non-iodized salt and if you water is too cool you will feel like you are being dragged behind a boat!!
1. Remember you are coming into an established work place with their own flow and way of doing things. Do not try to make others fit your style, but rather fit in with them…. but do not compromise your practice.
2. Trust your instincts. Different location have different “practice cultures”. Pay attention to National Standards and remember to always do what is best for your patients.
3. Nurses are key to a happy work place and they are invaluable. Do what you can to help make their lives easier as much as you can. It is a 2-way street.
4. Work – Life balance can be tricky. Do what you need to care for yourself physically and emotionally. I travel with running shoes, a swim suit, TRX and yoga mat.
5. Plan your meals. It is easy to eat crap on the road. I travel with a good knife, silverware and a few sizes for food storage. If you plan ahead it is easy to stay healthy.
6. Communicate your needs to your recruiter. They are your best ally but they cannot help you if they do not know what you need.
7. Set up a google calendar to help your recruiter see your availability in advance
8. Put a copy of all you licenses, vaccine records and other documents in a Google doc (or other online document app) so that you can access them easily regardless where you are.
9. Remember to be flexible especially with scheduling.
10. BE KIND!!! Travel can be tiring. Being in multiple different work environment can be stressful, but we are all in it together.
This is Betty Blue– she is a good bag, but not perfect. We will get into that later in the gear review section.
First, we have to handle the basics. Usually I check my suitcase. It is free to check a bag (again we will come back to this and many other things). I find it much easier to move through airports when you are light, especially if you have a tight connection. Also, I never have to worry about the overhead space being full. Finally, I generally have something that cannot go through TSA. So I have found it is just so much easier to check a bag.
Scrubs: If you are lucky…. You have access to scrubs and don’t need to pack those. Often I will bring 2-3 quick dry shirts and wash them in the sink.
My work fleece
Stethoscope and printed resources (I am still old school)
Work shoes (I swear by dedicated work shoes for the ED)
2-3 sets of workout clothes
Sometimes a suit for lap swims
Neti-pot/salt (I always regret it if I don’t bring it)
In my mid 30’s I left my life in the mountains of Colorado, went to Physician Assistant school and embark on a new adventure. It was hard for me to wrap my brain around this career change. I had always worked seasonal jobs and I loved fluidity of my life. I was not sure how I would find the right balance.
After I graduated PA school I went to Tanzania, East Africa for a year to facilitate medical care for children without access to the necessary care. It was amazing. I was able to develop deep connections that I value greatly to this day and forever.
After returning to States I work in the Emergency Department in Detroit for a while, after which I decided I need more career development. I began an Emergency Medicine residency program in Charlotte North Carolina. By the end of the residency I program I felt the itch to be mobile again, travel and explore the various medical systems around the country before finding my home hospital.
Many thought I was crazy…. but I called it Operation Freedom. It was the best decision I had made for my life, personally. This is not a life style for everyone…. but for me, right now, it is!!