Kimberly Foster joined GoHealth BC in November 2022 after realizing she needed to make a change in her career. Since becoming a nurse in 2002, Kimberly (Kim) has generally worked in critical care, but she has always been open to doing new things.
“I like to kind of diversify so that I don't get bored, so I've done PEDs, radiology, orthopedics, and private hospital orthopedics. I’ve done WCB claims ; I've done medical; I've done bronchoscopy sedations. Sometimes I do blood doping tests for Olympic athletes,” said Kim.
Looking for a new path
After finding nursing hard to navigate over the last few years, Kim needed to try something new to determine if she still wanted to be a nurse. After a few months of working with GoHealth BC, she has been able to experience nursing in a completely new way, all while being able to balance time with her family back home in Calgary, Alberta. She has worked in the ER and ICU in Fort St. John, the ICU in Prince George, and the ER and ICU in Terrace.
“I looked into travel programs, but mostly my goal was initially to try and find something that was permanent, so that's why I connected with Health Match BC,” said Kim. “I was looking for a one week on, two weeks off or a rotational type of thing and then they told me about GoHealth BC with Northern Health.”
Kim’s experience with GoHealth BC has been a positive one, she even compares it to a vacation.
“I have children back home, so most mothers can relate that you don't really need Mexico and the beach to have a vacation. I'll come, I'll do a bunch of work, but I enjoy the time to explore by myself or, you know, have a quiet bath in the evening, or read a book,” said Kim. “You don't have your house where you have your to-do list. You literally just have a couple of things: a book, a computer, and you get to travel.”
Travel, grow, and learn
The opportunity for learning and growth that GoHealth BC provides for nurses has played a key role in Kim’s decision to come back to nursing.
“Because I've mostly been in the ICU for the last 20 years in Calgary, you get this sense that you know everything because you're at such a high level of nursing. But when you go into a rural area where you don't have the same support system, you end up having to nurse with a lot more baseline understanding and knowledge,” said Kim. "You can do your ACLS and your PALS and your triage courses, but this is kind of putting them all to the test. I'm really enjoying relearning how to be a nurse again."
“You deal with people of all walks of life from different areas and different cultures and you get to know what’s important to them and different things. So, I'm quite impressed that now I can say I'm kind of dual trained. I’m getting into the ER, which is a totally different thing than what I'm comfortable with, so it's also pushing me to succeed and get a little bit better which I’m really enjoying.”
Balancing work and family life
Initially, Kim was unsure about how she could work as a travel nurse while still being involved with her family back home in Calgary. When applying for the program, she voiced her concerns and has been able to come to an arrangement that works for her family.
“The only concern I had initially about GoHealth BC was being away from my kids for too long. So, when I applied for the program, I had stipulated that I only wanted to do 7-to-10-day rotations and the odd time have a longer rotation,” said Kim. “Over the last year, we've gotten into a routine, and it has worked out quite nicely. It benefits the kids. They have a little break, I have a break, and I'm coming home refreshed. So, I'm quite happy that I have the opportunity to do short-term rotations where I can also still have my home life.”
GoHealth BC is something Kim recommends to other nurses interested in becoming a travel nurse.
“I have talked about this program lots to agency nurses and others who want to come for a vacation, but they don't have a rental car with their agency, or they're stuck in town, or they're always asking people for rides and stuff like that, said Kim. “I've just let them know there is another option and I always tell them why I like the program. When I did my C pass, it was paid for by the program, so there are other benefits to being part of this team instead of doing agency work.
“I really enjoy the nomadic lifestyle, checking out Airbnb’s, new restaurants, and the new hospital experience. You're always learning; you're learning from people, you're learning different things, so it's keeping it fresh.”
To learn more about GoHealth BC and to see if it’s the right fit for you, visit GoHealthBC.ca.