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A Nurse's Voice
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A Nurse’s Voice: Ann Gavin, RN

 What made you become a PEDS RN? 

Ann Gavin, RN at work

Ann Gavin, RN: I was always a big fan of just working with children in general. Like any way I could work with kids growing up, like hands on, was a big passion for me. So I did a lot of babysitting in high school and even middle school. Then every summer in college and high school, I worked at this summer camp with preschoolers.

So I like always had that passion in me. And then when I knew I wanted to do nursing, I already knew. I was like, I love kids. I love working with them. And to be able to like to make a positive impact in some horrible experience, like being in the hospital, it was a huge goal of mine. So I knew I wanted to do that from the get-go. I didn’t even really need nursing school to like explore that. I kind of already knew going in like, I’m going to be a PEDS nurse. That’s my passion. That’s what I want to do.

Is it hard to see kids in a hospital?

Ann Gavin, RN: It’s really, really hard. But it’s also really rewarding to see their progress and to see them get better. And thankfully, that was one of the reasons I chose to be a PEDS floor nurse. So I’m not typically in the PICU or the NICU. I typically get them from the E.R. and they usually get better within 3 to 5 days. So I’m fortunate enough to where I see most kids get better and it’s really rewarding. I’m part of that experience. Now, the hard part is too, I will say, is when you get chronic kids. They have these illnesses, they have no control over that they have to deal with for the rest of their life and they’re in and out all the time.

Ann and work buddy That’s really hard to see because, you know, for example, like a kid with diabetes, the stomach bug can throw them in the hospital. So that’s always really hard to see because like it’s totally out of their control. If I can sit there and make that experience even the slightest better for them, that’s my goal. If I can make them happy, if they at least smile when they see my face or I crack a funny joke, or I try to make it a more lighthearted experience. I know it’s really scary being in the hospital and sometimes they don’t know what’s going on. Sometimes they do know what’s going on.

So no, it’s really it is definitely hard, but I thankfully see them typically go home and when things do go bad, like I know at least I’m trying the best I can and I’m using the resources I have. And at the end of the day, that’s really all I can do.

What made you chose Travel Nurses, Inc. over other companies?

Ann Gavin, RN: So I chose y’all because I had been sifting through like multiple companies, but I was really excited to know thatTravel Nurses, Inc. Welcome Box like y’all had a local office in Memphis, where I’m from. And I had family friends and a physician I see, recommend to y’all. Because this physician I knew had traveled through y’all like many years ago. And then my family friend, one of my best friend’s mom’s, like, knew someone that worked there and then, Anna Joy– like my amazing recruiter.

I remember when I was like kind of deciding at the last minute we’d talk, we had great conversation. And then right at the time where I was really like job hunting, she had sent me this long list of jobs, and I was like, all right, this is my sign. I love her energy. I really like this company. I’m just going to go Travel Nurses, Inc. It seems like the right fit for me. It’s local. I’ve had a lot of people recommended to me and I really like the relationship I have with Anna. Even from the get go. Like we hadn’t really talked that much, only a couple phone calls, and she sent me this long list and like we just vibed from the get-go. So I was like, this is my company, I like them!

So how do you stay calm when obstacles are thrown at you?

Ann Gavin, RN: So I really try to remind myself that like travel nursing is honestly, you have to approach travel nursing like you do life So it’s very unpredictable. Never know what’s going to come. And the most important thing is to have like a really strong mindset mentally. And I would say a lot of travel nursing is perspective and mindset. So you have to look at a lot of things as like either this comes with the job territory, or this is a fun adventure and you never know what you’re going to get!

I remember when I first got to this first assignment, I had a lot of trouble with my living situation, and then that the shift I was signed up for was miscommunicated with the manager. So then I had to kind of speak up for myself. That was uncomfortable. And then I was trying to get settled in a new city and that was really challenging.

But I was like, You know what? This is just part of it. It’s all going to work out. I just need to remain calm. And like, now I have a good recruiter. I have a great support system to rely on and it’s going to be okay. So I just a lot of it is a mindset, I would say. And I really also made sure to cultivate a really strong support system before I left to do this because I will admit this is not for the faint of heart.


This is a really hard career and it’s hard to pick up from everything you know and travel city to city and throw yourself in a new hospital and like learn the charting system in two days and learn the way they do things in two days, and then be on your own. So I made sure to develop a really strong support system to rely on. Because I was all over the place when I first got to Dallas and it was really hard.

I would just say it’s a lot about mindset and a strong support system. Your perspective just reminding yourself like this is the job. It’s challenging and unpredictable. You’re there to help the hospital and you’re there to kind of be thrown into a new city, a new thing, and you’re going to be tested outside of your comfort zone.

So you just got to be confident in yourself, honestly, and remind yourself, like this is this comes with the territory, but it’s really fun and it’s really amazing!

How do you choose your destinations?

Ann Gavin, RN: So for me, I choose location kind of depending on like what I’m interested to explore and like I kind of want a

Days off with Ann Gavin

fun, vibrant city. But also I choose based on the job opportunities presented to me, presented to me. So the best PEDS opportunity that came along recently was in New Orleans. Also, it kind of depends on like who calls me back, who do I hear from first, you know, the timeline.

So it’s kind of a mix of like everything falling into place. So New Orleans appealed to me because I know it’s a fun bumpin’ city. I have a couple of friends I know or mutual friends there that can show me around. And then I know there is like I know the city has a lot to offer and I am really excited.

I try to just pick somewhere I know will be fun and good for my personality and I can explore a lot of different things and then also has a great job opportunity for me. So, New Orleans, that seemed like a great next step. Yeah, that’s kind of why I choose my locations.

What do you love about travel nursing?

Ann Gavin, RN: Many places and honestly, like all of the freedom that comes with it. So, you know, I, I’m in control. Like I get to choose where I go and what I see and how long I’m there and you know, what kind of job I take. It’s I love the freedom.

And then, you know, if I need to take a break in between assignments, I can do that. And it is just so fun. So when I take a break, I see my family and my friends at home and then I can jump back into it. It’s a great way to like take breaks and then refresh. I am able to jump back in as a nurse and do my best work. Because nursing is really taxing and you need breaks. This is like the freedom of this job allows me to really take those breaks and then throw myself back and be my best self because, you know.

How did you think of this advice for other travel nurses?

Ann Gavin, RN: I really tried to just kind of think of like what I would want someone to tell me, you know, especially since I’ve only been a travel nurse since January. It’s still kind of new territory for me, but it’s just such an exciting and challenging career opportunity. So I try to kind of encompass those two adjectives in my post because it’s really exciting to get to explore new cities, meet you, people, do all this stuff and you make great money.

But it’s also very important and challenging. You have to invest in a routine to have some stability and you have to be smart with your money because it can be really overwhelming. And it’s really fun though. Really fun. So I just really try to put myself into like, what would I want to hear? What would I want to hear if I was already a travel nurse and needed some new perspective like maybe I was getting burnt out on this career?

I need to be reminded like why I did this in the first place, or I haven’t taken this job yet. Like, why would I want to become a travel nurse? A mix of giving seasoned travel nurses some new perspective to keep them going on their journey and motivating people who haven’t been a travel nurse yet to maybe try it. Because you never know until you try. Yeah, it was kind of a mix of all those things. What I would want to hear? What I would want to hear if I had to come into this career yet. If I needed like a fresh perspective. And if I was getting burnt out.

How do you invest your money?

Ann Gavin, RN: It’s very tempting, especially like, since nursing is so stressful and you know, you really do get in the mindset of I need to go treat myself. It was a long week but it’s like, no you got to be smart, you know. You have bills to pay and responsibility. It’s really important to invest and be smart financially.  It is overwhelming sometimes and you’re like, wow, what do I do with all this?

Ann Gavin Concert Fun

But it’s definitely for me because I’m young and single and like I don’t I’m only really paying my own expenses right now. So, like, it’s very tempting to just be like, ahh money, and do whatever I want. But no, I have to be smart, you know, to save and maybe put a down payment on a house one day, stuff like that.

So yeah, it’s very, it’s, it’s, it’s fun, it’s challenging all the things. Thankfully, I have a sister who’s very meticulous in that department of Budgeting and Finance, so I reached out to her when I first heard all this. I was like, Hey, can you help me? And she’s like, I’ll make you a budget. So she made me a budget.

I downloaded some apps and then immediately I started setting up automatic investments every month. I have one that goes into like an investment account, one that goes into savings, like just general savings, and then one that goes into like a retirement type savings. So that way it’s just kind of that you, I think I currently use like so I use a typical banking app and then I use a Mint is like a budgeting and then I also use Every Dollar.

So those are both like budgeting apps. I use that kind of keep track of like all of your expenses and credit cards. So budgeting is very important, especially when you’re super excited to explore a new city. It’s like you want to do everything and meet everyone to try every restaurant. And it’s like, hold on now be a little more realistic. It’s a mixture for sure, but it’s fun. But yes, you do have to be very smart financially or else you could get into some trouble. Yeah.

Do you set just personal goals or fitness goals while you’re working?

Ann Gavin, RN: I definitely try to make a goal of incorporating exercise in some way into my routine on my days off. I know people can do it on the days they work. More power to them. That is not me.

When I work my 12-hour shifts that is all the energy I have for those shifts and I go home and sleep. But on my days I try to doExercise something to decompress and kind of alleviate any stress or any emotionally taxing situations from the week. So I enjoy running or yoga. Those have been the two things I rely on lately. One of my goals for the fall actually is for my sister and I want to train for the St Jude half. I’m hoping to sign up and do that and train for that. Then that’ll be kind of like my sweet homecoming in December to see all my friends and family for the holidays and stuff.

But yeah, I just yeah. For fitness goals, I just try to make sure I incorporate something on my days off to alleviate any just stress or overwhelming feeling. My goal is really to take advantage of exploring the city, and seeing as much as I can, making as many connections as I can, and just enjoying my time here.

Aside from being a nurse, you know, it’s really fun to meet new people and explore new cultures and see what different cities are like or towns or anything. Because there’s you don’t realize how much is out there till you’re really out there. And it’s like it’s amazing. It’s really cool. So I would say, yeah, personally to take advantage and then, you know, have fun and fitness-wise. Just make sure I have something on my days off to alleviate any bad feelings.

How do you explore each city?

Ann Gavin, RN: Okay. That was one of the reasons. One of the reasons I did choose Dallas from the get-go was, that I had already had friends here from college because I went to the University of Arkansas. So a lot of Dallas kids end up going to the University of Arkansas, surprisingly. I was like, Dallas would be great because I’ve been there in college a couple of times, you know, for some football games.

Explore your city And I had some friends here. I’m familiar enough with the city too, where like I would know where to go, but not so familiar with where I’d already feel like I had already felt like I’d seen and done it. So as soon as I got here like I reached out to my good friend and she kind of showed me around.

Before I got on to the assignment, I looked up a lot of like Instagrams and blog posts just to kind of like, what do I need to see? Where do I need to go? So then I also befriended another traveler from here. So I was like, Hey, like I really want to explore these neighborhoods. We should go here this day.

We should do this. And so I kind of had my list and I just kinda cross it off as I go.  I’m explorative. I like to try new things and go explore and it’s fun. I’m a foodie, I like concerts, I love to shop. So I just apply all of those things that I like to do but put in my days off.

So, you know, just researching stuff like that is real. It’s thankfully Dallas is big, so there’s a lot of everything here. So it’s fun. I’ve been able to do a lot of cool things and have a lot of fun. Also, get back and be a nurse. So it’s been the best of both worlds. This career is so amazing so far. I love it. Love it, love it. I really do. I love this company. Like, seriously, I’ve been so impressed.


About the Author

Travel Nurses, Inc. is a leading travel nurse staffing agency that provides nurses with opportunities to find work across the country. Established by nurses for nurses, TNI has been in business since 1988 and has over 30 years of experience.

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