New Year, New Career! All about Labor and Delivery Travel Nursing with Angela

New Year, New Career! All about Labor and Delivery Travel Nursing with Angela

Angela Vallillo, MPH, BSN, RN, C-EFM, C-ONQS Angela Vallillo, MPH, BSN, RN, C-EFM, C-ONQS
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A #MeetMoxieNurse Interview

Interviewed by Moxie Scrubs

Do your New Year's resolutions include exploring a new specialty in nursing? Maybe one that allows for healthy work-life balance? #MeetMoxieNurse Angela Vallillo, who has effectively hacked the system! She has a rich career in Labor and Delivery Travel Nursing, and maintains her work-life balance by being a travel nurse within a fifty-mile radius of her home in Somerville, Massachusetts. 

Moxie: You're a Labor and Delivery Travel Nurse, two really interesting specialties layered together, so I just want to hear all about your career!

Angela: Absolutely! I’ve been a labor and delivery nurse for almost 2 years. I started traveling a little bit earlier than most people like to, or that most people say is okay, but that's me, pushing boundaries. I started travel nursing after about a year of working a staff position. Now, I’m going to be heading on to my third contract.

Moxie: What inspired you to take this path of nursing?

Angela: Labor and delivery has always been a passion of mine. I always knew that I wanted to be in the birth setting. It's not for me personally, like to have my own kids, but my calling is to help others. I love it.

I am also in Midwifery school, to become a certified nurse-midwife, to get the full scope of nursing and what labor and delivery has to offer.

As far as travel nursing, I just love the freedom of it. I love that you get to go to a new place every 13 weeks. The world's your oyster. And obviously the financial aspect of it is great, as well, and I've already learned so much. I've made so many friends along the way that I just love it. I can't see myself going back to a staff job really ever. I get to experience new things all the time. Things that I may not experience at one place, especially for labor and delivery. There are so many levels of nurseries and different providers: you have midwives, doctors. Some are more medicalized and others will let you do water births. I mean you can really run the whole gamut of everything.

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Moxie: What kind of rates do you get as a travel nurse and how are they different from a staff position?

Angela: So, it differs in the sense that there's two kinds of positions. A true traveler duplicates their expenses. Say I'm here on the East Coast, but I want to go work on the West Coast. I would maintain my home on the East Coast, but I would get a stipend (tax-free living stipend) to go live on the west coast, and also in addition to an hourly rate. The rate differs by every contract.

During the height of Covid, some contracts were about $10,000 a week. Right now, they're down to maybe about three or four thousand a week, which is still great.

I do mostly local traveling, which means that I stay within my area, less than 50 miles, but I get to hop around to different hospitals, for me, the Massachusetts area, which is really cool.

Moxie: Do you have a favorite element of Labor and Delivery?

Angela: Bonding with my patient. When I come on shift, I want to know how their experience has been, what their expectations are, and then really try to go from there. Every shift I come on is what I can do. I honestly go to the ends of the Earth for my patients. If they want a vaginal delivery, if they want something specific, I make sure that happens. Obviously we can't control all aspects of birth, but I really try my best every shift to make sure that my patient is happy.

Moxie: It sounds like you're in this position to advocate for your patients and their desires and needs that come up in that moment, like you’re on their side.

Angela: I'm a huge patient advocate. I mean, when I define myself as a #MoxieNurse, I would say that I am a patient advocate. I make sure it's what they want even if that will get people outside of the patient's room mad at me, such as doctors, or whoever. No, we're here for the patient. This is what we're doing.

Moxie: Say something happens outside what the patient ideally wanted, like maybe there's a C-section being recommended and they want or vaginal birth isn’t possible for some reason. How do you deal with those moments?

Angela: I try to be a really good listener. A lot of times, patients really just need to be able to express themselves. So you received news that a C-section is recommended and that was absolutely not in the birth plan. I kick everybody out of the room, including the doctor. We sit and I say, “Okay, what's going on? How are you feeling about this? Let's talk about it.” I will always make time to make sure patients are consented, educated, and they know exactly what the risks and benefits are. Before a procedure is done or recommended, they are fully aware of all their options and they can make those choices.

Moxie: So what's tough, what's hard about being a travel L&D nurse specifically?

Angela: Being a traveler, in general, you go to a new place every 13 weeks or however many weeks your contract is. So, you have to learn new policies, and procedures. You have to learn the quirks of the doctors and midwives, and your co-workers. You have to navigate a new patient population and a new place to stay. It's just a whole new world every 13 weeks. I've chosen that, so I fully understand that's what I'm getting myself into and it makes things exciting. But, those first two weeks on assignment are a little bit tiring, because you're just learning everything new.

Moxie: At Moxie because we're really all about the wellness of the nurse, not just the patients that you care for. So let's talk about work-life balance. Do you have specific ways that you take care of yourself while holding down this tough career?

Angela: So what's so great about travel nursing is that you dictate your own schedule, not that you pick which days, but for example, on my upcoming contract, I'm actually getting married and going away for two weeks. And, I was able to take those entire two weeks off, as well as some other random dates that I have certain wedding things on.

You speak directly to the hiring manager at the hospital. You negotiate with them and they pre-approve your time off, so you get to take the time off and do the things that you want to do without having to worry about PTO or anything like that. During the holidays, I had three weeks off, so I can really take the time I want in between assignments.

Moxie: Wow. Travel nursing sounds like an amazing solution to the burnout issue. My last question is: how did you cross paths with Moxie Scrubs?

Angela: Oh, that is the best question. I actually live in the same building as the founder, Alicia. So, I get to go upstairs and work sometimes. Alicia had come to the leasing office, my fiance works there, they had spoken and it was actually three days before the ANCC Magnet conference last year. She invited me to the conference without even meeting me. And I was so excited, I was like yes, let's go! We’re going to go to the Georgia conference, it's going to be great. We had such a great time on the trip. I bonded with everybody and now I’m a part of the team, which is amazing!

Moxie: Well, it's definitely a pleasure working with you, Angela. Thank you for talking!

Angela: Absolutely, thank you!

About the Author:

Angela is a travel labor and delivery RN. She is also in midwifery school at Frontier Nursing University and a clinical specialist for MindChild Medical, Inc., the creator of a non-invasive fetal ECG device. She holds certifications in electronic fetal monitoring and obstetric and neonatal quality and safety. 

What does Moxie mean to me? “Moxie means having a fighting spirit, and that means fiercely advocating for my patients.”

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