By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert
With September 11th approaching, one can’t help but think about two things. First, where were you when the towers fell? And second, a look at what the day stands for—a day that is now formally called Patriot’s Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.
I remember I was in nursing school and they almost cancelled classes, but held them anyway. As we watched all the first responders go in, it made you proud of the nursing profession. I would later know exactly what the nurses went through that day.
A few years later, a travel nursing assignment brought me to New York University Hospital. From the windows of the ICU you could clearly see where the towers once stood – yes, they were that close. As I got to know the nurses on staff, they all had unique stories of seeing it firsthand or being called in to help with potential mass casualties. It was powerful and surreal to hear what they went through. It made me proud to be a part of their team and to work for this wonderful country. And I never would have met any of them if not for my recruiter and travel nursing company.
There are few careers that allow you the freedom that travel nursing does. In travel nursing, you get 13-week assignments, mostly, and there’s a lot of flexibility. You get the time to explore not only the touristy attractions but to meet the locals and feel what it’s like to live somewhere other than “home.” I’ve lived in all parts of the country and never felt like a tourist by the time I left an assignment.
In fact, I’m the go-to reference for friends and family who are going somewhere that I once lived on an assignment. I’m happy to give advice because that’s all part of the journey—sharing it with someone. But I have to say that living in the Northeast and South really were highlights for me. Not only was I in awe when I visited Ground Zero, but I’ve seen our country’s war-torn history at Gettysburg and visited museums that made me laugh and cry.
Travel nursing has not only given me the opportunity to visit historical sites and a variety of places, but I’ve met distant relatives and had dinner with people I didn’t even know existed until my parents said, “Hey, your Great Uncle Bob’s family lives in Oregon, you should look him up.” I’ve visited memories of my family’s past, and saw the places they laid others to rest.
That’s what travel nursing gives nurses—it allows you to move about freely and safely from state to state. You can turn every assignment into an opportunity to connect with the people, places and events that formed them.
So on this national day of remembrance, think about your past and our country’s past. How has your life changed since September 11, 2001, and what does your future hold?