If two is company and three’s a crowd, then a (Trusted) travel trio is a party, especially when you’re travel nursing with friends! Lauren, Leslie, and Chris are pediatric emergency room nurses and best friends. They’ve been working together for over 5 years at over 5 different top pediatric hospitals. We wanted the deets on everything from the coordination, planning, decision making, living, and working as a trio and they were awesome enough to fill us in!
How’d the trio come to be?
Lauren: The three of us all started as medical techs at the same hospital and became nurses within months of each other. Chris and I actually started as techs on the same day (back in November of 2010). Leslie joined in June of 2011. So we’ve actually known each other for about 8 years! Not too long after, I took I started traveling, took my first contract. Soon, Leslie joined me, and then Chris joined us! We’ve essentially known each other since the beginning of each of our nursing journeys, and it’s been fun travel nursing with friends!
Why travel nursing?
Lauren: I’d been toying with the idea of being a nurse educator for some time and I wanted to get some experience and see the way that other hospitals did things. That was my initial push to start traveling. Beyond that, I just wanted to get out of Pittsburgh and see different places and try new things out.
Leslie: Yeah, Lauren and I had toyed with the idea together for a little while, and then she took an assignment. I was starting to feel stuck in my job and wanted something new. After seeing Lauren start traveling and realizing how much she really liked it, I just decided that I was going to go, too.
Pros and cons of travel nursing: go!
Chris: Well we get to see the country; that’s obviously the most fun. We like choosing the top five things in every state to see or do. The least fun? I guess it’d be learning a new system every couple of weeks. That and moving: moving is never fun! But otherwise, there aren’t too many downsides to it.
Backing up a bit, what brought the three of you into nursing?
Chris: Well, I was a medic in the military for a long time. When I got back from doing that, I got a job down at Pittsburgh Children’s because they were the first to hire me, and it seemed like a logical next step at the time.
Lauren: My mom’s a nurse, and I originally wanted to do cell biology research. Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to do something more hands-on, and by then I’d started working at Pittsburgh Children’s. I just fell in love with the profession and decided to be a nurse! Six, almost seven years later, here I am!
Leslie: My grandma got really sick when I was in high school, and I was very close to her. I was able to spend a lot of time in the hospital with her, and that was the push I needed because it helped me realize that I wanted to make a difference by helping to take care of other people.
Are there any moments that have been especially challenging for you three as nurses? How do you handle those challenges when they come up?
Lauren: I think that because I’m travel nursing with friends, we’re all really close. That means that anytime we have a challenging situation—since all three of us work in the emergency room, you never really know what’s coming through the door—we’re there to support each other. Even back in Pittsburgh, when we had really hard nights, it was just nice to know that we had each other’s backs and could lean on and trust each other to get through a situation.
What recommendations do you have for nurses thinking about traveling or just getting started?
Lauren: I think you have to do what’s best for you! For us, this works and this is what makes us happy. That being said, we’ve met a lot of really cool people along the way. Some travel with others, some travel by themselves. This is just how our cards played out. I think either way, you’ll be presented with an opportunity to travel and see new things. And if that’s something that you’re interested in, then I’d definitely recommend it.
What’s something you wish people knew about nursing or travel nursing?
Lauren: I have so many thoughts about this! One thing I wish people knew about me as a travel nurse is that although it can be challenging to be in a new place, it’s not my first go-around as a nurse. I wish people were a bit more trusting and welcoming sometimes.
Leslie: I think especially in the emergency department, when we’re working with kids and families, we as nurses have to put ourselves in their position and understand that they’re stressed and tired and there’s a lot currently going on in their lives. And we do recognize that. But, I think on the flipside, we also have things in our personal lives that happen that we have to leave at the door so that we can put on a reassuring face for our patients. I sometimes wish that both sides would remember more often that at the end of the day, everybody’s human.
Lauren, you mentioned that your mom was also in nursing?
Lauren: My mom is actively a travel nurse right now! Actually, all four of us worked together with her in Pittsburgh. It’s a small world: she was actually Chris’s preceptor when he started as a new nurse!
Did her experience lead you in any way towards travel nursing?
Lauren: So my mom was actually a stay-at-home mom for quite some time with us kids. My grandfather had ALS and was in the hospital for almost eight years before he passed, and that experience is what really inspired my mom to become a nurse. She was one of the factors that inspired me to become a nurse. Not long after I started traveling, she started traveling, too!
So it sounds like she was your nursing inspiration, but you ended up opening the door for her to start traveling.
Lauren: Absolutely. It was hard at first, but at a certain point, I needed to take that leap and try something different. Soon, Leslie came with me, and Chris and I have been dating for five years, so things worked out well once we could do things as a group.
Any more group adventures planned?
Lauren: For my birthday this year—well, my birthday’s in May, but in November, we’re going to Thailand to see the Lantern Festival.
Leslie: And we also made a list: each one of us got to pick two countries that we want to see. We sorted the countries into a hat and picked them out. The order that we picked them out is the order of the countries that we’ll be going to! Next up is Iceland!