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Personal Stories From Nurse Life on the Road: How Adina Love Lives Up to Her Name

by CoreMedical Group

image-pngAdina Love is a CoreMedical Group travel nurse who lives in Indiana with her husband and two kids. Once a well-paid factory worker who could predict her days down to the hour, Adina’s career took a turn when she experienced a layoff. Having been a hospice volunteer where she ultimately served for 11 years, Adina applied her compassion and commitment to patient care to the next level by diving into nursing school at age 36. 

I met with Adina Love to hear the story of her career path and how it has not only improved her life and her patients’ end-of-life journeys, but also how it’s created amazing travel experiences, connected her with lifelong friends, and made many wonderful family memories possible all along the way. 

Adina showed up on Zoom with a cast on one arm. “I was roller-skating,” she says. We share a laugh about how living your best life sometimes comes at a cost. But that doesn’t stop Adina from doing what she loves. And after hearing her story and experiencing the passion she has for her work, I’m convinced nothing—not even a fractured wrist—will ever stop this traveling hospice nurse from showing up for life and work with wholehearted devotion, excellence, and joy.

What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who’s considering becoming a travel nurse? 

For those who are considering travel nursing, I would recommend talking to several people who have been doing it for a while to get their suggestions and advice. I would make sure that you are OK being alone in a place where you don’t know anyone and be ready to accept the challenge of being there for the company that needs you. 

Once you’re on the job, know who your resources are. You can't know it all and you’re not expected to. It took me a while to get used to that. 

I worked in a factory for 21 years, and I became a nurse later in life. At that job, I knew what I was doing all day, every day. It was mindless—I felt like a robot. And then when I became a nurse, it probably took me at least a year to let myself off the hook and accept that I can't know everything. I used to beat myself up, but you can’t do that.

image-png-1Nursing in the community can be a challenge as you were on your own out in the field and you have to make the best decision you can in the moment. It’s great to use your resources such as other nurses who can give you some good advice because they may have experienced what you’re dealing with. 

It's like I learned in nursing school: A safe nurse is one who says, “I don't know,” but will find out the answer instead of doing it wrong and potentially hurting someone.

I'm not going to do something I’m not sure about just to make myself feel like I know it all, because I don’t. So, admitting that you don’t always have the answer—but being fully committed to finding it—is the best and safest way to look at it. 

What’s one crazy thing that has happened to you while traveling?

My first day of my very first travel nurse assignment in Colorado, I was robbed. Someone broke into my car and took everything I had—my money, my I.D.—everything! I just wanted to cry, but I knew the hospice needed me. There was no way I wasn’t going to show up for work. The staff there was so kind, caring, and supportive. I was so lonely being out there by myself, but I was amazed by how they just took me under their wing. Of course, my awesome recruiter was there for me, too. 

What are some of the challenges that come with travel nursing? 

When you're traveling, you don't always know what you're walking into. Right now, my boss is a nurse, which is really nice. She understands my world and she's so transparent. But you definitely learn the questions you need to ask. 

How organized are they? How crazy is it? How do they order meds? 

How do they order supplies? How does management handle things? 

What apps do they use on their phones? 

And with different doctors and medical directors, each does things differently. Do they agree with this medicine? Are they the type who wants me to call them for every single thing or are they like others who say, “Just text me.” 

You might not get a ton of training, and I’ve learned to be OK with that. You have to hit the ground running. 

But the good thing is that you truly become the staff, and you might be coming into a chaotic situation but they’re so happy you’re there, and so grateful for your help. Hospice especially calls to a lot of really kind people, so I’ve had very positive experiences overall with being welcomed to the team and making friends everywhere I go. 

All of these are challenges that come with the job, but you get to learn. 

You’ll grow as a professional and build your confidence as you get good at blending in with the way things are done, and knowing you have an advocate in your recruiter whenever you need them. 

How do you deal with the uncertainty while building trust with patients? 

You have to be someone who can go with the flow. Your day may not be what you thought it would be. Sometimes, I have suitcases here and suitcases there. So, you have to be adventurous, brave, and resilient. 

My husband says, “There's no way I could do that kind of job,” because he wants to know exactly where he’s going and what he’s doing every day. But I get bored with the same old routine after a while. That said, I also need to show up prepared. 

For example, we received new admissions over the weekend, so tonight, I'll spend some time getting ready for tomorrow. It’s kind of like a teacher where their job is never totally done. I’ll need to spend some prep time getting updates on my patients because I am dedicated to them as their case manager. I want to know before I go in and be prepared as best I can. 

Patients want trust, and you have to build it. 

image-png-Dec-27-2023-01-51-03-2057-PMI have to show that I know what I'm doing. Dying is a tough journey, and a lot of the time as a travel nurse, you’re coming in to relieve staffing gaps or other issues. From the patient’s perspective, every time a new clinician walks through their door, they’re not sure they can trust them. You have to start all over again, and it's really hard for them because they're already dealing with their health issues and dying. So, I try my best to know everything I can possibly know about them. And when I leave at the end of my contract, I make sure the nurses know everything they can possibly know, too. This way, the patient is happy, and the nurse is more likely to succeed because I’ve set her up for success.

You also will do better the more you’re invested in your patients. I worry about what might happen to them after I leave. In fact, I stayed assigned to one patient because as we were getting ready to switch her to another hospice nurse, her daughter said, “We've had so many different nurses. It’s just too much for us to manage.” I listened to her and said, “No, I think she should stay with me.” This way, I was able to relieve at least some of the burden of the revolving door.

I try not to get too close to anyone, of course, to remain professional. But I do let them talk about their faith when they want to—not from a religious standpoint, but from the perspective of “Do you believe in something that helps you feel less afraid? Where can we help you find comfort at the end of life?” This reminds me of my patient who absolutely loved butterflies. I think of her every time I see one—she’s with me. And I keep in touch with some of the families I’ve worked with over the years which is such a wonderful bond. 

What do you do when things aren’t going well when you’re on a contract assignment? 

image-png-2My recruiter Erin checks in with me all the time just to see how I’m doing and if there’s anything she can help with. There was a situation where my caseload was too heavy, and the company wasn’t adequately staffed—this happens a lot in nursing. I reached out to Erin, and she spoke to the clinical team about the situation. That really helped.

There was another instance where I was not paid correctly, and Core helped with that too. Not every staffing company or recruiter will do that, so I don’t take it for granted. In fact, I worry that if I ever quit traveling, I won’t have CoreMedical Group as my friend and advocate.

In other nursing jobs, you can raise the red flag all you want, but you’re more or less stuck if the management doesn’t care. But as a travel nurse, I have an advocate who cares about me and my patients—they do everything they can to help when I need it. 

On my first travel contract, I was on my own in Colorado—not one single person looked familiar. As a female traveler, it's especially important to feel safe and that someone knows where you are and is checking in on you. 

Team Core and my recruiter have been there for me no matter what, so if it’s up to me, I will never travel with another healthcare staffing company.

What else has made your Core experience so unique and rewarding? How has CMG supported you in your career as a travel nurse and the life you want to live when you’re not at work? 

As a hospice nurse who deals with death all the time, I have a little different perspective on life and what matters. I don’t sweat the small stuff and I’m living my life while I’m alive. My husband and I have an agreement that we’re going to reach our financial goals and make memories at the same time. When I worked in the factory, I knew people who retired and died a year later. 

adina blog 2

I learned that nothing in life is promised, and I want to enjoy my life now. Working for CoreMedical  Group has helped make all of that possible. 

I have more friends now than ever, and I stay in touch with several nurses. The first time we went on the Club CoreMed trip to Mexico, I met people from many different disciplines like physical therapy. We made friends who we still stay in touch with. One of them actually helped me with a place in Florida because she's from there. 

adina blog

It's been so good to connect with people from all over so that when we travel, we can get together and they can hook us up! We made friends with a couple from South Carolina on the shuttle bus in Mexico. We learned that the husbands are both electricians, and we know we’re going to see each other again this March and hang out and catch up. 

My kids have visited me in Colorado. We went snowmobiling in the mountains. 


So, my whole family has gotten to reap the benefits of the money, the flexibility, the travel, the memories we've made that we wouldn't have otherwise. 

This is where I’m supposed to be. I get to put everything in my contract about how and where I want to work and the hours I’m guaranteed. 

And because we’ve balanced our long-term financial goals with my travel life and the adventures we have, my husband and I paid off our mortgage and our kids are graduating from college debt free. 

We had never been on all-inclusive trip until Club CoreMed. We were just blown away. It’s paradise!

Nobody else does that like Core. That’s one of the major advantages. Some nurses say it's good to have more than one travel company working for you. I’m like “Well, if you could give me this rate plus a free Mexico trip, great!” We even brought our kids along for Club CoreMed, which the company made financially possible for us by rewarding my hard work with enough points for my husband and me to go for free. 

I’m sure there are other great companies, but I don't really care to switch—

Stay tuned for part two of our Personal Stories From the Front Lines of Travel Nursing series coming soon! 


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