Life In Memphis - Part 2 : So What’s New?

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Right now, I am 9 weeks in to my contract here in Memphis, Tennessee. You can say that by now I’ve settled in and got into my routine of work, sleep, leisure activities, repeat. I just want to start this post off by saying that I have truly done some soul searching these past 9 weeks. You name it: from work, to my personal life, to my future goals...when you spend more time alone, you really dive into yourself and your thoughts and knowing me, my mind is like the Energizer Bunny (lol). But I won’t get too much into that, just wanted to be transparent with y’all. What I will discuss next is why y’all really came to read this blog post:

1. You’ve read Part 1 and want to hear more about my time in Memphis. 

2. You haven’t read Part 1, but still have an interest about my time in Memphis. 

Whatever the case is, thank you for reading! It truly makes my heart happy to hear that my readers are interested in my travel adventures :) 

 

 

                     HOW’S WORK GOING, YOU ASK? 

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Just had to start off with a little nursing humor haha, but seriously, I get this question A LOT: from fellow nurses, my friends, my family, the list goes on. If you don’t already know, I work night shift so my schedule is already opposite from majority of the people in my life. But anyway, my nursing groove came back pretty strong and I actually feel comfortable doing my job at work. My manager has actually placed some responsibility on me by training new grads/other travel nurses from time to time. I never got this opportunity at my permanent positions so to do this as a traveler really amazes me. I have found joy in training other nurses. Throughout my nursing career, I have had great preceptors and I can truly say that I have learned something different, but valuable, from each of them. I was nervous at first when my manager asked me to step up, but I’m glad I did (still working on getting out of my comfort zone!) I find work more rewarding now that I can teach and help other nurses get to where I am and beyond. “Each one, teach one”. I feel if we go by this more often, there would be less competition and hostility in the workplace. 

WHAT ABOUT SPARE TIME THINGS?

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Besides work, sleep, and Netflix/Hulu, I try to keep myself busy on my off days. I have a pretty high stress job so I like to do things that allow me to relax and also have fun. I’ll go get my nails done, visit the Mississippi River parks with Hugo (one of my favorite things to do and when weather permits),  take a drive, catch up with other travel nurses, go shopping, do research, and keep in contact with my friends and family. I did take a drive to Jackson, Mississippi to visit a friend of mine for a weekend. That was a great getaway and Jackson is almost three hours away from Memphis. One thing about me is I like to step out of my “normal” environment every once in a while just to gain a fresh perspective on my life currently and come back recharged and ready to take on the next task at hand-which is work of course lol. The next two sections describe the major things that I really enjoyed and what I wanted to see while being here in Memphis: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Civil Rights Museum.

I n  Jackson, Mississippi :)

In Jackson, Mississippi :)

**ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL - THE INFOMERCIALS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE 

Danny Thomas statue - Founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital! 

Danny Thomas statue - Founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital! 

ABCs of Cancer brought to you by the children of St. Jude! 

ABCs of Cancer brought to you by the children of St. Jude! 

Picture of Danny Thomas :) 

Picture of Danny Thomas :) 

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I had the pleasure of touring the famous St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. My apartment is literally right down the street from it and I knew I wanted to take a tour there on one of my days off so I made it happen. Like you, I saw the infomercials all the time while growing up. When I tell you that the infomercials don’t do it justice, they don’t and never will. The things that those workers and volunteers do for the children and their families is amazing beyond words and it’s such a beautiful facility! To give a little background, St. Jude was founded by Danny Thomas in 1960 and the doors were opened in 1962. Did you know that, despite its size, it is actually around a 78 - bed hospital? Majority of what they do is outpatient services and no family has to pay for medical treatment, travel, meals, lodging, etc. I find that remarkable. Also, the facility has different areas where they provide treatments for the children depending on their diagnosis. If a child does have to be admitted to the hospital, they get a customized team of doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, even teachers! Things such as graduations, proms, “no more chemo” parties, etc. are done for the kids while at St. Jude, just to name a few. Families come from all over just to make sure their child receives the best care possible. Celebrities also donate millions of dollars just to keep this facility up and running. Fun Fact: St. Jude runs off 2.4 million dollars a day!!! Research is tirelessly done day and night by doctors and researchers from all over the world! Each discovery made is shared with other healthcare facilities to make sure that pediatric cancer or any other life-threatening disease doesn’t take another child’s life. If you know me, you know I went to the gift shop after the tour and got something to remember them by. I need to stay away from gift shops, they take all my money lol. Lastly, I went back a few weeks later to donate blood to help any child that would need it. 

Donating my blood - all for the kids!

Donating my blood - all for the kids!

Different flags of where all the researchers and doctors are from!

Different flags of where all the researchers and doctors are from!

One of the children care centers in St. Jude sponsored by Chili’s! 

One of the children care centers in St. Jude sponsored by Chili’s! 

Couldn’t leave without gift shop goodies! :)

Couldn’t leave without gift shop goodies! :)

 **DID YOU KNOW?? 

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April 4th 2018 - #MLK50 

April 4th 2018 - #MLK50 

The new wreath unveiled for Dr. King’s 50th anniversary of his death 

The new wreath unveiled for Dr. King’s 50th anniversary of his death 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has a major impact on Memphis. Huge impact. The Lorraine Motel, located in downtown Memphis, was the last place where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was seen alive. He was on the balcony in front of room 306 that he shared with a friend. On April 4th, 1968, James Earl Ray shot him from a boarding house across the street. Today, the Lorraine Motel is home to Memphis’ own National Civil Rights Museum. I was so amazed with this museum that I went twice. If y’all ever get to go to Memphis, this is one of the places that you HAVE TO SEE. The museum goes through slavery, the Jim Crow era, the Civil Rights Movement and all in between, and finally ends with Dr. King’s last moments. During that exhibit, I was able to see inside his hotel room and we could see the balcony from inside. Afterwards, we went across the street to the boarding house where James Earl Ray was and you could see the exact view he had of Dr. King before he was assasinated. I had so many emotions going through the museum both times. April 4th, 2018 was the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s death. It was a day of remembrance, fellowship, and honor for the Memphis residents and I was happy to be a part of it (left middle pic). I’m ending this blog post a little differently by sharing some of my favorite pictures from both times that I visited the Civil Rights Musuem.

Until next time, don’t forget to do these three things:

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**Keep scrolling to see my top ten pictures from the Civil Rights Museum!

 

 

The unveiling of the new exhibit to honor Dr. King 50 years later from his death

The unveiling of the new exhibit to honor Dr. King 50 years later from his death

The Lorraine Motel sign

The Lorraine Motel sign

One of the exhibits that shows the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man

One of the exhibits that shows the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man

 #MLK50 #April4th

 #MLK50 #April4th

Dr. King’s Room 306

Dr. King’s Room 306

Sit-in exhibit of the Civil Rights Museum

Sit-in exhibit of the Civil Rights Museum

The actual bus that got burned during the Civil Rights Movement as part of the bus boycott

The actual bus that got burned during the Civil Rights Movement as part of the bus boycott

Image of the bus being burned

Image of the bus being burned

 #MLK50 Day of Celebration

 #MLK50 Day of Celebration

Image of Dr. King being shot 

Image of Dr. King being shot 

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

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Life In Memphis - Part 1

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Hey y’all! I decided to step out of my comfort zone and go a little further for my second travel assignment. For 13 weeks until May 19, I will be practicing at Regional One Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee. As of now, I am 3 weeks in to my contract. I figured this would be a great time to tell y’all about what I think and all I’ve experienced so far.

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Memphis is the biggest city in Tennessee and is located along the Mississippi River. Memphis is very close to the Arkansas and Mississippi state lines and operates on Central Time; so it is an hour behind Eastern Standard Time. For example, if it was 9 pm in Charlotte, NC, it would be 8 pm here. This took me a while to get used to. I felt like the days were so long when I first came to Memphis. Finally, it is a major city of the United States with a lot to see and things to do. Memphis was a great choice for me and I am really excited to share with y’all the things I do and experience while I’m here.

 After I came back from my birthday cruise and battling the flu the week of my departure, I began the 10 hour drive to Memphis, TN from Charlotte, NC. I left Charlotte on Sunday evening, made a pit stop in Atlanta and stayed the night, then drove the rest of the way to Memphis. 

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I arrived to Memphis on Monday, February 12. My orientation date for my job was not until Thursday February 15 so I had plenty of time to settle in my apartment that I got through Airbnb. My apartment was right in downtown Memphis so I was in a pretty good area. Also a plus, my commute to the hospital that I would be working at was a breeze. After getting everything inside and unpacked, Hugo and I were able to relax and get used to our surroundings for a few days before my first day of orientation at Regional One. 

Thursday February 15: Regional One Medical Center

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  • First day of orientation! I have been through this so many times but I still get nervous. The day was very eventful to say the least but I actually met four other travel nurses and we formed our own tight-knit group. We exchanged numbers and vowed to keep each other posted on our days/nights at work and plan to meet up with each other once our schedules coordinate. Meeting them made me feel alot better about being here and it made me feel less alone.  

Sunday February 18: OPENING WEEKEND OF THE MOVIE BLACK PANTHER!!

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  • I was so bummed because my sorority grad chapter (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, Delta Zeta chapter) back home did an advance screening of the movie that Thursday night (which was a huge success btw) and I had to miss it :( buttttt two of the other travel nurses that I met and I went to go see it that night at a movie theater in Overton Square. That movie was AMAZING!!! We then walked around a bit and ate at this cute Mexican restaurant called Molly’s La Casita. The food was amazing and very flavorful. We all were going to hit the floor that week so we wanted to have one good time in before we started the real work. 
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Monday February 19-Tuesday February 20: Orientation Nights On The Floor

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  • With being a travel nurse you get a very condensed hospital and floor orientation. Once you get on the floor, you are expected to jump in and do your job. For my first two nights, I was with a more seasoned nurse, her name was Debbie. She was amazing. I enjoyed being with her as I was getting the flow of the floor, knowing where everything was located, etc. She was very patient with me and taught me everything that I would need to start on my own. I also met some of the staff within those two nights and everyone was very welcoming. By the end of my second night, I felt comfortable enough to do nursing the way I knew how. I would be able to show what I was made of soon enough because I would be on my own starting Saturday night. 

Saturday February 24-Sunday February 25: On My Own

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  • Of course my first shifts on my own would be on a weekend (haha) but I wasn’t mad at all. Usually in the hospital, the weekends are a little slower so it gives me time to navigate the system, the floor, and the routine more at a steady pace. My co workers were awesome that night as well. They were always willing to help and any questions that I had, they made sure I had the answer right away. The floor that I work on is split so there’s usually 5 -6 nurses and 2 CNAs working. 3 nurses and 1 CNA go on one side and 2-3 nurses and the other CNA go on the other side. The nurses’ stations on both sides are right in front of the patient rooms (kind of like an ICU setting) so there’s no need for us to have our own personal work phones (this was different from what I was used to, but I liked the change). My first weekend shift on my own was a success. 

Monday February 26: Gloss Nail Bar - Crosstown Concourse

  • After getting acclimated to my work environment and schedule, I decided that I was going to take time for myself and get pampered. I went to this very cute nail salon called Gloss Nail Bar in Crosstown Concourse. I searched for this nail salon through Google Maps and found out that the salon was only 6 mins away from my apartment! Crosstown Concourse is a really nice area for retail and food and there are apartments surrounding it. Before it became what it is now, it used to be a Sears distribution center!
  • Anyway, I walked into Gloss Nail Bar and I was amazed. It was really cute and fancy and I was treated like a queen. You also get two complimentary drinks so I had my two mimosas and felt really good and relaxed during my time there. I got a pedicure and overlay and had a great time with the staff and other customers. It felt great to treat myself since I worked all weekend.  
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Tuesday February 27:  Mississippi River Greenbelt Park and Cozy Corner

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  • I still had one more day off from work so I wanted to explore a little bit. I ended up finding a park that was along the Mississippi River. The park was called Mississippi River Greenbelt Park. It was 5 mins from my apartment and the area was so beautiful. It’s part of a small community called Mud Island. There’s a long sidewalk that you can walk, jog, or run on. There’s benches on both sides of the sidewalk if you would rather sit and enjoy the view of the Mississippi River. On the other side of the street there were different residential communities of beautiful houses and apartments. Hugo and I walked on the sidewalk and enjoyed the scenery and the fresh air. The people were very friendly and I even got someone to take a picture of Hugo and I. It really gave me time to relax and regroup since I had to go to work the next day.  
  • Finally, I was craving BBQ so bad and everyone that I’ve spoken to told me that I had to try the BBQ while I was in Memphis. Some locals at the movie theater when I went to see Black Panther recommended this place called Cozy Corner. I used Google Maps and saw that it was 4 mins away from my apartment. Now Cozy Corner looks sketch on the outside, but the staff was really nice and the food was delicious. I highly recommend this place if y’all ever decide to come to Memphis to visit :) 
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My Thoughts So Far... 

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I am really enjoying Memphis so far. Not going to lie, I do get the occasional homesickness just because I’ve never been so far by myself but my family, my friends, and my recruiter have been very supportive. I can’t wait to see more of what Memphis has to offer. I am so excited that you all are following me on this journey and I cannot wait to share more of what I experience while I’m here. Until next time!

 

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

 

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Until Next Time, Scotland Memorial!

Some of my night shift crew! 

Some of my night shift crew! 

My last night at Scotland Memorial Hospital was bittersweet. For this to be my first assignment as a travel nurse, I was pleased. From night one, I was welcomed wholeheartedly by the staff and my transition was very smooth. My co workers were awesome! Every night, we all worked together to make sure that all of our patients were taken care of. I have to say that my night shift crew was a drama free zone. During our down time, we would laugh and talk but we still made sure our work was done. I have heard many horror stories about travel nurses and their assignments not going well, but I am blessed to say that I have a good track record so far. I really hope that my next assignment is just the same :)

SO I COMPLETED MY FIRST TRAVEL ASSIGNMENT…WHAT DID I LEARN?

1) I had to be okay with being alone; sometimes at work and off work.

My preceptor Monica! The first nurse that I met here. She is an amazing nurse! :) 

My preceptor Monica! The first nurse that I met here. She is an amazing nurse! :) 

  • This is not meant to be a negative lesson. Everyone that is a permanent staff member pretty much knows each other and stick together more. As a traveler, I had to earn their respect and they had to earn mine. Because of the type of person I am, that did not take long, but sometimes I felt more independent and did better by myself. That is not always a bad thing. When I’m off work for the first day or two, I actually enjoy being by myself. I talk to patients, family members, doctors, other nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, etc. every night at work. Being alone makes me feel good and gives me peace.

2) Anything can be negotiated.

  • I repeat, ANYTHING. Go after what you want and get rid of what you don’t want. There were nights that I came into work and asked to switch patients because I had a rough night the previous night. I would ask for specific days off that I needed before I even signed a contract so my recruiter and nurse managers would know when I would and would not be available for work. Pay is negotiable also. A fellow travel nurse told me: “Know your worth”. That can apply to pretty much everything in life. Know your worth, be confident in what you want, and get what you deserve and more. Nothing less.

3) Don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak up.

  • As a travel nurse, I was placed in a new facility so I basically felt like a new graduate nurse all over again. Not because of my skill sets, but because I was not familiar with my surroundings yet. It’s okay to ask questions and speak up if you need help. I was able to feel my co workers out and was able to know right away who was okay with helping me versus the ones that were not so eager. I spoke up for myself and for my patients a lot on this assignment.

4) New graduate nurses looked up to me and valued my opinion.

  • Sometimes, you never realize the impact that you have on your less experienced colleagues. I worked with two really great nurses (Lindsey and Kierrah) that had graduated about 9 months prior to working. They really trusted me and asked me questions and I was able to give them advice and help relieve their stress when they needed to. I would give them anecdotes about my personal experiences working as a nurse and that it is definitely okay to express your frustration. The first year of nursing is tough and I felt blessed to be able to be an outlet for them.

5) Establishing good rapport with nurse managers and supervisors is key.

  • MAJOR KEY. You never know what doors can be opened by your rapport with some of the higher-ups. Having a professional relationship with nurse managers and supervisors can open many new opportunities such as future employment, reference letters, recognition, etc. I am not saying that I kiss up to my managers and supervisors, but I make sure that they will remember me. Not only because I’m Jasmine or that I’m a nurse (they have plenty of nurses), I want them to remember me for the work I did at Scotland Memorial and the impact that I left long after I’m gone.

6) There is more than one way to do things.

  • One of the best things that I love about travel nursing is that I learn many ways to do the same thing and learn completely different things as well. Nursing in general is the same but I did some things at Scotland Memorial that when I was permanent at two hospitals prior, I did not do those things. That does not make it wrong, it makes me more versatile. Depending on the situation or where I am for my next assignment, I can apply what I’ve learned and teach other employees as well. As long as it gets the job done and doesn’t harm the patient in any way, I am all for learning different things. Nursing is a career that you are always learning something new from because medicine, technology, and people change everyday. 

7) Trust your gut and learn from your mistakes .

  • I truly believe in patient advocacy. When I feel something isn’t right with my patient or something is off about a treatment plan, I will either try to fix it or address it with the doctor or my fellow nurses. I have learned that my intuition, especially in healthcare, is usually right. On the flip side, I am not superwoman by no means. I am human and I will make mistakes. The best thing that I can do with those mistakes is take them as a learning lesson and apply it to the rest of my career. Not saying that I will not make the same mistake again, but I will always know what to do the next time when a similar situation occurs. 

 

 AND NOW THE MOMENT YOU ALL HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR! WHERE AM I GOING NEXT? 

Some of y’all probably scrolled down just to read this portion (haha). I’m not even mad but just know that I know ;). Only a few people already knew my next assignment prior to this blog post publishing but my next 13 week assignment starting February 12th will be in....MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE!!!!!! 

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That’s all for now! Stay tuned for my next blog post :)

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

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Travel Assignment 1 - Laurinburg, NC



I have been working in Laurinburg, North Carolina for eleven weeks now on a 13 week assignment at Scotland Memorial Hospital. This is my first travel assignment. I decided to choose this as my first one because I wanted to be close to my family during the holiday season (we are very close) and I wanted to get my feet wet on this travel nurse thing (haha). It’s a very small hospital; only three floors, but everyone that I have met and worked with has been wonderful. I would definitely recommend any first-time travelers or people that are used to that small town feel to work at this facility.

  

WHERE IS LAURINBURG?

 

Laurinburg, North Carolina is a very small town on the outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina and near the South Carolina state border. It is in Scotland County. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina so Laurinburg is only a hour and 45 minutes away.

 

WHERE I STAYED

 

 As a travel nurse, you get a housing stipend weekly that allows you to choose where you want to stay on your assignment. I switched back and forth depending on my work week and my dog, Hugo. The first two weeks I stayed at the Quality Inn. It was okay, but I did not like the fact that you walked outside when you opened your door and I always felt weird about staying there. After that, for another three weeks, I decided to stay at the Holiday Inn Express across the street from the Quality Inn. It was a much better hotel, had better amenities, and I felt a little more comfortable there. I did not really have an issue staying there except the hotel staff were getting complaints about Hugo’s barking so I decided to find another place for us to stay in the meantime.

 

I finally decided to stay at an Airbnb (not pictured due to safety reasons) with this nice lady and her dog and cat.

Backing up real quick: Airbnb is a website (also an app) that allows people to rent out spaces in their homes or you can have the whole apartment or house for rates that are sometimes cheaper than hotels. The booking process is really easy and you can pay securely with PayPal, Apple Pay, etc. If you want that “at-home” feel, then I definitely recommend getting an Airbnb for your next vacation.

Anyway, I had the whole upstairs to myself and she loved Hugo! I always feel really safe at her house and I never worry about my privacy or anything. When it’s time for me to go back to work, her house was the place that I was going to be. I am able to save a lot more money too by staying with her versus any of the hotels.

 

 THINGS TO DO

 If I am not there for work, I’m really not in Laurinburg very much. All of my friends are in Charlotte and I still have my apartment there so it’s really easy for me to come home on my days off. The hospital did their best to group my days together so I am able to stay in Laurinburg while working and then have a few days off to where I can come home.

So this section is looking pretty weak but oh well! :)

I am almost done with this assignment, then its on to the next one. That location will be revealed in my next blog post. I ask that you all continue to pray for me as I finish out my assignment and complete it successfully.

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

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