A Travel Nurse Guide To Richmond, Virginia - Part 2

JUST GIVING YOU AN UPDATE! 

Hey everyone!  

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I ended Part 1 with my housing situation. To recap, unfortunately I fell into a housing scam and it affected me financially as well as emotionally. I also told you that I ended up finding a place to live through Airbnb and it has truly been great so far. I live with two other travel nurses and a woman that is retiring from the military. We all have our own rooms; there are four rooms total. My room has a king size bed with two closets and a mini fridge and microwave. We all share the common areas (i.e kitchen, bathroom, living room). I was so blessed to find this place. The travel nurse that I mentioned previously in Part 1, Krista, actually referred me to the lady who was in charge of the Airbnb and the rest is history. Everyone in the house LOVES Hugo too! My roommates will text me or send me snaps of Hugo all snuggled up to them. One of my roommates even took Hugo out for a run one morning! No wonder he was so tired that one morning that I came home from work (lol). I would recommend any travel nurse that will be coming to the Richmond area to use this for your housing needs. It is about 30 mins away from St. Mary’s Hospital but I would honestly take the commute and be happy than live close and not be. It is affordable, in a beautiful area, close to shopping, restaurants, and grocery stores, and it is literally 10 mins away from the airport. So if anyone is traveling from very far, you have immediate access to the airport if you need to fly back home :) I will post the link to this Airbnb at the end of this blog post for anyone that is interested.  

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HOW’S LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK? 

Mommy and I at the hospital after her surgery :) 

Mommy and I at the hospital after her surgery :) 

Life outside of work has been running its course. My mom had her right hip replaced on November 20 so I was able to get a long stretch from work after my Gatlinburg trip and be with her and my family during that time. I have honestly been working a lot of back to back days and going back and forth between here and home so I have not had much time to hang out or see different things but I’ll be sure to have more for y’all in Part 3. So far, I have been getting to know my roommates better and forming bonds with each one. One of my roommates named Breanna is a travel LPN and has her own business on the side called Pure Arrogancy. Her business specializes in 100% Virgin Hair Extensions, Custom Wigs, and Lux 3D Mink Lashes! Ladies, I will leave her link to her website at the end of this blog post as well. We have had wine nights at the house and have also went out to eat at this great restaurant called Mama J’s! Both of our contracts end around the same time so we definitely have more things in store for us while we are here!

Wine nights with roomie!  

Wine nights with roomie!  

Breanna’s Baby: Her own hair and lash business! 

Breanna’s Baby: Her own hair and lash business! 

 HAVE YOU TRIED ANY GOOD FOOD PLACES LATELY? 

I want to share with y’all three restaurants that I have been to that are pretty good here in Richmond! The first place was one I mentioned previously called Mama J’s. If you like soul food, then this is the place for you. It is a very cute restaurant in downtown Richmond. It is a small restaurant, but the service is excellent and the food is amazing. I had got their potato soup to start (I had a cold that day so that really helped!) and for my lunch, I got catfish and collard greens. It was amazing. I ended up taking my leftovers to work that night and it tasted even better then :) 

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The second restaurant I went to was Kanpai Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar in a suburb of Richmond called Shortpump. The Shortpump area is beautiful with many restaurants, malls, and shops. I had went with another travel nurse that I befriended named Amber. Kanpai was your typical Japanese restaurant where they cook in front of you and you enjoy your meal fresh. I had got the Terriyaki Chicken and Shrimp, which was delicious. We both wanted something Hibachi-like and we couldn’t have chosen a better place!

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The third restaurant I went to was called Patrick’s Restaurant for breakfast. A friend and I really wanted some breakfast and didn’t want to eat at a chain so we decided to check this place out. The breakfast was really good and you can tell it was made fresh. I had got their special breakfast with two fried eggs, bacon, toast, and grits. It was delicious. Never underestimate the hole in the wall restaurants because they will definitely surprise you and 9 times out of 10, their food is much better than any chain restaurant.

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 HOSPITALS STAY OPEN REGARDLESS OF THE WEATHER!! 

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I recently worked during a major snow storm that affected the Carolinas and Virginia heavily. Richmond got more than 12 inches of snow that day and I was scheduled to work that night. I got up early around 3:30 pm so I can take the snow off my car and head to work early before my shift started at 7:30 pm. After getting the snow off my car, I had packed a bag just in case I ended up being stuck at the hospital. I walked Hugo, said goodbye to my roommates, and I was ready to go. Unfortunately, I could not get out of my driveway! I called my job to let them know that I couldn’t get out of the driveway and I didn’t know how I was going to make it to work. Luckily, the hospital that I work at had employees with four wheel drive vehicles that were picking up staff to get to work. I was 30 mins away so I told them that as long as they can get here, I will still come to work. I was able to get picked up and report for work and get a ride back home the following morning. I was late but I was happy that I got there safely. NO JOB is worth risking your life over. I was blessed that St. Mary’s had this option for staff. It was very convenient because my car is definitely not a snow car (lol). I told myself that the next car I get will have four wheel drive just in case situations like this happen again. All in all, the snow was beautiful and I was happy that I was able to see some snow before this year ended.  

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After I took the snow off my car

After I took the snow off my car

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Our house in the snow at night :) 

Our house in the snow at night :) 

Had to get a ride to work since my car doesn’t have four wheel drive :( 

Had to get a ride to work since my car doesn’t have four wheel drive :( 

The morning after :) 

The morning after :) 

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Alright everyone, that’s Part 2! Just a side note, I am working all three major holidays this year! This is the first time this has ever happened to me! I worked Thanksgiving, and I will be working Christmas Day and New Years Eve. I will publish a mini blog post about what it is like being a travel nurse and working the holidays :) that’ll be my last blog post of 2018. 

Be on the lookout for Part 3 in 2019! Until next time! 

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

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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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Travel Assignments - Local vs. Long Distance : What Did I Choose This Time?

If you have been keeping up with me, I have been on two travel nurse assignments so far: one was local in Laurinburg, NC, the other was long distance in Memphis, TN. I bet you are now wondering: which is better? Pros and cons of each? Where is Jazzy headed next?  
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To answer the first question, I believe that it really just depends on preference and what is beneficial at the time. Life is constantly happening and changing and a local assignment versus a long distance one has to fit into my lifestyle at that moment. For example, my first travel assignment was local because I was new to travel nursing, I wanted to see how it was, and if it was a good fit for me. I also had to get used to being a temporary worker, the money, and the logistics of travel nursing. My second travel assignment was long distance because I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. One of the main reasons I wanted to do travel nursing was to TRAVEL, so I wanted to venture out further than North Carolina, and I’m happy that I did. Where I’m at in my life helps me to decide which of the two is better for me AT THAT TIME. 

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Everything has its pros and cons, and travel assignments are definitely no exception. I know a lot of travelers that just do local assignments around their city and state and I know other travelers that travel all over the U.S and overseas as well! Each one has its benefits as well as its challenges. What I list below are not general pros and cons, but my own personal pros and cons that I had with each assignment:

Local Assignments: 

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Pros - close to home; still get to participate in events with friends and family; shorter commute; comfortable; still get the travel benefits; get to know another part of your home state; meet new people; policies and procedures are similar since its in the same state; and you don’t have to worry about getting another license to practice.

Cons - the commute back and forth can get tiring; feel stuck “in a bubble”; not risky; feel like you can do more

Long Distance Assignments: 

Pros - get to see another part of the U.S or the world; meet new people (especially other travel nurses); gain independence; start a new adventure; learn new things; get to explore another place besides your own; have tips to give friends/family if they travel through there; have family/friends visit you and you can visit family/friends in your new location; add another location to your list of places you have been

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Cons - far from home so you do miss out on some events with family/friends; you get lonely and homesick; have to do things by yourself (sometimes); guard is up more so you are less trusting; unfamiliar wit surroundings; possibly have to get another nursing license for that particular state if you don’t hold a compact license

As you can see with both of these assignments, the pros definitely outweigh the cons . When you make a decision on which one to choose (whether you are a travel nurse or just seeking to find a new vacation spot) just make sure it is the right decision for you and that it fits your needs. 

 

With that being said, where am I going next?? 

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After my three weeks of rest, relaxation, rejuvenation, and fun, I have accepted a position with Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC! I will be working on a medical-surgical stepdown unit there starting Monday June 11! It is definitely a step up from the general medical-surgical floors that I’m used to working on but I am ready for and have been wanting the challenge for a few months now. Remember how I told y’all in the beginning that the assignment has to fit my lifestyle at the time? This assignment definitely does. I will be moving apartments in August and I wanted to be close to my mom to help her out due to some health issues that she will be facing soon (she is currently okay and doing well so not to worry!) But just continue to keep me and my family in your prayers and I will do the same for you and yours. I really hope y’all enjoyed this blog post and I’ll be sure to keep the blog posts coming this summer! I will definitely have more blog posts to add in the “My Own Getaways” section of my blog site; I have some major trips planned so be on the lookout for those as well :) Until then, make sure you comment, subscribe, and share and of course...

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

 

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