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Imagine if you could go around the country, exploring different destinations and meeting new people, while getting paid and making a real impact. Welcome to the world of being a travel nurse! It’s safe to say that travel nurses get to live the dream – and they’re in high demand. With great pay and bonuses, accommodated housing, and more freedom, this career has been giving nurses the opportunity to experience top facilities for the past four decades!
We had the chance to sit down and chat with two KPG nurses on what brought them down the path of becoming travel nurses and how they fell in love with the work, and each other! Read Jeremy and Alina’s beautiful story below!
Alina: We knew that we wanted to move to the West Coast, but wanted to explore different areas. Since we are both nurses, travel nursing was an optimal choice for us. We could still travel, investigate various areas of California, have fun, and still have a great income.
Jeremy: Working as a traveler allows for a good introduction to both a city/area and the potential hospital/unit. If it isn’t a right fit, one can simply finish the contract and relocate.
Jeremy: We met while working as staff nurses in the Emergency Dept at INOVA Fairfax Medical Campus. She worked in the Pediatric ED and I worked in the Adult ED. It took me a while to ask her out, but thanks to free movie tickets courtesy of Nurse’s Week, I took the chance and did it.
Alina: As a female, I love having my ducks in a row. I always plan way ahead of time. Thus, travel assignments were stressful for me, when it came to arranging them, as everything is done last minute. This doesn’t happen because our amazing recruiter wasn’t doing her job properly – it happens because of the hospital. They don’t know if they’re gonna need nurses in three months, they only know if they are in need now. It was definitely challenging finding lodging promptly and in a desirable area. It was hard moving states on such short notice. Finding kitty cat daycare isn’t easy either! Fortunately, our recruiter Janice (and the rest of KPG team) did everything possible to help us out. They took great care of us and made the process as smooth as possible! All in all, I learned that things eventually work out. This experience made me change my attitude towards planning our lives and travel assignments.
Jeremy: I would say learning the culture of the unit, coworker’s names/personalities and remembering all the new passwords. All this with two days of “training.”
Alina: Our first assignment was in Los Angeles. I was at CHLA and Jeremy was at Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City. We both liked our hospitals and medical teams that we started working with. We both fell in love with the area where we were living (Silver Lake) and we decided to extend one month into our first assignment. We ended up staying in LA for six months total. After LA, we left for Russia to visit my motherland and to see my little sister get married.
Upon returning, we decided to go down to San Diego – the land of perpetually great weather, Mexican food, picturesque hiking, and a cornucopia of artisan breweries! I started at Rady Children’s Hospital, while Jeremy ended up at Rancho Springs Medical Center. We both liked it and extended. We did six months total. Again!
Alina: We both, surprisingly, loved LA. Besides working with friendly nurses in good hospitals, we got to explore so much! We lived in Silver Lake, a little bubbly pocket of life in LA. Even Jeremy’s beard started growing faster to blend in better with other hipsters’ beards. We hiked the Hollywood sign on New Year’s Eve, visited Griffith observatory and even scored free tickets to Jimmy Kimmel’s show! My hospital, CHLA, was only five minutes away from our cute basement apartment. Jeremy and I decided to invest into bikes to cruise around the neighborhood, while I also decided to ride my bicycle to work.
My favorite musician, Moby, had just opened a restaurant in Silver Lake – I was so excited to go. I ran around Silver Lake reservoir all the time. I’m sure I might have several appearances in upcoming movies or series, as there were movies filming everyday! Luckily, I never had to experience real LA traffic on an everyday basis and was excruciatingly happy in Silver Lake.
Alina: I like that the healthcare industry offers secure jobs. There will always be hospitals that need nurses to take care of patients. I like that healthcare is not uniform. When we moved from the east coast to the west, I realized that not only did we change our geographical location, but also the way we practice as nurses. Medicine is so different across the country. Different hospitals have different rules, regulations, and protocols. I’m happy that KPG allowed me to see and experience it with my own eyes. It made me a better nurse.
Jeremy: I like taking care of people. Being a patient is a very vulnerable and scary situation. It feels good to make people feel better about the situation and less afraid.
Alina: I like that we share the same industry. Jeremy doesn’t have to explain to me that he needs sleep after a night shift. We can juggle our weird schedules easily and still find plenty of time to spend with each other. I feel like I learn so much from Jeremy, from his nursing practice to his medical knowledge. I’ve never worked with adults; I’m a pediatric emergency room nurse. I know nothing else, and Jeremy is definitely expanding my horizons of adult medicine. At times, nursing and medicine takes over our lives, so we decided to institute certain rules. For example, we’re not allowed to talk about work during dinner time.
Jeremy: It can be challenging to be in a relationship with someone who works in the same field, but it also has its benefits. We both have a passion for learning and enjoy the dynamic field of medicine, however it’s very easy to take work home with us. This can result in a steady stream of nurse talk, but we are happy – I wouldn’t change a thing.
Alina: I’ve never worked with another travel company, so I don’t have much to compare it to. However, nurses talk and I’ve heard lots of horror stories from fellow travelers. My housing is awful… I didn’t get the shift that I was promised… my scheduled start date has changed… my paycheck is missing… I never got paid that bonus shift that I worked. We’ve never experienced these things. We were always taken care of. Janice, our recruiter, always made me feel that we were enveloped in the softest and warmest safety blanket. She always responded to my emails promptly and returned my texts on time. She and the rest of the KPG team were always able to arrange for necessary health screenings in a timely fashion. We also are proud to say that Janice not only became the best recruiter in our area – she’s our friend. We can’t thank this company enough. To all the nurses eager to travel and have fun, we recommend KPG!
Travel nursing makes a difference in countless lives, including the nurse doing all the traveling! A great way to explore with friends, colleagues – or even significant others like Jeremy and Alina – go on the perfect adventure with help from KPG!
Surgical technologists and sterile processing technicians are responsible for keeping medical instruments and equipment sterile and safe when used by healthcare practitioners and professionals.
KPG Healthcare currently has many opportunities in these fields. If you are a certified surgical technologist or sterile processing technician, we invite you to explore our job opportunities and the great benefits of working for KPG Healthcare!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Surgical Technologists make an average of about $20 per hour or around $42,000 a year. Sterile technicians have a median salary of $38,000 a year or about $19 an hour. Depending on the assignment, Surgical Techs with KPG Healthcare can make anywhere from $24-$38 per hour. Sterile Techs can expect to make around $17-$26 dollars per hour with KPG – much higher than average!
KPG works hard to match job assignments to the expressed needs and preferences of each candidate. In addition, KPG offers industry-leading benefits, including custom-tailored compensation packages, flexible contract lengths, healthcare benefits, travel reimbursement, weekly direct deposit, and unlimited referral bonus.
KPG Healthcare is making a special effort to expand the number of placements in both of these growing specialties. BLS projects surgical technologist jobs to grow by 19% (around 17,000 jobs in the next decade) and sterile technician jobs to increase by 11% (5,000 jobs in the next decade) nationwide.
Contact us today to discover what opportunities are available now and in the future. Apply online on our website and join our team now!
Not trained in these fields interested in exploring them further? Below you will see more specifics on the training programs for each profession.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) has identified over 450 accredited surgical technology training programs offered throughout the United States, plus a number of online programs to choose from. You must have completed high school or the equivalent to join the program. Programs vary from 9 to 24 months depending the degree or certificate, as students learn both in classroom (unless done online) and clinical experience. Completing the program will allow you to take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting certification (NBSTSA) exam to become a certified surgical technologist.
There are many schools to choose from that offer sterile processing technician training programs – over 400 in the nation! Most students will go through the certificate (non-degree) route to start a career path the quickest. You must have completed high school or the equivalent to join the program. The program lasts from a few weeks to six months. There is a voluntary certification exam that may be taken after completion of the training program. Wondering how you can get certified? Connect online with the Certification Board for Sterile Processing and Distribution or the CRCST Certification from the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management. It is not required, but highly recommended that you complete the certification process to open up more employment opportunities and to earn a higher salary!
KPG Healthcare is proud to staff some of the best hospitals in the nation. Looking for your next career move as a Sterile or Surgical tech? KPG Healthcare is your trusted partner for high quality, rewarding career opportunities. Contact us today!
Wondering if your hospital made the list this year? According to U.S. News & World Report, the highest ranking hospitals reside in California in 2017-18! With 420 health centers in the Golden State, 53 meet the exceptional U.S. News guidelines and are ranked in state. Hospitals in Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles and more made the cut out of more than 5,000 medical centers across the nation.
Check out where each hospital excelled in specific ranking and specialities in the list below!
Ranked nationally in 15 adult and 9 pediatric specialities, UCSF Medical Center is a 745-bed medical and surgical facility with nearly 30,000 admissions in the most recent year reported. Achieving the most impressive rating possible in 8 procedures or conditions, UCSF Medical Center has had outstanding performance in specialities including Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, and Urology.
Performing over 9,000 annual inpatient and nearly 17,000 outpatient surgeries, UCLA Medical Center is nationally ranked in 10 children’s specialities and 15 adult specialities including Geriatrics, Ophthalmology, and Pediatric Nephrology. High performing in certain procedures like aortic valve surgery and conditions such as heart failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), this Los Angeles located medical center exceeds expectations in serving the most medically complicated patients.
Based in Palo Alto, California, Stanford Health Care – Stanford Hospital has close to 500 beds with over 25,000 admissions in the latest year reported. Nationally ranked in 13 adult specialities and #1 in the San Jose metro area, this NorCal medical center has been recognized as high performing in 8 different procedures and conditions such as COPD, knee replacement, and heart failure.
Cedars Sinai Medical Center is an LA based Medical Center that specializes in General Medical and Surgical Practice. With 885 beds and and more than 88,000 Emergency Room visits, Cedars Sinai is large and world renowned medical institution. Rated 4th in the Nation for both Cardiology & Heart Surgery and Gastroenterology and GI surgery, Cedars Sinai is both regionally and nationally recognized. Boasting a top 20 rating in 8 specialties, Cedars Sinai is extremely well rounded and continues to be considered one of the best hospitals in the state.
A 203-bed surgical and medical facility with over 37,000 emergency room visits, Scripps La Jolla Hospitals is nationally ranked in 8 adult specialities. With top performance ratings in Gynecology and Diabetes & Endocrinology, Scripps is also a powerhouse hospital in heart bypass surgery, lung cancer surgery, and hip replacement.
Regionally ranked as #2 in the San Diego metro area, UC San Diego Health – UC San Diego Medical Center outshines in 8 adult specialities, and 8 adult procedures and conditions. Transcending the rest with their high quality performance, this San Diego native medical center ranks in Pulmonology, colon cancer surgery, and aortic valve surgery.
Helping patients make the difficult decision on where to receive care, U.S. News evaluates close to 5,000 medical centers in 16 adult specialities, 9 adult conditions and procedures and 10 children’s specialities. Ranked across the country in 5 adult specialities, Keck Hospital of USC is proficient in cancer specialities, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, heart bypass surgery, as well as several more procedures and conditions.
Going above and beyond in the healthcare industry, it’s safe to say these California hospitals are some of the best in the West – and across the country!
KPG Healthcare is proud to staff some of the best hospitals in the Nation. Looking for your next career move and interested in contributing to one of California’s most renowned hospitals? Whether you’re interested in travel nursing, per diem, allied, locum tenens or permanent placement, KPG Healthcare is your trusted partner for high quality, rewarding career opportunities. Contact us today!