The Atlas Life

The Atlas Life #41 - Patty Hingst, Traveling ICU Nurse

This week on The Atlas Life, we visit with Patty and Bob Hingst. Patty is a traveling ICU nurse while Bob is her recruiter, and the two travel in their RV all over the country. Learn more about them in this week's episode.

Rich Smith: So, Bob, same question. If you were talking to a brand new recruiter who was married to a travel nurse, what advice would you give them?

Bob Hingst: Say yes to everything.

Patty Hingst: See? He does that with his nurses too, pretty much. Yeah.

Bob Hingst: We had one situation where Patty was looking at jobs, and she just looked at me one day and she said, "What do you think about Alaska?" And it's like, "Okay, sure." And it turned out to be one of the most surreal and most fantastic voyages that we ever made.

Patty Hingst: Hi. I'm Patty Hingst, and I'm an ICU nurse, travel nurse. I've been traveling for six years. I've been nursing for 22 years now. Currently on contract in Florida, which is actually my home state.

Patty Hingst: I'd been stuck in Florida for 30 years and had planned to do travel nursing before I met Bob, and then my mom got sick and so I put that off for another couple of years. My mom was a great encourager of traveling. She loved to travel, so after she passed, it was just something we just kind of planned to do, and we were ready to go.

Bob Hingst: It was on the web, but it was not a dating site. It was kind of a over 40s interest type group. I was just recently going through a divorce, and we just saw each other and just started talking. Think you started traveling in 2012, and two years later is when I started doing recruiting. Started out in Washington, D.C., then went to Virginia, and then to Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon, and then Maine this last year.

Rich Smith: And now back to Florida?

Patty Hingst: Now back to Florida.

Bob Hingst: Now back to Florida.

Patty Hingst: To me, housing is the big black hole of travel nursing. It was the only downside for me. Finding it, showing up and having it be a nightmare. It was just always the one part of travel nursing that wasn't perfect for me. It started ... Actually, it was an accident that we got into the RV because somebody else we knew was looking for one, and my son-in-law had one. A friend had one for sale. They didn't buy it, and we thought, "Hey, let's buy it." So we really didn't even have a plan to do it at the time.

Bob Hingst: Bought it sight unseen.

Patty Hingst: Yep.

Bob Hingst: Packed up our truck, and kind of like the Beverly Hillbillies-

Patty Hingst: Oh my god. We looked like the Clampetts. It was bad.

Bob Hingst: It was bad.

Patty Hingst: It was bad.

Bob Hingst: Had a tarp with duct tape everywhere on it, but drove from Florida to D.C. and picked it up and just jumped in with both feet.

Patty Hingst: It's like my favorite board of all the boards on Facebook. It's always a positive board. Everyone's so supportive. Everyone helps. If somebody asks a question, there's 20 people answering. There's recruiters on there. There's recruiters from several different companies on there. It's been a great place. I think we have over 8,000 now?

Speaker 1: Almost 9,000.

Bob Hingst: Yeah.

Patty Hingst: Almost 9,000, yeah. It's just kind of growing on its own. We haven't promoted it. It's a really good place.

Patty Hingst: So, there's a conference coming up in April that's going to be in Omaha. It's kind of a mid-year conference. We're calling it Healthcare Travelers Take, and depending on what city we're in, this year it's Omaha, so Healthcare Travelers Take Omaha, and we're looking for it to be ... It's Scrub Squad, Gypsy Soul, and Adventures in Travel Nursing. We're just kind of hosting it and planning it.

Patty Hingst: We'd like to be able to meet up in different places around the country, but we're looking to make it more of a blend between recruiters and travelers, where we can communicate just like we do when you sit down and break bread with somebody. Not a separation, not a, "Hey, we're here to recruit you" heavy. We want interests ... We want to have presenters that present things that interest both sides of the industry.

Patty Hingst: I think, don't be afraid. It's amazing. It's a lot of fun. You get paid to travel. It's a great thing to do.

Bob Hingst: Be open. Just don't ... Be fearless, I guess.

Patty Hingst: Yeah.

Bob Hingst: Yeah. Don't fear, but be fearless.

Patty Hingst: It's not all about the money.

Bob Hingst: No.

Patty Hingst: It's not all about the money. There are always money jobs out there, but if you don't bring some of those destinations in that you want to go to, you're going to start disliking the experience because it's just money, money, money, and you're not enjoying the experience. How many people get paid to travel? Go take the low-paying jobs in Hawaii because it's Hawaii, you know? And then do a crisis contract in California.

Rich Smith: Minus the break in Alaska, obviously.

Patty Hingst: Yeah.

Bob Hingst: Right.

Patty Hingst: Everyone's got to do Alaska.

Bob Hingst: Have to.

Patty Hingst: Have to do Alaska.

Bob Hingst: Have to.

Patty Hingst: Yeah. That's best.