Joyce’s journey to becoming a nurse started when she was a patient – 28 weeks pregnant and being transported via helicopter from her hometown to St. Mary’s hospital in St. Louis. Over the next four and a half weeks, medical professionals would stick to a plan of care that kept her from giving birth prematurely and enabled her to deliver a healthy baby at 40 weeks.
Over that time and an additional six weeks of bedrest, one care provider stood out to Joyce for her passionate compassion – Pam, an RN at St. Mary’s.
“Her image, soft voice, and caring attitude will never leave my heart,” Joyce shared recently. “She bathed me, brushed my teeth, and gave me the reassurance I needed so desperately.”
From that experience, Joyce made a choice to change careers. She answered the call to care. Today, Joyce is a labor and delivery RN with 23 years of experience. After decades as a staff nurse, she has recently made the choice to travel, with Medical Solutions as her partner.
Now the locations may change, but the care is constant.
“The joy and miracle of birth will never cease to amaze me,” she said. “Compassionate care, loving attitude, and empathy is constant for me in the care I give my patients.”
Travel Experiences, Near and Far
With her children grown and grandchildren happy, Joyce opted for a change of professional situation. She travels with her husband, an accountant by trade, and their dog Grady, who is a boxer breed. Together, they explore the country. Her first assignment was in El Paso, Texas, which proved to be a big change of scenery for her. They’ve been to Maryland, Washington, and California, and have taken some assignments closer to home too.
In talking with her recruiter, John, they found a 13-week assignment in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The possibility really pleased Joyce.
“I said, ‘Are you kidding me? That’s only 70 miles away.’ It was perfect.”
She’s since extended her time there twice.
“I really love the people and the facility,” she said. “They are all so nice.”
Of travel nursing in general, Joyce enjoys the sense of freedom and adventure that comes with the role, especially after working as a staff nurse for several years and facing sometimes-difficult administrative challenges.
“I loved every place I’ve traveled to, and it’s been a great experience overall,” she said. “I appreciate the control it provides to set your own timetables.”
“I’ll Never Forget You”
Has Joyce ever talked to Pam, the nurse who changed the direction of her life, all those years ago?
“I have talked to Pam; she’s retired now and an educator,” she said. “I talked to her during a credentialling course. I said, ‘I’ll never forget you. You’re the reason I became a nurse.’”
The mission and passionate compassion continue with Joyce.
“I’ll never forget the tenderness and the care I received,” she said. “It’s everything, really. A lot of people think this is job, but it’s not. It’s a calling. You have to have the compassion and care to be great, the empathy for others, and putting yourself in their place.”
Advice to New Travelers?
Joyce has become a big advocate for travel nursing, having recruited more than a dozen travel nurses, including five in the last year. She has advice for those looking to make the change.
“Be specific about what you want,” she said. “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.”
For example, she prefers a certain schedule, and appreciates the way her recruiter and facilities work with her. Her other advice is to really get involved and enjoy the areas you travel to. For her and her husband, it’s all about the people and the place.
“It makes your experience so much more meaningful – and more fun – if you go and live in the area. Hike and bike and be with the local people, know the area. Find local events, trivia nights, and a chance to meet and greet people.”