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Meet Marshallene: She’s Not Your Grandma’s Grandma

Taking (Lots of) Time Off, Travel = No More Hospital Politics, Travel Nurse Pay

Marshallene’s attitude toward travel nursing, and life, is simple. “I call the shots,” she says. A fierce and funny grandmother of four, Marshallene provided her travel nursing philosophy, among other pearls of wisdom, during a long drive to surprise her granddaughter at a ballet recital. She was happy to make the 9-hour trip to see the performance, because as she puts it, “Grandbabies change your life.”

Marshallene is no stranger to life-changing events. She left Bermuda to come to the United States for nursing school in her forties and pivoted again when she began travel nursing 15 years after that. Having spent the last several years traveling she says, “I wouldn’t go back to a permanent job if they paid me. All the paraphernalia, politics and complaints. I ain’t got time for nonsense and I’m too old for the foolishness.” Travel nursing allows Marshallene the chance to step out of the day-to-day staff nurse grind and get back to basics. She’s in it to help people and she cares about the patients, not the politics. Whenever she steps into a new hospital she thinks, “I’m there for a season and a reason.”

And that reason is not what you might think. Sure, she’d love to head all the way out to California from her home base in Charlotte, NC and if she can talk her husband into coming with her, she’s going to do just that. But for her, the appeal isn’t visiting far-off locales or crossing landmarks off her bucket list, it’s that travel nursing leaves her completely in charge. She doesn’t work call, weekends or holidays. And after getting her first Christmas Day off in years, she knew travel nursing was the life for her. The money doesn’t hurt either. During one of her recent assignments a coworker asked her if she’d consider working permanently at the hospital. As she puts it, “I’m not a sugar coater.” She told this friend, “Uhhhhh no because you all don’t pay enough. My incentive would be $700 more a week.” In Marshallene’s mind, “It isn’t rocket science” — you don’t settle for less when you can make more money AND basically write your own schedule. Ultimately, it’s about options. “I like the flexibility and the freedom of being able to choose and say ‘Yes, no, maybe so,’” Marshallene affirms.

She plans to ride that freedom wave right into retirement…well, sort of anyway. She’s due to retire in two years but “GG” (Gorgeous Grandma as her brood calls her) isn’t ready to settle down completely. “I tell my husband I’ll probably break down to one assignment a year because I don’t feel like a retiree and I don’t look like a retiree.” Anyone who meets her can agree with that! Marshallene is a firecracker whose fire isn’t nearly ready to go out and her patients, family and the travel nursing world in general are all the better for it.