HAPPY NURSES WEEK to every nurse reading this, and especially to my fellow military spouses & significant others who are nurses, too. Love and thanks to all of our nursing assistants and CNAs!
I want to take a minute from our regularly scheduled Naval Aviation topics to talk about something NOT related to my husband’s job. As a military spouse, I exist in his world sometimes more often than I do my own. We deserve our own time and space, and Nurses Week is a good opportunity to make my own space.
If you’re a blog OG, you know it took me 7 years to earn my BSN (Bachelors in Nursing Science), thanks to my husband’s career with the Navy. I started nursing school in 2011, then we unexpectedly moved to Japan, then we moved back to the USA a few years later, and then I had to wait a year to re-start the nursing program. My husband and I lived on opposite sides of the country while I was finishing the program, which took 18mo. It was a huge deal to finish school. I finished my BSN in February 2018. Nursing is a calling for me – it’s the thing I’m meant to do in this life and it completes me in a lot of ways. So, the 7 year process was worth every struggle.
I became a nurse because I wanted to be a nurse, but I also hoped that becoming a nurse would give me a portable career so I could have a career while my husband and I moved around the world for his career. This PCS, however, taught me that it’s really difficult for so many of us military spouses to get jobs, even jobs that we are super well qualified for, for a number of reasons. One of the reasons, I learned, is that we are illegally blacklisted by employers near bases just because of who we are married to.
During a job interview in our present home state, I was illegally informed that “nobody” will hire me because I’m “obviously a military wife” based on my resume, which is full of relocations. I have my RN, BSN, MS, and a PhD in progress, AND I have excellent job references and experience, yet the interviewer was right – I was blacklisted and I couldn’t get a job call back despite doing everything “right”. I likely applied for +30 jobs and got ONE call back, and it was from that awful interviewer.
I love being a nurse, but after 5 months searching for work here, I was exhausted and considering applying to Home Depot just so I could earn some money and get out of the house (for real). I was feeling what so many military spouses feel – that sense that it’s easier to give up than to fight on.
Then one day I received a message on LinkedIn from ConnectRN that changed my life. ConnectRN is a per diem nurse staffing company, meaning they supply substitute/on call nurses to medical facilities, like hospitals and clinics, when they’re short staffed. A recruiter from ConnectRN saw my profile on LinkedIn and my location, and asked if I had ever considered per diem work, as they had a facility nearby that needed a per diem RN. The work was exactly what I had been looking for, and the hourly rate was more than I had ever been paid. I hadn’t considered per diem work for a number of reasons, but I am so glad I took this leap of faith. Now I work a few days a week at a facility literally 4min from my house and I only work shifts I want to work. I’m a charge nurse, so that’s management experience I can continue on my resume. I’m in school earning my PhD, so when I am busy, I don’t have the added stress of having to work a regular schedule. This is a superb situation for me, and I recommend trying per diem or travel nursing to any military spouse nurse or nursing assistant.
With all that said, I am most thrilled that ConnectRN doesn’t care that I’m a military spouse – they employ me anyway. In fact, I know they hope that our next move is to another location where they can continue to employ me. But in the mean time, they’re not turning down my work just because I’m going to move again in 9 months. My lifestyle is cool with them, so I can be honest about when I’m going to move. No. Hard. Feelings. AND I can use them as a reference. This is an amazing situation.
Okay, so, how and why did I start this work, despite never working as a per diem nurse before and never having worked with one? I took a leap of faith out of my comfort zone. So many cliches, right (lol), but they’re both true. Because what I had been doing wasn’t working for me, I reassessed and, when presented with a different opportunity, I took it.
For every struggling military spouse out there, I FEEL YOU. My heart hurts for your struggle. I’ve been there – beaten down, exhausted, and beyond frustrated. I’ve been doing this military spouse thing for almost 7 years, and my greatest piece of advice for thriving in this life is to be flexible. That advice applies also to those of you who are trying to make a career work while your spouse/significant other’s career is in the military and moving/dragging you all over the country.
If you’re a nurse and military spouse or significant other and have questions about per diem work, please feel free to drop a comment below. Now that I’m in the per diem circuit, I’m hearing amazing things about travel nursing too, and that travel nursing can work out really well for us military spouses.
Happy Nurses week to all of my fellow nurses!!
#notanad #justabeliever #carpeperdiem