Traveler Spotlight: Scott and Crystal Girard
Written by Rose Torrento on Thursday, December 20, 2018
Scott and Crystal Girard are more than experienced nurses: They’re a husband and wife duo embracing the many opportunities afforded to travel nurses. When they travel, they work at the same facility, on the same unit, and the same shift. They’re an example of not only a tandem pair of travel nurses but also proof that spouses can work and succeed together.
Their path to nursing
Scott and Crystal found their way to nursing in different ways. Scott started as a staff intensive care nurse in 2006 after graduating college. After working his way up to a management position, Scott decided it wasn’t what he wanted to do and transferred to another facility, where he met Crystal.
Crystal worked as a nurse in a nursing home for five years throughout college, after which she moved to a role in the critical care department at a hospital, where she stayed for seven years.
After Crystal and Scott got engaged, they began working together at the same hospital, which raised some Human Resources concerns because of conflict of interest. Approximately four years ago, the pair became disenchanted with the political aspects of their jobs and made the leap into becoming travel nurses.
They began at a hospital in Fort Myers, Florida, working November to May to take care of the increased patient population of snowbirds. Two years ago, they began their first contract with Health Providers Choice (HPC). Now, Scott and Crystal travel between travel nursing jobs in Michigan in the summer, where they have family, to Fort Myers in the winter.
The duo enjoys working in travel nursing because of the additional flexibility and opportunity it affords them. Traveling as a pair can sometimes be difficult, but Scott says the availability of positions lets them be flexible with the assignments they accept. To find assignments at the same facility, Scott and Crystal stay in close contact with their recruiter.
We understand that as travel nurses, we have quite a bit of flexibility and are able to be picky at times. There's no reason to take the first assignment that becomes available if it's not necessarily what we want,” Scott said.
Crystal particularly enjoys the job for the added experiences.
“I enjoy the traveling,” she said. “You get to see a lot of different things and get new experiences. We've met a lot of people along the way that we actually still keep in touch with, and we do form some really good friendships.”
When it comes to working together as a married couple, Scott and Crystal make sure to keep their work and home lives separate to avoid problems. Sometimes, if the staff at their hospital knows they’re married, the couple experiences a bit of judgment — but the pair always maintains a professional relationship. Additionally, the couple explores separate interests at home to keep a balance.
A valuable resource
Scott and Crystal are both happy working with HPC. After hearing about the agency at a travel nursing conference in Las Vegas, they conducted some research to find out more and decided the mid-sized, Michigan-based company would have more opportunities for them in the state.
The family-style culture at HPC is something the couple truly appreciates. After Crystal’s grandmother passed away, HPC sent flowers to the funeral home. This and many other personal touches have left a good impression on the pair.
“I really cannot see us going with any other agency,” Scott said.
Scott and Crystal recommend that future travel nurses gain confidence in nursing before taking on remote assignments. In addition, they urge travel nurses to remain flexible and contribute to the team at each new location.
About the Author
Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.