Traveler stories

Traveler Finds Independence on the Road

  • Print Page

By Melissa Wirkus, associate editor

Pursuing a career as a travel nurse was the perfect way for Buffy Bradford, RN, to gain her independence and satisfy her innate nomadic spirit.

After her marriage ended and with children fully grown and on their own, Bradford decided that the time was right to hit the road as a travel nurse with leading nurse staffing agency, Medical Express.

“I’ve been a nurse for 13 years,” Bradford said. “Becoming a nurse has been the best experience of my life.”

Bradford began her traveling journey by accepting an assignment in Denver, Colorado, working in the child psychology unit of The Children’s Hospital.

“I would have gone anywhere on my first assignment,” she said. “But a lot of the reason why I chose Denver was because my recruiter was there and that made me feel comfortable. I also went to DU (University of Denver), so I was already familiar with Colorado and I had other friends there too.”

Bradford made her journey out to Colorado a true travel adventure by making a road-trip out of it.

“I drove all the way from Sacramento to Denver,” she mused. “I’m kind of a foot loose and fancy free person. I’ve always wanted to travel.”

Although Bradford was experienced in clinical psychology, this first travel nursing assignment provided her the opportunity to work with the pediatric patient population—something she had never done before.

“I had never worked with children before, so that was a real eye-opener,” Bradford explained. “Everybody was really friendly and willing to help answer my questions. It was a good balance; it wasn’t dog-eat-dog like some of the jobs I’ve had.”

After her contract ended in Denver, Bradford decided to head back to Sacramento to take a local travel assignment as a home health nurse.

“I really like working in downtown Sacramento, in the city,” she said. “The thing I really like about it here is the diversity of ethnic backgrounds. There is a lot of ethnic variety and diverse cultures.”

Traveling has allowed Bradford the opportunity to branch out and step away from her comfort zone for the first time in her life.

“The thing I like the best about traveling is it is a challenge to strengthen myself as a person and in a professional manner as well,” Bradford said. “It’s a completely new experience. You have to live by yourself, drive by yourself; that was all really new for me.”

Meeting new friends, exploring new places and getting to visit people in other locations, are just a few of the reasons why Bradford has embraced the travel lifestyle.

“I like changing jobs because it keeps me mentally alert,” she said. “Learning new things, meeting new people and personal and professional growth are all big for me.”

Bradford is open to a variety of destinations for her next contract once her assignment in Sacramento is up. Arizona and Georgia are both potential locations—just as long as she has the opportunity for new adventure and experience, anywhere is fine with her.

“If the car starts up, I’m jumping in!”

© 2009. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NurseZone brings you the personal stories of travel nurses across the country. Read their profiles, travel adventures and practical advice geared for nurses just like you.