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“Virtually” Living the California Dream

Cutting-Edge Clinical Techniques, Outdoors Across the U.S., Taking (Lots of) Time Off, Travel Nurse Pay California

Since becoming a travel nurse in 2014, Glenn has had an amazing run. While in Seattle he had the opportunity to witness “pretty cool” cutting-edge virtual reality technology that allows neurosurgeons to “essentially walk through the patient’s brain to get a better look at the pathology and sensitive areas such as nerves, blood vessels, and tissue prior to surgery.”  In Dallas, he marveled as ROSA robots implanted EEGs, cutting the standard operating time in half.  And his days off haven’t been half bad either. They may not resemble a sci-fi flick quite so much but still read like something scripted by Hollywood. Glenn has kayaked across the crystalline waters of the San Juan Islands, tasted his favorite “well-balanced full-bodied reds” in the fabled Napa Valley, and picked up creative hobbies like the cello and designing beautiful beaded bracelets.  Despite the hustle and bustle of his days, Glenn remains remarkably Zen about his lifestyle as a travel nurse. “Every assignment for me has been kinda serendipitous. I don’t know where I am going to go next. It usually just unfolds and I just ride the wave.”

With this laid-back attitude Glenn fits right into the culture of his latest state of residence, California, as comfortably as a trusty pair of year-round flip-flops. It’s a big change for a man who was born in Trinidad and grew up in New York, but he has come to enjoy his new home immensely.  So far Oakland has been his favorite spot, because in his words “I like the diversity, I like the cultural mix, I like the restaurants, I like the fact that all different races, ethnic groups, religious preferences, all kind of live here in harmony.”  He has had his sights set on the West Coast for awhile, and when a coworker in Texas told him that she was able to get an expedited CA license he jumped at the chance to do the same. He contacted Aya and “the rest is history. I got my license in nine days.” There is much he loves about the Bay Area, not the least of which is the realization of so many California clichés (Glenn still can’t quite believe that he works with a surgeon who also owns a vineyard.)  But there is so much more of the Golden State to see. He believes “you get a lot of bang for your buck. So many cities that are so unique. Having that license gives you so many options within one state… plus it pays well.”

With the expansive lure of the glittering West before him, Glenn has no definite plans for where he is headed next. Thanks to his decade of service as a Navy Hospital Corpsman, he has friends scattered across the entire country and has made a point to find assignments near them. Having lived all over the world, from his duty stations in Newport, Rhode Island, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and Roda, Spain as well as humanitarian missions to Africa and beyond, he is comfortable adapting to any environment.  Experiencing new cultures is important to him and “one of the things I really like about travel nursing is I build my vacation into my contract. That was something I couldn’t really do when I was full time. I really like the fact that I can grind hard for six weeks because I have a one-week vacation coming up.” Just a few months ago he visited Barbados “and was really impressed with the scenery, the beaches, the people, the food” and he recently returned from a trip to see family in Trinidad. While soaking up the sun on a Caribbean Island is undoubtedly wonderful, his vacations are actually not Glenn’s favorite part of travel nursing. As the son of two OR RNs, his calling runs bone deep, and ultimately it is the continuous learning that new clinical environments provide that keeps him going. “That is what I like most about travel nursing. I am building a tool kit of skills that I am taking from all of these assignments and making myself and my practice as an OR nurse better.”