RN Travel Nurse Adventure: Best Friends Out West

Childhood friends and RN duo choose travel assignments to head across country for adventure

By Megan M. Krischke, contributor

New to the RN travel nurse world, Annie McCoy RN, BSN, and Liz Demedal, RN, BSN, grew up in the same small, Western Pennsylvania town and have been friends since the third grade. They both studied nursing, but at different colleges. So when McCoy got the itch to go on an RN travel nurse adventure, she persuaded Demedal to come with her.

“I was ready for something new. I’d always worked in the same hospital and I thought travel nursing would be a great way to travel and see the West Coast and to have new experiences and a fresh start,” remarked McCoy. “We laugh now about when we first talked about it and what a crazy idea it was to move across the country.”

“But we thought, ‘Why not? What do we have to lose? Let’s just do it while we’re still young!’” she added. So they applied and started working with a NursesRx travel nurse recruiter.

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“I was needing a change, but honestly freaked out a little when our recruiter told us we had our first job in Tucson,” Demedal reflected. “I wasn’t sure I’d made the right decision to leave.  I’d never been on my own and it was a huge across-the-country move. I wouldn’t be able to just call my dad when my car broke down.”

“But now that I’m doing it, I’m loving traveling and having the time of my life,” she continued. “We just started traveling in February, but have met a lot of great people—both nurses and [people] outside of nursing.  I feel like I’ve grown as a nurse, which is awesome.”

During their Tucson assignment, McCoy and Demedal visited Sedona, Arizona, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. They also went tubing on the Salt River in Phoenix.  

Their current RN travel nurse assignment is at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area.  In their new location, they’ve cruised the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, visited San Diego and have gone parasailing and paddle boarding — just to start things off. 

And when Demedal’s family visited, they hit the San Francisco tourist spots like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Winchester Mystery House.  

Heading out to different locations for RN travel nurse assignments offers more than a good time, though; the new opportunities help to expand professional and personal horizons.

“I like the fact that I can experience health care in various settings,” said McCoy.  “Every hospital is unique and I enjoy learning how different hospitals and meeting other travelers of all ages and sharing our experiences. I also like experiencing different cultures.”

“I love the work environment out west,” effused Demedal. “I can only compare it to the one job I had before I traveled, but here health care is much more team-oriented.  There are a lot of laws in California which mandate that nurses take their breaks, and laws limiting patient loads.”

The two friends plan to continue their travel nursing adventure for at least another year, and are considering destinations such as Denver, San Antonio and Hawaii, as well as some places back on the East Coast.  

They report that their travel nurse recruiter has made finding travel assignments in the same city seem easy, and that they have been offered positions within just a few days of applying.

“Our recruiter, Michelle Goeldenitz, is wonderful and she has gone above and beyond for us,” said Demedal.  “As new travelers, it can be kind of tricky getting your first placement. When things don’t go as planned, you can see a person’s true colors and she has come through for us. Michelle has given us great places to stay that are safe and in close proximity to the hospital and public transportation.  I can’t say enough good things about her. “ 

“I love the saying ‘You only live once,’” stated McCoy. “You don’t want to look back and regret not taking an opportunity like travel nursing. How else can you work just about anywhere you want, live for free, meet new people and explore the world?”


Interested in starting your own travel nursing adventure? NursesRx is filling positions around the country. Search RN travel nurse locations, or sign up to receive free travel RN job alerts.  

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