In this episode, we talk with Jodi Knowles, RN about her experience as a travel nurse and advice for starting travel nursing.
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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.
Hey guys. Thanks for tuning in today. We got a really fun episode for you. We have another awesome special guest, Jodi Knowles. Super experienced travel nurse. She traveled for like two years.
Paul: Yep. She traveled with us for about two years. She’s permanent now, but she’s lived the life that most people dream of, and she’s promised us some great tips to share with you and how you could you live the life of your dreams thanks to a little miracle we call travel nursing.
Corry: All right guys, so up next now is our tip of the week, how to get everything you ever wanted as a travel nurse. You know what it is Paul? You want to know my secret?
Paul: It’s references.
Corry: It is references. And it’s overlooked all the time. Nobody takes it seriously. But if you get references guys, it can make all the difference in the world. So Paul, what do you tell people about referencing?
Paul: The more the merrier. I mean most hospitals … Well every agency is going to have a different reference requirement but at the end of the day it’s up to what is put in your file and sending over to the hiring manager at the hospital that you’re going to be going for a travel assignment. So some agencies may be okay with taking charge nurse references or one nurse manager or one charge. But if I was a nurse and I was getting into travel nursing or if I’m a current travel nurse and I am continuing to travel, I would get a nurse manager every time.
Corry: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Paul: Every time.
Corry: It’s a tip that I give out. It’s a tall order. Every assignment you do I would say try to get five references. Try to get a DON. Try to get a unit manager and then get three charge nurses.
Corry: DONs are going to be tough as travelers. A lot of times they don’t even know the travelers. We hear it all the time. Managers, you’ll probably meet with them once. When you’re about half way through get a reference form from your agency, take it to them and say hey, would you mind filling this out for me?
Paul: Yep. You’d be surprised.
Corry: And they’ll do it for you. Because sometimes there are hospitals that won’t give an agency a reference and everyone wants one.
Paul: Or if you’re an OR nurse or a scrub tech, surgeons are great too.
Paul: They see you in the OR scrubbed in. They can see your skills and they can attest to that. Those go a long way as well.
Corry: Even if it’s a written letter of reference, oftentimes that will suffice.
Paul: Yep. And you may say well my hospital isn’t allowed to give references. What then? What do I do? How do we overcome that? And you’d be surprised on … A charge nurse or a nurse manager like off to the side, how often they will do it for you if you’re a good employee and they like you, but-
Corry: And again, it’s being adaptable to how they do it. And don’t be afraid to ask. The worst they’re going to say is no. The other concern I get all the time Paul, especially with first time travelers is, I don’t want to tell my manager that I’m leaving. What do you do, or how do you coach nurses or explain to them? Like what’s your way around that concern? How do you alleviate that for people?
Paul: Well, you’re going to need to have a reference either way. So just rip the band-aid off. And I mean timing is something that you have to take into consideration. I mean you can’t apply to a travel position without having references. But in my experience nurse managers want to know farther in advanced than possible so they can prepare to bring in someone, whether if it was a perm staff or another traveler into their unit so they can help with the schedule. You’d be surprised. I used to be in a management position myself and when someone told me that they were leaving I was happy that they told me upfront.
Corry: Exactly. And that’s the thing I always tell travelers too is if you do come to that and you’re like, hey I don’t want them to leave them yet, you can wait but if they hear it through the grapevine like through the rumor mill of hospitals, that nine times out of 10 is going to be worse. Whereas if you’re just straight with them and you’re honest and you go to them and say “Hey, this is something I’m considering, I haven’t committed to anything yet, but one of the requirements is referencing, would you mind filling this out for me? If I do decide to take an assignment, I am going to give you ample time. I’m going to give you four weeks notice. That way you can find someone, I’ll help train them.” And that honesty carries so much more weight than them getting blindsided by “Hey, I’d signed a contract, I leave in two weeks, can you fill out this reference for me?”
Paul: Yeah. And honestly you can plan this out with your manager. I mean maybe you talk about traveling. Like that’s always something I’ve wanted to do and bring that up to him, you know, well in advance before you even start talking to an agency.
Paul: Maybe they have that … Then it’s like, “Oh yeah, you’re right. You’ve always wanted to travel and I’m so happy for you. And here you go, you’re going to do great. You can always come back if it doesn’t work out.” Like that’s what it’s all about.
Corry: And if you play your cards right too, you can … I have nurses that are contingent at one facility. They are able to do a 13 week assignment, a six month assignment and maybe we’re having trouble finding them that next assignment. They can go back and pick up PRN shifts or pickup shifts for two weeks, two months.
Paul: It’s a good fallback plan.
Corry: And it’s such a good fallback plan. I know it takes pressure off me as the recruiter, and I know it takes the pressure of them because then it’s not the hey at the end of 13 weeks am I going to have a job lined up? So being proactive guys, like I said, it is how to get anything you want. If you get those five references too from every assignment and you decide you know after a year or two years, five years, 10 years, that traveling’s no longer for you and you’ve gotten five references, three references, from every facility, you’re going to have a stack of them. You’re going to be able to get-
Paul: Any job you want.
Corry: Damn near any job you want.
Corry: Just because you can say here’s my managers references and the DONs or the OR directors from the last five years of my traveling. It carries so much more weight than people give it.
Paul: Yep. Imagine a nurse manager looking for a traveler. She has one application with two charge nurses and one with a nurse manager, a charge nurse, and a night charge nurse, another charge nurse, maybe an assistant nurse manager.
Paul: And a doctor. Who are they going to pick?
Corry: DONs, managers. I always would say that the more references you have the better, but now I kind of go with the higher the title the better. If you get three supervisors and a charge nurse, I would say that’s probably better than three charge nurses and one supervisor.
Paul: Yeah. It all depends but the more the merrier.
Corry: Exactly. And as always, honesty. Be honest with your manager. I mean if you’re not comfortable saying hey I want to travel, maybe say I’m considering going back to school, looking to make some more money. School suggested I consider employment in a different setting. White lies, not necessarily saying that’s the best thing but if you’re uncomfortable, find a way that you can convey what you want to do to your manager. And nine times out of 10 it’s the best way.
Paul: At the end of the day they need to find a replacement for you.
Corry: And then in addition to this, just thought of this. While you’re on assignment, I hear all the time … I hear it more from experienced travelers that oh I don’t remember anybody there. Nobody remembers me. Make an effort on assignment to get to know your charge nurse. Get to know your shift supervisor. At least get their contact information so when your agency or you’re going for that next assignment with a different agency if that’s the case, you have that contact information. Because every agency’s going to want a reference from where you’ve been. At least your most recent assignment.
Paul: Yeah. At least the whole year. Like always keep that updated. And as Corry was saying like the more you have going into the next assignment is going to be the best. But make an effort to have a reference from every assignment that you go to. Especially if … What happens if you change an agency and you don’t have those? Keep a reference for yourself, file it away, and give it to your current agency.
Corry: And then you’re going to have it too, and you’re not going to have to go back to your old agency like, “Hey can I have all the references or evals you got for me?” You’re going to have that for yourself then you’re in the driver’s seat. If there’s a hot job, you have all those documents ready to build a profile which we will talk about in future episodes. But yeah, that’s my biggest tip trick of the week guys. It’s how to get anything you want as a travel nurse. Underestimated, it’s referencing.
So up next guys we have the amazing Jodi Knowles. We talked about her earlier. Jodi’s been traveling for the last two years right Paul?
Paul: Yep, she’s perm now, but she was with us on assignments all across the US. She’s lived the dream that most people dream of and she’s promised us some great tips to share with you and how you could live that dream thanks to this little miracle that we call travel nursing.
Corry: Travel nursing, the miracle. Well let’s see if we can get her to talk about references and see if-
Paul: She’ll know.
Corry: She’ll know. All right guys, let’s bring her on. All right guys, up next we have the amazing Jodi Knowles. Jodi has been an experienced traveler. Traveling for the last two years or so, right Paul?
Paul: Yeah. She traveled with us for about two years, now in a permanent position, very happy. But yeah, she started out her career in Rapid City, South Dakota. Moved across the country, gone to Florida, came out here to Colorado, New York. So she’s been across the US and has some really great experience, and we’re excited to have you on Jodi.
Corry: Awesome, yeah. Let’s bring her on. Jodi are you there?
Jodi Knowles: Thank you. Yes.
Jodi Knowles: Thanks for having me.
Corry: Of course. Welcome to our podcast. So Jodi, tell up about yourself. Let’s just get the basics out of the way. Why’d you become a nurse? How long have you been a nurse? What made you decide to do travel nursing?
Jodi Knowles: I went into nursing right out of high school. Kind of took some time off but I knew like right in high school that nursing is something that I wanted to do. I liked people, I liked working with people, I knew it was a good solid career. And so I went to college after high school, got into nursing school at MCTC in Gainesville, which is a two year program. And after I graduated in 2012 I ended up getting my job at Parkland. I went into the operating room like one or two times during my schooling and realized I wanted to go into the operating room. I just love teamwork. I’ve always been an adrenaline junky. And all through school I was looking for that one specialty that I wanted to do and the one time I got in there was just a great experience. Even in school I had heard about travel nursing though. That it’s a great time. If you’re single you can go see the country. I’ve always been a traveling bug. Like I’ve been everywhere. Even before I drove to South Carolina and stayed by myself there and San Diego. And to work and make money and do it was just like a dream. But I knew I couldn’t do it without having experience first.
So that’s when I got my job at Parkland in Dallas. That’s where I started. And I did their nine month residency program in the operating room and stayed with them for about three and a half years. But I had a good base under me. There were travelers there that I had told them I was interested in traveling, and they said I’d be good at it. And I took the leap and called four or five different companies until I got to Paul. And then it kind of started from there basically.
Corry: Awesome. So now how long were you core staff before you started traveling?
Jodi Knowles: Three and a half years.
Corry: Three and a half years. Do you think like that … Because most agencies required between one and two years. Do you think having that extra year, that extra two years of experience as a nurse before you started traveling, did that give you a leg up? Did you feel more comfortable on the first assignment?
Jodi Knowles: Absolutely. Yeah. And I knew once I started talking to people that were travelers, they were like, “You’re really good but stick with it another year or so and then I think you’ve got it down.” It may be different on other services but I know in the operating room you don’t get to see much stuff. I was lucky enough to see everything. And by that three years, when I woke up in the morning to go to work I wasn’t like oh my God I hope I’m not in this case or that case and I really felt ready. And once I was ready, they were like, “Yeah, you’re ready to go.” Because I just started getting kind of a bad attitude and so they’re like, “You need to see other places because working at one place you can think oh it’s terrible here, you have nothing to compare it to.” And they were like, “You’re going to do great.” So I took their advice. I felt ready. I had enough confidence from my peers and I took the job in South Dakota, which was crazy. Because I asked Paul to go to Austin or somewhere closer.
Corry: And he was like, “No, no, no girl. You want to go to South Dakota.”
Paul: No. Rapid City.
Jodi Knowles: Yeah and he asked me, he goes, “I have this really high paying job.” And I’m like, “Okay, I’m willing to check it out.” And he told me, and I was like, “You know what, I’m traveling to go to places I’ve never seen before. I’ve been to Austin. Let’s do this.”
Jodi Knowles: Yeah. It really did give me a leg up. Everywhere I went I found out wow, I know a lot more than I thought that I did. Training other employees at other hospitals, knowing a lot more. Like that’s how much they could see that I had a good base.
Corry: That’s awesome. Yeah. I hear it’s important.
Jodi Knowles: It is.
Corry: I’m glad that you came on and said that because that would be something we would want to talk about to new travelers.
Jodi Knowles: Yeah.
Paul: And Jodi, we talked about this the other night too. And going on your first travel assignment is very nerve wracking. What did you experience? How did you feel when you first went up to South Dakota? And how did you get through that?
Jodi Knowles: I felt like I was ready to go. I felt it was the right time. I was in a weird spot where all my friends were kind of getting married. I was like this is a good time for me to go ahead and go. And I talked to Paul for at least, what, four or five months before?
Jodi Knowles: Like in January before I started. And I wanted to make sure I was ready. And I don’t know if Paul knows this but I wanted to back out so bad the closer it got to it. The closer it got to it, I was having these great days at work and I’d be like why am I leaving? Like this is great for me I’m established, and people were like we’re going to miss you. Even to where I put … I lost $200 on an admin fee, because I was going to stay one more year. And I backed out like a week before they would let me. Like I don’t know if you know that Paul.
Paul: No, I didn’t. I’m glad you didn’t.
Jodi Knowles: No. Well I just went back and forth and I was like no. It’s scary to go off by yourself and it is hard to take that step no matter how much confidence you have. No matter if everything’s set up. I had my housing. It’s hard to change and just get in your car and move to another state. Which following the two weeks after I got to South Dakota, I still had those same feelings. Like what did I do? Like when my mom left after driving me there, I felt really alone and still questioning my decision. But the thing in the back of my head was, anybody told me if you need anything I’ll be there and it’s just a phone call away. If I want to come back in 13 weeks I can go back to the hospital I left. Because they told me that and I said, “If I don’t like it can I come back?” And they were like, “Yes, absolutely.” And so I just kept telling myself, 13 weeks. If I don’t like it, I can come back. It’s not that huge of a change. Well, two years later it all worked out. But I always felt a little alone at each assignment that I went to. And I always thought like, oh am I doing the right thing? What if I hate it here? It’s totally normal.
Change is not normal. It’s so easy to stay in one spot. But if you just do it … I’ve had some amazing experiences and met amazing people everywhere I went, no matter what. I’d be like it’s okay, I’m going to meet people like towards the end of it.
Paul: And how did you deal with that? I know you’ve met some really good friends. Heather up in Rapid. How did you … Because you were working for a couple of weeks before you guys actually started hanging out. What advice would you give to a traveler going into a new place and having to prove your worth and trying to make friends at that so it’s not as lonely as-
Jodi Knowles: Right. So almost every place I’ve been to I’ve been able to hold on to about two or three really good friends there. But it wasn’t without weeks to a month of being there where they’re like, oh this girl will help me out or whatever, or just those few people that you click with. But you have to know that everybody knows that you’re new. They need your help and most people are like thank you for coming. There’s those few people that make you feel like you’re not welcome, but for the most part people are okay with you there and you need to just have an open mind and not shut people off. And I would just go up to people, ask them about themselves. Hey I’m Jodi, I haven’t met you yet.
So sorry. She’s waking up. I haven’t met you yet. Be proactive about telling people about yourself. Like when I go into a room and I don’t know people, I say, “Hey I’m Jodi, I’m working with you today.” And I know it could be hard to interrupt a conversation or a surgeon walks in or a nurse walks in and everybody’s told you, oh she’s kind of hard to get along with. I just say, be yourself. Make people acknowledge that you’re there and you’re there to help them. And I don’t want to take over your space. But then people start talking to me like when I sit down in the break room by myself. Where are you from? They’re used to travelers usually in these places that you go. So just be open to conversations and know that you’re not going to get along with everybody just like every place that you’re going to go into. But people are going to be weary of you and cautious first. And you have to be okay with that and okay with proving, I do know my stuff. And after two weeks everywhere I went, everybody kind of opened up to me and they were like oh she’s good.
Corry: Did you find the anxiety you mentioned with those nerves going on a new assignment, has that gotten better with each new assignment? Was it less time or was it kind of the same set? Any tricks to get around that?
Jodi Knowles: Yeah. I’d always have that anxiety a little bit, driving there and starting first day. But the last time at New York, I felt really confident even though it was New York I knew it might be the hardest people to get through to. But it did get better because I’d done it before and I know what to expect, and I got this like … I’d call Paul and be like, oh they’re just like .. “I’m not getting treated very well”, and he was like, “Just put your head down. If anybody’s really getting onto you or being inappropriate then I’d just go to my manager”, which I had to a few times. But I knew how to act and how to deal with people towards the end of it. So I felt really confident and being able to meet people that I knew I would be able to meet at each place.
But one thing Heather did to me which was really funny. I’ve never actually done to people. But she noticed we would get along. We’re the same age. She’d been traveling before me and she just walked into the room that I was in, asked me if I needed any help setting my case up and she was like, “Here’s my number, I’m Heather, I don’t have any friends. Call me if you want to hang out.” And then she just like walked out of the room and I was like-
Corry: Sounds like one of our recruiters that works here.
Jodi Knowles: Which, that’s okay too. And then we became good friends. I was shy so I wasn’t going to ask her. So sometimes if you do see another traveler or someone even permanent that might be too shy to ask you just be like, “Hey I’m looking for people to hang out with, I’m new here.” That’s what I ask people.
Corry: That’s cool. So now Jodi you did mention … As Paul and I know and anybody that travels knows, sometimes travelers, they don’t get treated the best on assignment. They do get that cold shoulder. They do get bullied. And you kind of mentioned you had dealt with that before. Give us some more information on how you’ve adapted to new assignments, how you’ve kind of gotten around those nurses or those staff members that are kind of bullying or belittling to travelers or just won’t give you the time of day. Like is there … Just kill them with kindness or tell us a little bit about that.
Jodi Knowles: Yeah. A little bit of kill them with kindness but do your job but don’t let them be inappropriate in the setting. You have to kind of put your foot down. And what I say is everybody has their ways of doing things. So you have to be adaptable. I know you don’t like doing it, the flow of things this way, but they don’t really care what you have to say. There’s been some places that asked me my opinion, but it was the managers, but the staff, just go along with what they say, adapt to it, and then once you get on your own after orientation you kind of do your own thing. But if it’s not hurting the patient I would just say okay. Or if they would tell me something like simple like SCDs go on this way or you need to put them on before infection, something that I learned the first week in the OR. I would just say, “Oh okay.” And understand that each place, they’re going to do that to you. And it isn’t until they really start treating you … Like you can’t work together.
Like if somebody talks to me in front of the patient, or they’re telling me I’m doing something wrong, or a surgeon is like, why don’t we have this, this, and this? My go to every time is what can we do to fix this? Like I’m sorry that we’re not on the same page. What can we do to fix this? And if they keep going, my thing is to always say stop the line and let’s speak with a manger in front of this. For this conversation I want a manager in the conversation for the rest of this. And I’ve never had any problems after that. But it’s when you continue to argue and they don’t know you, they’re going to be like oh this new traveler, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s so easy to target you. But if you try to work with them and understand their process. And I just say, “I’m sorry, I’m just not used to this but I’m willing to learn.” You may not like it, but you just kind of have to go with it. And I’ve never had a manager not have my back when I went to them first. And then it always got resolved or if I didn’t go to the manager I’d call Paul and Paul would help me out with whatever situation I couldn’t get resolved there. Which maybe only happened one time.
Corry: You should start traveling again because that was the best advice that we as recruiters are always preaching. Be flexible, be adaptable, don’t push back.
Paul: Stay in your lane.
Corry: If they do an assignment differently-
Jodi Knowles: I’ve argued that too, and they don’t care. They just don’t care and that’s just not the best way, or it’s like “I’m sorry, that’s just what I’m used to, but if you think this is a better way then I’ll do it and that’s fine.” If it’s not hurting the patient or not backing us up or making our flow really bad then I’ll do it for you.
Corry: That’s awesome. That’s the best advice. Thank you.
Paul: Yes. Thank you.
Corry: You said exactly what I wanted you to so thank you.
Jodi Knowles: You’re welcome.
Paul: And Jodi we talked about this the other night too. You know, workflow and when you are going into a scenario where they need travelers for a reason. Whether if they had a bunch of nurses walk off or if it’s maternity leave or maybe they just have a revolving door. How do you handle that when you go into a new assignment-
Corry: Into a loaded situation.
Paul: Yeah, and it’s loaded. Have you ever experienced someone that was supposed to start, maybe another travel nurse that was coming in with you, that she called off or she canceled? Have you ever experienced that? Has that affected you?
Jodi Knowles: Yeah. I think you mean … Well, in New York it happened. This lady had started with me. She was maybe about three weeks after me. And you know I kind of had a hard time with their orientation. And she came in and she was like bubbly, she was like me. She was just like, “Oh yeah, I’m adaptable, I’m like whatever you say. I’ve been doing this for so long”, blah, blah, blah. And I said, “Just be careful, they’re going to push you. People do it different in every room.” Is that what you’re talking about?
Jodi Knowles: Because she ended up leaving like two weeks later. And I tried to warn her and she didn’t understand and she came to me and she was like, “I can’t handle this.” And she got a bad rap. And they told me they can’t keep travel RNs there. And I told her that and she was like, “Oh trust me, they say that to me everywhere”, and she left after like two weeks after that. And like I said, we handled things differently. She got hostile in one situation about counts. Came to me crying about it, asking if she was in the wrong. And she wasn’t. But I explained to her like, “You just have to say okay. Like what do you want me to do? And then if you can’t get it resolved ask for a manager to come in.” But she didn’t. She couldn’t handle that. And there in Florida they had a bad time holding onto nurses. People were quitting and I could understand it. But people, the permanent staff nurses didn’t understand it, but I understood when I got there. They’d try to ask me what I thought about what was their problem, and I would tell them. But nothing seemed to be resolved at the time.
So you’re not there to fix their problems. You can give them advice, what you think could make them better, but you have to realize they don’t care really what you think.
Paul: They’re in their ways and a traveler comes in and they see different facilities and how other ORs and how other floors are ran. And they’re like, “Oh, it would be really great this way.” And they’re like, “No, we’re okay. We’re going to keep doing it this way.”
Corry: I think that’s got to be one of the cool things about being a travel nurse though is … Especially in the OR, like you may do one case in your hospital over and over and it’s the same way. And you go on an assignment, you’re going do that case but it’s going to be different. And so you get a … Like you said if you’re adaptable and you’re willing, you’re going to expand and make your skillset wider and get better at your skillset. I think that’s cool. So that you’re saying adaptability is key is awesome.
Jodi Knowles: Yeah. I know I don’t know everything and that’s the problem. I’m always open to like, let me see your way of doing it, maybe it’s better than mine. Like there’s been things that I’m like dang I like that, or my little arm board on the other side, just a little saving your back from bending down to put it there. Like now everybody does that in Florida. Like that’s a great idea. Just something small. But being open minded and not being like, why do you do that? I’ll explain to you the reason why I do it. And I say, “Explain to me why you do it this way”, if somebody’s like don’t put that on there. Be like “Okay, I just thought this way or whatever. But why do you do it this way?” And they’ll tell me, “Well we’ve had this happen.” I’m like, “Oh okay, well good to know.” And that’s it.
Corry: That’s cool.
Jodi Knowles: Yeah. You have to be open minded.
Corry: Yes. So now Jodi you’ve been traveling for a while and do you normally find your own housing?
Jodi Knowles: Yes I do.
Corry: Give us some housing tips. Where do you look? What’s your go to website for … I’m a new traveler, I’ve never traveled before. Where do I go?
Jodi Knowles: I might get a lot of crap for this but Craigslist is where I found all of my housing.
Jodi Knowles: I know, but it wasn’t through scams and knowing what to look for. I’d shoot Paul a message, “Hey can you look this up for me, make sure it’s not a scam?” I mean I did that everywhere. But South Dakota, rural places like Rapid City, they’re not in Airbnb. They don’t even have Uber of Lyft out there.
Paul: They do now.
Jodi Knowles: Do they?
Paul: Yes, they do.
Jodi Knowles: God, I could have used that for that airport ride. Yeah. Older people that own these houses, they would put their ads in the paper or old school stuff like that. And Craigslist is the first ad source that they know about, but you have to weed through it. There are some good people out there that are actually renting houses. They’re usually older or not very much tech savvy with it. And they don’t want to do the fees the Airbnb, which makes it so expensive. Airbnb was so expensive and I didn’t necessarily want a roommate. I had a dog. I might have gotten lucky but it wasn’t like skimming through scams for weeks. I had to work hard for it.
Corry: Definitely got to do research with Craigslist because there are those scams. With a dog, did you find that as a challenge? Did you have any added troubles finding housing with a pet?
Jodi Knowles: No. It really narrowed it down for me. But most people were … She’s small and she’s 10, and I get her walked if I’m working long days. But I try not to have to do that. I told them if she had to be at a daycare I could work with them. But I never had to do that. I would just pay a deposit like $500 or something. But my first housing … And Heather and I ended up moving in together because we extended in South Dakota. It’s like $500 a month each for South Dakota. And then my other was 625 in Florida and 1,600 in New York, which was kind of high because it’s New York. But those first two where they were under 1,000 is what really got me up there. But I just ended up finding these people being like are you a scammer? Making sure to do my checks, not sending money. Like I can have someone check out the house before I come over there. Like you have to be proactive about it but I found I think the best deals.
Corry: Yeah. Awesome. It was not the answer I was expecting.
Paul: I mean you can always go to a certain location and scope it out when you get there and get a hotel for a couple weeks, a night or two, yeah.
Corry: Get your feet on the ground on there.
Jodi Knowles: That wouldn’t be my first pick. I would post on the travel nurse housing gypsy website on Facebook and try there first. And a lot of people said they had a room or a basement or something, or it was too far. And then I would try Airbnb, but it was just too expensive with my housing here in Dallas as well. So that was always my last check that I would keep my eye out on the travel nurse housing gypsy website. The group on Facebook or word of mouth. I’d ask other travel friends first. But it just so happened that every time I found it through Craigslist.
Paul: And when you were … You know you extended in South Dakota. Obviously you and Heather became closer, good friends, and how was that traveling? Would you suggest that to a travel nurse to travel with a friend or a buddy? And is it worth it saving money on cost and loneliness or would you think it would be better to go out on your own and there’s more flexibility if you’re out on your own. Can you give us some advice on that?
Jodi Knowles: Yeah. I think it’s the same as looking for houses on Craigslist. You just have to like skim through the people that … Get some background on them. Get to know them. I think it’s great to travel with a friend. I’ve done it both ways. Heather and I just like clicked so fast. I didn’t think I was going to find a friend like that. I was very thankful and it made me very confident on the rest of my travels and having her experience with mine, it made Florida so much tolerable. We were like if you weren’t with me, we wouldn’t have been able to do this basically. So I think it’s great to have a friend travel with you if you guys can get in the same area and you can stand living together and traveling together. It’s stressful, but I do suggest finding a buddy to do it with.
Jodi Knowles: Yeah. But you can do it by yourself too if you have the right personality to meet people. I’m not saying that’s not doable either.
Corry: In all your travels what is one thing that you couldn’t travel without? You took it with you on every assignment. And your dog doesn’t count. Because that’s obvious.
Jodi Knowles: Something that I took with me?
Corry: Yeah. I mean did you find furnished housing? Would you take kitchen equipment? Would you take a TV?
Jodi Knowles: Oh yeah, I found furnished housing. I would always take my own bedding with me. My pillow. But I found that each place I went I was like I don’t need this, I don’t need this. The packing and unpacking can get daunting and you find out three months is really quick, like dang, I got to do this all again. The minimalist thought about it is the best because you buy things when you’re out on the road and you want to take it back with you but you realize dang, I bought a lot more clothes or souvenirs or whatever, and I found myself having to ship a box one time because I had too much from that assignment. But if you have your own place back home, keep your pictures, keep everything back home, all those little things you’re not going to need. Of course it just depends on how OCD you are and if you want to bring your own cooking stuff you can, but all of that stuff was always provided for us and I always made sure that it was. Those were the questions that I asked on the phone with the renters. Like I need kitchen stuff. I need to where I just bring my clothes, my bedding, and myself, and my bathroom stuff for sure.
Jodi Knowles: Any kind of bathroom towels, but some people might be different.
Paul: You took some time off in between contracts. You were always very active and going on different trips and concerts. You took full advantage of the flexibility that travel nursing is able to provide. How did you plan your assignments around all your trips and going back home?
Jodi Knowles: I knew certain dates like holidays or whatever, my birthday, that I would need to have off. I usually tried not to ask off for much during my assignments because I knew that I could take off in between any plan whatever. But my first assignment after South Dakota, which was seven months, I took two months off, which was not entirely planned but … Because we were trying to look for that Florida assignment for Heather and I. And I wasn’t completely prepared for that but it worked out okay. And I hadn’t had more than a week off at a time ever since I was working, since I was 16, and I just thought you know what, I’m going to take this time off and when I get back, I get back. And it was so nice. And then you guys were just like, “Whenever you want to come back just let me know.” Or you’d let me know when an assignment would pop up. Do you think you could do this? And it was very laid back.
We ended up going to Florida and Heather and I planned a four day weekend or something. Which they weren’t very flexible and we knew that. But we planned a four day weekend to have off together, just one. And we always had holidays off. So they always acknowledged my time off that I would ask for, which you don’t want to ask for too much because the one time that I did they were very flexible with me because I didn’t. There’s only one place that didn’t acknowledge my time off and I just got with Paul and I was like, “Hey, can you just check with them with this?” It was in my contract. I always make sure it’s in my contract. And if it’s not then I ask them six weeks ahead or as far advance ahead as possible. Because you’re there because they need people. They can’t just have you going on vacation the whole time and you should have enough time off in between assignments to get your stuff done or go on vacations and that was the case for me. That was nice. I miss that. I haven’t built up a lot of PTO yet.
Paul: That’s awesome. Do you have any other tips, any other advice that you would like to give the audience?
Jodi Knowles: I think that if you’re thinking about travel nursing and you’re not sure about it, make a goal that in two to three month’s time if you’re still thinking about it, pursue it. And just try it out. It’s only 13 weeks. A lot of people have come to me and been like, “Gosh, I’m so jealous of your travels and you look like you have such a great time.” And I do, but every experience is different and it’s what you make it yourself.
Paul: Yep. It’s not for everybody.
Jodi Knowles: Yeah. All the comments that you see on the websites of bad experiences someone had, I had bad experiences too at some places, but there was always good things to make up for it and you need to understand that every person is different, every experience is different, and it is just how you make it and how you adapt to the changes. And if you’re proactive in making friends, you’re going to make friends. People are, for the most part that I’ve experienced, very nice. Just altogether anywhere that I’ve been, if you are truly looking for people to hang out with or just tips or tricks, people are there for you. You’re not alone. And it’s a great, great way to make good money and see the world basically. Meet new people.
Paul: That’s awesome.
Corry: Awesome. Jodi, thank you so much for joining us today. I mean you sound like a great nurse, a great person. I know Paul has always enjoyed working with you so thank you.
Jodi Knowles: Thank you. I know. I know. Paul too is a big part of why my experience was the way that it was.
Corry: Well he sent you to South Dakota for your first assignment so I mean let’s pump the brakes on how awesome Paul is. It’s funny, Paul is … We call him Mr. South Dakota in the office and any time you mention South Dakota to anybody, Paul’s like a meerkat, he just pops up from his desk and goes, “Who said South Dakota?” It’s the funniest thing ever.
Jodi Knowles: Yeah, he sold it to me, but I’m so glad he did. He never steered me wrong and that’s a big part of it too. The recruiter is a big part of it. He knows that.
Corry: He’s a good dude. I give him a hard time, but he’s one of our best. We love him.
Paul: Jodi, we got a joke of the week. Corry does a dad joke of the week. You want to stick around and hear it?
Corry: I am a new dad Jodi. I got a two month old at home and I’ve been practicing-
Jodi Knowles: Congratulations.
Corry: Thank you. I’ve been practicing my dad jokes so tell me what you think of this one. Last time I had surgery the anesthesiologist gave me the option. He’s like, “You can either use gas or I can knock you out with a paddle.” He said it was an either/or situation.
Jodi Knowles: What?
Corry: An either/or situation.
Jodi Knowles: Either/or? I don’t get. I don’t know.
Paul: The paddle.
Corry: Oar. O-A-R. Okay, like a boat paddle. An either oar situation. It’s not funny if we have to explain it Jodi.
Paul: I thought it was funny the first time.
Jodi Knowles: I’m sorry.
Corry: No worries.
Jodi Knowles: I was waiting for the rest of it for a second.
Corry: The delivery’s dry. Well Jodi thank you so much for being with us today.
Paul: Yes. Jodi, thank you so much.
Jodi Knowles: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.
Corry: If you ever decide to travel again you know Paul’s here for you. A lot of good advice. Everybody else, thanks for tuning in today and we will see you next time.
Paul: That just about wraps it up. Thanks for joining us on this episode of Bedside Manners, Travel Nursing Unhinged. Next show we’ll be talking with one of my past travelers, Timothy Carroll. He is a CBOR and general OR nurse currently working towards his NP. And if you’d like to get in touch with us, remember to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each episode’s show notes are available at gowithadvanced.com/bedsidemanners. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen. Also if you found value from the show, give us a review on Apple Podcasts. It really helps us out. Also a special thanks to Jonathan Cary for producing this episode and Aidan Dykes for the music and editing. And as always this episode was powered by Advanced Travel Nursing. See you next time.