A Travel Nurse Guide to Richmond, Virginia - Part 1

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Wow! Contract Number 4. I cannot believe that I have been a travel nurse for a whole year already. I still have a lot more places to experience and more things that I want to see and do. But as you can tell by the title, I am currently in Richmond, Virginia doing a 15 week contract at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital.  St. Mary’s is a faith-based hospital with crosses in every patient room and a beautiful chapel located in the lobby open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for patients, families, and staff. This was one factor of the hospital that I really enjoyed the most. 

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Richmond, Virginia is a little over four hours from my home base, Charlotte, North Carolina. Richmond is located in central Virginia so it is literally between “the south” and “the north”. Even though it is not that far away from home, I would not commute unless I was going to be home for a while. I had orientation on Monday, October 8th so I drove the night before on October 7th to Richmond. The drive wasn’t bad at all.

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The floor I am working on is a medical-surgical floor with a focus on joint replacement. These include but aren’t limited to: hip replacements, knee replacements, femur fractures, internal fixations, etc. I have never worked on a straight orthopedic floor but I am happy to be working there. I have learned so much these past five weeks.  All of my co-workers welcomed me since day one. I did one night of orientation by choice. As a travel nurse, you start to realize that nursing is the same everywhere, specialty or not. You really just need to get the feel of the floor and the routine because every workflow is different. I ended up working the second night of “orientation” by myself. I took my own group of patients and did my job the best way I knew how. So far, work has been great and I do not have any complaints :)

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Being in Richmond puts me less than two hours away from Washington, DC.  Y’all know that I love culture and sights so on one of my first weekends here, I had went to DC with a group of friends for my best friend, Taylon’s birthday. We did a lot of fun things: we went to the Holocaust Museum, saw Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s monument, had brunch at this cute place called Southern Hospitality, and spent our last night at Club Opera. I want to go back to DC while I am close by, especially to experience the African-American Museum and do other touristy things. I am just happy that it is convenient for me now to do so.  

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I was able to go to downtown Richmond one night with another travel nurse that I befriended in orientation named Krista. I soon realized that things close much earlier than in North Carolina (haha). One spot stayed open until 2 am so we decided to go there. The place was called Saison and its a really cute restaurant/bar on the corner. Krista and I really had a great time there. We got drinks, talked about work and our personal lives, just a typical girls night out. We definitely have more in store for our time here in Richmond.  

Another place that I decided to check out in downtown Richmond was this restaurant called Belle. I figured that I would check this place out because It is a southern kitchen and bar and I love southern food :)) I decided to treat myself due to a very challenging and trying few weeks and made a reservation for myself to eat there at 1 pm on a Tuesday. I never took myself out to eat before so this was definitely going to be an experience.

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The restaurant was so cute! It is actually part of the Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown Richmond. I got the Backyard Southern Tea with their Cajun Jamabalaya. OMG, if you don’t like spicy food, you wont like it lol. It is true to the name x 10. But the jambalaya was really good and flavorful. I will definitely go back there soon. I want to try more things on their menu. 

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Just to be transparent with yall...unfortunately, I fell into a housing scam which has affected me emotionally and mentally on top of my financial state. As a travel nurse, you can take the stipend and find your own housing but sometimes that can definitely be a challenge. There are crooks and thieves everywhere. But God has truly been making a way for me lately and has shown His power and strength during my time of weakness. Things are looking much better and I was actually able to get a nice Airbnb in Henrico County that I share with three other travel nurses! I hope to share with you all more about my new housing in Part 2. I just ask that you all pray for me and ask God for guidance and strength as I go through this assignment for the next ten weeks.

Hope you enjoyed Part 1! Be ready for Part 2 next month in December! Until then... 

Live life, love always, and don’t forget to smile,  

 

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Lessons, Blessings, Updates, Oh My!

Hey loves!! 

Sorry for the wait but I truly appreciate all of you for sticking by me and still continuing to support Jazzy Travels even during my hiatus. I have truly been working hard at my current contract at Duke University Hospital throughout all of August and I am happy now that I can finally share updates with all of you! 

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Working at Duke these past 13 weeks have been great. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I decided to choose a contract close to home. It is located in Durham, NC, so about two hours from Charlotte, NC. I also wanted to be close to my family for personal reasons and because I was moving apartments this summer. I believe I made a great choice and I have learned so much.

I love the 4:1 patient ratio (it is truly a Godsend!) I am so used to having 6-7 patients on nights. There were nights where I felt overwhelmed, overworked, and not having the time to breathe. Here, I feel like I can actually take the time to know and take care of my patients to the best of my ability. Working here has stretched my nursing skills to a greater height. Duke has allowed me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and float to different units as well. I have had the pleasure of meeting new people on each floor and taking care of a wide range of patients, which only broadens my experience as a nurse.

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On my home unit, which is a surgical trauma step-down/abdominal transplant unit; I have been working with amazing new grad, first year, and seasoned nurses. (Side note: abdominal transplants include liver and kidney transplants). It is a new unit that stemmed from its two sister units, (mostly focusing on abdominal transplants) , but I really enjoyed working and learning alongside my amazing co-workers. While working on this unit, I continued to build on my surgical patient experience while at the same time learned new things about my abdominal transplant patients. This has truly been a rewarding work experience and I am blessed to have been able to work at an amazing and prestigious facility.

Here are just a few updates that I wanted to share with y’all:

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1. I am still working at Duke! : The last day of my contract was supposed to be September 10th (which is the day that this blog post has gone live)! I decided to extend my contract another week, so my last night working will be Sunday, September 16. I just want to make sure that I am financially secure during my time off (I am taking 3 weeks off *fingers crossed*) and for my big trip to Dubai at the end of the month. The beauty about being a travel nurse is that I have the choice to extend my current assignment if a) I like where I am working, b) if it fits in the floor's budget and/or c) if there is a need for travelers on the floor.  

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2. I moved into my new apartment in Charlotte, NC: My home base; but now I am living by myself and I LOVE IT. There is nothing like living on your own and I am so happy that I am experiencing it now before I get settled with a husband and family. Yes, with me being a travel nurse, I have to duplicate expenses or I am not eligible to receive my stipends tax-free. But really, I would rather pay more for the peace of mind and I make enough as a travel nurse to where duplicating expenses isn't a problem.

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3. Be ready for more blog posts as 2018 continues and a revamp to travelwithjazzy.com : This is a personal goal of mine that I am diligently working on. I will continue to give you all blog posts once or twice a month. With my work schedule, I cannot always post weekly or even biweekly but just know every blog post is FOR YOU. Second, with Jazzy Travels being eight months old, I vow to revamp her site by her first birthday! I have learned so much about myself with blogging about my travels and sharing myself with you all. I want to stay current and make sure I am providing what I need to for all of my readers and supporters.

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Now I’m turning it over to you: have a question you want to ask me? Do you want me to blog about something in particular? Just have something to say? Make sure you leave a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Or, you can go to the “Contact Jazzy” section and your question will immediately come to my inbox and I can email you back! Whichever way you prefer, I will answer either way! Don't forget to comment, subscribe, and share :)

P.S, stay tuned for my next blog post about my Dubai trip with my best friend, which will go live sometime in October when I return!

Until next time,  

Live life, love always, and don’t forget to smile, 

 

 

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