Travel Nursing Isn’t Scary — Take It From Someone Who Was 110% Nervous to Do It

November 19, 2018 | Clinician Stories

Travel nurse Danish standing with the New York skyline behind him.

Our travel nurse Danish (pronounced Dawn-ish) is extra. No, really! He was an extra on seasons 8 and 9 of the series Shameless. He’s been a nurse for three years and is currently on his first travel nursing job in New York City. While he isn’t afraid to try new things, he admits that he was 110% nervous to start traveling.

“It really didn’t hit me that I was leaving Chicago until about three days before my flight,” Danish reveals. “Partially because I got the job offer so quickly. Then next thing you know I was putting in my two-week notice!”

In addition to leaving his close-knit family in Chicago, where he worked as a staff nurse, Danish wondered how welcoming the staff on his new unit would be. “I didn’t really know anyone in New York,” he said. “I adored my Chicago coworkers so leaving them behind was hard.”

But Danish didn’t face his fears alone and set out for his travel nursing job in New York with confidence. “My recruiter, Audrey, has helped me so much throughout this whole journey,” he explains. “I’m blown away by how much she and the rest of the Aya team helped me transition from staff nurse life to travel nurse life. Aya Healthcare is the way to go if you want an agency that truly cares about you and looks out for your well-being.”

The travel aspect of the job is great, but Danish also enjoys how travel nursing differs from being a staff nurse. “You don’t have to be a part of all the politics,” he says. “And if you don’t love the hospital, floor or even coworkers, you’ll be on your next adventure in no time!”

What advice does Danish have for anyone on the fence about travel nursing? “My suggestion is to just do it! Take advantage of the fact that we have a career that allows us to travel wherever we want! You’ll regret it later in life if you don’t. If you’re nervous, bring a nurse friend that’s interested in travel nursing, too, so you aren’t alone.”

Ready for something extra? Join Aya today! We’ve got your back — and we’ll be there with you every step of the way.


Extra, Extra — Read All About Him

Want to know more about Danish and his experience as a first-time travel nurse? Read the full interview below!

How long have you been a nurse?

I’ve been a nurse for 3 years now. It’s crazy, I feel like I just graduated nursing school, and now here I am, halfway done with my first travel nurse assignment contract in New York City!

What made you decide to try travel nursing?

Growing up, my family and I always traveled around the world. My dad works for American Airlines, so we’ve definitely taken advantage of his benefits. After growing up in the Chicago area and working in downtown Chicago, I knew I wanted to take advantage of my youth and live out my 20s traveling. Now is the perfect time!

How is the travel nursing experience different and/or better than being a staff nurse?

The travel nursing experience is so different from being a staff member. The main thing is, you don’t have to be a part of all the politics involved in the hospital or on your unit. Also, if you end up disliking the hospital, floor, or even coworkers, you don’t have to re-sign your contract and you’ll be on your next adventure in no time.

In your opinion, what are the 3 best things about travel nursing?

  1. You’re literally going wherever you want and getting paid!
  2. The pay, obviously.
  3. Meeting so many amazing people and growing as a nurse and as a person, really figuring yourself out!

Were you nervous before starting your first travel assignment? If so, what made you nervous?

Yes, 110%! It really didn’t hit me that I was leaving Chicago until about 3 days before, partially because everything happened so fast in terms of getting a job offer, then next thing you know, I was putting in my 2-week notice. Change happened so quickly.

I may or may not have been on the verge of having a mental breakdown the night before I flew out to New York City with my mind filled with a bunch of ‘what-ifs’ and the fear of not meeting anyone or making any friends. I didn’t really know anyone in New York, I kind of just jumped into it, and to travel nurse alone, it was scary. I wasn’t sure if my new coworkers would be nice or not, I adored my Chicago coworkers (shout out to them!) and that was probably one of the hardest things having to leave them behind. I also didn’t know if I would like the facility and unit I worked at or if I would be successful. The biggest thing was the fear the unknown – “Your biggest fear carries your greatest growth” – a quote that I wholeheartedly believe in. It’s scary taking the jump to start travel nursing, but I have to say, it was the best jump I have ever made.

Has Aya had your back throughout the process? If yes, please explain what the Aya team has done to make you feel supported. 

Definitely! My recruiter, Audrey, has helped me so much throughout this whole journey. Everything from telling me about potential jobs that I’d be interested in, to overnight sending me info packets on how to apply for different state licenses, and to even randomly calling just to check in to make sure I was doing okay. I was blown away by how much she and the rest of the Aya team has put into helping us nurses transition from the staff nurse life to travel nurse life.

My family and I are close, sometimes a little too close, so when I told them that I wanted to start travel nursing across the country, it was hard for them. Audrey went above and beyond and even offered to talk to my parents to calm them down and tell them all about travel nursing and give them reassurance that travel nursing is a legitimate career and I’m not getting in over my head.

Also, my compliance coordinator Tessa, was extremely helpful too. After working shift after shift at my staff nurse job back in Chicago, I get a call from Tessa telling me that per the facility that I’m going to be working at, I need to get a physical, blood work, drug test, everything that I basically don’t want to do after working 3 nights in a row. She was thoughtful enough to set everything up for me, and all I had to do was show up when it was good for me, and everything would be faxed on over to the facility, I felt so spoiled not having to do anything but show up! Aya Healthcare is the way to go if you want an agency that truly does care about you and looks out for your well-being.

What do you do on your days off?

I either explore all day or binge watch Friends on Netflix, there is no in-between. I love exploring and wandering, and what better place to do that than the biggest city in America?! When I flew to NYC, I got to my new apartment at about 11pm and had the next day off before I started my first day the following day. I didn’t want to miss any chance of exploring, so what better way than to wake up at the crack of dawn and go on Good Morning America?!

It was so surreal that I live in New York City now and here I am, on live TV on GMA! I’ve also done numerous other activities, such as on my way home from work, I passed in front of Wicked on Broadway, and had asked the box office if there were any available tickets for the show that starts in 30 minutes, next thing you know, I’m sitting in the orchestra section at Wicked on Broadway!!! (They wanted to sell tickets, so they were discounted, a win win!)

I’ve also gone to a couple museums, most notably the 9/11 museum. This weekend, I’m going on a doors-off helicopter experience and will be flying over Manhattan, I’m SO EXCITED!!! Once I come back to NYC after Thanksgiving to finish out the last 4 weeks of my contract, I’ll basically be reenacting Elf & Home Alone 2 all of December and overdosing on hot chocolate. I can’t wait to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center and see the light shows, too!

What do you love about New York?

I love how big the city is and that there is always something to do! I’m a people person (sometimes), and living in the most populated city in America, there’s plenty of them! I love being able to explore everywhere, whether it be going to the museum on a rainy day, shopping on 5th Avenue, going to Times Square, seeing a Broadway show, this city has so much to offer to people who love to travel.

Also, the food! I think I’ve eaten more this past month and a half I’ve been here than I have all summer. The only thing that’s keeping me in somewhat shape is that I walk everywhere. When my friend visited me a couple weeks ago, we explored Brooklyn and had walked all the way from Brooklyn, over the famous bridge, and into Manhattan from Wall Street all the way back up to Times Square, a whopping 16 miles! This city has so much to explore in every borough and neighborhood, there’s still so much to do and I feel like 13 weeks isn’t enough time to explore it all.

Anything else you’d like to share? Fun facts about yourself?

If I can give one piece of advice to other nurses out there who have always been interested in travel nursing, but their mind is filled with a bunch of questions, my suggestion is to just do it! Take advantage of the fact that we have a career that allows us to travel wherever we want to! You’ll regret it later in life if you never at least try it! If you’re nervous, bring a nurse friend that’s had interest in travel nursing too so you won’t be alone. It’ll make the transition easier knowing someone is going through the same life change as you. I’m always available too if anyone has questions!

Fun facts:

  • I went skydiving this summer in Hawaii and my photographer’s parachute didn’t open and he had to use his emergency parachute.
  • I was a background member on Shameless in Season 8 & Season 9.
  • I’m terrified of these New York pigeons.
  • I ran into Rami Malek, star of Bohemian Rhapsody, while I was at The Plaza Hotel, okay, casual!!!!
  • I like photography too, so taking pictures with New York City as my backdrop, it’s gorgeous!
  • I actually HATE the winter after December. That being said, I’m leaving New York and going to Cali for my next assignment!! Will definitely miss NYC a lot, would like to come back once the temp stays at least 50 degrees.
  • Follow me on my journey with my photography on Instagram!: @dondonhasan.
Leave a Comment

Your comment will be reviewed by our moderators before it is posted.