By Debra Wood, RN, contributor
Emergency department nurse Jennifer Cabullos, RN, joined the ranks of travelers to fulfill her desire to visit California. Four years later, she’s still there, practicing in different hospitals. That first assignment was all it took to help her find a new area to call home, at least for awhile.
“Change is good,” said Cabullos, who started her career in Canada and now travels with American Mobile Healthcare. “I like to travel in general, and nursing is a good position [that let’s you] travel.”
Although Cabullos enjoys moving around, she refers to herself as a long-term traveler, staying as long as two years at one facility. She has also chosen to stay in Southern California since she arrived in the U.S.
“What keeps me in California is the area,” explained Cabullos, who initially intended to see New York and other places. “I fell in love with the area, in Marina Del Rey. It’s by the water, the beach and the boats. It’s very relaxing.”
Cabullos’ apartment overlooks a marina and is conveniently located near shopping and restaurants. She regularly rides her bicycle on the beach and soaks up the outdoor activities. She also has taken road trips to the Napa Valley, San Francisco, San Diego and Las Vegas.
The housing stipend supplied by leading travel staffing company American Mobile helped Cabullos save on monthly expenses and has enabled her to pay off all of her debt within one year.
“That was a great help and reduced my stress,” Cabullos said. “With the stipend, it helps me save money to, hopefully, buy a house in California or Canada one day.”
Cabullos returns to Canada after nearly every assignment to visit family and friends. She initially began traveling at a friend’s prompting, but two months after joining her friend in California, that nurse returned to Canada. But it was enough time for Cabullos to become acclimated and make some friends.
“Once you create a social network, especially in a city away from home, it’s hard to leave it,” she said.
Cabullos also met and started dating someonewhile in Southern California and the relationship has blossomed, which provides another incentive for her to stay in the area, simply switching hospitals.
“It is a little bit difficult going to one hospital from another, only in the sense you are entering a new system and changing your schedule,” she said. “The nursing part is not a problem. It’s getting used to the hospital and the flow and the doctors.”
It takes Cabullos about two weeks at a new facility to feel comfortable, but before long, she has meshed so seamlessly with the ED team, people think she is on staff.
“If you show you are competent at what you are doing, know your job and are skilled at being an ER nurse, they welcome you more openly,” she said. “You need to be outgoing. You will be introducing yourself to the doctors.”
Cabullos recommends nurses work on staff somewhere for at least one to two years to hone their organizational skills and build confidence before traveling. She also thinks traveling with a friend decreases the uncertainty of being in a new city.
All of the hospitals where she has worked have offered her a full-time position, but Cabullos prefers traveling. For now she plans to stay within the same geographic area, but may considerventuring farther a field at some point in the future, perhaps to New York or Seattle.
“Traveling is a really good way to meet people. Everyone’s nice, and I’ve made some great friends,” Cabullos said. “You have to be open, outgoing and aware. You have to be a strong person, but at the same time, it also makes you stronger.”
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