Meet CN Beth: Ever Seen a Smiling Sea Lion?


4.5 minute read

CN Beth

9 years nursing experience

Raw wisdom from the locals and the unpolished beauty of the Australian coast and outback – CN Beth has done the rounds of the country and reveals how much there is to uncover with travel nursing.

1. How are you finding Hobart so far after doing your previous 2 contracts in WA?  

A lot colder, and I have to now wear PPE all shift! I’ve been lucky during the pandemic to usually find myself in areas where there is little or no Covid! 

So far, I’m enjoying my contract at The Royal Hobart. It’s busy enough that the shift flies past; although it’s a city-based hospital, there are still some challenges you tend to get in more rural contracts, such as limited medication supplies and being offered extra shifts often.  

My partner and I have already started exploring Tasmania on our days off. We went camping on the west coast with our puppy last weekend and are we’re exploring the markets in town this weekend.  

I do miss WA though; I made some great friends and learnt so much. We road tripped up the Gibb River road from Derby and explored the coastline from Broome down to Esperance. The abundant number of reefs over there are incredible to dive in! 

2. What kind of benefits have you seen with living and working in a rural location?

So many benefits! Firstly and most obviously, it’s great to have free accommodation and utilities paid for whilst still earning a wage. Life also becomes more spontaneous and fun in my experience. All of a sudden you find yourself immersed in a group of travel-loving nurses that want to explore the area you’re in!  

There’s a wild and unpolished side to it all and you don’t tend to find in the city. It’s all about getting out, being social and having a love of new experiences. 

Clinically, I’ve developed stronger assessment skills and critical thinking in my practice. Not to mention the upskilling along the way thanks to various places. Also, rural locations have free car parking! 

3. What do you enjoy most about the travel nurse lifestyle?

The flexibility. Being able to pick up a contract in between experiences is awesome. This has allowed me to continue my adventures in my own time. It appeals to the gypsy in me!

4. You first started with Affinity in 2018! What has been highlight for you so far?

Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. I had always wanted to go there, and my opportunity came just as Covid hit. The nurses I lived with and worked alongside were so much fun.  

The hospital often required nurses to fly out via private helicopter, to the outer islands and run clinics. I was lucky enough to visit a couple of different islands and act as sole RN for a short time.

The islanders are so welcoming and inclusive – they taught me about their culture, food and beliefs. I loved the sense of community and the autonomy offered through these secondments. 

5. You’ve taken many beautiful photos! Do you have a favorite shot? What’s the story behind it?

This one of the sea lion saying hi is my favourite! One of my fave Affinity gals (Lorne Mcguire) and I were working in Geraldton, WA.  

We spontaneously decided to book a sea lion swim experience for the next day in Jurien Bay. We took off after our AM shift and spent a night having dinner, drinks, and dancing. Later, we found a place to camp for the night which was a beautiful little seaside spot.  

In the morning, we boarded a boat at the marina for our play date. The sea lions were so cool! They were playful and liked to mimic your actions underwater, and this one ended up smooching me on the snorkel mask later in the day! (She gave me a huge fright but it was pretty awesome). Then we sped home because I had to get ready for my PM shift!  

6. What has been the most valuable lesson you have learnt over your travel nursing career? 

There’s been many, that’s a hard question! I think there is one sentence I was told by a Torres Strait Health Care Worker that has stuck with me.  

“Just remember you are here to help us, not to change us.” 

He spoke of many nurses turning up with all good intentions, but trying to implement their version of health in a small, traditional village. He warned that the best way forward on their island was to offer help and education in ways that played true with their traditions and customs (e.g: for men’s business ceremonies, provide a male nurse etc). 

I still try to educate and improve health literacy with patients, but I’ve found baby steps are more successful. 

7. In your opinion, what are some common misconceptions about travel nursing?

I cannot think of any, would you believe. Maybe I’ve just not heard them, but it’s as great as it sounds 🤷🏼‍♀️

8. What advice would you give other nurses who want to do travel nursing?

Be open-minded about the locations you accept. The contracts that challenge you also make you learn new skills. They’re also the ones likely to give you extra training in my experience!  Every opportunity will come with different silver linings. 

And maybe take decent coffee with you. In fact I think that’s the more important advice here… 

If you’re inspired by RN Beth’s story, sign up with Affinity and let’s talk about more amazing opportunities that await you!


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