Stories, Resources, and Tips

RN Spotlight: Kayla & Kelly, ER RNs

Kayla and Kelly are two Gifted ER RNs that began travel nursing together two years ago. They originally met on an ER floor in Baton Rouge, LA but they started their careers differently.

Kayla became a nurse in 2008 after graduating from Our Lady of the Lake College. She started in the ER and never left, working as an ER RN for the past 15 years. Kelly worked as an oncology RN for nine years before switching to an ER specialty, eventually leading to the couple’s meet-cute.

Since then, Kayla and Kelly built a life together. They have a 21-year-old son and a golden retriever. Travel nursing has always been their dream, and now that their son is in college, they take assignments together around the country. Kayla and Kelly have taken travel contracts in Florida, California, Louisiana, and New Jersey in the past two years and love experiencing this adventure together.

We met with Kayla and Kelly to ask about their travel nursing experience. Read on to see what they have to say!

What inspired you to become a nurse?

Kayla: I went to school initially to make documentaries and at the time I was bartending and waiting tables. My mother was a nurse, and she pointed me in that direction. Even though it was a drastic change, I quickly adapted to managing a large patient load because it was quite similar to managing a section of the restaurant.

Kelly: I wanted to wear scrubs. I didn’t want to think about my outfit every day and scrubs seemed comfortable. As an 18-year-old, that’s what I based my decision on but it worked out pretty well for me. I’m a nurse because of the patient care now.

What do you love about travel nursing?

Kayla: Our son is 21 now, so we were comfortable taking on the adventure to hit the road two years ago. We try to pick cities where we can do activities together on our days off. Florida days off were spent at the beach, New Jersey was an opportunity to stay with Kelly’s cousin and get family time, and California is a beautiful state for hiking.

We try to work our shifts together while on assignments too. We might not always see each other during the shift when it gets busy, but it helps with the commute and our schedule.

Do you like working together?

Kayla: Yes. Kelly is more work-oriented while I am more play oriented. She likes to chart and do all that stuff while I like to chitchat and take more breaks when we can. So I think I like working with her more than she likes working with me.

But it is nice to have someone who understands what it is like to be an ER nurse without having to even explain.

Do you have a memorable patient?

Kayla: That’s hard to answer from an ER perspective because we see 16 patients on a slow day and 24 on a busier day. I have a few trauma-related patients I will never forget, but it’s more common in the ER to see that.

Kelly: I probably have one of those daily. I’ll have patients throughout my shift that remind me why I am not quitting.

What do you believe to be the ideal quality of a nurse?

Kelly: Common sense. I think that’s really important.

Kayla: Especially in the ER. Like common nurse sense, to know not to do something that would make situations worse.

Do you have a dream destination?

Kayla: There is definitely a list of places we want to go, like Arizona and New Mexico. It hasn’t worked out yet with contracts but it’s on our list. Washington or Oregon would be cool too.

Kelly: I want to go to Hawaii to experience the culture.

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