This time around, the contract negotiations were much different than the first. I was a first time traveler, with no experience in Radiation Oncology, and still a reasonably new nurse. This time I had obviously traveled before, had worked in the department I would be staffing, and, well, still a new nurse but much more knowledgeable than before! This placement was also somewhat "emergent." So, needless to say, the ball was definitely in my court.
When I was contacted by my agency to return to New Hampshire, I had given them a start date in the beginning of September, as there were events at home (including a benefit for my uncle who has cancer this Saturday) that I didn't want to miss. The hospital needed me to start sooner, too quickly for me to drive out, find someone to accompany me and fly them home. So, after much negotiation (about a weeks worth) we all agreed on the hospital flying me out and renting me a car for my "short" 8 week assignment.
I'm not very good at asking for what I want or saying what was offered isn't good enough. Personality trait? Lack of confidence? I'm not sure, but I'm learning slowly that the only person who is going to look out for me is....me. Traveling is like being a independent contractor. I am responsible for making sure the contract is accurate, my insurance benefits are correct, and I have all the necessary paperwork and meet the deadlines required. Not much different than a permanent job, except I repeat the process every time I take a new assignment and my contracts can be cancelled at any time, leaving me hundreds of miles away from home and without work. The idea of all of this is both exciting and terrifying. Why do I do this again?
On a side note, I never realized how challenging traveling alone can be until I started this whole adventure. If you haven't been acclimated to this adventure, let me enlighten you with a few lessons I learned from my last bout of solo travel. First, when flying, never trust the flight attendant to give you proper gate information for your connecting flight. Gate H10 my butt! Second, good luck rolling your carry on luggage into the bathroom stall WITHOUT touching the toilet. Third, seating arrangements on the plane are fun. Time to play get to know your sweaty neighbor! This time around, I opted to be in an exit row for increased leg room but sat in the middle. I was placed between two rather large, moist (eww), older men. Man to my right: fell asleep with his shoes off minutes after the flight takes off. Man to my left: can't sit still, fidgeting in his seat, coughing incessantly. Then the drink cart came through. Thank goodness for gin, that's all I have to say.
|View of Chicago from the air|
The next post is in the works, stay tuned!