Thursday, April 25, 2013

Renee Will Be Missed

Continental Travelnurse only recruits the best nurses and partners with the best hospitals. How lovely when that professionalism and passion for their work is recognized. Here's a personal, handwritten letter our nurse Renee received when saying goodbye to her job in Eastbourne. It's not from her immediate supervisor and it's not feedback we requested from the hospital. It's a note that one of the doctors she worked with took the time to deliver to Renee unbidden.

Dear Renee,
It is with great sadness that you are leaving. I say this not just because you are a fellow Aussie...but because during your time here at Eastbourne you have set a standard for your work in nursing that would be hard to surpass. You combine excellent nursing practice with trustworthiness; along with that, you have the gift of being able to touch the lives of the children and their parents with compassion and understanding of their difficulties.
Enjoy your travels in Europe Renee! And when you get home, remember you will not be forgotten here.
Very best wishes,

What a wonderful gesture and a great tribute to Renee. It's a good reminder we should let the people we value highly know it. If you want your nursing skills to be highly valued while living and exploring the UK and Europe, come to the Continental Travelnurse website for more information.

Julie On Camel; Julie And Friends At A Cathedral

Check out the Continental Travelnurse website today. You'll discover that your nursing skills make you highly valuable in the UK. You can come and work, live and explore the UK. Every day is like a holiday when you're discovering a new part of the world. Even better, the rest of the UK and Europe is readily accessible for weekend jaunts and holidays. Many of our nurses work a while, save up money, explore Europe and then come work some more. Here is one of our nurses, Julie, on a camel.

And here's Julie in front of Salisbury Cathedral with fellow Continental Travelnurses Ashley and Tiffany.

Come visit the Continental Travelnurse website today and see where your nursing skills can take you.

Megan In The Alps

Our nurses never stop. Join Continental Travelnurse and you become part of a family. Megan from South Africa described bonding with friends in the UK and doing some wonderful work in the local community on her off days. Then she shared her adventures in the Southern Alps in France and then on a bus tour with a travel group. Great stuff and with some valuable tips. Here's just a sample of her photos and story.

I am SO glad that I went. What a beautiful part of our planet it is! With tiny villages nestled in valleys between peaks towering 3000m into the sky, and a blanket of snow at least 60cm deep, it was like a whole different world to me. I stayed in a guest house run by a wonderful couple, Stephanie and Laurent. They speak English and they are pretty much the only ones who do. So there I am, a citizen of the Southern Hemisphere, alone in snow country where no one speaks English. Kind of funny really… but with a view like I had, my book, a pair of snow shoes and Stephanie cooking, I was very happy! I arrived early evening when it was already dark, so you know that surprise when you wake up in the morning and see where you are. That first day was Sunday and there was a big cross country ski race finishing on the door step of the guest house. So plenty of entertainment for the day, aside from watching the skiers and the their last spurt of competitive spirit before they cross the finish line, a race is a race no matter the sport and there are always plenty of colourful bystanders to watch. The guest house dining room/bar was extended with a marquee and all participants and supporters where served a hearty lunch. I found myself caught up in the buzz and having to smile politely once or twice in response to friendly Frenchies trying to strike up a conversation, shjoe… what an experience! My plan to go for a long walk and explore that afternoon abruptly ended when I put my nose out the door and realised there was white fluff falling from the sky, a lot of it, and it was wet! Who knew… so instead I stayed inside and read in between watching the snow.

Undiscovered Alps is a 5 year old company and very successful, but its only made up of a British lady, Sally, and her French Husband, Bernard, just for clarification. Anyway, so the two of them took myself and another British couple ice climbing for the afternoon. I think it’s safe to say that those were the by far the best six hours of my entire trip. They drove us to a different valley, parked the car, and after gearing up we had a short walk up to a frozen waterfall. Bernard rigged up three leading ropes and we spent the afternoon taking turns on them. You have an axe in each hand which you slam into the ice, and crampons on your feet which you dig in toe first as you go up. It took me a few minutes to get used to the weight of the axes and get over the idea that the whole waterfall may crumble under me. But once I got the hang of it, it really was so much fun.  On Tuesday I attempted cross country skiing, which is very different from the widely known downhill skiing. It was less fun but probably because you need more than a day to learn to stay upright. I had a two hour lesson with an instructor. Her name was Sophie and she was great, I think I enjoyed her more than the skiing. My last day in the Alps I spent with Bernard, he took me snow shoeing up a hill and this too was an incredible experience. As I said before, it is all so different to anything I have ever seen before, and walking uphill in the snow obviously has completely different dynamics to it. My senses were completely overloaded with natural magnificence and I was in awe that whole afternoon. The wind creates pretty patterns on the snow slopes, the same way it does in the desert. Bernard has lived his whole life in the area and so is a wealth of knowledge. He told me so much about the mountain range and the different peaks, knows all their names and altitudes. He told me about the wolf packs in the area and pointed out spoor and droppings of Hare and Foxes, also about the weather and the risk of avalanches. I had a running commentary all the way. All this was again in Frenglish… but still, it was all so interesting. After our walk he dropped me in Gap where I spent the night, and the next day took four trains in twelve hours back to London. It really is a spectacular part of the world, and with 300 days of sunshine a year and summer temperatures between 28 and 30, I can only dream of going back at a different time in the year with a pair of hiking boots and a mountain bike. Hmmm… perhaps one day.

The bulk of the trip was obviously the Contiki tour that I did, and quite different from everything that I have just described. It was a dash through some of the best cities in Europe and jam packed with attractions, tours, lots of good food and night life. There is simply too much to describe. It was all so wonderful. Doing a big bus tour like that has its advantages and disadvantages. The down side is that you are always part of a big group, which tested my sanity at times. Your schedule is pretty much planned for you, and you feel a lot like a tourist and less like a traveler. Having said that, there is absolutely no way that I could have done even half of what we did on my own, or for the amount of money that I did it on. It really is value for money. There are so many things that I would never even have known about, let alone had the resources to do them. So I am very glad that I did it. Let me tell you that the Australians are wonderful people and very similar to South Africans in many ways. But they are EVERYWHERE. My incorrect perception was that if I booked with a British based company like Contiki rather than the rival company Top Deck, I would have an opportunity for more variety. Clearly, a moment of naivety. We were a group of 44, more than half were Aussies, including the tour manager. Lucky for me, they were a great bunch of people to travel with. The tour manager, Jason, was absolutely outstanding as well and made the trip all the more wonderful. He has been doing this job for 5 years and carries around a stuffed Meerkat as a mascot. It was given to him by a South African girl on his very first trip because she said he reminded her of a Meerkat. This is the best way to describe this guy. He is like a Meerkat on a sugar high with an Aussie accent, wearing a psychedelic collar shirt. Behind all that though, he has a wealth of knowledge on every city we visited, from Prussian history in Berlin to the closest public toilet in Rome, it was both interesting and handy to have him as a tour manager.

We did so much and saw so much and ate so much, it would take ten pages to tell you one tenth of it, but here is the just of it. We spent a very unique Christmas eve and Christmas day in Amsterdam. My second visit to Amsterdam, and how I love that city! Berlin blew me away, it is such a great city. The highlight of the visit was most certainly a walking tour that we did with a local guide. I’m sure you know this city has a colourful history, from ancient Prussia to WW1, the fall of Germany and her rearmament, WW2 and eventually the Berlin wall. All this leading to Germany’s current democracy and policy of transparency. And oh my, the food in Germany! From there we went to pretty little Prague, again indulged in some amazing food and took full advantage of the Christmas markets. From Prague to the Beer capital of world, Munich! A beer hall in Munich is a marvelous experience and has an atmosphere that cannot be described, but can only be experienced. We saw the New Year in in Munich, which turns into little Baghdad with all the fireworks… I’m serious! It’s completely crazy, I couldn’t help thinking of all the emergency nurses working in Munich that night. From there we left Germania and drove to Venice… well, drove to nearby Venice and then took a boat to Venice the next day. It poured all day, as if the city needs more water??! But when you have an umbrella and good shoes, who cares! It certainly didn’t ruin the day. This crumbling Italian City is wonderful to visit! From Venice to ROMA! Wow, talk about a window into the ancient world. If I had to pick only one place to go back to, to see more of it would most certainly be Rome. From to Rome to the affluent north, a quick stop on a Tuscan wine farm for some cheese, wine and olives, and on to Florence. My highlight in Florence, Michelangelo’s statue of David carved out of a single block of marble. Cliché I know, but I feel like I never have to look at another sculpture in my life again. From Florence we headed back to the Germanic region of Lucerne Switzerland. If Rome is the city I would chose to go back to visit, Lucerne is the city I would choose to live in, if I had a lot more money of course. The tour ended in Paris and with Moulin Rouge on our last night, it was certainly a spectacular ending. And that, dear friends, was my Month in Europe.

-- Megan

Wow, what an amazing time. Thanks for sharing, Megan. Where will your nursing skills take you? Find out today by visiting the Continental Travelnurse website. 

Stargazing In The Sahara

At Continental Travelnurse, even your job is an exciting adventure because you get to live and truly know a part of the UK. But many of our nurses also take the opportunity of living and working in the UK to save some money and then take a grand vacation. Tiffani certainly did that. She shared her adventures in the Sahara with us, including a great travelogue and some amazing photos. Here is Tiffani's story

I took a week to explore Morocco with a tour group. My friend and I found a 2-for-1 deal with Travel Talk, which was 7 nights and included the Marrakech markets, camping in the Sahara Desert, and trekking in the High Atlas Mountains.

DJ and I landed in Marrakech at 11:00am and met a few others from our group in the airport. Since the 6 of us had the afternoon to ourselves, we decided to venture into Jemaa El-Fna for a bit of pre-tour culture shock.

We were the only tourists around, it seemed, and the market was relatively empty. People approached us from all angles trying to sell us knick-knacks or put monkeys on our shoulders. One girl from our little group was led away from us from a woman who insisted on drawing henna on her arm. DJ followed to make sure she was okay, and when the rest of us joined them we saw that DJ was also having henna drawn on her arm. Before I could choose a design, my arm was being drawn on as well. I tried to negotiate a price, but the women joked around and avoided naming a price until they were finished - which ended up being 400 dirham (equivalent to 40 euros, at the time). The women refused to bargain with us, so we ended up leaving them with our wallets empty and our arms dazzling with henna and glitter. We wandered through the souks, which is a labyrinth of shops, selling clothing, food, and all sorts of shiny objects. It was quite mesmerizing. That evening we met with our tour group, and set out the following day for the desert.

When we returned on day 7 of the tour, myself and a few other girls went to a hammam - the most talked about spa treatment in Morocco! We sat together in a sauna, had our skin exfoliated and our hair washed, and then relaxed with a 1-hour massage. We could have paid 500 dh to go to the hotel hammam, but our tour leader had a friend who charged us only 300 dh each. By the time we left, night had fallen, and Jemaa El-Fna was alive! It had completely transformed from when we had seen it on the first day. Food stalls were everywhere, people were dancing and singing and doing magic tricks, and the atmosphere was completely relaxed and enjoyable. This is the Marrakech that everyone talks about when they go home.

The Sahara (Zagora, Chigaga, and Tamegrout)
The desert was the highlight of the trip! Our tour leader, Abdul, loved telling us all about Morocco and the difference between the Arabs and the Berbers. We walked through a rural Sunday market on our way to our camp. Each night was spent gathered around a bonfire, under the stars, and in the calm of the Sahara. We dined on chicken tagine and fresh fruit. We rode jeeps through the sand dunes, and had a picnic in the beautiful oasis. Our tour leader arranged a private tour for us through the rural village of Tamegrout - and we even sat in the main room of a local's house, drinking sweet mint tea (a.k.a "Whiskey Berber").

On the fourth day, we rode camels! It was incredible. We were informed that it was mating season, so all the female camels were kept very far away from the males we were riding. Otherwise, we may have raced off into the distance for an experience none of us wanted to have. Since the sun was beating down from a cloudless sky, we were given scarves and taught how to tie them like turbans. This was to prevent nosebleeds and syncope. I absolutely loved riding the camels. But for anyone who hasn't ridden a camel before: bring paracetamol! Our bodies were aching afterward.

The High Atlas Mountains
The final part of the tour involved resting in a Bed & Breakfast in the village of Imlil. We trekked up the mountain one morning, which wasn't easy after riding the camels. There was snow on the ground where we stopped for lunch, so we had a snowball fight. Once we were back at the B&B, one of the staff was walking with her toddler, who tripped and gashed his forehead open. Since everyone on the group knew I was a nurse, they came looking for me. I had to improvise with the dressing supplies on hand, but first aid is called first aid for a reason. I assessed the child and bandaged his forehead while he sat calmly on his mother's lap. It is moments like these that truly bring out the nurse in me.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip, which I would recommend to everyone. Abdul was amazing and taught us a lot about Morocco: politics, religion, culture, and education. As I write, I am remembering the tranquility of the Sahara, the sun on my skin, and the humble reminder than I am just one person on such a vast and diverse planet.

-- The Travel Diary and Photos of Tiffani

What a great adventure Tiffani! Thanks for sharing with us. If you want to see where your nursing skills can take you, come visit the Continental Travelnurse website. 

Stonehenge, Paris...Where Will You Go?

At Continental Travelnurse, we get vicarious pleasure out of the many weekend getaways and holidays our nurses enjoy when not using their valuable skills at UK hospitals. Here's Kirstin outside the Moulin Rouge in Paris!

And here's Tatcheva at Stonehenge!

Where will your nursing skills take you? Come to the Continental Travelnurse website and discover the  many opportunities your talents can bring you.

Lauren On Tumblr

Our nurses aren't just highly skilled at their jobs; they also reveal hidden talents when exploring the UK and Europe. Lauren shared some great photos she took while traveling throughout Europe and Spain specifically, as well as working in the UK. Check them out!

Wonderful photos, Lauren. You can see more of her work and descriptions of her travels on Lauren's Tumblr site called Bandaids and Backpacks.  If you want to enjoy adventures in Europe while using your highly valued skills in the UK, check out the Continental Travelnurse website.

More Great Feedback From Our Nurses

Join the Continental Travelnurse family and you can have an adventure while living and working in the UK. Many of our nurses also take weekends and holidays in the rest of Europe -- they're a quick and easy (and very inexpensive) plane or train away. Travel nurses are bold and fun, but they're also putting their trust in us and it's great when they let us know their trust was rewarded.

Deb sent us a lovely note after getting back home:

I'm back in Australia now! Nice to be home but I do miss London life and Farah heaps!

Thank you for all your help in the last year. Your support, right from the beginning when I first called, has been greatly appreciated. CTN should know you are a great asset to their company.

If I'm ever in NY or maybe London again, I'll let you know :)


The hospitals also put their trust in us. They know we only work with the best, but they're always happy to let us know that we've met the high standards they expect from us again and again. Here's feedback from a hospital manager after a nurse's stint with them. Jacquee is a New Zealand nurse who chose to work in Overnight Intensive Recovery for one year. They were sad to see her go.

‘Jaquee was hard working, a good team player, and had excellent team rapport. Nothing was ever too much trouble for Jaquee!’ 

Nurses who join Continental Travelnurse have great adventures, make friends for life...and sometimes even more. Over on Facebook, Shannon had this to say:

"If it weren't for Continental Travelnurse, I wouldn't have met my husband or have my two beautiful children!" -- Shannon

Congrats again, Shannon on finding more than you ever expected when coming to the UK to work with Continental Travelnurse. If you want to see where your nursing skills can take you, check out our website. 

Lovely Housing

At Continental Travelnurse, we provide our nurses with only the finest accommodations. It's great to have feedback that bears this out. Here's an email with one of our nurses who loves the housing...though she's worried about shopping being so convenient! :)

Just wanted to send you an email thanking you for all you did in arranging the accommodation. I think you have seriously excelled yourself with the Grainstore apartment as it is so comfortable and convenient.  Transport to the Royal London takes 30 mins at the most and runs frequently enough that I can get to work very comfortably.

Like you mentioned, Canary Wharf and Stratford are very quick and simple to travel to. My biggest worry is how easy the Westfield shopping centre is to get to as it has a Lego shop and I am a recovering addict! My husband has already had to prise a massive Lego technic truck from my hands - it's not like new clothes that I can hide in the cupboard for a couple of weeks then wear it and when asked, reply "This old thing? I've had it for a while now." I am able to distract myself though as I am enjoying the kitchen in the apartment and getting in and cooking.  I feel like I am living the high life.

My housemates are also very nice and it's great to have a mix of nationalities. I have fallen into the trap of socialising with British nurses or aussie expats so its great to get some variety.

Thank you again for your effort,

To learn more about Continental Travelnurse and how you can use your skills as a nurse to come and live and explore the UK and Europe, check out our website. 

Royal Spotting!

At Continental Travelnurse, we can't guarantee you'll always be bumping into members of the Royal Family, but it's easier than you think. Anne emailed us some photos of her birthday party and the night she spent with Prince William (ok, the night she stood near Prince William. Briefly. But still! Here's what Anne told us about her royal spotting:


I went to the movie premiere of The Hobbit at Leicester Square last night. I didn't actually watch the movie, I just wanted to see celebrities get out of their cars! lol....Anyway, I knew my boy William was coming but no one knew what time. So I asked a security guard, and he said he will be coming late...700pm instead of people started to leave and I stayed ha-ha. So I saw his car and the windows weren't tinted. Gosh, he's so adorable. Attached is a picture to see how close it was! lol. VIVA ENGLAND! -- Anne

To learn more about Continental Travelnurse and how you can use your highly valued skills to come to the UK, explore the country, do valuable work in a setting where your talents are appreciated, vacation in Europe and -- who knows -- maybe spot a royal, check out the Continental Travelnurse website. 

Renee In Egypt

Join the family at Continental Travelnurse and even your new job will be an adventure. You get to explore part of the UK and be near Europe and so much more. Our nurse Renee shared some photos from her vacation in Egypt. Like many of the travel nurses, she worked for a while to make money, and then took a grand vacation.

Here's what Renee told us when sharing the photos: "I'm back from my week in Egypt and had an amazing time there. I want to go there again. I've attached some photos for you. The tour had 28 people on it from Australia, Canada, USA, South Africa and Venezuela. It was a great group. I really enjoyed the cruise along the Nile for 3 days and Hurghada on the Red Sea. On Saturday 19th I'm heading to Austria (Innsbruck) to go skiing for 15 days. I'm really excited to give it a go and I have my fingers and toes crossed I don't hurt myself in any way." -- Renee

 Thanks for sharing Renee. If you want to see what travel nursing is all about, visit the Continental Travelnurse website.

Heather And Her Castle

At Continental Travelnurse, our nurses get to live and travel to beautiful locations. Heather shared some photos of her visit to Corfe Castle in Dorset. It was built by William The Conqueror in the 11th Century. Thanks for sharing Heather!