The FlexCare Healthcare Heroes Awards recognize and celebrate those healthcare professionals who stand out as exceptional FlexCare travelers. FlexCare’s Greatest Nurse Hero is a FlexCare nurse who did something phenomenal that was outside the scope of normal duties.
The day started like any other day off – running errands. Thomas had just pulled out of his apartment complex on his way to Costco when he heard someone screaming. He couldn’t tell where the screams were coming from but knew that someone was in distress, so he stopped his car and turned off the music. As he glanced in his rearview mirror, he saw his neighbor’s wife running towards his car. He threw it in reverse and backed up as quickly as possible, parked the car and grabbed a fully stocked first aid backpack that he always keeps with him. He rushed over to find that his neighbor had fallen down the stairs and was covered in blood from the fall, still upside down on the steps.
The injured man was moaning incoherently and trying to fight off help. Then, he went limp. Thomas checked for a pulse and quickly started CPR while he asked another neighbor to call 9-1-1 and tell them that there’s no pulse on the scene. Thomas continued CPR until medics arrived. They were able to defibrillate the neighbor and his pulse came back!
Life saved. Neighbors grateful.
As our Greatest Nurse Hero, Thomas is an exceptional example of what it means to be a FlexCare travel nurse: always prepared to jump in where needed and do so with great professionalism. As a nurse who believes in always being open to learning, Thomas has unique thoughts about life as a nurse – particularly when it comes to career growth and the “why” behind his chosen career.
FC: How has nursing changed your life?
“Nursing has allowed me to touch the lives of people I never thought I would cross paths with. It changes your perspective on life and gives you this deep connection and understanding of other people. It’s a great feeling when you get a hug, a thank you, or a handwritten card from a patient or a family member expressing their thanks for the hard work that you do. It’s truly gratifying and something I have never experienced in other careers.
Nursing also affords me the opportunity for growth. You can learn so much by exploring all the different specialties like ICU (in addition to the ICU subspecialties), emergency, cath lab, interventional radiology and flight/transport nursing. And there are numerous board certifications such as CCRN, CEN, TCRN, CTRN, CNRN and SCRN, among others. It’s a great way to gauge your knowledge and assess yourself. Nothing better than leaving the exam with a passing grade!”
FC: What do you love most about being a travel nurse?
“Travel nursing offers me flexibility and the opportunity to see places on my own time while being paid to do so. What’s better than that? Do you want to spend a few months in Colorado skiing or snowboarding during the winter? It’s certainly possible. Thinking about hiking in the Santa Ynez Mountains near Santa Barbara, sailing to the Channel Islands and relaxing on the beach during your days off? Nothing is stopping you.
Another huge plus is that I’ve met other travel nurses who have the same fervor for trying new things and seeing new places. It’s always sad to go separate ways when assignments end, but you tend to stay in touch with these people and even visit each other at our new locations. Travel nursing has put so much flavor into my life and I’m extremely grateful to be in this position.”
FC: What advice would you give someone considering becoming a travel nurse?
“Do it. Fair and simple. There was a sense of hesitancy when I first contemplated travel nursing in 2015, especially when I realized I'd be leaving friends and family, a great job, and a place I’ve called home for many years. Travel nurses I’ve met tend to agree on that feeling. However, that plunge is the hardest part. Once you get past that hurdle you will open a book with many chapters to fill."
You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. ~ Rabindranath Tagore
Well done, Thomas. Well done, indeed.
What gift do you give someone who came to the aid of a neighbor in distress – ultimately saving his life? In appreciation for being our Greatest Nurse Hero, and for being an outstanding representation of the profession, FlexCare is sending Thomas on a hero’s journey over Wine Country: A thrilling ride in a WWII North American AT6 fighter trainer. Thomas will get to experience how fighter pilots of the 1940’s trained to become WWII heroes!