Fastaff nurses are rewarded and recognized for the experience, skills, and dedication they bring to each travel nursing assignment. This nurse is someone who exemplifies the Fastaff values. Read below to learn more about the November Nurse of the Month, Lisseth DeGracia.
Name: Lisseth DeGracia
Number of assignments: Two
Number of years with Fastaff: One year
What do you love about nursing?
I love knowing that I made a difference in someone’s day. Working in the ER, we see people on the worst day of their lives when they weren't expecting to be there. To make that more comfortable for my patients is important to me. I also love the teamwork that nursing brings, I don’t think there is any other career that people work so closely together!
What makes travel nursing rewarding for you?
The opportunity to see different parts of the country and how nursing is something that is done with passion and purpose regardless of where we are. Working in different areas and at different hospitals has broadened my skills and knowledge within nursing and I have met some wonderful people on my journey that will forever be my friends.
Describe a time where you felt more valuable/respected because of the experience and knowledge you gained from your Fastaff assignment.
I think overall since my experience in New York with Fastaff in the middle of this pandemic, I have felt more valuable and respected.
It has been incredibly humbling to know how much support I have and how many people in my life are cheering me on as I do what I love. When I came back home, my experience helped so many other nurses and non-nurses understand what was going on and what kind of reality this whole country is facing. I am forever grateful for the experience that I had there.
What has been your most challenging Fastaff assignment (a difficult case, surgery, patient illness, etc.) and how did you feel that impacted your worth as a nurse afterwards?
My most difficult Fastaff experience was my second day working in New York City. I only got about two hours of orientation, and then was set free on my own with a 8-1 patient ratio in a sea of covid, while everyone wore space suits and so many layers that we barely recognized ourselves.
I had eight patients to myself, and still was not even familiar with where things were in the department. We got a trauma call. The charge nurse looked at me and said “Have you worked level 1?” I said yes, and she replied, “This ones yours”. Trauma in Queens New York is different than in the Midwest. I didn't even have time to think, but I ran that trauma the best I knew how, and it was one of the worst I have ever seen. After the patient was taken out of the ER, it went right back to the chaos of covid, patient's everywhere, and things being a blur. The next day, the charge nurse pulled me aside and thanked me, she said that she has never had a traveler just roll with things like I did, and would have thought I had been working there for years the way that I just jumped in and took on the challenge. That was one of the most challenging, and one of my proudest moments working for Fastaff. I think this brought a lot of confidence and worth to my nursing practice.
Describe the most miraculous or impressive thing you’ve witnessed or been a part of during your time as a nurse with Fastaff.
I think my experience in New York overall was miraculous. There were nurses by the dozens coming in and working like a well-oiled machine. We had never met, were from all areas of the country and all walks of life. We worked long hours, we were tired, we were sweaty, and we saw a lot of death. We witnessed things together in a few months that most don’t in a lifetime. To see so many wonderful nurses and healthcare providers support each other, build each other up and genuinely just work for the greater good regardless of the stress, was absolutely amazing.
How have you accomplished some of your personal and professional goals by traveling with Fastaff (i.e. family life, financial freedom, more personal freedom, etc.)?
Going to New York with Fastaff was the longest I have ever been away from my children. I am a single mother, I am their only parent. Leaving my kids was hard, but seeing them cheer me on and be so proud of me showed me that I was accomplishing something that was so valuable. I taught my kids that when you have the skills and opportunity to make a difference, you take it. I have never seen my children so proud of their momma, even though it was tough to be away.
I have created a closer bond with my children by being away during that time. I also have been able to have more financial freedom by adding to my income through Fastaff. They pay their nurses what they are worth, and always are looking out for you to be compensated according to the hard work we are doing. I have paid down some debt and been able to work a little less upon completing assignments with Fastaff. Most importantly, my experience has given me a different outlook on life.