A Day in the life of a CVOR Travel Nurse

Posted On February 23, 2018

Day in the life of a CVOR Travel NurseCynthia (or as most people know her, “Cid”) quit her job as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in her early 40s because she had a calling to obtain her Registered Nurse (RN) degree in her heart. And quite literally, hearts were calling Cid – she went on to become a cardiovascular operating room nurse, and it’s been an adventure ever since. With her dog in tow and her son’s college education funded in cash, Cid is living her best life.

Describe why you wanted to become a nurse, and how it’s led to you wanting to be a travel nurse.

I had a baby at home when I began to pursue a medical career, and I worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse for 13 years in a doctor’s office so I could be home nights and weekends with my family. Fast forward to becoming a Registered Nurse, and my son graduating high school – I decided to try out travel nursing so I could spend some time with my extended family in California. I moved to Missouri when I was 25, so traveling allows me to go back “home” for a few months at a time. Not only that, but traveling offers phenomenal money – I’m paying for my son’s college education in cash.

As a traveler, you pick out awesome locations to visit – unlike a vacation where your time is limited, 13 weeks on assignment enables you to go to all the cool destinations the area has to offer. I take my dog with me, and choose contracts when I want to work during the year (I took three weeks between contracts off for my birthday). I made good money as a perm nurse, but I make really good money as a CVOR travel nurse; I can take care of my financial business in a way I never could before. My son gets to visit me on every assignment and see the country with me.

What made you interested in CVOR travel nurse specialty?

The first surgery I observed was a heart surgery, and it was the most profound thing I’d ever seen – I knew that’s what I had to do. You can stay alive without a lot of organs, but if your heart stops working…that’s it. I get to see firsthand when a heart is repaired and starts beating again. A good day is a really good day, but a bad day is a really bad day. Luckily, good days outweigh the bad days by a lot, and every day I go to work is amazing.

How is being a travel CVOR nurse different than permanent staff?

No drama. I roll in, I’m there 13 weeks, and then I roll out. No politics, and no personalities ever really get under my skin because I know I’m only going to be there for a limited time. People are happy to see you [travel nurses] because they know you’re there to help.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Watching a patient’s heart start beating again during surgery. I tell people before they go in for surgery that I’m a travel nurse and I get to go all over the country for surgeries like this – meaning people everywhere live through experiences like theirs every day, and that’s calming for patients. I’m comforted when I comfort them.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Updating the family when things aren’t going well. The very hardest thing is when an old man is holding his wife’s hand before surgery, crying. I try to not cry when patients cry, but at the same time you have to feel it with them. I treat every patient as though they were my own mother being operated on. The day I lose empathy for my patients and their families is the day I find a new career.

Describe your typical day in the life of a CVOR travel nurse.

I live about three minutes from the hospital at my current assignment, so I can roll out of bed and get to work. My scrubs are hospital-laundered, so I get dressed there. Next, I get the room ready, take care of patient charts, and verify everything is as it should be. I see the patient, interview them, get consents signed, prepped for surgery, administer any meds, and talk to the family to answer their questions. Then I take the patient back to surgery and hold their hand until they go to sleep. Anesthesiology takes a little while to set up and start working, meanwhile they’re still awake and scared, so I do everything I can to comfort them. I call the doctor and then we start. I get to do a variety of procedures all day, which keeps things interesting.

How has working with Cirrus Medical Staffing enriched your experience as a travel nurse?

I picked Ryan Wiley out of hundreds of phone calls from recruiters because he’s down to earth, and he knew I was anxious about becoming a travel nurse. Keeping this in mind, he sent me to a really great hospital for my first assignment in Texas for a perfect introduction to travel. Next, I went to California to visit my family there. I did stray from Cirrus and worked with another medical staffing company for one assignment, and that was awful; it made me realize how much I love working with Ryan. He always gets back to me on time and doesn’t sugar coat information so I have the facts. A lot of recruiters will tell you anything just to get you to take an assignment with them, but his assessment is always honest and totally on the money, helping me to land my dream travel nurse job through Cirrus. I trust him, which is crucially important in a profession that means packing up your livelihood and taking it on the road.

Inspired by Cid’s story and want to start your own adventure in cardiovascular nursing? Call 800-299-8132 or fill out our application to get started!