Interview with a Travel Nurse in Ohio - Ian S.

Thinking about a career change in 2024? If you're an experienced full-time staff nurse and considering moving into the interim world, you might like to hear from someone who's been there and done that. 
That's why we sat down with Ian Stewart, a travel Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who has been on two travel LPN assignments with LeaderStat. Ian became an LPN in 2017 and has worked in a variety of healthcare settings. From hospice to assisted living, Ian has done it all, and with a smile on his face. 

If you're a nurse who wants to feel reinvigorated or excited about direct patient care, Ian is the perfect guy to go to for a pep talk.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you decided to become a travel nurse?
After six years of gaining experience as a staff nurse in an array of clinical environments, including long-term care, assisted living, home health, hospice, developmental disability and Med-Surg, the effects of nurse burnout were hitting me hard -- mind, body and soul.

I knew I wanted to make a change, and the idea of traveling had always appealed to me as a way to learn, grow and experience new settings in nursing. I heard excellent things about LeaderStat from colleagues who worked here, and I decided to try it out for myself! 

What inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?
My inspiration to enter the field of nursing stems from a combination of personal experience. Growing up as a chronically ill child, I was supported by compassionate nurses. I wanted to give  back to a field that had helped me not only survive, but thrive. I was also caring for a chronically ill parent. I found that I did, and do, have the "constitution" to be a caregiver.
Additionally, I had a longstanding and persistent interest in health sciences.
How do you adapt to new work environments and team dynamics when you arrive at a new location?
I find that communication is key. Building rapport with staff and patients, observing the nuances in how the interdisciplinary team functions and collaborates, and rolling up my sleeves and diving in to bedside care has proven an effective set of strategies for me.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a traveler, and how do you overcome them?
My contracts thus far have been in long-term care (LTC) facilities, and as usual, when entering a new facility, the hardest part of adapting is learning about the residents. Spending as much time as I can out on the floor getting to know them, and learning their preferences and needs, helps me to overcome this challenge.

Another frequent challenge is building rapport with staff who may feel wary of agency nurses. I find that the best remedy for this is through leading by example - if the full-time staff in the building understand that you will: support them, won't ask them to do things you wouldn't do yourself, and will provide good care to their residents, they're likely to accept you.

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What advice do you have for someone who is considering a career in healthcare?
Go for it! There are so many facets to bedside care, and the opportunities for learning and growth are vast. A nurse can see, do, and learn so much. And, the ability to make a positive impact on a patient's life is incredibly rewarding.
What's your go-to travel snack?
A venti iced coffee from Starbucks - I run on caffeine! ☕
How do you stay connected with family and friends while you're traveling for work?
Taking time in each day to call my loved ones (or text them) keeps us connected. I am blessed with a loving and supportive circle who lifts me up and keeps me going!
What do you binge watch on your days off?
On a day off, give me a marathon of vintage black and white films, a cup of hot tea, and some good food and I'm a happy camper.

We want to thank Ian for taking the time to chat with us, and offering some tips to help other nurses thrive in their careers. As American physicist Robert Noyce said, "Knowledge is power. Knowledge shared is power multiplied."

Want to hear more from experienced travel nurses? Read our exclusive interviews with MedSurg RN Valerie and Nurse Reva!

Looking for a new job opportunity? Visit our Job Board to see a full list of open nursing positions.

Ready for your next adventure? View open healthcare jobs.


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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.