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Getting to Know Travel Nurse India
I’m from Geelong originally, but I’ve lived in Melbourne and worked in a tertiary hospital in metro Melbourne up until starting travel nursing with HCA. I’ve been nursing for nearly 8 years now; I began in gen med, and then moved into ICU just in time for the pandemic to start. The mix of gen med and ICU has proved invaluable while working rural and remote, and I’ve been able to get experience in ED and triage (in MPS sites) along the way. I’ve been with HCA doing rural and remote nursing for almost a year, and I’m just finishing up my 4th contract now, with a 5th locked in to see out the year.
Why Choose Rural and Remote for Travel Nursing?
I started nursing with HCA after driving the West coast with a friend who was travel nursing. I instantly fell in love with WA, but also the idea that I could design my life, choose my time off, and use my career to explore the country at the same time. ICU during the pandemic had been tough and I was keen to get out of the city and get back into nature in my time off work. I never expected to get the exposure I’ve gotten in terms of preparing patients for flight transfers, escorting patients with volunteer ambulance crews, resuscitations and all aspects of primary health care including completing my immunisation course. HCA R&R is now my primary income, but I’ve stayed on casually at my previous ICU job and I pick up shifts at home while I’m visiting family and friends. I like being able to keep a foot in the door, but it also means I get to maintain my ICU knowledge and skills, whilst building a repertoire of other skills as well.
The First Travel Nursing Contract
Denmark was my first contract, and wasn’t what I initially wanted but ended up being a blessing in disguise. When I left Victoria to start agency life I had my sights set on working in Albany – it seemed like a big enough town that my experience would be easily transferable, and wouldn’t be too much of a culture shock from Melbourne. Denmark is only about an hours drive from Albany, and was everything I had hoped for in terms of exploring – loads of hikes, beautiful coastline and beaches, and Denmark itself is a cute, slightly quirky town (I recommend the yoga studio!).
Work in Denmark was great – the team were really friendly and supportive, and I got to learn to triage in the ED, as well as working in the aged care and the acute ward. I then took a contract in Albany because I loved the area so much and had lots of exploring still left to do, which ended up including a multi-day solo hike through Fitzgerald River National Park. Albany Hospital was more like what I was used to and I got to spend some time in the HDU there. I worked as a pool nurse, so I got to experience almost every clinical area (including seeing my first birth!).
The Journey Post Her Initial Contract
Wyndham was next – I was pursuing the summer weather mostly – and was probably the hardest contract I’ve done. I was very nervous about nursing in a mostly Indigenous area, as my exposure to First Nations cultures had been so minimal in Melbourne. Wyndham also operated with overnight on-call, where you responded solo to anything that presented to the hospital (with a security staff member and an orderly on site). I had no need to be nervous, the community was lovely, there was so much to explore in the area and I had no dramas with the call outs. The hospital was staffed almost exclusively by agency nurses, and I got my first taste here of taking on additional responsibilities, like ordering stores and pharmacy.
Where is India Now?
I’m currently finishing a contract at Walgett MPS in Western NSW. I’ve done some exploring of the Warrumbungle National Park, and took a trip to Dubbo and stayed overnight at the zoo. I’ve always loved having a car on contract, it lets me get out and see so much more on days off. Agency life isn’t for everyone, but if you have a bit of experience behind you, you’re friendly, adaptable and willing to give things a go, then I think it’s a great option.
Tips from India for Aspiring Travel Nurses
My hot tips would be to take your own linen and something else to make your accommodation feel like home (like a candle or your own pillow if you’re driving). Immerse yourself in the town – if someone offers to take you fishing, or tells you about a local attraction, do it. Be ready to learn – every contract I’ve had has challenged me in a new way, whether that was a new clinical area, or taking on more responsibility as an in charge nurse, or just new processes.
What’s on the Horizon for India?
My next contract is in Taree NSW, at Manning Base ICU. I’m excited to be back in a clinical area that’s familiar, and really excited to be near beaches for the hot weather! I don’t yet know what next year looks like – I have so many places on my list I’d like to go (Darwin, Tassie, FNQ), but I’m also considering studying midwifery to pursue a career with RFDS down the track, or just to bolster my agency options!
— India M
HCA R&R RAN
If you’re interested in travel nursing in what remains of 2023 but aren’t sure where? Be sure to check out our 7 Essential Travel Nursing Destinations this Christmas blog.