How do travel nurses roll? It’s something you really need to experience to understand. And after one year of life on the road, Shelby’s year in review is ready to roll.

LRS Insta followers got a glimpse into the travel nurse life she and her pup, Schroeder, recently shared in Butte, Montana—a homey town just shy of 35,000 folks near the Continental Divide.

Shelby’s latest Travel Nurse Takeover story is one of three adventures taken thus far in her travel nurse career. Here’s a deeper recap of what one year of exploration has taught her about the medical travel lifestyle.

About Shelby and Schroeder

Travel Nurse Shelby Donner and her dog on a snowy mountain topTravel Nurse Shelby and her puppy hugging on a hiking trail on a sunny day

Shelby’s an Omaha, Nebraska, native who came to LRS Healthcare with three years of traditional nursing experience. Outdoor adventure is her name of the travel game, and with Schroeder riding shotgun, this dynamic duo has lived it up travel nursing in:

  • Lander, Wyoming
  • Reno, Nevada (absolute fave to date—it was hard to leave)
  • Butte, Montana

Why does travel nursing fit their lifestyle? “It gives us the opportunity to do things our beloved hometown might not offer,” explains Shelby.

“It’s been the best year of our life,” Schroeder tells his human.

Travel Nurse Priorities  

There are three things Shelby prioritizes with her LRS Healthcare recruiter, Jake Reynoso, when debating where her and Schroeder’s next pin drop will be:

  1. Location, Location, Location (nature, please)
  2. Pay $$
  3. Shift type

(In this order, but Jake knows these two want all three and does the legwork to help make ‘em happen. 💪)

LRS Healthcare Tip: Be open and honest with your recruiter about what motivates you to travel, what you’re looking to accomplish with this career path and what style of communication you prefer—things like calls vs. texts and the frequency you like to be reached out to for check-ins.

Travel Nurse Life

Shelby and Schroeder’s motto: Say “yes” more and try anything twice.

Travel nurse life can be exactly what you need and want it to be all rolled up into one. You get to write the narrative and play out the script, deciding where you go while earning a higher average salary each leg of the journey.

Travel Nurse Shelby looking across the mountains in Montana with her dog on a chilly day What do these two love most about travel nursing?

  • New people, new friendships
  • New places, new adventures
  • New ways to help others
  • New perspective on earning, spending and saving

Travel nursing is also great way to practice stepping outside of your comfort zone to grow personally and professionally. Let’s face it, a travel career can get lonely once in a while. And that’s all the more reason to safely make an effort when it comes to making plans with new people and “saying ‘yes’” a little more.

LRS Healthcare Tip: Have a good grasp on your nursing skills prior to traveling (as Shelby puts it). The industry does a good job of helping ensure people do by requiring nurses to have a minimum of two years’ experience under their gait belts prior to leap-of-fun-faithing it into the travel career lifestyle.

Pet Travel Nurse Pros and Kinda Cons

Travel Nurse Shelby's doggy sniffing around a box of goodies for him.

Having your BFF double down as your bodyguard on assignments is a MEGA PRO. Packing for two and giving up precious car real estate for your pupper and their belongings might be considered a drag. Here are a few other pet travel yin and yang aspects Shelby and Schroeder have experienced this first year. 

PROS:

Outdoor exploration!

Pups gotta pee and play, right? Lol. Aside from the obvious, having your four-legged friend on assignment with you means you always have a companion excited to sniff out every ah-mazing hiking trail, mountain side, beachy lake and beyond.

Those awkward hellos.

A big perk to travel nursing is meeting new people. For anyone who dreads breaking the ice with people in a new environment, dogs are a dream come true! Their gravitational pull is magnetic, and a dog’s judge of character is typically on point, making those initial introductory moments a little more solid.

“Hi, my name’s Schroeder!”

Travel Nurse She;lby and her dog taking a selfie on the beachCONS:

Who could say “no” to this face?! 😍

A hard day’s night.

You are where you are, of course, with a job to do. As a travel nurse, that can mean leaving your furry friend at home or doggy daycare during your long shifts. Nothing beats that wagging tail greeting you when you walk through the door though.

No dogs allowed.

We’ll get to housing costs here in a sec, but it’s just a fact of life—there are places you’ll wanna go that aren’t (gasp) pet friendly. So, there might be extra boarding time too, or the need to skip out early to let the dog out.

These, and other, give and takes just come with the travel territory for Shelby and Schroeder. For them, the pros very much outweigh the cons.

LRS Healthcare Tip: Understand the upsides and downsides for you and your pet—then decide if it’s a good fit per assignment and  tap your recruiter as a trusted resource to help you hash it all out so you not only feel good about it, but are fully prepared to take the really good with the sometimes inconvenient.

Travel Nurse Housing

Travel Nurse Shelby's first home on assignment—blue house with a yellow door. Travel Nurse Shelby and her roommate on assignment canoeing during their downtime.

Shelby prefers to take the stipend route when it comes to travel nurse housing decisions. This way, she can be sure to find a dog-friendly place she’s sure to love. Though traveling with your pup can add some housing costs and whittle a pool of say 100 options down to a dozen or so, being more hands-on here affords her freedoms that she finds are worth the extra legwork.

“LRS Healthcare has a housing team that’ll find housing for you if you don’t want to do the work yourself,” Shelby adds.

The power of the roommate on assignment is also something to consider, especially when there’s a pet on premise. You’ll already have one human friend at your new location, cut down on rental costs and potentially have a doggie auntie or uncle available to puppysit.

LRS Healthcare Tip: Take the housing option that fits your wants and needs—we’re here for you no matter what. Fully furnished (and vetted) options are locked and loaded for our medical travelers in addition to the stipend option.

Traveling with LRS Healthcare

“It’s been a great experience overall and my recruiter, Jake, always goes out of his way to ensure everything runs perfectly on every assignment. He’s always flexible and available for support and camaraderie—even taking an extra vacation day to adventure with some of my Reno crew while he was in the area,” Shelby says.

Travel Nurse Shelby, her LRS Healthcare recuriter, Jake Reynoso, and other friends tubing down a river in Reno, NV.“Shelby knows how I work, and I know exactly what she looks for. I talk/Snapchat with her almost daily and truly appreciate her existence on this earth!” shares her LRS Healthcare recruiter, Jake.

Omaha being home base for Shelby and Schroeder, she’s also been able to stop in and meet a handful of the LRS HQ team.

“Everyone is super genuine there and interested in hearing what I’ve been up to and how I’ve been feeling about all of these new travel nurse experiences,” added Shelby.

Overall, her biggest piece of advice for those thinking about trying out the travel nurse lifestyle: JUST GO FOR IT! 😎

Travel Nurse Shelby sitting in a hot tub looking at the mountains outside of her cabin in MT.“Becoming a travel nurse with LRS Healthcare has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and even if you find travel nursing isn’t for you—it’s only a handful of weeks out of your life to try,” expresses Shelby.

I’ve had the opportunity to lend a quality hand at a range of healthcare facilities, from a 12-bed critical access hospital with limited resources to an 800-bed, 2-level trauma center filled with resources. You experience it all, learning the whole way. You can do it, especially with a quality recruiter by your side,” says Shelby.

For more day-in-the-life travel nurse insights, follow Shelby and Schroeder, @sdonner, on Instagram!✌️