By Sam & Annette (@travelnursebabes)
Our third assignment was at the outpatient infusion clinic at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) [4, 10hr dayshifts/wk]. We packed up our car, and made the cross-country road trip from Chicago to LA, stopping in Memphis, Austin, Tucson, and San Diego. We couldn’t be more excited to get back to the outpatient workflow, but the fourth shift in the week wasn’t ideal.
Our clinic gave everything from chemotherapies, to biotherapies, to trial medications, to rheumatology drugs, to blood products, to stem cell mobilization medications. This variety kept us continuously learning, which we loved! Also, there was a lot of collaboration between nurses, nurse practitioners, and MDs/Oncologists, which was critical to handle some of the confusing treatment plans and orders. We got into the flow of things (and bought matching hot-pink Razor scooters to commute from the parking structure to the hospital), and the clinic became our second home, for which we stayed at for a total of 9 months.
Our time spent here lead to more friendships with patients, family members, coworkers etc, than we could’ve ever imagined! We’re not sure if it was the extra time we spent here or the younger patient population, but we sure got lucky. We find it so important to really get to know our patients. Yes, being a nurse is a job, but going the extra mile to form relationships with patients not only assists in providing better, more thorough care, but also keeps us engaged every minute at work. It’s truly amazing that we both have the same nursing philosophy, and patients are the first to notice and laugh at the #travelnursebabes.
The work-related highlight of our UCLA experience was being awarded the “Good Catch Award” for being Patient Safety Leaders for the month of November. It was an honor to stand on stage with our managers to get recognized for directly impacting patient care. Definitely not expected, but it was a beautiful way to sum up our experiences over the past 9 months at the clinic.
During our many months living in Venice, CA, we made numerous weekend trips locally and abroad. On two different occasions, we made the trip to San Diego. The first trip was for fun, with another travel nurse friend from our Chicago days. We took private surfing lessons during the day and checked out the nightlife during the night. On our drive home we also stopped by to enjoy the beach at La Jolla and had dinner looking over the ocean in Laguna. Our second trip to San Diego was just for the day, for an appreciation event at the Dodger’s game from our travel company, Aya Healthcare. We drove down in the morning and rented speedboats, which had us crying from laughing so hard as we caught air over the waves. In the evening, we were honored on the baseball field during the National Anthem and we met recruiters, other travel nurses, and the president of Aya in a box, where we enjoyed the game.
Another weekend excursion we took in California was to Santa Barbara. Our first day there, we rented bikes to explore the city, saw incredible live music (John Goodwin and Jeff Bridges), and sang along at the Red Piano bar. Day two, we went on a 90-minute horseback ride on the beach! It felt straight out of the movies and thankfully Sprinkles and Scout kept their footing so we could live to tell about it. We ended our weekend getaway with a little wine tasting from a local SB winery, and watched a beautiful sunset over the ocean while we enjoyed fresh-caught lobster. Oh, how we love weekend getaways.