January 5, 2006

January 2006: Stephanie Smalls, RN

travel nurse stories

My name is Stephanie N. Smalls and I’m originally from Georgetown, South Carolina. I have been an RN since March 2003.

I have been traveling with TNAA since March 2005 with assignments to Fontana, California (13 wks) and most recently Bethesda, Maryland. I started traveling to see nursing practice in other parts of the country. I also wanted a chance to see parts of the world that I probably would not have otherwise had the chance to see!

When asked to describe a memorable experience while traveling, one particular patient immediately comes to mind. I took care of a 13-year-old male with a fractured femur. I admitted him into the ED and transferred him to inpatient care pre-surgery. He was very anxious about fracturing his femur and was terrified that he would never be able to play sports. He was athletic and involved in numerous sports including skateboarding, soccer, and baseball. He was very demanding, which he obviously learned from his mother! I always walked into his room with a smile and jokes to help alleviate his anxiety, but my patience was wearing thin.

After physical therapy, crutch instructions and an ordeal with getting into his car to go home, I was exasperated. As I was closing the car door and silently saying “Yippee” to myself, he said to me, “Thank you Ms. Stephanie. I know I was a pain in the butt, but you are my favorite nurse and I will not forget you. I don’t want to go home, I want to stay here with you!” That kind of happy ending makes my job worthwhile!

There are many aspects of the traveling lifestyle that make me happy, but my favorite part of traveling is the autonomy that traveling with TNAA brings to my career. I love being able to decide where I want to work and for how long. I also love meeting new people at work and experiencing new places. Who knows what lies right around the corner?