Getting to the heart of travel healthcare.

A podcast hosted by Sunny & Matt

Podcast Transcript


Cardium welcomes three nurses and an occupational therapist to the podcast to answer the question, 'What's Your Why'.

What's Your Why in Your Travel Healthcare Career?

September 3, 2019


Voice Over: Welcome to Cardium, the podcast that gets to the heart of travel healthcare and asks, what's your why? With each episode, we explore the topics and issues that impact healthcare professionals in the fields of nursing and allied health. Now here your hosts Sunny and Matt from Aureus Medical.

Matt: How are you today, Sunny?

Sunny: I'm good. How are you, Matt?

Matt: I'm doing really well, really well. I'm really excited about our podcast today. I think it's…. I think we're going to reach out and touch some people with the folks we have coming on board. I'm really super excited.

Sunny: I agree. We have a wide variety of experience and people today.

Matt: We've got some folks out there that have done some amazing things and some folks out there that are going to do amazing things in their career. So I'm really excited about it. You're a reader. I know you are. Yeah. I don't have time. And I know you love Simon Sinek.

Sunny: I do.

Matt: Yeah. Have you read his book, "Start with Why?".

Sunny: Yes.

Matt: Well, you know this because you know everything. Simon writes two ways to influence human behavior. You can manipulate it or you can inspire it. What does that say to you?

Sunny: Well, it's a strong statement for me to figure out how to do either and hopefully the latter is really to find out what your why it is and to determine what your purpose and your reason. And I like when he says that because, you know, people do that, you know, you can either manipulate someone or you hope that you inspire because we talk about motivation all the time and we talk about how you can motivate, but really you really can't motivate anyone to do anything that comes from within. But what you hope to do is inspire someone to do something. And I think that when I meet people every day and in the course of what I do and talking to the people today that we have on the show, just listening to them, they inspire me. And it makes me want to do more with what I do. And so that's why I'm really, really excited about today.

Matt: Yeah, that's… those are great. And I think that statement really speaks to what we're talking about today. Our first guest, I really do think is an inspiration.

Sunny: Yes.

Matt: And hopefully she inspires a lot of folks out there listening. Our first guest today is Connie Joseph. And Connie is a labor and delivery RN and we are happy to have you aboard. Welcome aboard, Connie.

Connie Joseph: Thank you.

Sunny: Welcome.

Connie Joseph: Thank you.

Matt: How are you doing today?

Connie Joseph: I am fine. Sitting up in Vermont, enjoying the countryside.

Matt: Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Lucky. I bet it's horrible up there, huh?

Connie Joseph: Oh, it's just awful. I walk out from my home in Louisiana and it's like 100 degrees. The humidity is ninety seven on a good day and you're soaking wet again from when you take your shower, you know. And then here it's dry. It's cool. I brought shorts for the summer. I don't think they get summer to August.

Sunny: Oh my Gosh.

Connie Joseph: I was late on the memo. So I did bring some long pants and a jacket. But it's gorgeous. It's beautiful here.

Matt: Sounds like it, sounds like a fantastic assignment. I know you've done a lot of assignments in your career, but, you know, I would like you to talk a lot about… and talk about that. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for us and our audience?

Connie Joseph: Well, let's see. I've been in nursing - I think Florence Nightingale and I worked together years ago. I think we did. I carried the lamp. I've been in nursing since before I got out of high school. I was a candy striper. I was a nurse's aide. I was an LPN and I've been an RN for twenty five years, I think. And I've done just about every aspect of nursing from med-surg to surgery to…I've never really done ICU, but I've done rehab, pediatrics, and I guess my love is labor and delivery. And I just love doing labor and delivery. And I've been a travel nurse for 13 years.

Matt: Thirteen years.

Connie Joseph: I know, I'm old right?

Matt: Well, you've been you've been some places. I mean, Vermont, yes, today. But you've been some places. In those 13 years.

Connie Joseph: I've been to… I started out in New Mexico. Then I went to Texas, then Alaska. Then back to Texas. Wyoming. Arizona, Arkansas. Florida. North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia. Pennsylvania.

Sunny: Oh my gosh. What does your license list look like?

Connie Joseph: Oh, they think…because my recruiter, Richard says, how many do you have now? It's like 17. Louisiana is not a compact state. So every place I traveled, I had to get a new license. And instead of letting them lapse and having to apply for them again, I've just kept them up. And funny thing, Vermont came up this in the past few months, I think. And I was like, should I renew? I don't know. And I was going to let some of them lapse. And I said, now I'll renew Vermont. Well, hello. Here I am. Thank God I did. But…it's been awesome traveling. I mean, it's one of the best things I've ever done.

Matt: Wow. That's…that. 13 years of traveling and you still have a smile on your face. Your loving it is just a great story. All the places you've…people you’ve met, patients that you've met. I mean, just that you've just done so many things are so great.

Connie Joseph: I have a patient that I delivered. Eight years ago, I think it is. And we just sort of bonded…while I was taking care of her. And just kept in contact. All these years. She's sent me pictures of her, a little girl and Christmas cards and stuff like that. And this year when I came up from Louisiana, I stopped and we got to see each other. And hugged the little girl and I said, this is the first time I've held you since the day you will born.

Sunny: Oh my gosh.

Connie Joseph: And it was it was awesome. It was so good. And they're such a great couple. And I mean, I've met patients all over the place. Some of them I still keep in contact with like her. Some of the nurses I've worked with in Maine, we still talk… all over the place. I've got friends all over the country and we just sort of stay in touch.

Sunny: That’s amazing. Did you always want to know that you were… wanted to be a nurse?

Connie Joseph: It's like having blond hair and blue eyes. It's who I am. And I was a little girl giving cough syrup to my dolls. I was little like two or so. I've always been a nurse. And it's…it's just something I've always been it's me, it's who I am. And nursing’s not a part of me. It's me.

Sunny: Yeah.

Matt: Yeah. It's that you're… it's the fabric for sure. You can tell people don't travel for 13 years unless they're truly passionate about it. And as…as we thought, pretty darn inspiring. So. Yeah. That's great. Connie, we're going to ask you. We're going to ask your why in a little bit. And so we don't want you to tell us so without telling you why, if you just look back at your career, whether traveling or your career is an hour end or even maybe back to the candy striper days, if you can think back. What are some of the moments that you would say truly shaped your why?

Connie Joseph: One of my supervisors that I had, I was a nurse's aide and I worked the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift and this woman was four foot eleven of power and spunk and that was back in the days when nurses wore the white stockings and the leather shoes and the dresses and we could hear her coming down the hall. I mean, click, click, click, click. We were like, oh, my God, she's coming. And everybody would straighten up and everything, but she would take and put me places that I was so scared to be at just doing different things. And she'd always say. You can do it, if you have a question, ask. Someone's gonna be there to help you. And she always told me, she said, I see the good and you see how good of a nurse you are or you're an inspiration. And she was actually my inspiration. She was my mentor. She taught me to be the kind of nurse I am - to not give up and not give up on nursing.

Matt: That's. Do you remember her name? Connie.

Connie Joseph: Oh, yeah. Gertrude Coats.

Matt: Ahh Gertrude. Well, maybe maybe Gertrude will be listening?

Connie Joseph: No. She passed away a few years ago, but she was like my second mom. I always called her Miss Coats – professional, she was my supervisor and I always called her Miss Coats in.. till the end, I started calling a Gert. But she was at my graduation from nursing school while she was there to support me.

Matt: That's fantastic.

Connie Joseph: She was my mentor.

Sunny: Connie. You know, as a traveler, you know, you're around different things. But, you know, you talk about your purpose as a nurse and how strongly that's been shaped by Gertrude. Would you say as a traveler that your purpose is still the same? Even though the delivery of care is a little maybe not the same? You know, it's you're still delivering care, but it's in a different platform because you're traveling.

Connie Joseph: Yeah traveling is not so different from being a staff nurse, because I go in and I do everything that a staff nurse does except get into the, you know, being a permanent person at the facility. I don't get into the politics of the hospital. And I'm able to deliver care. I'm a travel nurse at a facility because they need help and that sort of helps me to know that I'm there for a purpose and when I go in, I don't know, it's… it's like I'm part of the team. Like the hospital I'm at now. I've only been there a couple of weeks and they're like, you're staying here with us. You're not going anywhere. OK? And sometimes I only stay 13 weeks. Sometimes I stay six months. You know, it just depends. It’s so they don't treat…most places don't treat us like travelers. They want someone with experience that knows what they're doing. And you get there and they're like with open arms, oh, thank God you're here. So it's really not there's not a big difference between a traveler and a staff member as far as for work goes.

Matt: You've been so many places and… and you've and you've done so many different things even within your field of work. How do you keep that "why" in front of you? And especially as a provider that's a traveler healthcare provider…that's a traveler.

Connie Joseph: It's an adventure, you know. And I go into each place with what can I offer them and what can I do to help them? And then, yeah, while I'm here, I'm going to go explore the territory. I'd go to places that have a specific need. And just knowing that they need me makes me want to go. Makes you feel wanted. I mean, everybody wants to feel wanted.

Sunny: Yeah.

Connie Joseph: And knowing that I have experience in that people actually do want me to go to work with them makes me feel better.

Sunny: That's amazing.

Matt: That's great. That's great. Connie again, inspiring. We thought you'd be inspiring. You are, lady. Yeah, you are.

Sunny: Connie what would you say is your most memorable moment so far in your traveling career?

Connie Joseph: Every place is new. Every state I go to is different. And I don't know. I can't tell you because each state, each hospital is so different and so unique. And I've, you know, like the lady that I delivered nine years ago, eight years ago.

Matt: Connie, before we get to your why - we want to ask you that before we have to let you go - any inspiring bits of words of advice for anybody thinking about starting their traveling career.

Connie Joseph: Geez, I've had people ask me, you know, I don't know if I should do travel. I'm not sure. It's scary when you work at a place for a while and your permanent staff at a hospital. But doing traveling is like taking a leap of faith because you're not sure where you're going. But you have to have the faith to just step off and do it and know you're going to be fine.

Matt: Well, that's…I think that anybody would take that advice and really be able to use that. And I think that that's that leap of faith is as one that you can certainly say helped you in your career. And look at you now. So, great advice. Thank you.

Sunny: Well, Connie, here is the moment where we want to ask you, what's your why?

Connie Joseph: Why? Because it's who I am. I'm a nurse. Through and through, I love what I do. I don't…I don't think I could be anything else.

Matt: That's a pretty darn good why.

Sunny: You know, I wish I could…I'm going to try and give a visual for our listeners right now. For those who are listening. If you could see Connie, she's got tears in her eyes and she's very emotional. And it's making me emotional because I don't think I've ever met anyone so passionate about what they do. And those are the travelers and those are the nurses that you want taking care of you. Those are the people that give all of them. Those are the people that love and care with all of their being. And those are the ones that you want your moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and children being taken care of because you know that they do it because not because it's a job, but because they want to and because they need to. And so, Connie, I just want to say, on behalf of everyone who walks into a hospital door or a clinic and has the luxury of being taken care of by a nurse like you. Thank you. Because you were so inspiring.

Connie Joseph: Thank you. Thank you.

Sunny: You're welcome.

Matt: Thank you for joining us today, Connie. We'll let you get back to do to being that inspiring nurse out there in Vermont. Hope you enjoy your…hope you enjoy your assignment.

Connie Joseph: Oh I will. I will. Thank you so much for having me.

Matt: Thank you, Connie.

Sunny: You are amazing, Connie.

Connie Joseph: Thank you.

Matt: Talking an RN who's been a traveler for 13 years. We're now going to talk to a healthcare professional who is not only starting his traveling career, he's starting his healthcare career. So pretty exciting.

Sunny: Yes. We are actually talking with a new graduate. Our recent graduate occupational therapist, Micah Thomas, who is in the middle of his second travel assignment. Micah, welcome.

Micah Thomas: Thank you. Thank you.

Sunny: Well, Micah, tell us about yourself.

Micah Thomas: All right. Well, I'm from Philadelphia originally. I went to Louisiana for undergrad and ended up there from a track scholarship, ran track and played football in high school and ended up being able to get a scholarship. So that's how I ended up down south. And, you know, I…I got to travel a lot with what the track team in Louisiana. And I've seen probably all parts of the United States. And that's when I kind of really realized that I liked to travel. And from Louisiana I got accepted into a school in Alabama at Tuskegee University, and I basically relocated there. And I've been away from home for a while. So it was just going into travel therapy was probably nothing new for me just because of how long I've been away from home and how comfortable I had got with just traveling to new places and having new experiences from one place to the other.

Sunny: Did you always want to be an OT?

Micah Thomas: Well, that's a good question that you asked because it started off as an engineer. I wanted I wanted to be an engineer coming out of high school. But my dad, he…he worked in the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and he always pushed healthcare on me. And in the back of my mind, I always knew I would end up in healthcare some way or the other. So I got to college. And after just doing some research, I decided to go the OT route instead of engineering, which is probably predetermined to begin with. But I just ended up choosing to basically coming out of high school and hearing that that little bug from my dad saying you should be going into healthcare instead of an engineer.

Matt: That's great, Mike. You know, we're going to ask you your why towards the end of our conversation here, but without telling us your why. As you look back at some of those experiences, maybe with your parents, you know what, you're growing up and traveling and stuff. What are some of the key moments that you would say truly shaped your why?

Micah Thomas: That's a great question. I have a few. I think the main one is just being able to help others and just wanting to be in a profession where I really don't feel like I've worked at all. And I can truly say, it's still early. I've only been practicing for a short amount of time, but I always wanted to be in a field where I just, I always had fun and I never felt like I was actually working hard. I was just enjoying what I did. And I can say that OT is definitely one of those things that that I can agree with. I'm not working. I'm not working at all. I'm just enjoying every day of work that I go in. It's not hard work at all. So helping others and basically being able to enjoy what I do, that's…that's probably the main reason why I do what I do.

Sunny: Would you say as a traveler, you know, that's a different type of platform on which to deliver healthcare. You know, it you know, not a lot of people get what travel healthcare is and to keep your Why in front of you, you know, without telling us your Why would you say keeping your purpose in front of you is harder as a travel healthcare provider?

Micah Thomas: I definitely think it is harder, not impossible, but harder. And the reason I say that is because there are challenges that you may go through as a traveler that someone in a full time position may not have to go through - anything from just being alone at any given time, you're mostly away from family. You're by yourself until you meet people. So just having to start over every three months is a challenge within itself. And then every, every single situation you go into is just… it's so different. But although that is a challenge is also a plus, because it just makes you that more resilient and that more versatile as you learn your way and you go through one assignment to the next. So it's kind of like a gift and a curse. You have challenges, but they also can turn into your successes if you handle in the right way.

Matt: It's a great positive outlook and a great way to look at that. You know, and I understand. Spoke a little bit before and you're getting started in travel career, your career in general. And, you know, as you look forward, I know you did a lot of research on what you wanted to do. And…and as you look forward, Micah, in the next few years, what do you think is going to be that beacon? What do you think you're going to reach back and say, OK? It's the hard times because not all assignments are created equal. We know that. So the hard times. What are you going to look at? Look back and say, this is why I'm out here and I need to keep going forward. And this is important even in the toughest of times, because let's face it, those tough assignments are probably where you needed the most. Those patients need the most. So what do you know in your research? What do you think you're going to reach back and say, this is why I'm out here?

Micah Thomas: Well, I'd like to keep in mind that every experience is a learning experience. Even the harder experiences. So just going through those hard experiences that they suck while you're going through them, I’ll admit, but those are the experiences that when something else comes along, you look back at those experiences. You don't look at the good experience and say, oh, yeah, it was all it was all fun and easy. You look back at the harder ones and say, well, if I've got through that, I can definitely get through this. And that's from travel to a full time position. And even in just everyday life situations, you know, being able to look back at the harder times and if you can tell yourself, hey, I got through that. That's…that was just a bump in the road. Then the next thing that comes in front of you, you can get…get around that or get through that as well.

Sunny: That's good advice. And, you know, speaking of advice, what would you say to those that are looking at travel, especially those students that are in school right now?

Micah Thomas: It's a lot. I'll start off by saying it's a lot. I'm actually very glad that I chose travel coming right out of right out of school. So I'll say that as well. So it's a lot to get into. It's a lot of work and it's something that you should probably do more research in without saying too much. There's just a lot of situations that you're expected to be able to handle on your own. And opposed or compared to a full time position, you may not be able to have all the resources or references that you may need in front of you, sometimes you have to figure out things on your own, which for me was a little overwhelming. But once again, like I said before, those hard situations that you get through. You look back at them later on in life or later on in your career and you say, hey, if I can get through something like that, I can get through something as easy as this. So I would definitely recommend it for the stronger, the stronger students coming out. Or, you know, just kind of get…get opinions from maybe clinical instructors or professors to see if they think you will be a good fit for. Because it's, it's a lot to step into, it’s not impossible, but definitely a lot to step into as a new grad.

Matt: Yeah, without a doubt. New grads. That's a lot to think about. He really has a lot to consider. And you and your profession especially. There's a lot of options out there.

Micah Thomas: Yeah. Yeah.

Matt: Again, you're starting this traveling career. You're starting your career in general. I'd like to know everything. I think our audience would like to know you look. Your 30 years in the future. What does your career look like? How long do you want to do this? What does it look like afterwards? What do you want to end up? Where are you? What do you what's the perfect career picture for you?

Micah Thomas: I'm glad you asked me that. I believe that travel therapy is setting me up for a very good full time position somewhere in the next 5 to 10 years. And the reason I say that is just because of how much experience I'm gaining in such a little bit of time. You know, every time you go to a new facility in a new setting, it's just that much more experience that you get as opposed to being in one position for that amount of time. You probably wouldn't gain as much experience. So for me, I see myself in the next 30 years being either a rehab director or some type of facility director and just using all the experiences I got from not only travel therapy, but also just my full time positions in the future. And I'm just kind of having it all culminate together and being a well-rounded practitioner as well as leader.

Matt: That's awesome.

Sunny: That’s great.

Matt: I hope you get there. Yeah.

Micah Thomas: Thank you.

Sunny: You're on your on your path. I love it. Yeah. And I can see you getting there. I can see.

Micah Thomas: Thank you.

Sunny: What would you say is your most memorable moment so far? I know it's a short you know, you're on your starting your what is it, your second assignment right now?

Micah Thomas: Yeah second assignment.

Sunny: So. Well, so far, what has been a memorable moment?

Micah Thomas: Let's see. I think by far my most memorable moment and I say by far because I think about this patient probably once a week, even though I don't even see her anymore. But there was a lady. She came in. She had a stroke. And I had the privilege of working with her probably for about 85 percent of the time that she was there. It was she was at the facility for about three weeks. And I worked water for about eighty five percent of the time. And there was a lot of struggles. There was a lot of emotions. Not really understanding the disease process of a stroke and you know why things were the way they were. So it was just it was just a lot of figuring out for her and a lot of kind of confiding in not only me, but also the other therapist for help and wanting to get better. But this lady, she worked so hard day in and day out. And from day one, when I evaluated her, she couldn't move her right leg or right arm. And to the day that she got discharged, she actually walked out of the building, got dressed on our own, went through her morning routine. And I just - it was it was so fulfilling for me. And I wasn't even the one who basically was affected by the stroke. It was her. So just being able to see how far she had came, it just was really rewarding for me. And I know that it made her so much, so much more happy. Just the fact that she was able to regain her independence or something that she thought that she would never be able to do again. So that was that was a really good experience for me.

Matt: That's a great memory, man. Let's see if that's going to carry for a long time.

Sunny: Yeah.

Micah Thomas: Definitely.

Matt: Micah, you've been awesome. And I know you've got you've got other things to do. You just started your assignment there and so you've got big plans. Before we let you go, we like to…we'd like to ask this question. And we want to know straight from your heart what is your why?

Micah Thomas: Well, I can give you my Why for OT and then my why for travel. So my why for OT is, like I said before, just the experience of seeing someone regain that independence and something that we take such for granted. Being able to put on your shirt, being able to brush your teeth, being able to, you know, get up out of the bed is…they're just things that we do. They're novel items or novel actions that we do every day. And we just take it for granted. And being able to see someone who thought they would never do that again, regain that that ability. It just is so rewarding for me as well as for them. So I would I would probably use that as my why for choosing occupational therapy. And my why for traveling. Besides being able to travel the country and see all the different places and all the new experiences, I think the why for travel therapy is just the need because a lot of the places that we end up they’re places where patients…they don't need… they either don't receive occupational therapy or it's few and far between. Just because there's not enough of us to go around. So me being able to get to these areas and give skilled services to these individuals, it just it puts them in a position to regain independence instead of a functional decline that they may have if they went without the services. So just knowing that I'm helping someone who otherwise wouldn't receive the help is probably my why for doing travel therapy.

Sunny: That's amazing.

Matt: That's awesome. That's great. Micah, thank you.

Micah Thomas: Yeah.

Sunny: And you are such a great representation of the future of the field. And, I applaud you.

Micah Thomas: Thank you. Thank you.

Matt: I'll tell you what, Sunny, Connie and Micah were great. I loved hearing their why?

Sunny: They were excellent. I loved hearing their why too.

Matt: I really think that…them talking about their journey and their story really hit home. And I think it will hit home with a lot of people, too. Different story, obviously, coming from a couple different places there. But I think I think it will make an impact out there.

Sunny: I agree. You know, hearing two different viewpoints from different points of their career. You had someone who was new and fresh and had a new way of looking at things. But then you also had someone who was very seasoned but still kept that passion and that new way of looking at everyone. And that was just amazing.

Matt: Well, our final guest today is Shane Ritchie. And Shane is a longtime healthcare professional, has spent quite a few years as a contract traveler. So welcome, Shane, and thank you for joining us today.

Shane Ritchie: Thanks for having me.

Sunny: We know that you are on a travel assignment. We can kind of hear the birds out there. So we want to ask you. Tell us about yourself.

Shane Ritchie: I've been traveler here for about seven and a half years, started up. Oh…there my dogs are going at it. Sorry about that.

Sunny: No, no. That's great.

Matt: Hey, that's the way assignments go, man.

Shane Ritchie: I started travel nursing with about 10 months experience. I started out in a rural hospital in West Virginia. And we were on a PCU unit, 10 to 1 ratio. It was kind of brutal, but I learned a lot. And then I just picked up. Yeah, it was fun. It was fun. I learned a lot. It was a great experience. And my wife and I actually met in Kentucky, and she had no interest in becoming a nurse. And I was just like, hey, I think we should probably do this and start maybe doing travel nursing when we get our experience. And that's kind of what we both did. We just traveled together. And right now, we're on assignment in West Virginia, which is our home state. But her home state, my home state is…is from eastern Kentucky there. So….

Sunny: That's amazing.

Shane Ritchie: But yeah, yeah, it's fun. Well, we like it here because of the rivers, the mountains, you know, all the fun stuff we can do outside. So...

Sunny: Yeah.

Matt: I love it. Well, I know, as we were getting ready to talk with you today….we're on a time crunch with you because you're on the way to the beach.

Shane Ritchie: Yeah. On the way to the beach. And you know, the thing about travelers, they usually pay for our vacation and when take them. But this one this one's on us.

Matt: That's appreciated. But I'm envious. We are not on our way to the beach after this. Good for you.

Shane Ritchie: Thank you. Thank you. Like I said, you're more than welcome.

Matt: Thanks. Thanks for the invite.

Sunny: I'm already packing. Thank you so much.

Shane Ritchie: All right.

Matt: So, Shane, you've been I've been an RN for a while. And, you know, people want to know, we want to know, is this something you always want to do? And if not, when did you when did you make when was that the “aha” moment for you to say, you know what? I think I think the RN path is the path for me?

Shane Ritchie: Well, no, it definitely wasn't the first thing I wanted to do. I was I'm from the coal state here and in Kentucky. And…and at one point I was back and forth and in and out of college for criminal justice and psychology and then ended up working with the railroad a little bit. And then we're going to get a coal truck. And my dad's like, no, you're too smart. Go back to school, do something else. There's no money in coal anymore. So it's leaving. And so anyway, my wife and I had kind of talked about it and decided nursing might be the path for us and we could get to see the world together. And so the plan from the beginning of nursing school was become a traveling nurse. And so that we could see the country and kind of, kind of do what we wanted to do together. And we'd made about seven trips cross-country, driving almost every road possible from one side to the other.

Matt: Wow.

Sunny: So that's amazing. And what a story did you like also scrap your way, like so that you have those something, something to take with you, a memorabilia of some sort?

Shane Ritchie: Well, we have and we…we…I started picking up stickers everywhere and I put them all over my safe and full of boxes and just everything. Righ? So we do stickers and we did, just a lot of pictures. I mean, everywhere we go, we try to go and do a lot of the state parks and things like that. But my wife is a big hiker. I blew my knee out a couple of times. So, I mean, I enjoy hiking, but she's like ready to go to the top of Mt. Everest. And I'm like, oh, I'll scale about a little, about half of it maybe.

Sunny: Maybe get a meal for me.

Shane Ritchie: Yeah. Yeah. So what we don't know. We've seen a lot. We've done a lot. It's, it's been great.

Sunny: Yeah. That's awesome. Well, without telling us your why. Because we want to save that for the end. When you think back, what are some of the moments that you would say truly shaped your purpose or your why?

Shane Ritchie: When we get into the why and talk a little bit more about my childhood, you know, and some illnesses that I'd had and…and same thing from that perspective. But when you're traveling, you you'll get to meet people from all different cultures. There's so much diversity, especially when you're going from like rural areas to San Francisco and New York and places like that, which we have worked. And it's just a lot of fun, you know. But you meet people that have such a different viewpoint on healthcare and life in general. And I think that the patients is the biggest driver for us, because you get to network and you get to meet so many people from so many different walks of life. I would say, oh, I've got a dozen stories of things that have just solidified the fact that I'm happy that I came into this business versus, you know, sticking with coal or the railroad. Right?

Sunny: Yeah.

Shane Ritchie: But not, not that I'm knocking them. Those are great fields. But, you know, I definitely love the nursing field.

Matt: And you guys are a pretty unique couple. I know you said that you're your wife was a nurse because you told us. We were speaking the other day and she's no longer an RN, correct?

Shane Ritchie: No, sir. That's correct. In January, I just finished her nurse practitioner.

Sunny: That's amazing.

Shane Ritchie: …and began working here. And we have kind of did this journey together. We became nurses and put each other through school and then put her through her BSN. Then she put me through mine and then her masters. And now I've got ten months left on mine. So it's been good fun.

Matt: Now, what would a conversation piece to say? Not only have you been across the country several times, you got a lot of stickers to prove it, but you're also continuing your education while you're doing all the travelling. And that's pretty impressive.

Shane Ritchie: Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you.

Matt: Is that something that you always had set out to do, that you weren't gonna be satisfied with your, where your education was when you started traveling? Was your, was your intent always to further your education even while on assignments?

Shane Ritchie: No, not actually. When we first became nurses, we were like, man, we can travel nurse with…two years experience. And we thought, OK, this is great, right? And you're out here seeing the country. You're making really good career. And then, you know, when everything started pushing towards the magnet status, we thought we'd better get out, we better get our BSN, we'd better get our bachelors. And so we started that journey. And then once we got there, we were like, wait a minute, there's traveling nurse practitioner jobs.

Sunny: Yeah.

Shane Ritchie: We need to become nurse practitioners and become providers so that, you know, you get to see it from a completely different perspective at that point.

Matt: Oh, yeah.

Shane Ritchie: And we thought about maybe once we get to that provider role do travel, travel jobs overseas, you know, and. Yeah. And not that we couldn't do that as nurses. You know, we've been offered Guam and all kinds of places. But we we thought that maybe doing some mercy ships, things like that from the provider perspective. So that's one of the driving forces for why we've been able to do it and what's given us the ability to afford a lot of that because we pay for our school out of pocket. Most of it is travel, nursing, you know, because the compensation is pretty great. And then, you know, you get to see the whole world, too.

Matt: So we're gonna have to bring you back when you get your degree done, because we want to know your journey beyond this. You guys got big dreams. We love it.

Shane Ritchie: Absolutely.

Matt: And I think people would be really interested to hear how you guys are going to live that dream beyond where you're at today. I think that's awesome.

Sunny: Well, and also, you know, the importance of staying relevant within your career choice, you know, because you had to know what's going on in the healthcare world. You had to know what was going on, the changes in your career. So that way you knew to stay relevant, you know, within the nursing field. And that's what you did. And that's amazing. That's not what everyone can do. So, you know, kudos to both of you.

Shane Ritchie: Well, thank you. Thank you.

Sunny: You know, and going to lines with that throughout you telling us about your pursuit of education, you and your wife, you know, you kept talking about how you're pursuing that…the mercy and wanting to deliver care, not because it's a job, but because it's a part of you, you know? That's what's resonating with me when you speak. And so travel is a different beast for people who don't understand it. And for our listeners out there, you know, you're, you could be moving every 13 weeks, but also a traveler. You know, you could be floating, you could be, you know, as a nurse and you could get…sometimes you get a little I hate to say this a little bit, the grunt work, because you might be getting those last minute admissions or, you know, doing some of the tough work there. So how do you keep that purpose in front of you?

Shane Ritchie: I'll be honest. It's for me, it's, it's pretty easy. And every job that I go into, I keep an open mind. And that would be my advice for any new traveler or inexperienced traveler who may have had a bad experience somewhere. If you're walking into a hospital as a traveler. 90 percent of the time they need you and they're going to appreciate you being there. There's 10 percent of the time that you may see some of that jealousy or that envy, but you have to understand that the staff workers who were there obviously have things going on in their lives, not…that are preventing them from becoming travelers. So you just have to keep that open mind because the patients still need you. And I look at it from regardless of how many admissions I get, how bad the patients are, I'm getting them at their worst and they need me at my best. And ultimately it…well, you know, you almost have to wear a mask when you go to work sometimes. And I'll tell my patients, you know, they'll be very apologetic sometimes. I'm so sorry. I know you're busy and I'm, I'm pretty transparent with them. And I'm like, listen, if I saw you somewhere else, you'd probably invite me over for dinner. You'd be a completely different person. It is OK. I have you at your worst. You're going to get me at my best. And this is my best even outside of here. And that's just how you have to be, especially as a traveler, because you are going to be working with different people and working with different cultures. And…and the patients understand. So we just have to be there for them, you know what I mean? Ultimately at the end of the day.

Sunny: Yes. And I think I just found our next slogan for a T-shirt, because that was amazing.

Matt: That's great advice to you. If you could talk and if we were talking to a person thinking about getting into traveling, that would be that's a heck of a piece of advice right there. So you've been you've done how many assignments on top of your head?

Shane Ritchie: Well, every 13 weeks for about six years. I'm not, I could probably do the math. But I've got a lot. And, you know, I mean, my best I was at…I loved California when we got to California. We were we were working two jobs out there, actually, at the same time. And Folsom was a wonderful place. But I don't know. I've got a lot.

Matt: So. So looking back at those six years in California included, what's the most memorable assignment? And one you look back on and say that this was this was an assignment that that impacted me, there was it was a great one. And I learned so much or it wasn't so great, but I made such an impact to my patients or it was something that just sticks with you. If you think about if you had to someone up and in your book of Shane that's coming out soon after you finish your degree, you know. What would you look back and say, this was my most memorable assignment and why?

Shane Ritchie: I probably got two actually.

Matt: Great.

Shane Ritchie: One…one was when we were in Hackensack, New Jersey. I love that place. It is a wonderful place to work. We were right across the, from Manhattan. We could see the skyline. We were in the city every week. But I had, I had a patient who was you know, he was terminal. And it was it was sad. And he had spoken to me the first day that I had him as a patient. And he said that one of the things that bothered him the most was that people stopped smiling and laughing around him because of how sick he was. And it really bothered him. And it really bothered me because I was like, you know, as a healthcare provider, we you know, we believe in a holistic approach and laughter is a part of that. Laughter is healing. And so later on that day, I came back and when I came in, we were, you know, I had some music playing. And because I borrowed a C.D. player from the unit and I took it in and we were playing some music, just soft music. And it just brought a smile to my face. And his mother was there, sweet little thing from Germany. And we danced and he teared up and he thanked me so much and told me that he had not seen his mom smile like that. And he hasn't smiled like that in so long. And it was just, I was just being goofy, just trying to cheer him up, you know, and not really thinking much about it. And it just impacted them so much. She ended up going home, making some like roasted homemade almonds, brought him back to the hospital, she was wonderful. But. But anyway, it just it really made his day. And I think about him every single time I think about having a bad day, like, you know what? This is why we're here.

Sunny: Yeah, right.

Shane Ritchie: It's, it's for that patient care that one to one understanding. So that would be a job that truly impact a lot of…of, I guess, the soul searching you do as a nurse. And looking at another job, though, from a personal perspective, when we were out in California, it was April Fool's Day 2014, actually, when I met another traveler. And I’ve met a lot of travelers. Don’t get me wrong, there's a lot of them. But I met another traveler who I consider a brother today. He has become a part of my family and he still lives in California. We talk every day. Actually, he was our roommate out there for about a year and a half. And so we became such good friends. And just I don't know. That's one of the things that you do, you know, I mean, like he's probably closer to me than a lot of the friends that I grew up with. And so that's something that is really special to me, too, is that is the networking and the friendship that you can make along the way. And he and I work on inventions and our side time, so, so were burdened with a lot of good things.

Sunny: Hopefully I'm going to see on Shark Tank.

Shane Ritchie: All right. Well, I've got to get the business first. Let me come on there with an idea. Tried to. Now you've got a bird's eye view when you got to start a business. We want a business. I was like, okay, we're trying. But yeah, I don't I'm going to. Does it start? You'd have to bring me back for another segment.

Matt: Oh, yeah. You're coming back. You come back. You definitely come back. We haven't. We need to let you continue on with your beach adventure and get that degree. We'll bring you back, though, and so you can tell us more stories for sure.

Sunny: You might have your own series if you're not careful.

Shane Ritchie: I'm good, man. Bring me on. We’ll call it the Shane series. I'm just playing.

Sunny: I’m not. I love it. You know, we're wrapping up here. And while we do our whole point of Cardium and what we love about travelers and what we want to hear from them is the whole purpose and why we do what we do and…the healthcare field and what everyone does. You know, the reason why we do everything, our purpose. And so this is the big moment. This is where I want to hear. Matt and I want to hear what's your why?

Shane Ritchie: Ok. When I was a little boy, I was diagnosed with a rare hemorrhaging and kidney disorder and spent a lot of time in and out of the hospitals. At one point, I think I was 190 to 200 pounds and I was like four or five years old. It was just, I was feeling, my organs were failing, multiple blood transfusions, just all kinds of stuff going on. And I remember how great the healthcare workers to me when I was growing up. They would come and go. And it wasn't just the healthcare workers it was just hospital staff in general. But my nurses were great. The doctors were always great. And, and I had this one particular person who would come in and they would they would play Candyland and just take time out of their day to day play Chutes and Ladders and all kinds of stuff with me when I was a kid. And beside me was this little boy. And he was terminal. And they gave him a good prognosis and he was going home. And while he was going home, I remember watching him walk into my room and I don't remember all the details, but that was about five years old. But I can remember seeing him come in with a patch over his eye, his balloon and his flowers. And he brought em in and he gave me a hug. And he and I were friends. And he sat down on the table and he said, I get to go home today, but I know that you may not get to because he had a better prognosis than I did. And he went home. And later in life, I found out that he passed away a week later. And, and so it was just super sad to me. But the care that I had received was just exceptional. And, and so as I got older, you know, I was going back and forth and back and forth and, and kind of…nursing… nursing I had come into and I'd come out and I'd come into I'd come out with my ideas of thinking of what I wanted to do. And then I finally took the plunge when I met my wife, because I thought, you know, this is where we can truly make a difference. And it doesn't matter where you are. Nursing is nursing. And you brought that one to one interaction with that patient. And it's eight hours, twelve hours, 16 hours a day where you're making a true difference. And the care that we give to those patients makes all the difference on how their day is in and out, regardless of their prognosis, regardless of how they feel. What we do makes a difference internally and externally for that patient. So that's a big reason, big driving force for what got me into healthcare. That was multiple reasons for why I've stayed. And, you know, my wife and I have been able to travel, have good careers. And, and, you know, I will tell you this, at one point, I was kind of down thinking, man, nursing is just brutal. Right? You're on your feet all the time and it's just really hard work. And then you have those moments where you look back and you think, wait a minute, I made a difference here and I made a difference there. And when my father got sick, he was terminal. And I was so thankful for the knowledge that I'd gained over the years to be able to provide the care to him that I don't think about to pick any other thing that it would have ever been as rewarding as nursing has for me, especially travel nursing, because I've learned so much from so many different people everywhere. I don't know. It's just the right for me was probably because of the care that I had received growing up so many times in the hospital that it's just kind of driven me to be able to return that and to give that back.

Sunny: That's a beautiful. And I think you're doing that and probably tenfold. And that's amazing. And I think that probably all the patients that have met you are probably pretty blessed, because I know that I'm touched and blessed just to have met you today.

Shane Ritchie: Thank you. Thank you.

Matt: Yeah. Thank you Shane. That's a noble cause, noble cause, man. And that's, I think that we, we've heard that today and it's a great way to cap it off. I don't think anything Sunny and I could say that could cap it off better. And we really do appreciate your time and we appreciate what you’re doin’ out there. And the families and those patients appreciate it, too. So thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Shane Ritchie: Thank you, guys.

Matt: Go got to get to the beach. We got it. We've got to get on the road. We're not going to the beach and…we're going to wrap it up with you today. So thank you again, Shane, for joining us. And we'll have you back on our episode in the future. OK?

Shane Ritchie: Absolutely.

Matt: Deal. Deal.

Sunny: Thank you, have fun.

Matt: Thank you, Shane. That's going to wrap. Wrap it up for today's podcast. We'd love to hear from you. So please drop us a review and let us know your thoughts on today's topic or anything else you'd like to discuss. Sunny, we'll be back.

Sunny: OK. Thanks.

Voice Over: Until next time you've been listening to Cardium from Aureus Medical with your host Sunny and Matt, we're the podcast that gets to the heart of travel, healthcare. To subscribe access show notes or to learn more, visit Cardium podcast dot com. C A R D I U M podcast dot com or wherever you're listening. Be sure to write us, review and subscribe. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time.

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