Interview with Lindsay Cooper, Travel Nurse & Veteran
This month’s issue of News From Home is, in part, a special thanks to our soldiers and nurses who have served in the military. To mark the occasion, Lindsay Cooper, RN, and Air Force Veteran, spoke with Travel Nurse Across America about her experience in the military and how that ultimately led to travel nursing.
We appreciate your service. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your experience in the military?
Answer: Sure…My hometown is Dayton, Ohio. However, I joined the Air Force on the GI bill and was stationed in San Antonio. After my initial training at the San Antonio Air Force Base, where I was trained as an EMT, I served at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Next, I was stationed at the Fairford Air Force Base in England, and even did a short tour of duty in Kuwait in 1998. I moved back to Dayton, Ohio after four years of active duty. Then, I attended Sinclair Community College and obtained an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. After moving to Tennessee to work as a pediatric RN at Knoxville Pediatric Hospital for one year, I decided to start travel nursing. Of course, the Air Force helped pay for my nursing school and allowed me to see the world, which eventually gave me the urge to become a travel nurse!
So you attribute some of your desire to travel to your military experience. Are there other reasons you decided to become a traveler?
Answer: Yes, I have always wanted to see the west. In fact, I wanted to head west and take my mom, Janice Copper, with me for my first travel assignment. Unfortunately, my mom required back surgery so instead. I ended up taking an assignment as close to Dayton as I could get, which ended up being in Fairmont, West Virginia. That was a great turn of events in my life, however, as I met my fiancé, Scott Watkins there. Scott is in the Army National Guard and served one year in Iraq. So, after completing two assignments in West Virginia, and my mom fully recovered we all finally got to head out west to Phoenix, Arizona (and I got to sport my new engagement ring!) Even my dog “Tater” went, he was a seasoned traveler by then! While in Arizona we visited Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and even took a side trip to San Diego where we stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado on the Beach (which I highly recommend)!
What made you choose Travel Nurse Across America to help you with your travel assignments?
Answer: While in Knoxville I talked to several travelers, and your company was always highly recommended! And when I started talking with my recruiter Cathy Phillips she was GREAT! She has a wonderful sense of humor and she is so reassuring. I am a worrier and she would always say, “Now don’t worry, we’ll take care of that”…and she did! Ashley in Housing was fantastic too! I feel like everyone I have gotten to know there is a friend. It’s funny when I got your company Christmas photo this year I was able to pick Cathy out without ever looking at the names…and I’ve never met her in person! She’s just gotten to be so familiar to me…did I mention how great she is? I also was really impressed with Travel Nurse Across America’s benefits. For example, my insurance started on day one!
What have you enjoyed most about traveling and what have you found to be the most challenging aspect of it?
Answer: Of course seeing new places, having new experiences, and being introduced to new cultures are what I enjoy most about traveling…it is very eye opening. However, sometimes the new cultures can be a challenge as well. While in Phoenix many of my patients did not speak English, but I did end up learning some Spanish! The simple things like arranging how your bills will be paid in your absence, and learning new hospital policies and procedures are the challenges I find when it comes to being a traveler.
Tell us about your future plans.
Answer: I have just finished up my assignment in Phoenix and moved back to West Virginia so I can plan my wedding, which will take place on September 16th! I have taken a staff job with Lewis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia where I am now caring for veterans. In fact, I work in the geriatrics department which is quite a switch from my previous experience as a pediatric RN…I guess you could say I have gone from taking care of little babies to taking care of big babies! While the Veterans Hospital is using my years of active duty towards my retirement I doubt I will be able to stay away from travel nursing for long…I predict the travel bug will bite again soon!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.