Travel nurse fills critical need, while putting herself back on the list
As a nurse, mother, wife, and daughter, Melodin Trammel has spent a lifetime taking care of everyone else. After 30 years of service, she decided it was her time.
The recent grad from Western Governors University (WGU) and travel nurse from Bend, Oregon, spent most of her career in labor and delivery, helping hundreds of babies navigate their way into the world. Although she says that time in her career was incredibly rewarding, juggling the challenging social issues with new parents at times took a tremendous toll.
“At the 18-year mark, I became very burned out,” she says. “It was my first love, but I only had this finite amount of time with these new moms, and I found there was so much more I wanted to do for them, but I just couldn’t.”
Trammel says she needed a big change in both her career and personal life to be able to keep giving.
"I was a wife, mother, and a caregiver to my elderly mother. My children became adults, my mother passed, and my marriage failed,” she says.
Trammel never planned to return to school, but to become a travel nurse, she would need to go back and earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Two good friends encouraged her to check out WGU and finally put herself first.
“I took their charge, applied to WGU, and set my course. I earned several passes and even Excellence Awards. I was a good student,” she proudly says. “After one year and 17 days, I earned my BSN. I wondered why I hadn't done it sooner!”
Trammel says she loved the flexibility of WGU and applauds its uniqueness compared to traditional universities.
“The fact that I could work on my degree in my own time made all the difference. If I couldn’t sleep at 2 am, I’d get up and take a test,” she says. “My advice to people who are just starting their journey is to take one day, one class, at a time.”
Trammel still lives in Bend but is now a travel nurse at Cascade Valley Hospital in Arlington, Washington. Travel nurses are extremely important to the healthcare industry because they help fill in the gaps between supply and demand in the nursing field. Hospitals have mandatory staff-to-patient ratios to maintain for the safety and overall health of patients, and travel nurses help do that.
In fact, at Cascade Valley Hospital, Trammel is helping to fill a critical need in the operating room. Six nurses are required to work in the operating room, yet the hospital only had three on staff. Travel nurses like Trammel help fill that gap.
Whether she’s working in the operating room or helping to deliver babies, Trammel says being a nurse has always been about treating the whole person—not just for what brought them into the hospital.
She loves the holistic approach to nursing and started working with essential oils for stress relief and healing while she was experiencing her own struggles both on the job and at home. Trammel continues that practice today with her patients and teaches other nurses self-care, too.
The American Nurses Association recommends self-care in its code of ethics. Experts say practicing more self-care will reduce stress and replenishes a nurse's capacity to provide compassion and empathy which can ultimately improve the quality of care.
Trammel says that wherever life takes her next, she will continue to take care of people.
“It’s a huge part of who I am,” she says. “But so is taking care of myself now, too. It’s OK to say, ‘This is my time.’ You and everyone in your life will be better for it.”
By Courtney Dunham, Communications Manager for WGU Northwest Region. For media or other inquiries, contact Courtney at 206.388.8926 or Courtney.email@example.com