“Keep it up and keep on going!”
“Everything is awesome” pretty much sums up the world view of this happy-go-lucky travel nursing duo. Annette and Sam met in Chicago and began traveling together at the beginning of the year. They have already traversed the country once, from New York City to San Francisco, faithfully documenting their travels on social media. They hope to inspire more nurses to travel and their enthusiasm is infectious. As Annette explains “we are the happiest we’ve ever been. We are living the coolest life in the world.”
As they sort through their photos while recounting their travels they have a hard time choosing a favorite memory. Sam recounts that their apartment in New York “had a rooftop view of the whole skyline. Every day we could go out there and think oh my gosh” and asserts “we would never have lived in Manhattan if we didn’t do travel nursing, I can tell you that much.” Annette reminisces about a beloved spot across the water in Williamsburg “this little sand patch you can lay on and eat your food and literally watch the sunset” over Manhattan, calling it by far her “favorite place in the world.” They look forward to exploring their new turf in the Bay Area, where, according to Sam they are living in “a totally awesome Airbnb in Russian Hill. We took the housing stipend and it has been working out amazingly.”
They have made the most of life both on and off the job. From “silent disco” parties where they danced the night away listening to headphones, to cruising central park and catching Broadway shows, to learning new medical techniques, they are always on the go. They may be having the time of their lives, but these two altruistic souls do not feel complete if they aren’t doing as much good in the world as possible. They spent the second day of their first assignment on the West Coast seeking out ways to volunteer, and found a gym that teaches patients with Parkinson’s to box as part of their physical therapy.
This generosity of spirit is what led both of them down their current career paths. During nursing school, when the opportunity presented itself for Annette to volunteer at a camp for kids with cancer, she jumped at it. “The whole model is they just have fun. They have either been in remission for a long time or they are going through maintenance and just want to be kids again.” She has returned each year since 2012 and has formed such close bonds with the campers and staff that the experience led her to choose oncology as her specialty. Sam shares this commitment to helping others, giving of herself quite literally down to the marrow of her bones. A church drive in high school landed Sam on the donor registry, and when she was found to be a stranger’s stem cell match she didn’t hesitate to help. “I got some of the same shots I give to patients so I saw that side of it.” She decided to work in oncology where “there is so much research and so many good things happening that I don’t think I would ever get bored in this job. And it’s seeing the patients, building relationships, doing more than just the medicine…”
“Doing more than just the medicine” is the motto tattooed across their benevolent souls, and as travel nurses, they get to connect with patients all over the country. Annette, born in Poland, especially loves when she encounters someone from her home country. Her patients tell her “it’s so nice to have someone here who speaks my language" and she thinks "that is the coolest thing.” On the oncology floor, a nurse really gets to know his or her patients, and Sam is fond of explaining travel nursing to those in her care. “It is so fun telling people about it. It is what keeps us so invested in oncology, the continuity, and building of relationships. They want to stay in touch and they want to follow us on our journey.”
And these two have big plans for that journey to continue. Characteristically, they focus not only on how travel nursing can help them but how they can help others through the opportunities afforded by moving around the country. Sam has noticed that with “each assignment we are able to bring in our knowledge from another top hospital. We are becoming super helpful and I could not be happier
When your biggest problem is loving each assignment so much that the desire to extend conflicts with the yearning for your next adventure, you know that life is pretty good. Annette explains that “the thing is we love it here but I bet we are going to love San Diego and Seattle.” Sam is reflective noting, “I think it is going to be amazing to look back and see not only all of the hospitals we have worked at but the people we have met. I just think our options will be wide open for when we do want to settle down… wherever that will be.”