Everyone remembers where they were on 9/11. For rookie travel nurse Rene Carlson it was in Denver, right as she was waking up to her first day on a 3-11 shift at a local hospital. She had just moved to the big Colorado city from a small town in southeast Iowa and knew no one.
“I woke up to the radio telling about the first tower being hit, and then jumped out of bed to turn on the TV to see what was happening,” Rene recalled. When the second tower was hit, it was clear that this was a deliberate attack against America, which only added to Rene’s sense of dread as her son has recently enlisted in the army.
Not exactly sure what to do next, Rene decided to donate blood, knowing it would be needed for victims in New York. Then she went to the hospital early to become more familiar with her new unit. It was a decision that would impact her to this day.
“I had never seen anything like it before or since then!” she said. “Those in the unit opened their arms to me, as well as their hearts. I told them about my son and by the end of the shift we all knew what was coming.”
Rene formed a close bond with the people she met that day. “I ended up staying there a year, and to this day many of the nurses — as well as the managers — are some of my closest friends.”
Not only did that first day cement a bond between her and her new colleagues, it also forced her to draw on an inner courage that she may never have known she had.
“That day cost a lot of lives, but it also brought many people into my life and changed me forever,” Rene added. “My son did go to war and came back in one physical piece, but he will never be the same young man he once was. Still, he would do it all over again, as would I. Travel nursing changed me in so many other ways, making me stronger and more confident with each assignment.”
Rene’s experience, while unique, is certainly similar to that of other travel nurses who have forged lasting bonds with their colleagues. Do you have a story you would like to share about your travel nursing experience? We would love to hear it! Please email your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org!