The Atlas Life

The Atlas Life #49 - Michelle Jackson, ER & ICU RN

Meet Michelle - an ER nurse about to head to Georgia for her next travel assignment. Learn about her friendship with her recruiter, her second chance at traveling, and more in this week's episode of #TheAtlasLife

Michelle J.: But he's great.

Jennifer Fuller: Paul's amazing.

Michelle J.: Well, Paul is great and Paul and my husband Keith talk. They talk more than him and I do actually, and talk about fishing and barbecuing. And so I'm not sure. We might kind of be out of the picture tomorrow when he arrives. Him and Keith may just go off somewhere and have guy time.

Michelle J.: Michelle Jackson. Originally from Victoria, Texas. Specialty is emergency room and sometimes ICU. And I've been traveling for a year and a half and I've been a nurse for going on my 28th year.

Jennifer Fuller: I'm Jennifer Fuller. I am a recruiter here at Atlas. I've been recruiting for about four years. I think I posted a job maybe and then she commented and we just-

Michelle J.: ... kind of hit it off.

Jennifer Fuller: Yeah.

Michelle J.: And then we became friends because it's been a year almost since we met and I finally get to work as an Atlas girl, which I'm super excited about. And it just was never the right time. I always had a contract, or was in the middle of a contract and we were both really frustrated with that because we wanted it to work. We were trying to force it so hard. It just fell into place for us.

Michelle J.: It isn't just a recruiter and a nurse relationship. I mean I felt like I was part of the Atlas family as soon as I met you. It was like I don't have to work there. I'm part of the family already.

Michelle J.: I had three close calls with death and I told my husband, "If I make it back from this incident, I want to do travel nursing like I did back in 2002 because I want to see part of America. I don't want to just stay in our own little corner of the world. I want to meet new people. I want to learn new ways to work in my specialty because I can take it everywhere I go and maybe I can help somebody in another part of the country that I didn't even know about."

Michelle J.: Being able to travel and meet new people with my husband and our three little fur babies, that's the best part of it. Sometimes it's the initial contact at the assignment. Sometimes staff nurses are resentful with contract nurses coming in. They think we're there to take their jobs. They forget that we truly are temporary. We're there for the hard part to help them over that hump and then move on. We're not there to take their position. We just want to help make their life a little bit easier.

Michelle J.: I would say the number of different documentation programs that are out there. From staffing agency to staffing agency, one getting prepared and two, hospital-wide, you know you have so many different EMRs out there that you have to learn. And sometimes you go in for a conversion. So you'll be on the old system for two or three weeks and you'll help them transition to the new system that you may or may not know. So the only time it's good is when you're in a conversion because most of the time none of them know about it. So you're all on the same playing field.

Michelle J.: Oh, the best experience I've had. Probably meeting Jen and becoming friends with her, because it was a constant, someone I could bounce stuff off of. If I was having a bad day, she would usually call me on those days and I didn't have to even post it. It's like she would call and say, "Hey, how's it going?" And I'd be like, "Oh girl, let me tell you what's going on right now."

Michelle J.: And she was always there to listen. And it's nice to have that someone outside looking in to talk to that's not necessarily a nurse, because you get a different perspective and it's good to have that.

Jennifer Fuller: I mean I honestly, I think that's a big part of our job and just listening and we learn from it. I mean you learn about the hospitals and the facilities and even the areas and from them, I mean RV questions and campgrounds and things like that, that help me in my job as well though. It's awesome.

Michelle J.: Albany, Georgia. I will be starting my contract on February the fourth with Phoebe Putney. I'll be ER ICU float, and I am super excited about it.

Jennifer Fuller: She wanted to go to Hawaii and I said, "Go to Alaska."

Michelle J.: And I want to do that too. But I am not one of those nurses that says, "I'll only go here, this part." And I think Jen can testify to that. I have a compact license and Washington, finding a contract and put me there. And so, it's not one part of the country or the other. If I can park my RV and maintain it while I'm there, then I'm open to anywhere, because hopefully I will have several more years, so several more contracts and I can move around the country. I really, really want to go to the northeast coast, but you only have about a four month window where you can do that in an RV.