Vaccination Travel Nurse Exemplifies Caring and Hard Work

Ashley H., RN, is a travel nurse from Orange County in California who cares about her community.

She obtained her registered nurse (RN) license right before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and worked her first permanent hospital job at the West Anaheim Medical Center in Anaheim, California. As a medical–surgical telemetry nurse, she was on the front lines as the devastation caused by the coronavirus escalated.

"I immediately wanted to help with COVID, not only inpatient but also positively impact my community," Ashley said. As many people began to fall ill, she felt compelled to answer the call for help.

Several months after the pandemic began, she became friends with two travel nurses from Nursefinders who were working vaccination jobs. These short-term travel nursing jobs primarily involved administering COVID vaccinations and monitoring patients. Vaccine nurse jobs were located all over the country in hospitals and in satellite immunization clinics that were accessible to residents.

Ashley contacted Nursefinders and took a per diem nursing assignment, which let her keep her permanent position while doing local vaccination jobs that fit her schedule. Her recruiter, Schum W., has helped keep Ashley informed. He is very calm and reassuring, and is available whenever she needs him.

Vaccine nurse jobs

Ashley’s first assignment was working for the Orange County government doing vaccinations at the Anaheim Convention Center and in the Disneyland parking lot. She was putting in a lot of hours, but becoming part of the solution to beat the pandemic made it all worthwhile.

"I enjoyed working at the government sites," Ashley said. "They treated the staff well. We had individuals, multiple people coming in cars, and big family groups. Initially, it was a little overwhelming, but we had the right number of people to help during the pandemic. We each were assigned our own tasks, making things very efficient. We always discussed the day's plan before the clinic opened."

The nurses and other healthcare professionals working in the immunization clinics were put into teams, and each group had a leader. Nurses knew who was going to monitor the patients and who was going to do vaccinations. Much of the information was accessed through a mobile phone app, so the nurses stayed highly informed throughout their assignments. They could also use the app to request the shifts they wanted to work.

Stepping up to new travel opportunities

After the government vaccination sites closed in July 2021, Ashley took an assignment with Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City, California, a large area covering patients still battling COVID. At this point, Ashley became a full-time travel nurse, and COVID cases, in general, were beginning to wane.

"As a traveling registered nurse, there was a lot of opportunity after moving to Kaiser," Ashley said. "For example, I could work in different Kaiser locations, like Santa Clarita, where I would help with vaccinations or supervise the vaccine clinic. Also, as COVID patients decreased, the boosters started and lasted a while. We also monitored patients for allergic reactions and talked to them about any concerns. We dealt with a lot of anxiety, and many people just weren't used to being around people anymore."

Ashley also did infusions of monoclonal antibodies for qualifying immunocompromised or high-risk patients.

The Kaiser vaccination clinic closed in December 2022, and Ashley's vaccination job ended.

But she stayed with Kaiser on assignment at the Panorama Hospital as a travel nurse. She currently does staff education, teaching LVNs and RNs competencies and validating their skills.

Ashley's determination to help her community came with a price — she got COVID three times. Fortunately, she described her cases as mild and said she likely got COVID from family and friends and not while working the clinics.

For the two years Ashley took vaccination jobs, she undoubtedly helped save many lives, and she feels gratified she got to play a role in the fight against COVID.

"I feel satisfied working short-term vaccination jobs, especially today when I meet patients with COVID for the first time," she said. "I am more confident in the treatment we're giving them today. And people aren't as scared anymore. Seeing how many people we vaccinated and remembering those days of how tired we were when we came home made it a great experience. I will talk about this later in life. We were part of medical history, and it's something I'll proudly tell my children about someday."

Ashley is grateful to the two Nursefinders travel nurses who originally introduced her to short-term vaccination jobs, and has reciprocated by encouraging other nurses to try per diem nursing jobs and travel nursing assignments.

"Traveling allows you to try something new," she said. "Maybe you can find your home base by traveling for a while. It's an incredible opportunity to explore your profession and the country."

READY to try something new? Nursefinders has flexible per diem, contract-to-hire, local staffing, and short- or long-term opportunities for nurses throughout the U.S.

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