Working Tourist: A Labor of Love
Lauren Stermer has an adventurous spirit, which has led her on a new journey: travel nursing. It’s the perfect combination of exploring new places and having a fulfilling career doing what she loves. February marks her first full year traveling as a labor and delivery nurse, and it’s everything she could have hoped for and more.
After spending nine months in Orlando, FL for her first assignment, Lauren is now in Colorado, taking in the food scene, visiting museums, and exploring as many mountains and ski resorts as possible as an avid snowboarder. She hopes to someday make it to Boston, Austin, Nashville, or even Hawaii.
Although she’s been having a blast, her love of the outdoors taught her a big lesson in getting adjusted to different surroundings. While in Orlando, Lauren went on a date to Ocala National Park for a nice afternoon hike. Sounds romantic, right? Well, after seven miles and many hours on a trail, her and her hiking partner noticed that they were covered in baby tics! After pulling all the tics off and googling home remedies, Lauren thought she had a funny story to tell her new co-workers. The nurses had other ideas; as Lauren puts it, “They never let me live it down.” They all picked through her hair and made her take a chlorohexidine shower as if she were a patient prepping for surgery.
Just as there are adjustments to be made in each city, Lauren loves that there is always something new to learn as a labor and delivery nurse. Being outside of her comfort zone has helped her expand her knowledge base, and taught her the importance of teamwork. She’s grateful to be part of a team where everyone lends a helping hand.
“I have come to realize that no matter where I go, or have gone, the teamwork is impeccable. As a traveler, you are often put into situations with little-to-no orientation, and you are expected to pick it up, learn fast, and work through it; this has been one of the scariest, but most rewarding parts for me,” Lauren explains. “I am constantly learning new techniques, bouncing policy ideas, and discussing evidence-based practice with my colleagues everywhere I go. I love learning new ideas at one facility and helping bring new ideas to another.”
Lauren thinks anyone interested in becoming a travel nurse should step outside of their comfort zones. “Do it!” she encourages. “Make the jump! It is the scariest, most terrifying, most absolutely rewarding, most exhilarating thing I have EVER done for myself.”