Getting to the heart of travel healthcare.

A podcast hosted by Sunny & Matt

Podcast Episode


Darren Parks, RN joins Cardium podcast along with Chelsea Dreiling of Aureus Medical, to talk about his journey in healthcare and his current role as an Interim Nursing Leader.

An Inside Look Into Nursing Leadership

April 29, 2020

GUESTS: Darren Parks, RN and Chelsea Dreiling


Darren Parks is an RN and travel Nurse Leader who is a guest on Cardium podcast. He talks about his journey into healthcare and his career in interim leadership.

Darren Parks is a registered nurse who has practiced for over 22 years. For the past 13 he’s focused primarily on nursing leadership and currently travels as an interim leader. The majority of his clinical experience is rooted in adult critical care though he’s worked in several other specialties throughout his career. He spent the first 17 years in an Omaha, Nebraska Level 1 trauma center and in the VA System. Darren says he’s grown up as a nurse through acute care, starting as a nurse technician, in staff/charge nurse roles, and eventually moving into house supervisor, unit manager, and multi-department director roles. As an interim leader he’s worked in large community hospitals, small critical access hospitals, federal facilities, and as a consultant for a managed services provider, FocusOne. Darren earned his Associates Degree in Nursing from Iowa Western Community College and his BSN through Creighton University in 2006. On a personal note, Nursing is Darren’s second career. He farmed for several years in western Iowa before transitioning into healthcare full time. He lives in Council Bluffs, Iowa with his wife of 25 years, Danelle. Their two children are both full time college students. In his downtime, he likes to read, do some carpentry work, and just relax on their small acreage. He’s a die-hard Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Chelsea Dreiling leads the Nursing Leadership branch for Aureus Medical and joins the Cardium podcast to talk about travel careers for interim nursing leaders.

Chelsea Dreiling leads the Leadership Branch of Aureus Medical’s Nursing division. She joined the healthcare staffing agency in 2013 and began her career as a recruiter before to transitioning to Nursing Leadership shortly thereafter. Chelsea has a passion for helping others. She’s been active as a mentor within Aureus Nursing and with the company’s Mental Health Awareness Team, an employee organized group that organizes and supports activities related to mental health awareness. Chelsea enjoys cooking, traveling, connecting with friends, and spending time with her husband and two children. As a family, they’re avid sports enthusiasts.

Darren Parks sees his career in nursing as the best of both worlds where leadership and clinical work combine. A long time RN, he began seeking new challenges and opportunities to grow in his nursing practice, his skill set, and on the floor. Today, he travels for interim assignments as an experienced Nurse Leader. Darren talks about his journey, what it takes, wearing many hats, and what’s most important.

During our conversation with Darren we cover:

  • His personal journey into healthcare and what led to an interest in nursing leadership
  • The business of healthcare and walking the line as a leader with an eye on cost & efficiency and balancing with the primary responsibility, patient care
  • Wearing both hats as an RN and a nursing leader
  • Managing staff and making tough decisions
  • What drives him in his role as a leader in an interim capacity
  • Skill set, qualities, and mindset of interim leaders
  • His leadership philosophy
  • How to establish trust with staff
  • Challenges and rewards of interim leadership
  • Transitioning out of an assignment and handing off to the next leader
  • What he looks for as a leader when hiring travel nurses

Full transcription

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