Traveler stories

Popular TV Show Kicks Off Nursing Career for One Viewer


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By Julie Benn, NurseZone contributor

Can a television show change the course of a person’s life? If you ask Carrie Valosen, RN, of Pennsylvania, she’ll tell you that it can!

Valosen, 26, began nursing in 2002. But, unlike many others, she didn’t come from a long line of medical professionals in the family. Instead, she was inspired to become a nurse when she was a sophomore in college pursuing other studies. Her inspiration? The television show “E.R.”

“I watched that show and thought it was so cool,” Carrie said. Even though transferring majors at school added an extra year before graduation, Carrie wanted to become an ER nurse.

Her parents had always told her she would make a good nurse, and since she is a very fast-paced individual by nature, the ER unit was just right to keep her adrenaline flowing on a regular basis.

“I do everything fast. My family even says I walk too darn fast,” she said.

As a travel nurse with leading travel staffing agency Medical Express, Valosen prefers to take assignments close to home. She said the flexibility and salary that travel nursing offers is a great way to work.

“It’s very enjoyable. You don’t get caught up in the cliques or politics.”

As an ER nurse, Carrie has a number of “war stories.” In one case, a young man from the Army Reserves got shot in the back with a 50-caliber bullet. “We gave him eight units of blood in 20 minutes. There were 15 nurses and residents working on him. The right side of his chest was missing.” Unfortunately, the patient bled out on the way to the operating room.

“We see so many young people dying in motorcycle accidents that I’m considering wearing a helmet even in the car,” she quipped.

Another of her patients lost his leg in a cement mixer and actually lived. “Thank God we had the means and know-how and could move fast.”

How do ER nurses like Valosen deal with tenuous cases day after day?

“Sometimes I go outside and [release stress] and then I’m OK,” she said. “I find ways to deal with it.”

“It’s really cool when I get to work with other travelers,” said Valosen. “We become instant friends.” They compare notes on different hospitals and parts of the country they have been to, and—in doing so—get ideas for where to travel next.

Carrie has recruited other nurses to traveling.

“I recommend traveling to anyone,” she said.

As for watching the TV show that got her started in nursing, Valosen said she doesn’t watch “E.R.” anymore. After becoming a nurse, she has seen that the show doesn’t fit reality. She does, however, watch “Gray’s Anatomy” and can still enjoy the new story lines of that medical show.

“Ultimately, I would like to see a TV show revolving around nurses, not just doctors. Nurses know that it takes a lot of cogs in the wheel to get things moving.”

And, ultimately, that it is the nurses who are integral in that process.

“There’s no such thing as just a nurse,” Carrie said.

© 2005. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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