Nursing Shortages & The Rise of Travel Nurses
While traveling nurses are usually employed on a short-term basis, you will gain valuable experience and the opportunity can be rewarding. Ready to get started? Check out our interview with Toni-Ann Miller, a travel nurse.
VBD: Why did you choose nursing?
TONI-ANN: I chose nursing as a career because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives daily. When you come into the hospital sick, you are generally feeling at your worst. Nurses are who you correspond and bond with the most while treating your ailments.
VBD: Why did you choose Critical Care as your specialty?
TONI-ANN: I wanted to work in a specialty that would challenge me mentally, emotionally, and physically and Critical Care is just that. Critical thinking is a learned ability, and it enables us to treat quickly and prevent adverse outcomes. Working in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is difficult; however, it is especially rewarding when we get to see patients who had a 20% chance for a good quality of life walk out of our doors, happy, healthy, and grateful.
VBD: What has your experience been working in the Intensive Care Unit during the pandemic?
TONI-ANN: The COVID-19 pandemic increased ICU admissions, which left us overworked and stressed our emotional capacity. In 2020, the ICU that I worked in was at capacity, so we eventually had to open makeshift ICUs elsewhere in the hospital. We were understaffed, yet we still tried to give the best care that we possibly could. Patients were constantly dying as we tried to understand this virus, how it presents, and how to treat it. We cried with families daily as they grieved their loved ones while trying to have a positive attitude for our other patients fighting. We gave it our all 24/7.
VBD: Who is a Travel Nurse?
TONI-ANN: Travel nurses are registered nurses that choose to work short-term contracts, usually from about three weeks to several months, at hospitals all over the country. This began as a response to a national nursing shortage, but some nurses like myself use this as a medium to travel the country and expand our nursing knowledge.
VBD: What was the experience like?
TONI-ANN: This experience has been life-changing. The good thing about nursing and being specifically trained for a certain area is that it is the same everywhere. I have the opportunity to visit states and countries that I could only dream of while working. You could call it a working vacation if you wish.
VBD: What is next for you?
TONI-ANN: Currently, my eyes are set on medical school, which has been my dream for as long as I can remember. At this time, I am in the process of applying to Post- Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Programs across the country. Luckily, I have had the chance to experience medicine from the eyes and hands of doctors, and this knowledge will set the foundation to eventually be a physician.
ABOUT TONI-ANN MILLER
Toni-Ann Miller was born and raised in St. Ann, Jamaica, where she attended St. Hilda’s Diocesan High School. She later earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Charleston Southern University in Charleston, South Carolina. As an Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse, she monitors and administers treatment to the most critical patients. When she isn’t at work, she can be found at the beach or exploring each city that she visits.