CVICU Nurse Relishes Travel Nursing Career

Onward Healthcare traveler Hollie Higgins, RN, enjoys the flexibility, friendships and freedom she has found in travel nursing.

By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, Contributor

After working as a staff nurse for four years, with jobs in Oregon and on the East Coast, Hollie Higgins, RN, was ready for a change. And it wasn’t long before travel nursing was calling her name—prompting her to take her cardiovascular ICU (CVICU) nurse skills on the road.

“Travel nursing was always one of the things I wanted to check off my bucket list,” she said. “The great thing about nursing is that there are so many different avenues with one degree. If you want to go into pediatrics, or you want to fly or travel, there are so many different things you can do and traveling was always one that sounded fun. I like exploring so I figured it would be a good thing to try out — and I loved it.”

Higgins has traveled exclusively with Onward Healthcare, and her assignment choices have recently brought her back to her home state of Oregon.

“The flexibility is my favorite part of being a travel nurse. You can really just pick wherever you want to go and whatever you want to do, and the hours are still mostly flexible. The nice thing about being a nurse is you only work three days a week, so you still have time to explore. You can make your own job with travel nursing.”

Higgins has taken assignments throughout the state, and also completed a contract in Tucson, Ariz., where she was able to expand her cardiovascular nursing knowledge at the University of Arizona’s prestigious medical center.

While the travel options and flexibility are what initially attracted Higgins to a travel nursing career, she also appreciates being able to learn new skills and practices on each assignment.

“There are different practices and techniques for doing the same thing. It’s kind of nice, when I go to a facility I learn a whole new way of doing something, or I can bring my knowledge to the table, too,” she said.

Higgins’ professional success as a travel nurse has carried over to her personal life, as well.

“I have met some of my best friends through travel nursing,” she said. “In fact, I met one nurse last summer, and I am now going to be the maid of honor in her wedding this summer. Travel nursing has been amazing for meeting friends.”

Higgins has also become friends with her recruiter at Onward Healthcare, Brandi Razo, who has been instrumental in her positive travel experience. “She is awesome and I get taken care of so well,” she explained. “If I have any issues at all, which is very rare, she goes to bat for me in a heartbeat and really stands up for her travelers and she gets things done. I was referred to her by another traveler, and since then I’ve never gone with another company. She’s too good, I just want to stay with her!”

Razo has nothing but praise for Higgins, as well, and reports the two have developed a strong, trust-based relationship.

“Hollie is the epitome of what every travel nurse recruiter is looking for in a travel nurse,” Razo said. “Not only is she an incredibly qualified and skilled nursing professional, but she has an awesome personality. She is really into travel nursing for the experience, for the adventure of it, and to really widen her horizons and get out into the world. She approaches it as a learning experience.” When Higgins is not busy caring for her CVICU patients or hanging out with friends and family, she loves spending time outdoors and can often be found hiking with friends or floating down one of the local rivers.

She plans to stay in Oregon throughout the summer to enjoy the area’s amazing weather and outdoor activities, and has her sights set on California for an assignment in the fall or winter. “California always has great contracts and it’s always a nice area to go work and live for a little while.”

“I love travel nursing and I can’t say enough great things,” Higgins concluded. “It’s been everything I thought it would be and more.”

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