Bedside Manners Ep 2 – Experience as a NICU RN & Travel Stories – Todd Greer

Bedside Manners Ep 2 – Experience as a NICU RN & Travel Stories – Todd Greer

In this episode, we first talk about VA (Voice Advantage) & Montage Interviews and Auto Offers, which is what the industry is moving towards. Then we talk with Todd Greer, BSN, RN about his experience working as a NICU nurse and some of his stories from traveling.

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Episode Transcript

Corry:              Hey, welcome to Bedside Manners: Travel Nursing Unhinged. The podcast where we talk about the ins and outs, everything you need to know about travel nursing. We talk to current travelers, we have guests constantly coming and going, experts in the industry. Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t done so already. Let’s get started!

Corry:               Hey, welcome to Bedside Manners: Travel Nursing Unhinged. The podcast where we talk about the ins and outs, everything you need to know about travel nursing. We talk to current travelers, we have guests constantly coming and going, experts in the industry. Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t done so already. Let’s get started!

Corry:               Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to Bedside Manners: Travel Nursing Unhinged. My name is Corry. With me as always, is Mr. Paul Ulrich. Paul, how are you doing today?

Paul:                 I’m doing great, Corry. How are you?

Corry:               Oh, it’s a lovely day. Sunshine and recruiting nurses, always a good day. So we’ve got a fun show for you guys today. Remember with us, a little later in the show, is Todd Greer, the male NICU nurse, ladies. Today we’re going talk about a really interesting subject, VA montage interviews, auto offers. This is a trend we’re starting to see more and more, facilities using VA interviews and montage interviews. Paul, let’s jump into it.

Paul:                 Yeah, yeah. What is a VA interview or a montage interview? VA interviews stands for voice advantage. What it is, it’s an email based interview with that once you get submitted to a job and they see that you are a viable candidate to the position that you are submitted to, you will get this email based interview.

Paul:                 It could be a couple of different things. But mostly, you may have to fill out a couple of questionnaires, like a checklist, based on your specialty. Then after that, you will get a pin number, and you’ll call into a voice line, and you’ll record a few questions. Those questions are going to be more like work ethic.

Corry:               Yeah, generally they’re more basic interview questions, like how in your career have you dealt with a problematic patient, or an aggressive patient?

Paul:                 Or a fellow coworker or stuff like that.

Corry:               Generally these VA interviews, they’re going to send them to you based on what your profile looks like, what your resume looks like. So you want to make sure you have an up-to-date profile with your agency, all your skills are on there, because that’s what they’re going to set these VA interviews based on.

Paul:                 Yeah.

Corry:               So now, who is doing these? Like I said, we’re seeing a shift in this. More and more facilities, more and more hospital systems are sending these out. Kaiser is one of them.

Paul:                 Yep. Providence.

Corry:               Providence is one of them, Tenet is one of them.

Paul:                 Yeah.

Corry:               The reason that we’re seeing this is it’s efficient, honestly. It makes things a lot easier. I’ve gotten offers from them. Paul, I know that you have.

Paul:                 It’s very nice. Some people like them and some people hate them, but it’s all about communication with your recruiter. Sometimes you will get a chance to talk to the nurse manager, a lot of places will have phone interviews after you complete these, which is great. But if not, you got to be prepared to accept an auto offer, which isn’t really communicated to a lot of nurses.

Paul:                 So, just ask your recruiter if this is an auto offer facility, or will I get a chance to actually talk to the nurse manager? But no, it’s efficient because sometimes nurse managers don’t actually always get to … or have time to interview.

Corry:               In interviews if you’re a traveler, you know that nurse managers are going to call you when it’s convenient for them. If you’re night shift, it is tough to get those interviews. So why a lot of facilities are moving over to this VA, this montage interview system, there’s no more missed calls, there’s no more missed interviews, there’s not missed opportunities for you. So you get to set the time, “Hey, this is when I’m free to do this interview.” As with anything, a lot of times with interviews, it’s the first nurse to interview that gets it.

Paul:                 Yup.

Corry:               This kind of helps you not miss an opportunity.

Paul:                 But usually you have 24 hours to complete the montage, or via interview or else it will expire.

Corry:               Yeah. Again, what Paul touched on before was sometimes auto offers are made. It’s pretty self-explanatory , but what we mean by that is based on your VA interview, you may not even talk to a manager. They may just say, “Hey, we like this profile. She answered the questions, he answered the questions how we want, we want to make this offer to them.”

Paul:                 Yeah.

Corry:               So again, communication with your recruiter is key. You shouldn’t be submitting to these jobs unless you’re ready to commit to it.

Paul:                 Yep, and you’re okay with not talking to a nurse manager. If you really want to talk to a nurse manager, I’ve had some of my nurses call in after they accepted an offer and get to know the manager. I know that’s scary, “Well, I have already signed a contract.” Well yeah, I get that, but it’s fine.

Paul:                 If you aren’t uncomfortable then I wouldn’t have that deter you away from it. Do your research on the facility. Ask Your fellow travelers, ask your recruiter.

Corry:               “If we do this via interview, is it an an auto offer, am I going to be able to talk to a manager?” And I’ve had cases where it was a VA interview was auto offer, but still said, “Hey, she wants to talk to a manager.” Manager called, they went over the nitty gritty details, and ended up loving the assignment. So it’s all communication. Again, research, ask questions. That’s the big thing. Don’t submit to these VA interviews unless you’re ready to commit. Talk to your recruiter. But like we said, Kaiser, Tenet, what are the other ones?

Paul:                 Providence.

Corry:               Providence. All these facilities. Every Kaiser facility is going to do a VA interview now.

Paul:                 Medstar, DC.

Corry:               We’re seeing that big shift in the industry. Just like with other things, just like CSTs needing that certification. We always see shifts in…

Paul:                 Compact States.

Corry:               Compact States, like we talked about last week. There are shifts that we see. So we just want to keep everybody up to date.

Paul:                 Yeah, yeah. No, the main thing is go with the flow. Let the river take you where it wants to go.

Corry:               Follow the river or whatever it takes you. Awesome guys. Well we got Todd walking in the office right now, so we’re going to go grab him and we’re going to get him set up.

Paul:                 All right.

Corry:               All right, we got Todd in here. We got them all set up. Todd, welcome to our podcast. How are you?

Todd:               I’m good. How are you doing today?

Corry:               I’m doing good. It’s nice to finally meet you in person. Put a face to the voice. So we’re just going to ask you some questions. Keep it informal and yeah, we’ll see where it takes us. So first question, why did you become a nurse?

Todd:               Just kind of hit that point in my life, I needed to make some changes and everything lined up and fell into it. Worked out great.

Corry:               Awesome, awesome. Now the big one too that you know that I would see is being a male nurse, in a predominantly or historically female dominated environment, have you struggled with that? Have you had to work harder being a male nurse? Tell us about that.

Todd:               I would say on my day to day, it’s actually been great. The girls that I do work with, they’ve all been very helpful. With the unit that I normally work in, it’s always a little bit odd to see a guy in a NICU setting. But the girls there had been great. Every once in a while you run into like the gender issue, taking care of moms and I completely understand that and we find ways to work around it.

Corry:               Yeah, that leads right into the next question was, I know me being your recruiter we’ve certainly had that issue with the floating requirement that comes with most assignments, and dealing with that, but why NICU? What drew you into that specialty?

Todd:               Wasn’t my initial plan when I first started at school. Towards the under graduation five or six things all lined up. I ended up, I had an interview even before I took my NCLEX. They were pretty desperate for nurses. So I got in there and hit the ground running, and haven’t looked look back. It’s been great.

Corry:               Awesome.

Todd:               It’s kind of like a hidden gem. Most people are like, a guy NICU.

Corry:               Yeah. I remember what the first time we talked, I was telling Paul and Tom. I was like, “I just got off the phone with a male NICU nurse.” “What, male NICU? What are you talking about? No, you didn’t.” I’m like, “Oh, I did.” So it’s certainly, I know it’s rare. You’re the only male NICU nurse that I’ve had and know that I’ve talked to. So that’s cool. I really like that you’re in that specialty, it’s definitely unique. Paul, I’m sure you’ve got a question or two.

Paul:                 Yeah, that’s great that you’re not running into many objections, especially being, if you ever had to float to postpartum. That could be quite different. I was actually having this conversation with one of my other nurses the other night and told them that we’re going to have a male NICU nurse on the show, and she’s like, “Well, what’s the difference with the a Gyn doctor?”

Paul:                 It’s like, well that’s a good question.

Todd:               That gets thrown out a lot. But surprisingly, there’s a difference between an MD and a nurse.

Paul:                 It’s just a title.

Todd:               It’s amazing the discrepancy with that.

Paul:                 It shouldn’t be like that.

Todd:               If that’s the only thing you have to worry about, I’m good.

Paul:                 Good. On your traveling, what is the best part of traveling for you?

Todd:               Getting out and seeing different places, more than just a couple of days. I lived in Ohio all my life. So getting out to, I was in Seattle and then went to Monterey, and now Colorado Springs. It’s a great way to visit the states, spend a little bit extra time to find those hidden restaurants or those hidden places to go and just maybe look where I’m going to retire at some day.

Paul:                 Nice. I can definitely relate to that being from South Dakota. So it’s different being out here in Denver. So what’s your favorite restaurant that you found?

Corry:               Yeah. what’s the best hidden gem for restaurants that you found?

Todd:               I think it was called the Mountain Cafe. It was just a couple of miles from Saint Francis Hospital. Best breakfasts I’ve ever had. And they have these huge pancakes. It’s the size of a pizza.

Corry:               Wow.

Todd:               I definitely recommend you if you’re ever there in the morning, hit it up for breakfast.

Paul:                 In the Springs right?

Todd:               Yes.

Paul:                 Nice. Oh yeah, I’ll have to check that out.

Corry:               Any other like gems that you found in Seattle or Monterey, like activities? What do you do for fun on, I know we were talking before when you first walked in about fly fishing in Colorado. What other activities do you like doing, or just finding time outside of the hospital?

Todd:               When I was up in Seattle, I spent a lot of time going up to the Cascades, hiked a couple of the mountain top lakes. Went fly fishing there. Went down to Monterey. I ended up getting to Big Sur a couple of times, down to Pfeiffer Beach and I think it was Macaway falls. Totally different scenery than Ohio, which was awesome. Tried surfing in Monterey, so wasn’t expecting to do that in January. But the weather was quite pleasant.

Corry:               Perfect.

Paul:                 Don’t they have a different winter summer schedule in Monterey?

Todd:               I’m not too familiar with that exactly. I know that they got a record amount of rainfall this winter and I just missed all the springtime blooms everywhere. Kind of miss that. But the winter in Monterey was much better than winter in Ohio.

Paul:                 I can only imagine.

Corry:               So now I know we’ve talked about this and, the struggles of being a traveler, and now that you’ve got a few assignments under your belt, you just wrapped up your third assignment, handed in your fourth in a few weeks. What, knowing kind of what you know now, what advice or even better, if you could go back in time and talk to yourself before we started talking, or even before you took that first assignment, what’s one piece of advice you would give yourself?

Todd:               Come up with a system to get organized. Just trying to keep all the paperwork, your certificates, just everything for work. I don’t have an office. My car is sometimes in my office, so trying to get all that straightened out can be challenging. But going into my fourth assignment I definitely can get it done a lot quicker.

Corry:               Awesome. So kind of want to sit back talking. We were talking about NICU earlier and every time I talked to a NICU nurse, I think that would be one of the hardest specialties next to peds oncology. Just sick babies. Mentally, spiritually, how do you handle that? Was it a learning curve that you had to, or what advice would you give to a nurse coming out of nursing school that wants to get into NICU?

Todd:               The learning curve was huge. I went into it with man hands. All the girls that I worked with when I first started, they said, “Just keep with it, you will get it.” And the training, I think it was three months, just an orientation. So it was long. The first six months was rough. I remember making a comment to a couple of friends, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make this cut or not.” But I kept with it and things do get better. It’s just don’t be afraid to ask questions, be observant of everything and push through it.

Corry:               Again, fourth assignment, what do you find, transitions from hospital to hospital. Is there a different learning curve at each facility you go to? Are things drastically different on the units or is it pretty streamlined?

Todd:               It really depends on the facility. A lot of it can be streamlined. Overall the core set of care that we provide is pretty much uniform. But every facility has their own limits or guidelines. If you’re talking about a kid with bilirubin jaundice, they might have different parameters. So going from one hospital to another, it gets a little confusing to keep all of those numbers straight. But overall, the girls that I’ve worked with have been great. I ask a question, they’ve always been helpful. So as long as you stick with the core concept of the cares that you provide, and try to follow the facility guidelines, it’s not too bad.

Corry:               What about orientations, tell us a little bit about, I know you and I have talked about this, but again, just want to give our listeners some advice on what to expect with a typical orientation and you know, you’ve got 3 on your belt now.

Todd:               Again, that really depends on each facility. When I was in Seattle, they had no unit manager. There was really no type of management at all. So it was really kind of thrown together and rushed. Here in Colorado Springs, they put us through a full week of orientation that all of their normal staff would go through. So overall the transition was pretty easy here. It’s really just, you got to get through that first week or so, find your footing and you find out who you can talk to and get good information from and go from there.

Corry:               Awesome. Awesome. Paul, what are you at?

Paul:                 Oh Man. With traveling, you’ve got four assignments underneath your belt now?

Todd:               Three.

Paul:                 Three, and where you going to next now?

Todd:               Fresno.

Paul:                 Fresno, California. What about housing, how have you overcome housing?

Corry:               He’s always found housing, he found housing in Monterey.

Paul:                 That’s one of the biggest hurdles of travel nursing, how do I find cheap housing.

Corry:               Especially first time traveler. You found it, you jumped right into it. [crosstalk 00:16:12].

Todd:               That’s been the hardest aspect because I don’t want to find housing until I have a contract from the hospital. But normally when that happens, you have such a small window. So I’ve had pretty good luck using Airbnb. Cheap housing is not really there, but at least if you get some through Airbnb, you have an idea of what you’re going to be living, or what environment you’re going to be in. Where you can get like a stock kitchen, I like to cook. Yeah. So that definitely helps. But when it came to Colorado Springs, I almost got taken by a scam, I found out the last minute. So I avoided that. But Airbnb at least is …

Paul:                 Secure.

Todd:               Yes. So, but it’s definitely difficult.

Paul:                 Yeah. I had actually had one of my nurses get scammed on Craigslist.

Corry:               Ooh, stay away from Craigslist.

Todd:               The hardest thing that I found because I worked nights, is finding a place that doesn’t have a dog on the premises. I love dogs, but not after a horrible night and three hours of sleep. They just, it gets difficult.

Paul:                 Yeah. Well good.

Corry:               Todd, is there any, then you want to want to tell us a favorite thing about travel nursing, worst thing about travel nursing, best experience, worst experience, best advice you could give to new travelers?

Todd:               That’s a lot of questions. It took me a long time to really make that final step in to get into it. Now I’ve been gone since last August. It’s been great. I definitely would do it again. I wish I would’ve done it sooner. That’s kind of one of the things that everybody says. But as far as advice, ask questions, get to know other travelers, everybody, word of mouth travels fast. There’s I think a Facebook group of traveling nurses and everything. Just find a system to get organized and pack light.

Corry:               Awesome. Yeah, we will do a podcast on that. On staying organized, tips and tricks from the recruiting side.

Paul:                 Packing.

Corry:               Packing, packing sales for backpacks I found worked well. But as a new dad, I’ve got a sweet joke for you guys. I’m practicing my dad jokes. Knock knock.

Paul:                 Who’s there?

Corry:               HIPAA.

Paul:                 HIPAA, who?

Corry:               I can’t tell you that. Here all week.

Todd:               Oh, that’s terrible.

Paul:                 Well, that wraps up our show for today. Again, thanks for tuning in guys.

Corry:               Todd, thanks for coming in to join us.

Paul:                 Yes, thank you so much, Todd.

Todd:               Thank you for having me.

Paul:                 Yes. And again, if you’d like to get in touch with us, send us an email at bedsidemanners@gowithadvanced.com. Each episode’s show notes are available on our website at advancedtravelnursing.com/bedside manners. Special thanks to Jonathan Cary for helping produce this episode, and Aidan Dykes for the music and editing. Of course, each episode is powered by Advanced Travel Nursing. Thanks again guys.

Corry:               Thanks guys.

Todd:               Thank you.

Corry:              Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to Bedside Manners: Travel Nursing Unhinged. My name is Corey. With me as always, is Mr. Paul Ulrich. Paul, how are you doing today?

Paul:                 I’m doing great, Corey. How are you?

Corry:              Oh, it’s a lovely day. Sunshine and recruiting nurses, always a good day. So we’ve got a fun show for you guys today. Remember with us, a little later in the show, is Todd Greer, the male NICU nurse, ladies. Today we’re going talk about a really interesting subject, VA montage interviews, auto offers. This is a trend we’re starting to see more and more, facilities using VA interviews and montage interviews. Paul, let’s jump into it.

Paul:                 Yeah, yeah. What is a VA interview or a montage interview? VA interviews stands for voice advantage. What it is, it’s an email based interview with that once you get submitted to a job and they see that you are a viable candidate to the position that you are submitted to, you will get this email based interview.

Paul:                 It could be a couple of different things. But mostly, you may have to fill out a couple of questionnaires, like a checklist, based on your specialty. Then after that, you will get a pin number, and you’ll call into a voice line, and you’ll record a few questions. Those questions are going to be more like work ethic.

Corey:              Yeah, generally they’re more basic interview questions, like how in your career have you dealt with a problematic patient, or an aggressive patient?

Paul:                 Or a fellow coworker or stuff like that.

Corey:              Generally these VA interviews, they’re going to send them to you based on what your profile looks like, what your resume looks like. So you want to make sure you have an up-to-date profile with your agency, all your skills are on there, because that’s what they’re going to set these VA interviews based on.

Paul:                 Yeah.

Corey:              So now, who is doing these? Like I said, we’re seeing a shift in this. More and more facilities, more and more hospital systems are sending these out. Kaiser is one of them.

Paul:                 Yep. Providence.

Corey:              Providence is one of them, Tenet is one of them.

Paul:                 Yeah.

Corey:              The reason that we’re seeing this is it’s efficient, honestly. It makes things a lot easier. I’ve gotten offers from them. Paul, I know that you have.

Paul:                 It’s very nice. Some people like them and some people hate them, but it’s all about communication with your recruiter. Sometimes you will get a chance to talk to the nurse manager, a lot of places will have phone interviews after you complete these, which is great. But if not, you got to be prepared to accept an auto offer, which isn’t really communicated to a lot of nurses.

Paul:                 So, just ask your recruiter if this is an auto offer facility, or will I get a chance to actually talk to the nurse manager? But no, it’s efficient because sometimes nurse managers don’t actually always get to … or have time to interview.

Corey:              In interviews if you’re a traveler, you know that nurse managers are going to call you when it’s convenient for them. If you’re night shift, it is tough to get those interviews. So why a lot of facilities are moving over to this VA, this montage interview system, there’s no more missed calls, there’s no more missed interviews, there’s not missed opportunities for you. So you get to set the time, “Hey, this is when I’m free to do this interview.” As with anything, a lot of times with interviews, it’s the first nurse to interview that gets it.

Paul:                 Yup.

Corey:              This kind of helps you not miss an opportunity.

Paul:                 But usually you have 24 hours to complete the montage, or via interview or else it will expire.

Corey:              Yeah. Again, what Paul touched on before was sometimes auto offers are made. It’s pretty self-explanatory , but what we mean by that is based on your VA interview, you may not even talk to a manager. They may just say, “Hey, we like this profile. She answered the questions, he answered the questions how we want, we want to make this offer to them.”

Paul:                 Yeah.

Corey:              So again, communication with your recruiter is key. You shouldn’t be submitting to these jobs unless you’re ready to commit to it.

Paul:                 Yep, and you’re okay with not talking to a nurse manager. If you really want to talk to a nurse manager, I’ve had some of my nurses call in after they accepted an offer and get to know the manager. I know that’s scary, “Well, I have already signed a contract.” Well yeah, I get that, but it’s fine.

Paul:                 If you aren’t uncomfortable then I wouldn’t have that deter you away from it. Do your research on the facility. Ask Your fellow travelers, ask your recruiter.

Corey:              “If we do this via interview, is it an an auto offer, am I going to be able to talk to a manager?” And I’ve had cases where it was a VA interview was auto offer, but still said, “Hey, she wants to talk to a manager.” Manager called, they went over the nitty gritty details, and ended up loving the assignment. So it’s all communication. Again, research, ask questions. That’s the big thing. Don’t submit to these VA interviews unless you’re ready to commit. Talk to your recruiter. But like we said, Kaiser, Tenet, what are the other ones?

Paul:                 Providence.

Corey:              Providence. All these facilities. Every Kaiser facility is going to do a VA interview now.

Paul:                 Medstar, DC.

Corey:              We’re seeing that big shift in the industry. Just like with other things, just like CSTs needing that certification. We always see shifts in…

Paul:                 Compact States.

Corey:              Compact States, like we talked about last week. There are shifts that we see. So we just want to keep everybody up to date.

Paul:                 Yeah, yeah. No, the main thing is go with the flow. Let the river take you where it wants to go.

Corey:              Follow the river or whatever it takes you. Awesome guys. Well we got Todd walking in the office right now, so we’re going to go grab him and we’re going to get him set up.

Paul:                 All right.

Corey:              All right, we got Todd in here. We got them all set up. Todd, welcome to our podcast. How are you?

Todd:               I’m good. How are you doing today?

Corey:              I’m doing good. It’s nice to finally meet you in person. Put a face to the voice. So we’re just going to ask you some questions. Keep it informal and yeah, we’ll see where it takes us. So first question, why did you become a nurse?

Todd:               Just kind of hit that point in my life, I needed to make some changes and everything lined up and fell into it. Worked out great.

Corey:              Awesome, awesome. Now the big one too that you know that I would see is being a male nurse, in a predominantly or historically female dominated environment, have you struggled with that? Have you had to work harder being a male nurse? Tell us about that.

Todd:               I would say on my day to day, it’s actually been great. The girls that I do work with, they’ve all been very helpful. With the unit that I normally work in, it’s always a little bit odd to see a guy in a NICU setting. But the girls there had been great. Every once in a while you run into like the gender issue, taking care of moms and I completely understand that and we find ways to work around it.

Corey:              Yeah, that leads right into the next question was, I know me being your recruiter we’ve certainly had that issue with the floating requirement that comes with most assignments, and dealing with that, but why NICU? What drew you into that specialty?

Todd:               Wasn’t my initial plan when I first started at school. Towards the under graduation five or six things all lined up. I ended up, I had an interview even before I took my NCLEX. They were pretty desperate for nurses. So I got in there and hit the ground running, and haven’t looked look back. It’s been great.

Corey:              Awesome.

Todd:               It’s kind of like a hidden gem. Most people are like, a guy NICU.

Corey:              Yeah. I remember what the first time we talked, I was telling Paul and Tom. I was like, “I just got off the phone with a male NICU nurse.” “What, male NICU? What are you talking about? No, you didn’t.” I’m like, “Oh, I did.” So it’s certainly, I know it’s rare. You’re the only male NICU nurse that I’ve had and know that I’ve talked to. So that’s cool. I really like that you’re in that specialty, it’s definitely unique. Paul, I’m sure you’ve got a question or two.

Paul:                 Yeah, that’s great that you’re not running into many objections, especially being, if you ever had to float to postpartum. That could be quite different. I was actually having this conversation with one of my other nurses the other night and told them that we’re going to have a male NICU nurse on the show, and she’s like, “Well, what’s the difference with the a Gyn doctor?”

Paul:                 It’s like, well that’s a good question.

Todd:               That gets thrown out a lot. But surprisingly, there’s a difference between an MD and a nurse.

Paul:                 It’s just a title.

Todd:               It’s amazing the discrepancy with that.

Paul:                 It shouldn’t be like that.

Todd:               If that’s the only thing you have to worry about, I’m good.

Paul:                 Good. On your traveling, what is the best part of traveling for you?

Todd:               Getting out and seeing different places, more than just a couple of days. I lived in Ohio all my life. So getting out to, I was in Seattle and then went to Monterey, and now Colorado Springs. It’s a great way to visit the states, spend a little bit extra time to find those hidden restaurants or those hidden places to go and just maybe look where I’m going to retire at some day.

Paul:                 Nice. I can definitely relate to that being from South Dakota. So it’s different being out here in Denver. So what’s your favorite restaurant that you found?

Corey:              Yeah. what’s the best hidden gem for restaurants that you found?

Todd:               I think it was called the Mountain Cafe. It was just a couple of miles from Saint Francis Hospital. Best breakfasts I’ve ever had. And they have these huge pancakes. It’s the size of a pizza.

Corey:              Wow.

Todd:               I definitely recommend you if you’re ever there in the morning, hit it up for breakfast.

Paul:                 In the Springs right?

Todd:               Yes.

Paul:                 Nice. Oh yeah, I’ll have to check that out.

Corey:              Any other like gems that you found in Seattle or Monterey, like activities? What do you do for fun on, I know we were talking before when you first walked in about fly fishing in Colorado. What other activities do you like doing, or just finding time outside of the hospital?

Todd:               When I was up in Seattle, I spent a lot of time going up to the Cascades, hiked a couple of the mountain top lakes. Went fly fishing there. Went down to Monterey. I ended up getting to Big Sur a couple of times, down to Pfeiffer Beach and I think it was Macaway falls. Totally different scenery than Ohio, which was awesome. Tried surfing in Monterey, so wasn’t expecting to do that in January. But the weather was quite pleasant.

Corey:              Perfect.

Paul:                 Don’t they have a different winter summer schedule in Monterey?

Todd:               I’m not too familiar with that exactly. I know that they got a record amount of rainfall this winter and I just missed all the springtime blooms everywhere. Kind of miss that. But the winter in Monterey was much better than winter in Ohio.

Paul:                 I can only imagine.

Corey:              So now I know we’ve talked about this and, the struggles of being a traveler, and now that you’ve got a few assignments under your belt, you just wrapped up your third assignment, handed in your fourth in a few weeks. What, knowing kind of what you know now, what advice or even better, if you could go back in time and talk to yourself before we started talking, or even before you took that first assignment, what’s one piece of advice you would give yourself?

Todd:               Come up with a system to get organized. Just trying to keep all the paperwork, your certificates, just everything for work. I don’t have an office. My car is sometimes in my office, so trying to get all that straightened out can be challenging. But going into my fourth assignment I definitely can get it done a lot quicker.

Corey:              Awesome. So kind of want to sit back talking. We were talking about NICU earlier and every time I talked to a NICU nurse, I think that would be one of the hardest specialties next to peds oncology. Just sick babies. Mentally, spiritually, how do you handle that? Was it a learning curve that you had to, or what advice would you give to a nurse coming out of nursing school that wants to get into NICU?

Todd:               The learning curve was huge. I went into it with man hands. All the girls that I worked with when I first started, they said, “Just keep with it, you will get it.” And the training, I think it was three months, just an orientation. So it was long. The first six months was rough. I remember making a comment to a couple of friends, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make this cut or not.” But I kept with it and things do get better. It’s just don’t be afraid to ask questions, be observant of everything and push through it.

Corey:              Again, fourth assignment, what do you find, transitions from hospital to hospital. Is there a different learning curve at each facility you go to? Are things drastically different on the units or is it pretty streamlined?

Todd:               It really depends on the facility. A lot of it can be streamlined. Overall the core set of care that we provide is pretty much uniform. But every facility has their own limits or guidelines. If you’re talking about a kid with bilirubin jaundice, they might have different parameters. So going from one hospital to another, it gets a little confusing to keep all of those numbers straight. But overall, the girls that I’ve worked with have been great. I ask a question, they’ve always been helpful. So as long as you stick with the core concept of the cares that you provide, and try to follow the facility guidelines, it’s not too bad.

Corey:              What about orientations, tell us a little bit about, I know you and I have talked about this, but again, just want to give our listeners some advice on what to expect with a typical orientation and you know, you’ve got 3 on your belt now.

Todd:               Again, that really depends on each facility. When I was in Seattle, they had no unit manager. There was really no type of management at all. So it was really kind of thrown together and rushed. Here in Colorado Springs, they put us through a full week of orientation that all of their normal staff would go through. So overall the transition was pretty easy here. It’s really just, you got to get through that first week or so, find your footing and you find out who you can talk to and get good information from and go from there.

Corey:              Awesome. Awesome. Paul, what are you at?

Paul:                 Oh Man. With traveling, you’ve got four assignments underneath your belt now?

Todd:               Three.

Paul:                 Three, and where you going to next now?

Todd:               Fresno.

Paul:                 Fresno, California. What about housing, how have you overcome housing?

Corey:              He’s always found housing, he found housing in Monterey.

Paul:                 That’s one of the biggest hurdles of travel nursing, how do I find cheap housing.

Corey:              Especially first time traveler. You found it, you jumped right into it. [crosstalk 00:16:12].

Todd:               That’s been the hardest aspect because I don’t want to find housing until I have a contract from the hospital. But normally when that happens, you have such a small window. So I’ve had pretty good luck using Airbnb. Cheap housing is not really there, but at least if you get some through Airbnb, you have an idea of what you’re going to be living, or what environment you’re going to be in. Where you can get like a stock kitchen, I like to cook. Yeah. So that definitely helps. But when it came to Colorado Springs, I almost got taken by a scam, I found out the last minute. So I avoided that. But Airbnb at least is …

Paul:                 Secure.

Todd:               Yes. So, but it’s definitely difficult.

Paul:                 Yeah. I had actually had one of my nurses get scammed on Craigslist.

Corey:              Ooh, stay away from Craigslist.

Todd:               The hardest thing that I found because I worked nights, is finding a place that doesn’t have a dog on the premises. I love dogs, but not after a horrible night and three hours of sleep. They just, it gets difficult.

Paul:                 Yeah. Well good.

Corey:              Todd, is there any, then you want to want to tell us a favorite thing about travel nursing, worst thing about travel nursing, best experience, worst experience, best advice you could give to new travelers?

Todd:               That’s a lot of questions. It took me a long time to really make that final step in to get into it. Now I’ve been gone since last August. It’s been great. I definitely would do it again. I wish I would’ve done it sooner. That’s kind of one of the things that everybody says. But as far as advice, ask questions, get to know other travelers, everybody, word of mouth travels fast. There’s I think a Facebook group of traveling nurses and everything. Just find a system to get organized and pack light.

Corey:              Awesome. Yeah, we will do a podcast on that. On staying organized, tips and tricks from the recruiting side.

Paul:                 Packing.

Corey:              Packing, packing sales for backpacks I found worked well. But as a new dad, I’ve got a sweet joke for you guys. I’m practicing my dad jokes. Knock knock.

Paul:                 Who’s there?

Corey:              HIPAA.

Paul:                 HIPAA, who?

Corey:              I can’t tell you that. Here all week.

Todd:               Oh, that’s terrible.

Paul:                 Well, that wraps up our show for today. Again, thanks for tuning in guys.

Corey:              Todd, thanks for coming in to join us.

Paul:                 Yes, thank you so much, Todd.

Todd:               Thank you for having me.

Paul:                 Yes. And again, if you’d like to get in touch with us, send us an email at bedsidemanners@gowithadvanced.com. Each episode’s show notes are available on our website at advancedtravelnursing.com/bedside manners. Special thanks to Jonathan Cary for helping produce this episode, and Aidan Dykes for the music and editing. Of course, each episode is powered by Advanced Travel Nursing. Thanks again guys.

Corey:              Thanks guys.

Todd:               Thank you.