We love sharing stories from our team. From our Recruiter Jessica sharing why she loves placing our travelers in jobs they love to Licensed Professional Counselor Nicky sharing her WHY for traveling and patient care, we want to learn and share your stories. In this article, we share Labor and Delivery Nurse Jessica’s adventures in Alaska and why she loves her job.
While living in Alaska has its challenges, Jessica loves the opportunity to learn about Native American culture at her job in and Indian Health Services (IHS) facility in Sitka. Sitka is famous for fishing, both commercial and recreational, as well as large animal rescue of bears and raptors. This is all great but there are challenges to living on an island in Alaska. We’ll let Jessica take over from here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have more than 20 years of experience as a Labor and Delivery Nurse. I love people and to see their families grow is an incredible experience.
What made you want to be a healthcare professional?
I have always been a caregiver. I have taken care of people since grade school when I helped my Nana & my mom run a daycare. Children have been a blessing to me, and I wanted to help make them better. Labor and Delivery allow me to experience a woman becoming a mother and a baby given life.
When did you start traveling?
I started traveling in December 2020 with a contract in Arcata, California and now I am on an island in Sitka, Alaska. The area is near Juneau and has a population of about 9,000 people.
I love to travel, immerse myself in the culture, and try to find out what makes it so special and unique. I also love to help others so why not combine the two? It just made sense!
Which location was your favorite?
I don’t have a favorite location currently since I am just beginning my Travel Nursing career. There are many areas to explore and families to help bring a baby into this world. I’d say that so far, I am enjoying the adventure and the work.
What do you like most about your job?
As a labor and delivery travel nurse, I love the joy and awe of seeing that baby for the first time after all their hard work and effort. I also love helping two people become three or four, teaching them how to start their journey as a family, and supporting them.
What do you like least?
The part I like least is being away from family and friends. It’s hard not being able to see them when I want but FaceTime, sharing my journey online, postcards, phone calls, and texts keep me connected.
We hear this from other travelers too. We encourage them to find ways to connect, just like Jessica and others, through technology and regular calls to loved ones.
What advice would you give someone thinking about taking a travel position?
I would say that you need to be confident in your skills, comfortable in being the new kid on the block with each new assignment, a great communicator, and do not be afraid to ask questions.
What advice would you give someone thinking about working in Alaska?
Working in Sitka, you need to be comfortable with downtime, working with the Native culture: how that impacts your care, how to respect those beliefs & incorporate it into your care. Finally, being okay living on an island.
What kinds of activities do you do there outside of work?
There are two great places to support: Alaska Raptor Center & Fortress of the Bear. Both take care of and rehabilitate animals abundant in Alaska, raptors, also called eagles, and bears. Hiking is a must, and fishing if you like just being outside.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about your travel experience?
Be prepared for COLD! It’s cold in Alaska. Food prices are more than in the lower 48 states. Getting around and exploring is not just about right where you are but what is more easily accessible. Seeing other parts of Alaska, since you’re on an island, takes either a plane ride or a boat ride, making planning ahead important.
In Alaska, be prepared for all types of weather. As they say here if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes. The people are nice and excited you are here. COVID made things hard last year, so they are trying to get back what they need. Finally, love your job, figure out where you are, and just enjoy your time there.
Sounds like Alaska is the right fit for a traveler who loves the cold and adventure! Thanks for sharing your story, Jessica!