Today, we want to share a little bit about two of our amazing Trusted Nurses — Amy and Kaleigh Woodcox, BSN, RNs — a mother-daughter traveling pair! Who better to tell their nursing story then themselves, so without further ado, let’s hear what they have to say!
Travel Nursing as a Team
- What are the drivers/interests that led both of you to go into the field of nursing?
Amy: At that time in my life, nursing was a guaranteed job, and as I was already supporting myself, so I needed financial security.
Kaleigh: Initially, I got into the medical field to become a pediatrician, but after one semester of undergrad, I changed my major to nursing because I didn’t want to be in school forever. Also, I had a great nurse role model at home to look up to and mirror ;)
- Whose idea was it to start traveling first, and what was it like convincing the other to try it out?
Kaleigh: I can answer this one. Travel nursing was something I wanted from the moment I took the offer for my first ER job. When I started traveling almost 2 years ago, mom was excited for me but didn’t think she could do it at that time. After watching me have the time of my life on my first assignment, and then my second assignment, she decided she wanted her own adventures, too!
- Have you worked together before? If so, what was it like? If not, was it something you planned on doing eventually?
Kaleigh: We worked together at my first ER. Mom had been a nurse at that hospital for 33 years in a number of different maternal/child specialties, and then after I’d been working there for two years in 2016, she came down to shadow me and initially thought she was “too old to learn all these new things.” I called bull on that and told her to come join me if she wanted something new! So she took a HUGE leap and jumped right into the chaos that is ER nursing. Also, she did amazing. Working together was great! It was a little strange when I became a charge nurse, being in charge of my mom, but we are so close that it was never an issue.
Amy: We had a great time. When I came to the ER, Kaleigh was so supportive of me and I was so very proud to work with her and see first hand how awesome of a nurse she had become!
- Has working together strengthened your mother-daughter relationship? Does both of you being in nursing help draw you closer together?
Kaleigh: I think it has! We have so much in common because of it. We even somehow must have hypnotized my younger sister as well because she is about to graduate nursing school and wants to work in the ER as well (even has goals to travel someday). I think nurses in general are drawn to each other, and that’s no exception to us. Nursing is something that grew into a calling for mom, and maybe she fostered that calling in me and my sister, or maybe she had nothing to do with it; either way, we all have it in common now. Also, we have the same things to complain about with our jobs together.
Amy: I definitely think it brings us closer together, but I have always been close to my kids. It’s great to sit around and bounce things off of each other, like would you have done the same, etc. My husband always feels left out when all three of us sit around and talk about nursing things, and he’s in the background trying to think of things to say that will help him fit in. He likes to make up medical terms, acronyms, and diagnoses when we are all talking about nursing specifics (or chime in when he actually knows the answers).
- Do you foresee yourselves working together more on future contracts?
Kaleigh: Initially, I told mom it would ruin my social life to work with her at the same hospital as a traveler, but I really don’t care anymore. It’s nice to have family close, and if people think that’s weird, good for them. So yeah, if the stars align and it works out that we can work together again, I’d be delighted.
Amy: We obviously want to! But maybe it’s Kaleigh who will ruin my social life!
- Any advice for family members or friends that are interested in travel nursing?
Amy: Ask questions, introduce yourself to everyone, and be incredibly flexible when entering a new facility.
Kaleigh: Get comfortable being independent in your specialty and in your personal life. It can be a lonely road. Not everyone is as lucky as I am to be able to have family kind of close (this time around). But seriously, unless you feel like you can jump into a unit that is already hurting (hint: that’s why they need travelers) and be an asset and not a detriment, don’t do it. Also, do your research. There’s a lot that goes into becoming a travel nurse, but there are a billion resources if you just take the time to look.
- What do you think is in store for the future of nursing? What about your nursing career?
Amy: I’ve seen a lot of changes in 35 years of doing this, and not all necessarily good. Ideally, I’ll only have to work a few more years and then I can retire! I wish I could predict what my daughters are in store for. It used to be all about taking care of the patients, now it’s about making them happy, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Kaleigh: I hope that there are good things in store for the future of nursing. I really feel called to this work. However, the burnout, especially the ER burnout, is very real. I don’t see myself being an ER nurse for the rest of my career. I don’t see myself changing specialties any time soon though. I will keep traveling as long as I can stand it, or until I find a place that I can’t make myself leave, then maybe changing specialties would be an option. I think OR would be my next stop. Who knows? The world of nursing is vast, and the opportunities are endless.
Some Nursing & Lifestyle Questions:
- Healthiest habit for work days: (Amy & Kaleigh) Getting enough sleep!
- My work mornings usually start with: (Kaleigh) Coffee… always coffee; (Amy) Calling my husband.
- Go-to meal that I pack for work: (Amy) Peanut butter sandwich; (Kaleigh) A bag full of snacks like string cheese, applesauce, half sandwiches, etc.
- Favorite thing to do on a day-off: (Amy) Sleep. Just kidding! I like exploring the city I’m in currently, which is Tucson, AZ; (Kaleigh) hike, take my pupper to the dog park, and sleep.
- Favorite app: (Amy) Kindle app; (Kaleigh) Instagram.
- Clogs or sneakers? (Amy) Clogs; (Kaleigh) Sneakers. Clogs make me fall down.
- If I wasn't a nurse, I would probably be. (Amy) A waitress. I’m already good at getting refreshments and narcotics!; (Kaleigh) A flight attendant.. that travel bug runs deep.
- Compression stockings, compression socks, or neither? (Amy) Neither, it’s been 35 years, why start now? (Kaleigh) I usually have compression calf sleeves on, if not, then compression socks.
- Puke, poop, sputum, IV starts in babies, we've all got our aversion, what's yours? (Amy) Smelly abscesses; (Kaleigh) I’ll take all her abscesses if she will take all my tunneling pressure ulcers that need packing!
- Go-to choice of caffeine? (Amy) Anything but coffee; (Kaleigh) A latte of some sort with extra shots of espresso.
- What’s something you wish people knew about nursing or travel nursing? (Amy & Kaleigh) Even when you think you know everything, YOU DON’T!
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