There is often uncertainty about what life would look like when considering making the switch to become a travel nurse. One of our activeICU/Medserg Telenurses, Patricia, recently clocked in to share about her life as a traveling nurse. Check out her story!
“Hello, my name is Patricia Vasquez Fiszer.
Born 5 of 6 kids & raised in a historic town, Brownsville, TX, walking distance from Mexico. I am a proud Texan who now calls Houston home. It is a bit too metropolitan for me, so travel nursing has been my ticket to seek, explore, and fulfill bucket lists!
Growing up, I only spoke Spanish in Kindergarten, and learning English made me anxious. I was a summer migrant worker picking crops until I was 10. I received seasonal migrant field worker education in Ohio and Florida while my parents & older siblings worked dawn till dusk. I KNEW that I had to get an education to rise above this – Hard work was instilled. We used outhouses, had cramped spaces, & were at the mercy of the farmer that paid us. Sunday was family day. I got $1 every Saturday morning for a toy. The lesson was life-changing. Still, we were happy, healthy, and, most importantly, together.
Fast forward to 2019; empty nest syndrome made me pursue travel nursing at 51 years old. I became an LVN in 1997 and then an RN in 1998-99 as a single parent.
My calling to be a bedside nurse was clear early on.
Patients are vulnerable, scared, out of their element, and at OUR mercy.A prudent nurse delights in healing, teaching, and comforting.It seems like a lost art– but It isn’t. Health is wealth. We all know this, fundamentally. Your socioeconomic status does not matter much when you take your last breath. No one was alone at birth; therefore, no one should pass away alone. I tenderly hold the hands and forehead of the dying. I believe that the human touch is the connection between two strangers who just hadn’t met yet.
Healthcare is not just a corporation. We are humans taking care of humans. We are culturally sensitive. We find out what brings them inner peace and what upsets them. We modify our care directed at them– not their medical record number. We are proactive and non-judgmental. Be the hug, smile, servant you’ve been called to be. Fight for them and their loved ones while they are in your care. Listen attentively. Streamline your communication to their level. Ignorance on a medical topic heeds anxiety since there are so many variables, but remember that you are not a traveler just passing by. Instead, you are a pivotal part of the healthcare team that has entrusted you to meet the staffing needs of their community. You are the pearl of wisdom!
My husband retired early & travels with me in a small camper we pull with our van. We shop locally, supporting local businesses, primarily farmers, meat markets, and mom & pop shops. We experienced the beauty of Arkansas, where I milked my 1st cow & rode my 1st horse ever! We learned about how hard farm families work to survive. In Missouri, we explored Route 66 & the antiques & American History. We toured Precious Moments in Carthage, Missouri, which was incredible! We visited New Hampshire, Boston, & Maine on this journey. We enjoyed fresh-caught lobster off the boat with our first lobster roll, lobster pie, & Maine blueberry pancakes. I learned that “wicked” was an adjective I’d never used before. I tasted salt taffy made right in front of me, which was AWESOME! I saw professional artists drawing the majestic crashing waves of the Maine coast. We have rubbed shoulders with the humblest rural country folk in the backwoods. We sit in awe of multi-million dollar beachside mansions with their manicured plantations on another day. We have been serenaded by the angelic voices of Amish Mennonite children during a Christmas fellowship. We have driven on primitive roads only to find our first glance of an American bald eagle, free-roaming elk, snakes of many colors in their uninterrupted natural habitat. We have sat under waterfalls for hours soaking in the summer sun. We have learned that the hills and valleys are havens for reflection.
All in all, it has been a spectacular journey mingling in multi states and learning how the ‘other side’ lives. The array of accents and multicultural lifestyles never cease to amaze us. We canoe. Camp. Fish. Adore campfires & boondock. Live off the grid. Avoid traffic and drama. Joe & I are kind and straightforward humans. Countryside RV parks are our hotels. We are tree huggers, recycle, and pick up trash everywhere we see it. We are a reminder of unmaterialistic people that still remember that everything is borrowed.
We smile at everyone we meet, even when they do not smile back.”
I am delighted to work withTNI, INCbecause this company is personal. I feel so welcomed and appreciated here.This is MY story. What’s yours?”
Travel Nurses, Inc.:What inspired you to become a nurse?
Patricia:Honestly, I clearly remember the “first aid” aroma of my school nurse’s office — so pristinely clean! Although I rarely saw her because I was generally healthy, I knew that she was a safe haven if I ever was hurt. She had a tender smile on her face when she cared for our needs. I wanted to become a person people could trust to answer medical questions or concerns. Lastly, there were no nurse role models for me in my family. I vowed to be the first nursing graduate despite my fear of math and formal education.
Travel Nurses, Inc.:How does it feel to be part of the nursing community?
Patricia:Quite frankly, no other profession holds such public trust and admiration than nursing. I am beyond honored and humbled to be in the nursing community. I am a servant for the sick and vulnerable. I advocate for their wellbeing, but I am mindful that recovery is not always possible.
Travel Nurses, Inc.:What made you choose your RN specialty? What are some things you wish people knew about your specialty?
Patricia:The specialties have chosen me, honestly. There has been an array of jobs in which I have served in trauma intensive care, hospice/palliative, medical-surgical, cardiac, long-term care rehabilitation, psychiatric, and pre-post-transplant processes. The geriatric population is my favorite population to serve. They share their wisdom and stories that add to personalizing the care we nurses provide them.
Travel Nurses, Inc.:What are some things you wish people knew about your specialty?
Patricia:The thing I wish people knew about our specialty is that serving the intensive care population takes extensive training and focus. Our delivery of care makes the difference between life and death in some cases. We strive for successful recoveries, but that may not always be the outcome. Nurses are the last ones to see the last breath and hold the hands of the dying patient for the last time.
Travel Nurses, Inc.:How do you find housing while on a travel nursing assignment?
Patricia:We live in our camper trailer in local RV parks near hospitals. We love the gypsy life!
Travel Nurses, Inc.:What drives you to go to specific locations as a travel nurse?
Patricia:Honestly, we seek contracts where we can see nature, avoid traffic, fulfill bucket lists, and a decent pay rate to make it worth choosing the travel nursing opportunity vs. a stationary job.
Travel Nurses, Inc.:How do you take care of yourself after a difficult shift?
Patricia:I sleep! I take long walks, hikes, fish, canoe, visit zoos, museums, and wildlife parks.
Travel Nurses, Inc.:What do you look for in a recruiter?
Patricia:I look for a recruiter to be available for me when I have questions.
Everyone has a story…Let us be a part of yours.
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