Travel Nurse Contract #2: Washington, D.C.

After six months, our time in Washington, D.C. has come to an end! I worked night shift in the float pool for two 13 week contracts. I floated to 12 different units, mostly Covid units, but also surgical, IMCU, cardiac, oncology, rehabilitation, and PCU. We are back home in Greenville, SC for the month before I start assignment number 3!

Burnout due to Covid-19

I think the hardest part of this assignment, has been the burn out that I have experienced as well as working with nurses who are also suffering from burn out. And honestly, I think we are moving into a phase where there is more than nursing burn out. I feel nurses are now suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I really feel for the staff nurses who were forced into Covid and are not being properly compensated for it. I know everyone is quick to say “leave and go travel,” but traveling isn’t always an option for people and it comes with it’s own downfalls as well. The Covid Unit nurses were stressed and it very much became an “every man for themselves” situation. When it came down to an emergency etc. they would help, but there just wasn’t the normal nursing teamwork I was use too. This made for some long and hard shifts when everything is new and you have 4-5 Covid positive patients to care for. The positive side I guess, is I really grew in my nursing skills and learned to use what resources I had to do as much as I could on my own.

Thoughts on Extending

I never intended to extend a contract honestly, at least not in the beginning. Bradley and I had planned to always leave after the 13 week contract in order to see and experience new places. However, by the time we got to D.C. and were settled, I was over half way through the contract. We still had places we wanted to see and explore (within reason due to Covid-19). I also was for the most part, enjoying my job and was settled into my position at the hospital.  Another factor is RV living. It takes time and effort to move the RV to a new location, secure a new spot, etc. We decided instead of going through the stress of me finding a new assignment, moving, etc. we would just enjoy another 3 months in D.C.

Overall, I am very happy I chose to extend. We loved D.C. and definitely would consider going back! I did hit a point at work where I was really regretting extending tho. As I said before, nurses are burnt out. And that can come across as them not being as helpful or kind as they may usually be. This lead to me really becoming depressed and anxious at work. At first, I felt it was just this hospital. But logically, I know it’s everywhere. And a lot of it is Covid. The added PPE + high patient acuity + high ratio/short staffing is mentally, physically, and emotionally draining.

I also was quite isolated being a float traveler because I never got to know anyone I worked with. However, by the end of the contract, I started to talk to people more and would sit at the nurses station instead of a cubby, which made things a little less isolating. My mangager overall was also traveler friendly and gave me a fair schedule. I was actually offered a third extension, but declined because Bradley and I were ready for the next adventure (and to be home for a while.) One thing I would do differently however, is ask for more money on an extension. I felt like I was making good money so I didn’t ask, but I learned that the third extension the nurses received a considerable amount more.

Washington, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial

We loved D.C.! Even with limits due to Covid, we were able to see monuments, try out some new restaurants, and explore two different National Parks, and go to the Smithsonian National Zoo! If you have never been to D.C., I highly recommend going. There is so much to see and experience there. We hope to go back again when restrictions are lifted and we could see the museums, etc.

Shenandoah National Park


To learn more about my thoughts and experiences as a travel RN:

My First 2 weeks as a Travel RN

Travel Nurse Adventures: The Face Palm Moments

My First Travel Nurse Contract: My thoughts and experiences