Name: Ali Mondragon
Company: Medical Express/AMN Healthcare
Company/Job Location: N/A (HQ based out of San Diego, CA)
Job Title: Travel Nurse
Duration: (depends on the length of the contract)
MIM Graduation Date: March 2012
How did you find your job?
I got a referral from a travel nurse I used to work with who highly recommended Medical Express and his recruiter.
Please tell us about the interview process for your position.
I applied on Medical Express’ website and received a follow up call from my recruiter the next day. We discussed my travel goals, top priority being around/near San Francisco and she put my name in for a few open assignments. Within a week I had two phone interviews back-to-back – a clinical interview (skills and knowledge) with a Kaiser rep and an interview with an assistant manager from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) at Stanford. Both were approximately 30-minutes long. The Kaiser interview was scheduled but the LPCH one was a surprise. I took the call from LPCH, anyway, even though I was sitting on the beach in Hawaii at the time. At the end of the conversation he said, “It sounds like you would be a good fit.” The very next day my recruiter contacted me to let me know that LPCH extended an offer.
Is your current job in line with your previous work and professional experience or is this a career change?
This travel nursing job is in line with my previous professional experience since my undergraduate degree is in nursing. However, I believe that I am even better at my job now that I can see things from a “business perspective,” as well as from the perspective of a seasoned medical professional.
How do you think the MIM program helped you get your job?
Confidence. Interpersonal skills. Negotiations. The MIM program is about (international) management. This can apply in business as well as in learning to manage the way you conduct yourself and navigate your own life. I believe that MIM taught me to be a stronger leader, to go into my telephone interviews with confidence and professionalism, yet at the same time know how to make the person on the other end – whether it’s a client, a recruiter, or an interviewer for a job, feel at ease. Also, for a first time travel nurse, I negotiated my contract quite well after having compared notes with other travel nurses who have been doing this for years (thank you Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun and your International Business Negotiations class).
What is your job like on a daily basis?
I have officially been a travel nurse for seven days (two being orientation days to two different units) (editor: interview was conducted February 12, 2012). It’s quite challenging, but MIM has taught me how to hustle to the extreme. With the heavy credit load, juggling team assignments for every class, and one month of travel to 5 Asian countries – I can honestly say that it has helped prepare me to go into a hospital I have never laid eyes on and take on a regular patient assignment, while still learning a new e-charting system, figuring out how to navigate new protocol, and a new work environment after only 24 hours of on-the-job orientation. Other than that, I help manage the care of critically ill children and their families with an interdisciplinary medical team – routine stuff, right?
Is there any travel associated with your position?
Yes! That is why I decided to do travel nursing. First, three months in the Bay Area with my LPCH assignment. The next position I plan to take will probably be in Manhattan, but I might be swayed depending on circumstance.
What do you really love most about your job, position or company?
I love that I can travel and explore while being supplied a nice furnished apartment, relocation reimbursement, and a paycheck. Travel nursing is giving me the freedom to travel, both on AND off the job! I finished my MIM classes in November 2011, went to Hawaii, France, and India for six weeks, and took this travel nurse assignment in California for three months. When it’s over I will travel around Asia and the Middle East with friends for fun for a few months. When I return to the U.S. I plan to take another travel nurse job in Manhattan. Next year, I might take a travel nurse assignment overseas – Qatar, Australia, or the UK.
What do you hope for your future career plans?
I am using travel nursing for fun, to explore cities I might want to settle down in later in life, as well as to explore the world. But really, I am building and growing my knowledge base of healthcare with the end goal to be a consultant in the field. I am taking the time to strengthen my resume and credibility, establish a network in select cities where I choose to take assignments, and learn about both domestic and international health systems. To date, I have experienced hospitals and clinics in China, Vietnam, and India, and I am currently working on a year-long project with CARE Rural Health Mission whose headquarters are in Hyderabad, India.
What do you think is your most valuable take-away from the MIM program?
I learned that many paths offer indirect benefits that are not always immediately obvious at first. Sometimes I would attend a networking event or do something that I wasn’t positive what I was going to gain from it. These were the things from which I often gained the most valuable experiences. For instance, the PSU grad business mentorship program lead to a permanent mentor even after the eight-month program ended. The PSU India Study Abroad trip led to a year-long consulting gig encompassing all aspects of business from marketing to finance, involving rural health in India. So go into things with an open (and positive) mind.
What is your favorite memory of the MIM program?
When I look back, I am reminded of the fact that my passport is almost completely filled with stamps from my 27 months in the program. I visited 11 countries, and at least half with MIM and PSU study abroad trips, and now the miles I’ve racked up will allow me to fly to Asia for free this year (MIM is the gift that keeps on giving)!
What advice can you provide to current and future MIM students?
I experienced a tremendous amount of personal and professional growth over my 27 months as a part-time student in the MIM program because I reached out and explored as many opportunities as I could fit into my schedule. I made sure to maximize on using the “student card,” attending networking sessions, and exploring the business arena that was previously unfamiliar territory since I had come from a nursing/medical background. Grad school is tough, but you will only have one shot at it. So make the most of it and enjoy the journey.