By Joseph Duffy, contributor Mar 08, 2021
To help fight against COVID-19, locum tenens nurse
practitioner Katherine Wagner, DNP, FNP-BC, NP-C, joined the Kaiser Vaccination
Project at the Moscone Center in San Francisco to vaccinate Californians
The Kaiser Vaccination
Project is a collaboration between Kaiser Permanente and AMN Healthcare to
marshal personnel with varied healthcare backgrounds to work at California’s
COVID-19 vaccination hubs.
When Katherine heard about the project, she felt it was her
calling to help fight the deadly virus, which has caused nearly a half a
million deaths in the United States as of the last week of February 2021.
"I wanted to help because I want this pandemic to end,"
Katherine said. "Life is on hold until we get over this pandemic, so I was
looking at different vaccination sites, and then I got a call from my [locum
tenens] recruiter Susan Bermudez. She asked if I'd be interested in doing
vaccinations for Kaiser, and I said, 'I'd love to.' Someone needed to do the
vaccinations, and I wanted to be a part of it."
Katherine, who is from Sacramento, California, started the Kaiser
vaccination project assignment in February 2021. She worked in the ADA unit,
which catered to patients with ambulatory difficulties. Most of her patients used
walkers, wheelchairs, and other mobile support devices. Along with nurses and pharmacists,
physical therapists were also on site to help people with disabilities.
Katherine said many patients complimented the organization
of the project’s vaccination strategy. She, too, was impressed with the size
and scope of the operation, which was organized with other healthcare
organizations, as well.
The goal of the Moscone Center vaccination hub was to
deliver 10,000 COVID vaccinations a day, and it was well on its way. The healthcare
workers were giving approximately 4,500 doses per day when the Texas weather
disaster hit, causing a significant delay in delivering doses to California.
Katherine expects to be called back to the Moscone Center when
more vaccine doses are available.
Locum tenens travel before the COVID vaccination
Katherine has been a nurse practitioner for nine years,
mostly concentrating on chronic disease management. As a full-time NP, she has
worked in psychiatry, long-term care and family practice.
When she became interested in locum
tenens travel assignments, she posted her resume and received a call. Her
first assignment in October 2019 was with Locum Leaders, a partner to Staff Care and
company of AMN Healthcare,
in a primary care practice. When that first travel assignment ended, she took a
full-time job that eventually resulted in a layoff due to the pandemic.
Although she had many opportunities to work during the
pandemic, Katherine took a break until receiving that call from her trusted
locum recruiter about the Kaiser assignment.
She was excited to receive the call.
"Susan is an awesome recruiter," Katherine said. "She's
very responsive to my phone calls, my emails and my texts. If she doesn't know
something, she finds out for me."
chapter in her locum tenens adventure
Katherine said her adventurous spirit and relationship with
her recruiter are why she and her husband are planning their next life chapter;
they plan to buy an RV and use locum tenens assignments to see the country with
their dogs and cats. Their goal is to hit all 50 states.
Along with enjoying the flexibility that the locum lifestyle
provides, Katherine says that her locum assignments to date have taught her to
be more adaptive to what comes her way.
"You have to go with the flow because things do change
quickly," she said, using the vaccine disruption she experienced recently
as an example.
She also said that locum tenens travel can be a good fit for
people like her who are semi-retired.
"Traveling is excellent for older healthcare workers who
don't want to give up healthcare completely," she said. "Plus, I meet
people from all over the country. I've worked with nurses who are younger and
were on the front lines of the pandemic. I love meeting new people, learning
new things, and seeing new places."
Learn more about Travel Nurse Practitioner Jobs.
Staff Care, an AMN Healthcare company, has hundreds of locum tenens
opportunities for physicians and advanced practitioners across the U.S.
Contact a Recruiter Now