Travel Nursing Helps Nurse Pay Off Significant Debt

Travel nursing can be a high-risk, high-reward position for any nurse with various assignment locations, new employees, and staff while trying to adjust to the different environments and pace of it all. We wanted to spotlight a Travel Nurse who credits KPG for helping her pay off a significant amount of her debt.  

Let’s Meet Sheena!

Sheena has been in the Emergency Room (E.R.) nursing field for almost 20 years! Before being an E.R. nurse, Sheena was an LVN combat medic in the Army, serving four years active and four years reserve. She currently resides in San Diego with her son. When she’s not in the ER she enjoys traveling, cooking, and investing in the real estate market.

Pictured is Sheena during her time with the United States Army along with a friend from her program.

What inspired Sheena to become a nurse was her mother, who also worked in healthcare as a manager of an E.R. in New Mexico. Unfortunately, Sheena’s mother became terminally ill with breast cancer, which forced her to take over as her primary care provider while she was in high school. Sheena decided to enroll in the Army instead of enrolling at college as she felt she had done so much but didn’t see a true purpose. So, she decided to join the Army and become a medic. She was stationed in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, getting her initial bearings on traveling. Sheena says that” I love traveling and I’m glad that KPG has allowed me to travel and be finally secure to help my son in the future.” 

When Sheena isn’t working hard in the office, she’s spending quality time with her son.

Sheena just finished up a previous travel assignment at a level 1 trauma center in the Bay Area. She usually handles mild or severe trauma, heart attacks, strokes, etc. She says, “It’s a wide range of patients that I have through the days in the E.R.” Asking her what challenges she faced or is facing during her time in the E.R., “Working all through COVID-19, it was hard losing patients during the beginning stages who were young and healthy. It hit close to home, and it was tough not being able to save everyone and still be criticized while risking our lives and our family’s lives as nurses.”

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, Sheena says, “We are treating it now as the regular flu, so it’s not as hectic as it was during that time. We’re pretty much back to dealing with young people who have experienced traumatic arrest.” She continued, “My biggest challenges now as a travel nurse is more where they keep everything and getting used to different flows of the E.R.”

Sheena working in the ER during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the rewards for travel nursing is the weekly pay nurses receive for their efforts and hard work. As Sheena got into real estate investing, she took a risk, which resulted in $40,000 in credit card debt. She bought her second investment property in Little Italy, a section of downtown San Diego, CA, that needed significant updates. Sheena mentioned, “I spent a lot of money renovating it to make it the nicest place I could,” she continued, “While going through I accrued a lot of credit card debt, which is what I expected beforehand.” 

Sheena is always conscientious with her money living with a budget and below her means. “I don’t go on shopping sprees. Anything that I spend on myself is for self-care.” Massages and a visit to her chiropractor are crucial as the wear and tear of being on her feet helping patients creeps up on her. 

She states, “I know I only have about five to ten years left in the travel nursing industry, so KPG will be in my future to help me complete my goals to be financially free with real estate.” Sheena has paid off over $30,000 of debt in six months and is currently down to roughly $8,000! She credits KPG and her recruiter, Hayden, for their outstanding efforts in allowing her to work in her location of choice while cutting down her debt significantly.

For most of her nursing career, Sheena has worked mid-shift, but more recently, she has been working the night shifts on her assignments. She says, ”I don’t mind the night shifts too much; it’s more just flipping your days off trying to be a normal human being.”

However, she mentioned she doesn’t think she can keep up with the night shifts with roughly 3 hours of sleep after work. “It takes a toll on your body, but on my days off, I catch up on sleep and find any hiking trail I can go explore. I just enjoy trying to get outside as much as I can, especially when you’re couped up in an office space all day. Just being outdoors you see so much in nature, plus being out on the water is very relaxing.”

Sheena enjoying her time off exploring the outdoors and hiking the many trails nature has to offer.

Being a traveling nurse for many years working in multiple locations, Sheena said that she would love to travel to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) or, if the opportunity presented itself, travel to Australia or the United Kingdom to do an assignment. “I spent three weeks in Italy in the past, and I would retire in Italy if I had the chance!”

Sheena getting to explore while scuba diving in Fiji.

Sheena praises KPG saying, “It’s been fantastic and super Amazing!” She credits the Striving Toward Outstanding Nurse Expertise (STONE) program for sending her a milestone gift for her hard work and dedication while completing her first assignment.” Her relationship with her recruiter has been “crucial” to build that bond and trust because it can go a long way when working your way in the travel nursing career. She feels taken care of and comfortable, not just being thrown to wolves and figuring it out on the fly.

We love having Sheena as a part of our Travel Nursing team. From all of us here at KPG Healthcare, we want to thank you for the dedication and kindness you continue to show every day – it truly makes the world a better place.

Keep up the fantastic work!

Sheena’s Advice for New Travel Nurses:

“Just do it!” she emphasizes. “You will have no regrets. If you have anxiety about traveling to new places or about making money, the process is smooth, and you will be guided and helped along the way. Don’t think about it, just do it, and don’t look back. You won’t regret your decision in the end!”