California BON, woes of travel nursing, and all about Klone's life

Nurses General Nursing

Published

  • Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.

Thought I'd share a story. My fingers tend to be verbose early in the morning as the coffee is kicking in and everyone else in the house is asleep.

In late 2019 I quit my L&D/OB director job and decided to do interim leadership work. It's a sweet gig if you thrive on instability (turns out, I do - thanks, mom and dad) - it's like travel nursing, but in addition to housing, they also pay for a car rental, and travel back home every other weekend, and salary itself is generally around $160,000-180,000/year (although most gigs only last 3-6 months). So I started collecting nursing licenses (in addition to the compact license I held in MT, I renewed my lapsed OR license, then also started the process to get CA and WA). Took a leap of faith and put in notice at my job, without yet having something lined up, which was scary as *** (once a gig is secured, they generally want you there within a week or two, so I couldn't really wait to give notice).

Of course, California licensure took FOREVER to go through. Got my first assignment (Modesto, CA) at the end of January 2020, and off I went. The plan was to do this for a year or two while husband held down the fort at home with our middle-school aged son, we'd save up enough money, and retire early to Central or South America.

Then Covid hit. And both of my elderly parents, who live back home in Minneapolis (where I was born and raised but moved away 17 years ago) were diagnosed with serious illnesses (my mother with Parkinson's, and my dad with neuroendocrine cancer with mets to the liver). And my marriage started falling apart due to husband's AUD, and our son, then just turned 12, was in an unsafe situation where he was trying to be responsible for his father while his mother was working across the country.

So after 6 months of doing interim leadership work (one assignment, renewed once, offered a permanent position and/or second renewal because I am just that awesome at my job ;)), I made the decision to hang up my travel nurse shoes and take a permanent position back home in Minneapolis where my son could have some stability, and I could spend more time with my parents. 

Wanting to help with the Covid efforts, I took a position in ambulatory primary care leadership, which then transitioned to leadership in outpatient infectious disease. And so I've been for the last 3 1/2 years. Moved back to Minneapolis right in the middle of all the "civil unrest" which is what the people in the local community here call the post-George Floyd murder rioting, where much of South Minneapolis was burned to the ground. Of course, I secured my apartment in Uptown Minneapolis 2 weeks before George Floyd was murdered, not knowing that that would be Ground Zero for the rioting and looting, so that was interesting coming home to that.

Divorced my husband, met a woman, got married, bought a house 2 blocks from George Floyd Square, and continued in my boring stable job that wasn't women's health/OB/L&D, and continued to dream about retiring early to Central/South America (of course, now I have the added complication of finding a country that doesn't put our lives at risk as a gay couple - Panama was originally on the short list but is now off the table). Both of my parents have passed away (my mom in February of this year, and my dad in August - 2023 has really sucked balls when it comes to middle age life transitions).

My lovely wife knows about my itch for job instability and is 150% supportive of whatever I choose to do professionally, and is willing to follow me wherever, or hold down the fort at home. So I have decided that what I really want to do is go back into interim leadership work in OB/L&D. One 3-month gig a year will pay for our living expenses in South America for an entire year. Plus, Colombia (that is where we have settled on) is not too far to travel back once or twice a month to visit while I'm on assignment. Except I have been out of inpatient OB/L&D for 3 1/2 years now, and my OB skills are stale. So, after consulting with a few trusted LinkedIn friends who work for large healthcare leadership recruiting firms, I made the decision to temporarily leave leadership and I took a position as an L&D nurse, which I start in January. I will do this for a year or so, then make the transition back into interim OB leadership.

And in 2-3 years, we are going to pack up and move to Cartagena, Colombia. The political and social climate in the US is such that we are no longer feeling very safe as a gay couple (even in So-Blue-It's-Indigo Minnesota), I hate how gun-worshipping America is, and the state of healthcare here in the US is just so disheartening. And I really really fear for what will happen in the election next year. It's time to make a change.

So that's everything you never wanted to know about my life.

Oh yeah, I totally forgot the purpose of this post in the first place! It was to tell you all that I went to renew my California license, that took SO long to get in the first place, and I realized it had lapsed a year ago. ***. This is going to take an act of congress to get reinstated. So I filled out the form online, paid $280 (W T F !!), and requested a fingerprint card to get fingerprinted AGAIN. And I got an email the very next day that my California license has been renewed! ONE DAY. Go, CA BON!!

Edited to add: just realized that next year will mark my 20-year anniversary as an Allnurses.com member. Can I be called a COB yet?

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,515 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health.

Thank you for sharing all of that. So interesting. Seems like as reasonable a plan as any these days. We have the same anniversary coming up COB :).

 

Hoosier_RN, MSN

3,942 Posts

Specializes in Dialysis.

I just passed my 20 year, although I've been on here under different member names over the span of that. When I asked about COB a few years ago, I was told over 50 y/o and a few other things (which we ALL seem to meet 😆), so you may very well be!

I hope things go as planned for you, just keep watching S America with an open mind, as political climates can change on the drop of a dime there. Good luck!

Emergent, RN

4,226 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Wow. Good luck in the future...

jobellestarr

348 Posts

Wow! A wanderluster like myself. Thanks for sharing. And I'm from MN too. I went and lived on the Navajo reservation for nearly 20 years with a couple of years here and there of UCSF because I was bored. Anyway, now retired from federal service and back home in the Driftless (SE MN) and I make jewelry. Life is for living and all that! 

Specializes in Mental Health.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Cartagena, Colombia is in zero ways safer than Minneapolis, Minnesota.

allnurses Guide

nursel56

7,073 Posts

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty.

That's quite a lot of change in a relatively small window of time, klone! I've been hanging out in the Politics Forum more often recently, but I felt some kinship due to what an awesome manager you are, based on your posts about outpatient leadership in the state I lived in for years, and which I won't mention since you didn't and I tend to stick way on the side of caution on these matters.

I agree that California bureaucracies are a non-stop nightmare. The outrageous fees just add insult to injury on that. When I was first licensed in CA, the fees were pretty low, owing to the reality that the number of licensed nurses was also low at the time.

Oh hell yeah you qualify as a COB.

I'm happy to hear you found the relationship that is right for you. I think this is the first time I've read that a significant other understands their partner's penchant for job instability

 

 

klone, MSN, RN

14,758 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.
Rionoir said:

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Cartagena, Colombia is in zero ways safer than Minneapolis, Minnesota.

LOL, have you lived in Minneapolis in the last 3 years? Have you lived in Cartagena? If either of those answers are no, then I am going to say that you probably don't have a very informed opinion. It's so funny because every time I mention it, people whose only knowledge of Colombia is from watching Narcos, are all "zomg, so dangerous!" and people who have either lived in Colombia, or have friends/family who live there, and have also lived in urban US so actually have a basis of comparison, all say "Oh, it's so beautiful there! You'll love it!" So...

In the US, we have drugs, gangs, homeless encampments, racist police, more guns per capita than most other nations in the world, daily carjackings, daily break-ins, people dying at bus stops from drug overdoses (literally, I see it almost weekly - I carry Narcan and Fentanyl test strips with me and hand them out to people), the worst healthcare stats of pretty much any developed nation in the world. So, I'm not too worried about moving to a coastal tourist town in South America.

Unless you are gay, you don't understand what I'm talking about with regards to safety. I don't feel unsafe being gay in Minneapolis. I feel increasingly unsafe being gay in the US, which is becoming a conservative theocracy. And the safety I'm referring to is regarding basic human rights, not having my wallet stolen.

klone, MSN, RN

14,758 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.
nursel56 said:

That's quite a lot of change in a relatively small window of time, klone! I've been hanging out in the Politics Forum more often recently, but I felt some kinship due to what an awesome manager you are, based on your posts about outpatient leadership in the state I lived in for years, and which I won't mention since you didn't and I tend to stick way on the side of caution on these matters.

So that's where you've been! I will have to check it out. I rarely venture to the blue side of the website.

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Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,598 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development.
klone said:

I rarely venture to the blue side of the website.

Ah, but it's not blue anymore - it's one of the clubs on this side.

Emergent, RN

4,226 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Most people I know, including politically conservative people, are unfazed by people being gay. It's become pretty acceptable in most places. 

Also, I don't see the United States becoming terribly conservative. Some Churches have traditional values regarding sexuality. My advice is always that gay people should not join those churches. But a diverse, inclusive society should tolerate a variety of opinions.

Also, keep in mind, that some people are also intolerant of conservative, religious people. Sometimes there is discrimination of them. There are very progressive and left-leaning communities where those people cannot advance their careers unless they keep their opinions to themselves.

Regarding Columbia, I've heard that it has become a lot safer than it was during the heyday of the drug cartels. But, I did work with a doctor from Columbia who said that anybody with money had to hire a lot of protection to just move about the country. I have heard that they take hostages and demand ransoms. That's all secondhand of course.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

3,942 Posts

Specializes in Dialysis.
Emergent said:

Most people I know, including politically conservative people, are unfazed by people being gay. It's become pretty acceptable in most places. 

Also, I don't see the United States becoming terribly conservative. Some Churches have traditional values regarding sexuality. My advice is always that gay people should not join those churches. But a diverse, inclusive society should tolerate a variety of opinions.

Also, keep in mind, that some people are also intolerant of conservative, religious people. Sometimes there is discrimination of them. There are very progressive and left-leaning communities where those people cannot advance their careers unless they keep their opinions to themselves.

Regarding Columbia, I've heard that it has become a lot safer than it was during the heyday of the drug cartels. But, I did work with a doctor from Columbia who said that anybody with money had to hire a lot of protection to just move about the country. I have heard that they take hostages and demand ransoms. That's all secondhand of course.

One of my patients at one of the clinics that I work at occasionally-she's come to IN in the last 6 months after 8 months in Chicago,  her adult children still live in Colombia. I didn't ask specific city, she says that crime is relatively the same as any metro city here, views on homosexuality or any other aspect of life are the same. But folks that seem to have any money, or are foreigners, are victims of kidnapping often, as they think someone will pay big bucks to get them back. She also mentioned having protection the same as Emergent did. This is second hand for me as well. It sounds like more of the US without the rampant inflation and some other woes. I just worry about anyone being so far from "home" and something crazy happen. But I guess there's enough crazy here in the US, that my thought seems ridiculous, even to me! The patient asked of I was thinking of moving there, said it's beautiful,  but she'd speak against it, as political climates change with the winds in South American countries

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