Finally figured out YouTube…

I finally got to post my walk through of tiny house living in Minnesota! 

Enjoy ūüėČ

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Travel Nurse Truths… /endassignment1

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It has been an incredibly busy, immensely informative, beyond frustrating, and wholly satisfying 11.5 weeks in Minnesota.
Before bed this morning, after the first of one of my last 12 hour night shifts on assignment, I crafted this gorgeous little list of travel nurse truths that was as funny as it was helpful. I found a moment at work to wrap it up only to find the entire draft had been lost in cyberspace. Gone forever.

crap. -___-

SOOOO… here’s attempt #2.

#TravelNurseTruths

1. People don’t know what travel nursing is
This is a fairly new pocket in the nursing world, which is believed to have begun¬†around the 1970s. While that may seem like more than enough time for such a market to have grown to at LEAST be well-known within the nursing community,¬†with little large-market recruitment, a fairly “undesirable” and unorthodox nomadic style of living (for most, but not all), and a huge learning curve, there are a number of reasons why it’s not as common as champions of the nursing world think it should be.

2. You’ve got to be¬†a self-starter
Travel nursing takes a lot of research, paperwork, phones calls, organizational skills, and patience. PATIENCE.
When I moved back home after a failed attempt to flee to NYC, I legit locked myself in my bedroom for a week and taught myself nearly everything I could possibly know about the travel nursing industry without ever actually being¬†a travel nurse. Even still, I’m learning new things every single day that are more administrative than nursing-related!
The single biggest, best resource I could possibly pass on through this (besides my own blog because, duh, I’m awesome) is Blue Pipes Blog. Besides having travel nursing-related posts, such as “what to pack” and “tips for travel”, they have a service that will consolidate all of your qualifying professional information for ease of transmission to potential employing agencies. BECAUSE…

3. You don’t have to be an RN!
Seriously. You may have to call around a bit before you find the agencies that work with LPN/LVNs, but I’m an LPN and I travel! It’s possible ūüėČ
And because I’m not gonna leave you hangin’: Aya Healthcare, Trinity Healthcare Staffing Group, Supplemental Healthcare, NuWest Group, and Atlas MedStaffing all work with LPN/LVNs. You’re welcome. (**If you would like¬†the names of my recruiters, please contact me directly.)

4. The bane of your existence will be getting started
Every travel nursing agency will have their own set of standards by which you are measured for fitness to become a travel nurse. You will have a nurse recruiter speak with you over the phone at length, no matter the agency, to determine your level of skill, your knowledge base, your restrictions for travel, preferences, etc. etc. etc. Plan ahead and gather your credentials¬†beforehand. Set aside a couple of hours. Know that it’s worth it.
Great digital organizational tools include Evernote (just get the subscription. seriously.) and the Blue Pipes Blog.

5. It gets lonely
Unless you’re traveling with your family, be advised: traveling for a standard 13 week stint is tough. You’re (likely) in a new locale, new living space, with new coworkers, bosses, and patients, working your tail end off as per the nursing usual, and it’s not always possible for you to have a shoulder to lean on! To that end, make sure you know how to be comfortable alone or throw yourself into your hobbies. Hell, make a Tinder and swipe right on men and women to show you around their city! No shame. (*just be safe and meet in public!)

6. Friends, family, and coworkers will all want to talk to you about your job
I created this blog so I didn’t have to have the exact same conversation with every single person I know, ad nauseum, day-in and day-out. It still happens.
I love my job, don’t get me wrong! But honestly, you’re going to get sick of constantly (and mostly) talking about what your daily life is like. Or answering “what’s a travel nurse?” or “when’s your assignment up?”. Then, just when you think you’re sick of talking about it, you’ll bring it up in random conversations!
Really, if you’re not a people person, travel nursing is going to be a hard damn life for you. Grin, bear it, and get creative in your delivery.

7.¬†That saying “nurses eat their young” will never hit closer to home for you
Look, people fear what they don’t know and what they don’t understand. You wanna talk about some threatened nurses? Fill in during a strike! I have not personally done this yet, but there was a local healthcare system on strike for a few weeks after I first started, and the nurses I encountered who were on strike did not have such kind words for any nurse filling in for them. They believed these nurses were engaging in a practice called “stabbing”, which undermines a striking worker’s position and gives little incentive to the employer to change their business practices. With travel nurses and/or strike relief nurses, the exact opposite is true, however: hiring travel/strike nurses will actually, on average, cost those employers MUCH more in the long-run, so the takeaway is, fellow nurses: WE’RE HERE TO HELP. Be nice to us! lol

8. Lazy nurses need not apply
Speaking solely from my own experience, you’re gonna work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life. It is imperative to know how to manage your own stress levels, because not only is getting started as a travel nurse and maintaining all your paperwork as stressful endeavor, but¬†being locked into a contract that truly can be terminated at any time, for any reason will keep you on your toes. If you’re at the top of your nursing game and ready for a challenge, #Godspeed.

9. You’ve got to honor your need to decompress
This is something I always learn the hard way. It is natural to want to get out and explore every chance you get. It is natural to want to make friends to hang out with, and if you’re lucky like me, you’ll have people who want you around all the time! Even if they don’t want to hang, rest assured they’ll be interested and asking all sorts of questions once they catch wind of what your role is as a travel nurse.
It’s simply. not. realistic. to expect yourself to be a boundless fountain of energy.
Take the time to make your living space comfortable and a safe haven, free from work. Know what your self-care needs are. Honor them often, and don’t feel guilty about it.

10. Protect yourself/Enjoy the ride!
Know your nursing practice laws before going to a new state. Make sure you’re insured — malpractice insurance (try NSO Insurance), auto, life, medical, dental, vision, the whole 9. Ask all the questions you possibly can in a contract interview. Know your tax laws, and if you need to, talk to a tax assessor who deals specifically with travel nurses/contract workers. Document everything and make digital copies. Make hard-copy duplicates. Be meticulous in your charting. Be polite, be respectful, be charming, but take no shit. This isn’t an endeavor for the faint-of-heart, after all! And PLEASE — don’t take your travel for granted. Get out and get excited! You’re getting paid to “vacation” every weekend! (lol) ūüôā

After learning some serious life lessons in this first foray, I hope that these pointers help you out! I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research beforehand.

As I make the transition to this new assignment, which is highly likely to be on the West Coast, I’ll be brainstorming and compiling a ton of helpful tips, tricks, and pooling my knowledge of the industry so I can one day have a complete Guide to Travel Nursing available. Be on the lookout!

In the interim, follow me on Instagram @nomadnadiad for pictures of my travels, and email me if you have questions! I promise I’ll get back to you. Eventually. ūüėČ

 

Life is never static.

nomad –¬†n. (no‚ÄĘmad) ¬†2 : an individual who roams about

This blog exists¬†because I’ve got a million things¬†going on at any one minute and it’s exhausting to rehash it all every time I speak with someone for the first time in a long time… which seems to be every time I talk to anyone, really.
Plus, Facebook is annoying. We know this.

For anyone who stumbles across this blog and doesn’t actually know me, check out my “About” section for some background info… you know, if I’ve gotten around to writing it. Brief rundown here, for time’s sake: I’m a San Antonio-based, late-20s LVN with a degree in Public Health, 4 cats and a dog, a mom who owns/runs a dog rescue, a (sadly-neglected-but-still-awesome) music blog, and who is hopelessly (nearly 6 years) single. Good! We’re up-to-speed.

NOW.

Why Nadia?
It’s not my given name. It’s not even a nickname that¬†could be used for my given name, despite what a “Russian scholar” says when we made small talk¬†on a plane some months ago.¬†Thanks for shattering my dreams of name sophistication, homeboy.
I prefer to go by Nadia because I feel it fits me better than my given name in some ways, and it gives me the freedom to exist apart from my legal name, which is associated with my professional life as a nurse.
Friends and family, if you don’t like that I go by Nadia, I frankly dgaf. But I love you.

Why nomad?
To be fair, I haven’t moved a whole lot in my life (surprisingly enough, being a military brat), so I don’t mean this in the literal sense.
I’m more of a black sheep, so I mean this in the way that I don’t quite “fit” anywhere. I get along with just about everybody (never met a stranger!), but am into really weird things when it comes to music, movies, food, TV, and just about anything and everything I could possibly be weird about. So that’s where that is.

SOOO…¬†What’s been going on lately?
*tl;dr – scroll to the bottom

¬Ľ I’m pretty ADHD, so I focus really well when I’m interested in something, but find myself bored quickly and tend to¬†overbook tasks thinking I can handle a massive workload. What happens next? You’ll see that I’m either going everywhere at the speed of light before I burn out and crash. Hard.

When I moved to New York (impulsively, within only a month of deciding to do so) back in April¬†I failed to process much. I sped around for a decent couple of months between work and starting an online Master’s program, until something (a couple of somethings) shook my confidence and my foundation crumbled.¬†When I say crumbled, I mean self-destructed into finely ground powder. Only 3 months after moving I had done a complete 180, from promise to despair, and ended up moving back to Texas.

Once home — no longer living in my own house but with my parents in my old high school bedroom — I sank into what could only be deemed depression. I laid in bed binge-Netflixing Friends for about a week, week-and-a-half straight, only coming up for air, food, and too little water to remain properly hydrated.

Mind you, I am not a clinically depressed person. I’ve been through a lot over the years and struggle with PTSD and disordered eating (more to be said about this in later posts), both of which¬†share symptoms with other psychological disorders. However, I choose remain medication-free and¬†rely on coping strategies I’ve learned through treatment at Eating Recovery Center San Antonio (aka ERCSA, fka Eating Disorder Center at San Antonio, fka EDCASA… I’m gonna call it EDCASA from now on, hence the need for explanation).
Since the strategies require me to actually take action, though, when I choose to self-isolate and do nothing… well… nothing gets solved.

So after about 2 weeks of being a completely useless human being I decided to get off my ass and DO something to feel better! I signed on again with my local nursing agency, decided to take a break from the Master’s program I was NOT fully prepared to take on (after a cross-country move and all the stressors that come along with that! I mean, come on, Nadia), and decided to focus my efforts on helping my mother out with her award-winning dog rescue. (Srsly, it’s hyperlinked twice. Go look.)
Ever since gaining the attention of Best Of Texas back in April, the rescue has simply grown beyond what the organization is equipped for! BUT, since the rescuers’ work-life balance has¬†always been an issue — trust me, families suffer significantly facing the issues of rescue work — it’s a double-edged sword. Knowing that I am not equipped emotionally to help out with operations after 20+ years of being around such an environment, I found the best way I can remain involved is by offering¬†a different kind of support. SO, that is why I am currently collaborating with my mom to rework the business model!

After having spoken with her, minding her vision as the President and Founder, I am confident we will come up with a workable, 501(c)(3)-friendly business model to present to current Board Members within the next 3 months. Would we like to get it together sooner? Sure! But another area of my life is poised to take up plenty of my time and attention, as well…

TRAVEL. NURSING.

This idea was pitched to me as I was in the middle of preparing for my move to New York back in April. My thoughts then were, “But I’m¬†just moving to a new state, why would I want to go elsewhere right away?!”. Ah, hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?
Anyway, after NY fell through in such terrific fashion, I figured “ytf not?”! So I leave for my first assignment in Minnesota in just over a week, after just finding out I would be going less than 5 days ago.

If I and everyone around me didn’t already know that I was impulsive by nature, I’m sure someone would be pointing it out right about now.

Travel nursing is going to afford me the opportunity to travel every 3 months or so, staving off that inevitable ADHD boredom; increase my nursing skill set; boost my resume; boost my income; give me the environment to focus on pressing projects (such as business model planning); and this assignment in Minnesota has me staying in a tiny house!
‚Üínah, I ain’t excited‚Üź

‚ô•¬†Let’s talk¬†tiny. (houses)

Blame people like Jay Shafer and Derek Diedricksen for being complete and utter tiny space geniuses for inspiring a social and economic counterculture movement — literally thousands of people are downsizing these days to take back their freedom, and I want to be one of them.

Prior to my cross-country move I was living in a mini-mobile home (also called a park model) of a mere 384 sq. ft. It belonged to a father and son who lived on my parents’ property, and the father graciously sold it to me so I could gain some independence back in 2013. Since I was just living in my old high school bedroom before, making the transition to a pretty small apartment-like park model wasn’t hard at all! I didn’t need to buy tons of furniture, and usually ended up just hanging out in my bedroom on one side of the thing, anyway. A decent 150 sq. ft. of that house basically was just storage. I’d decided by around late 2014 that I wanted to one day have a really nice tiny house,¬†and my move to NY was more of a hiccup in the “timeline” for that rather than an abandonment of ideals.

Fast-forward to that post-move 2 week wallowing session.
As I started working on the rescue’s business model, I had a stroke of brilliance hit me. While I won’t get into the details right here, right now (because that post will come later!), let’s just say tiny houses came up and I legit went‚Ķ

down.

the.

f*cking.

rabbit.

hole.

Within the span of a 7 day period, while I was getting my paperwork done for my agency, teaching myself everything I could possibly need to know about travel nursing, and also business model strategizing, I taught myself to design and draft my dream tiny house. To scale.

I devoured tiny house documentaries, watched Tiny House Nation and Tiny House Hunters like it was going out of style, read every tiny house blog I could possibly find, and made notes on RVIA certification and RV construction on everything but the backs of my hands. Now I am confident in my knowledge enough to begin learning how to actually build things so that I can build my own tiny house, to my high specifications, within the next 4 years or so. Maybe sooner. Maybe later. We’ll see.

So that’s what’s going on with me!

The future of this blog isn’t guaranteed, but it started as a way to keep friends and family in-the-know about my life without having to get my frenzied, breathless spiel. Not every post I make will be this unbearably lengthy.
What I’d like to do moving forward is have separate sections for each endeavor — categories for travel nursing, God’s Dogs, the God’s Dogs Dwelling, my tiny house (called The Nomad Niche), and maybe just one for my general insanity… but I’ll call it something like mental health or ED recovery or whatever… sounds nicer.

*tl:dr: Welcome to my blog. It’s about stuff, and it contains words. Glad to have you.

Here’s a parting track to wrap this up. It’s brilliant, and one of my faves from 2015. Check out my music blog archive for more awesomeness like this.¬†I’ll be back at that sometime soon, too. I know you’re waiting with bated breath!