Traveler Talk is Changing Travel Nurse Outlooks | A Q&A with Andrew Craig
Travel nursing has become one of the most popular nursing choices in the past few years. We had the opportunity to chat with Andrew Craig, the founder of Traveler Talk, an online community for travel nurses, about travel nursing, his background, and more.
Relode: To start, can you tell us a little about your background?
Andrew Craig: I can tell you I didn’t always want to be a nurse. I fell into it one could say. I had no medical experience nor were any of my family practicing nurses.
There was a point in my life where I needed to find a new direction. I opted to go back to school to become a paramedic. I knew that people would always be sick and I would always have a job. That was my rationale at the time. Job security.
I quickly realized that I should have some healthcare experience if I’m going into the medical field. At the time, I had zero. I decided to volunteer at a local hospital and subsequently got the chance to work in the Emergency Department. I fell in love with the environment immediately.
At one point, it dawned me that I enjoyed the work that registered nurses did. Particularly, I liked the conversation and the bedside time nurses got. It felt like I was really connecting with the patients. I felt like I finally found what I belonged to.
I went to my college counselor and told her I wanted to switch majors shortly after. That was 7 years ago and I’ve been on quite an adventure since.
R: How do you think the travel nurse experience is different from traditional nursing?
AC: Overall, the experience has been very enjoyable.
Some challenges travel nurses face are:
- Housing can be a pain depending on location.
- Rapidly short orientations sometimes are only 1-2 days or less.
- Staff nurses can treat travel nurses poorly because we are “the travelers” but this rare.
Naturally, it’s different because the traditional assignment is only 3 months long whereas staff nurses stay as long as they want.
R: What do you find is the typical outlook for travel nurses?
AC: I can only speak for nurses that I’ve met personally or in the Traveler Talk community. The overall attitude is mixed. Many nurses that come to travel nursing already have emotional and professional baggage that they bring with them. Many staff nurses are jaded because the work has been hard on them and hospitals have done nurses dirty for a long time.
Naturally, nurses are frustrated with that treatment and go to travel nursing for a better life. Travel nursing sometimes is not any better. It’s not a solution to all nursing problems. It works for some and others it’s much of the same. Travel nursing exists for many reasons but one major reason is the assignment is bad place to begin with and they can’t keep staff. They bring travel nurses in to fill the staffing void.
If I had to generalize about the overall nursing attitude of the profession, I would say nurses are tired, crave change, but are so beaten down by the work that they don’t have the energy to change it. We talk a good game but when it comes to action that’s an entirely different story.
Honestly, I don’t know how people can reframe their thinking. I think we all struggle with generating a positive attitude versus staying in the mud. I don’t think positive attitudes just come about. I think it’s a learning process and conscious choice. We can consciously choose to live in the negative or not. We always have a choice. That’s the beauty of our mind. We have a consciousness. That’s the power of thought.
R: What are you doing to change the culture of travel nursing?
AC: I’m creating a new culture in the online travel nursing community. I’m helping agencies and recruiters understand our perspective. I write and create videos all the time to help with that.
Early on, I knew there needed to be a change. Agencies and recruiters didn’t have a voice online. They were destroyed, bullied, or publicly shamed whenever they would post or chimed into a conversation. However, I knew that their perspective is valuable.
I created Traveler Talk to bring together two very different professions in a respectful way because we are ultimately on the same team with the same goal.
Travelers and recruiters. That goal is bringing patients the care they need and deserve
R: How can you see other travel nurses using Relode?
AC: Some nurses have a massive professional and friend network. Relode is a genius way to tap into nurse networks to help staff hospitals, help the healthcare system save money, and help nurses build a secondary income. I foresee travel nurses using the platform and enjoying it.
Interested in learning more about how travel nurses can use Relode? Head here.