L&D Nurse, Grandmother, Plucky Midwesterner
Softly falling snow, warm light and bright chatter are likely the images conjured when you think of a happy Midwestern Christmas Eve. Aya Healthcare travelers far and wide are experiencing every climate and tradition this country has to offer this holiday season, but in the case of the Murphree family that snow covered Midwestern scene is not far off from reality. Aya nurse Jayne Murphree owns her family home in Wisconsin and continues the tradition of the entire sprawling gang coming together the night before Christmas. Her home is inviting, “a generational place where everyone comes back. Friends from when I grew up, my kids’ friends.” The family gathers,presents are opened, good food abundantly enjoyed, love and laughter shared.
Jayne hadn’t considered traveling away from this idyllic domestic existence until a few years ago. “Travel nursing was something I said I would never do. I didn’t want to not know the doctors and the policies.” After years as an L&D nurse that all changed with the restructuring of the org chart at her last permanent job. Jayne’s role as a nurse supervisor was eliminated. After a summer spent playing with her grandchildren and volunteering at an equestrian camp for the disabled Jayne decided to give traveling a try. She was nervous until her son pointed out “you have raised four kids and all these grand kids…you can handle anything for 13 weeks.”Anyone familiar with her history, her “two litters” of children ranged in age from 41 to 25, her decades of rearing grandchildren, and the incredible work ethic that drove her to work Monday through Friday at a family practice clinic and weekends at the hospital,would be inclined to agree with him.
For the past 2 and a half years Jayne and her golden retriever, Miley, have traveled around the Midwest, usually staying within 3-4 hours of Jayne’s Wisconsin based brood. Her recruiter, Solena,“takes good care of me. In Minnesota Solena found me a condo on a lake. There were deer, swans and geese, a raccoon that came every night and ate on my deck and a squirrel without a tail that came every day.” This lovely spectacle is one of many Jayne is grateful to have experienced on the road.
For someone so deeply rooted, who for years had been delivering a second generation of babies in her home town, Jayne acclimated quickly to the more transient life of a traveler. As a perm nurse she always worked days but after transitioning to nights she has found that her new schedule has its advantages. Fewer managers tend to be present.“Now I work a job where I don’t have to deal with anybody like me” Jayne cracks. Her other favorite thing about working the late shift? “Moms are more apt to share at night. They want to sleep so they ask if you can take the babies and I’m like Oh yeah, you betcha.” Trying out the night shift hasn’t been Jayne’s only brush with the unfamiliar. Learning new techniques, new technologies and working with new people have in fact become Jayne’s favorite part of the travel nurse experience. “I usually learn something every time I go to work. Sometimes it’s nursing and sometimes it’s life.” Despite the refreshing novelty each day as a travel nurse brings one thing has remained constant for Jayne throughout the years. Her love for her small charges has never wavered. For someone who has seen thousands of deliveries Jayne is still touchingly reverent of the process of birth. "I have been with my all of my grandchildren when they were born. Even with all the babies I have seen every one is still a miracle."