The Atlas Life

The Atlas Life #47 - Dani Stoppenbach, Traveling PICU RN

Meet Dani, a PICU nurse currently on assignment in Utah. She loves to mountain bike, ski, and learn new ways of nursing all over the country. Learn more about her in today's episode of #TheAtlasLife

Maggie Hammer: And that's my favorite part, is getting to know these people, getting to know you on a level that is outside of work. I feel like these relationships work and we're successful when we're friends.

Dani: Exactly.

Maggie Hammer: Get past all the business. We'll find you an assignment, you'll get where you want to be, but it's who you are you as a person and how can we get to know each other, and connect on that level.

Maggie Hammer: I'm Maggie Hammer. I'm a recruiter with Atlas for a year and a half now, and I met Dani Stoppenbach back in June of 2018.

Dani: Hey, my name is Dani Stoppenbach. I am a PICU nurse. I've been a nurse for three years and I've been traveling for six months.

Maggie Hammer: She called me, she was actually on a train coming from Chicago. So we had to... I mean we had a tough time connecting there. But yeah, that's about it.

Dani: So it was actually kind of funny because we couldn't really hear each other, but we were both really excited and enthusiastic. I felt like I was talking to a friend. I just felt like I needed a different type of challenge in my life. Finding different hospitals, how they do things differently, what products they do differently, how they do procedures differently. It was just really appealing for me.

Dani: The best part of travel nursing is the freedom and the flexibility that I have to travel across the country. The part that I might not like so much about travel nursing is packing up all the time. I just bought a new car, so the kind of car I drive is a 2019 Subaru Forester Sports. I have plenty of space still in my car.

Maggie Hammer: She says that yet today we went to go see the house that she was born in and I just sit like this in the front seat, so just enough.

Dani: It's true. Well, my suitcase usually sits on that side, so that's fine. Maggie's as big as my suitcase.

Dani: My best experience so far as a travel nurse actually came out of the last hospital I was at. As I was leaving, they went above and beyond for me as a departing gift. They had a pizza party for me. They all signed a card. One of the charge nurses, she wrote this fake binding contact that I have to come back and then one of the nurse practitioners actually set up a dinner at Mexican food restaurant and the nurses that weren't working on the unit that night actually came out. There was probably like eight or 10 nurses that came out for Mexican food. It was really great.

Dani: Starting out the most difficult thing for me was the fact that nursing education is very basic what you're taught in school, and going in directly as a new grad into a PICU setting, you had to learn everything on the job and it was a very specialized PICU, it was neurotrauma. So just really everything.

Dani: From staff nurse to a travel nurse, the concepts of critical care the same. It's just the way organizations do things and what they choose to do for policies and procedures that's different and that's also the challenge too.

Maggie Hammer: The best part about working with Dani, I would say honestly it's her appreciation for what we do. Her transparency. I mean she is like a ride or die Atlas nurse and with that being said, she's just respectful. She always worries. She's like, if I have anything that's going on the middle of the night, I'll email you instead of texting you. I wake up to seven texts from 2:00 AM till 6:00 AM. But yeah, her appreciation, her loyalty and she's fun. We're very open. I'm going to go visit her in Utah. Dani's our girl.

Dani: My favorite part about working with Maggie is during the initial part of this traveling experience, I moved out to New England. I knew nobody at all and she was like my best friend through it. She made sure I was okay, she was calling me, she was prompt, she was organized and I was just like, wow.

Maggie Hammer: And Dani's freaking cool. The things that she does, I had no idea about you're mountain biking. She goes to farmer's market. She's an incredible skier.

Dani: So the next place for me always involves mountains. That's what I'm into. I like to ski, I like to mountain bike. I like nature. I like hiking, I like camping. So really travel nursing allows me to get to the destinations that I want to see in the country.

Maggie Hammer: She's soul searching now.

Dani: The destination is really a toss up. It's just somewhere in the mountains that has a PICU. So whether it be Utah or Idaho or Wyoming or Montana or Colorado, somewhere on the West Coast.