By Melissa Wirkus, staff writer
For Tim Aldrich, RN, winning the “Nurse of the Year” award at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey was a great honor, but also a huge surprise. That’s because Aldrich was the first travel nurse to ever win the hospital’s prestigious annual award. In previous years, the award was strictly reserved for staff nurses.
“I am the first traveler in history that has won the award,” Aldrich proudly noted. “Last year I was nominated but had only been there for six months, so I wasn’t eligible. This year, it was a unanimous vote and the medical director of the ER made it clear that he didn’t care I was a traveler. So I was the first traveling nurse to win!”
Aldrich has worked as an ER nurse for seven years and has been a travel nurse with leading travel staffing company American Mobile Healthcare for six of those years.
Having taken assignments in Florida, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and New Jersey, Aldrich knew from the beginning of his career that he was destined to be a travel nurse—and a very successful one at that.
“When I was working as an ER tech years ago, I worked with a few travel nurses who all shared their positive and exciting experiences about traveling, and convinced me that I had to do it once I became licensed and had the required experience.”
With just over a year’s of experience under his belt, Aldrich kept his goal in clear view and set off to be a travel nurse. “I’m a traveling man, I love to travel,” he said. “I just don’t plan on being a staff nurse.”
After being on assignment in Newark, New Jersey, for over two years now, Aldrich has gained much more from his travel nursing career than just his name on a plaque from the recent award.
“I’ve really grown to accumulate a strong ‘best family’ here made up of all my co-workers at Beth Israel,” he said. “I’ve grown close to all of the residents and nurses here. We hang out on the weekends and do fun things like have cook-outs and BBQs.”
When Aldrich isn’t working in the emergency room, he is spending time with his family and friends, or heading outside to mountain bike, jog or spend time on his family’s boat. He also recently coordinated a nursing conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with his fellow staff members at the medical center.
Although Newark remains his favorite assignment destination thus far due to the life-long friendships he has made, Aldrich does not plan on staying put for very much longer.
All of his assignments have been on the East Coast, so Aldrich is looking to take his next travel nursing job out west. Palm trees and warmer weather are on the horizon for Aldrich as he plans on traveling to California, Hawaii and even internationally to Australia in the future.
“My partner, Joey, is currently in nursing school and once he graduates and gets his required experience we want to travel together,” he said. “We want to travel because we both enjoy living life to the fullest—and we are here today, but tomorrow is never promised to us.”
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