Travel Nursing Series: Nursing in Italy
Why do people travel? Finding a definitive answer to that question is difficult, at best. Human nature has many needs and these
One of the easiest careers to “take on the road” is that of the health care professional. Physicians and nurses are in demand in every country in the world. Nursing skills are universal and those of nurses in the United States are among the most advanced. Getting certified to practice in a foreign country, although a bit tedious, is relatively easy. Usually a placement agency can help guide the US nurse through the process.
One of the most sought after countries in the travel nursing industry is glorious Italy. The easiest way to find employment in Italy is to sign on with a recruiting agency. They will have listings and all essential information related to the job. Most agencies will aid in finding safe, clean and well-located housing. One thing to remember is that, unlike the US, as buildings age in Italy they are not torn down. Rather they are altered to suit current needs. Therefore, accommodations in Italy are not new. Rather they are full of character with old baths and tiny kitchens, but with wonderful crown moldings and ancient windows. Be prepared to have a walk-up apartment, even if your building has a tiny elevator, as some European elevators have been known to be erratic in their service.
If you sign up to be a travel nurse you may be able to leave the majority of your uniform scrubs at home as many hospitals will provide nursing uniforms. Check with your agency to see if this is one of the benefits of your job. However, if you have a favorite brand of nursing scrubs such as Cherokee scrubs or Dickies scrubs you may want to take them with you as availability in Italy is not guaranteed. Bring several pairs of good nursing shoes to walk the hard floors of Italian hospitals. On a recent vacation I had the unfortunate opportunity to have my husband admitted to the local hospital in Venice. Converted from a convent from prior centuries this hospital had miles of hard marble flooring that looks wonderful but causes very tired feet. you will appreciate your Nurse Mate shoes or Dansko clogs after a long day at work.
You will find that travel nursing generally pays better than domestic nursing, plus all of your travel expenses are paid for and sometimes housing is subsidized. Bonuses or extra monetary incentives are often part of the international travel nurse package, providing an extra sum to use to explore your new home.
And explore you should. Driving in Italy is easy, except for major cities, and roads are well marked. Hire a car, buy a GOOD map with all the back roads marked and travel the scenic roadways of Tuscany, taking time to shop the local markets and shops. Do not overlook going into a shop specializing in olive oil and do a little “oil tasting”. If you have never tasted truly fresh olive oil this is an experience not to be missed. I am as much a fan of an olive oil tasting as I am a wine tasting. It is a truly sensory adventure. Wind your way through the still inhabited, vibrant cobbled towns of Cinque-Terre and admire the architectural feats of previous centuries. Visit Cortona, the hilltop town featured in “Under the Tuscan Sun” and explore a truly amazing town with incredible vistas.
Don’t forget to sample the local foods. One should never forget to eat ones way through Italy. If you are lucky enough to be assigned a position in Rome explore the old town on foot. Rome is my favorite large city because it is easy to find its treasures without one of those programmed tour guides shuffling you from one attraction to another. Old town Rome is still a busy commercial and residential city. Life happens in old Rome everyday. Go down every alley to find that hidden family trattoria or gelato shop. Old Rome is small enough that all of the city can virtually be toured from one end to the other on foot without trouble. I bought local bus tokens, only to find that it was almost as quick and alot more fun to walk the narrow streets, finding hidden treasures down every alley. Perhaps you will be as lucky as I and find the world's best tiramasu amidst the twists and turns of city streets.
Italy has such a diversity of scenery, foods and wines that it would take more than just a few trips to appreciate Italy. From the Amalfi coast to the lakes region, from Roma to Venezia, you will find delights around every corner. So pack up your uniform scrubs and nursing shoes and take your nursing talents to Italy. It will be time well spent.