2015 Gypsy Florence Nightingale WINNER!! - The Gypsy Nurse

By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

May 12, 2015



2015 Gypsy Florence Nightingale WINNER!!


In Recognition of Nurses Week, The Gypsy Nurse provided it’s readers and members of the Travel Nurse Network an opportunity to shine a spotlight on a travel nurse that has made a difference or encouraged someone to aspire to be a “Gypsy Florence Nightingale”. Someone that they felt embodied the three core values of The Gypsy Nurse: Collaboration, Camaraderie, and Community. 

Please Join us in celebrating and congratulating Our 2014 Gypsy Florence Nightingale Winner!!

Liz Huxley, RN

Mary Jarowski Nordheim, RN submitted Liz and had the following to say:

Liz HuxleyLiz Huxley, RN embodies all of the admirable qualities of a great Gypsey Travel Nurse and humbly upholds the spirit of Florence Nightingale. She specializes in L&D and was the single most influential Nurse to usher me into Travel Nursing.  I “met” Liz through the Gypsy Travel Nurse groups who at the outset, was a complete stranger to me. She invested a lot of time tirelessly answering my many questions.  She’s an ambassador of goodwill to all who ask for help or who are navigating their way through the many details of being a Traveler. I am so grateful for the beneficial information she emailed to me, which further served to familiarize me with Travel Nursing. She connected me to some wonderful people who she herself admires and in turn would be in support of my launch into Travel Nursing. Whenever I had a question, Liz would be right on it with an email, phone call, text or post. Whatever it took, Liz was reliably there.  I was offered my first contract position and Liz made sure to review the offer for me to make sure I didn’t experience any pitfalls. She advised me on all the right questions to ask. She has such an amazing life energy and open heart. I have immense appreciation for her as a Nurse and now a friend. It is my hope that you recognize, as I have, her excellence and integrity.  I cannot think of a better Nurse more deserving of this award.

We asked Liz to tell us a little bit about her experience and here is what she told us:
“After 27 years of emergency room and L & D nursing,  including 5 years as an OB manager, I decided to try travel nursing. I started my adventure in June of 2010. My very first assignment was absolutely wonderful. A warm welcome, a nice hospital, and great co-workers in Gila Regional Medical Center, Silver City, New Mexico. That experience was so good I have returned to the facility 3 other times and extended once. I have also had the pleasure of working in Suffern, New York, at Good Samaritan hospital. I have done 2 assignments there. I have had the opportunity to travel and work in Merced, California, Hamilton, Montana, Destin,  Clearwater, and Spring Hill, Florida. I travel with my husband and we have been able to “see this beautiful country” from coast to coast.

My current assignment starts May 11 in Kodiak Island, Alaska. We have talked about going to Alaska many times and now because of travel nursing, we are finally going there. I have made so many life long friends along the way, learned so much from my experiences, and hospitals I have worked at. I am fortunate to travel with my husband, Larry, who is also my best friend. The top three things that I have been able to see or do while travel nursing are:

  • We hiked to the bottom of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico
  • Driven the entire length of “Going to the Sun” hey. in Glacier National Park in Montana
  • Drove California’s Pacific Coast Hwy. from Carmel, down through Big Sur and ending at the Hearst Castle, in San Simeon.”

Thank you to all those that submitted entries for The Gypsy Florence Nightingale.  Join me in congratulating Liz for being an inspiration and wonderful example of a Gypsy Nurse.

Liz and a guest will also receive FREE ADMISSION to the 2015 Travelers Conference, courtesy of TheGypsyNurse.com, in Las Vegas, NV September 14-15, 2015. As winner of the ‘Gypsy Florence Nightingale Award, Debra will receive prizes valued at over $600 to be presented at our 2015 Gypsy Nurse Luncheon and are invited as Special Guests to our 2015 Gypsy Nurse Welcome Reception!  


 Please Join me in Celebrating Our Runner-up’s!!

Victoria Kavanuagh, RN, BSN
Submitted by: Jordan Dial @ Tailored Healthcare Staffing

Victoria Cavanaugh“I have had the opportunity to work with Ms. Kavanaugh for a little over a year now.  When I made the decision to come back to the nurse travel world, I was both scared and excited.  I had previously worked with a much larger agency and had taken two years off to pursue another career opportunity.

Once I started at THS, Victoria was the first nurse that I placed on assignment.  Since then, our relationship has continued to grow in so many capacities.  Not only is she an amazing travel nurse, but, is one of the most compassionate and kind women that I have ever met.  I often depend on her to help me through my work day or week as she depends on me to help her in finding her next assignment or with any issues that may arise while on assignment.  She is always there with a listening ear, an open mind, and full of advice.

I have always said that the most important attribute to being a successful travel nurse is to be flexible.  Victoria is not only flexible, but, is willing to do anything that she can to assist with the facilities needs.  She has always been asked to extend her assignment wherever she may be working and is a true asset to any facility that is fortunate enough to work with her.

Florence Nightingale must have been talking about Victoria when she said there are “those who wish for something better and try to create it.”  Victoria is always positive, willing to accept change, and embraces any challenge with a huge smile and open mind.

Victoria has over 15 years experience and has spent the past several years as a travel nurse.  I am proud that she is a member of the THS family, but, I am most proud to call her my friend.  She exhibits all qualities of Florence Nightingale and it would be a tremendous honor to see this award presented to Victoria Kavanaugh.”

Penny Grammer
Submitted by: Stephanie Balkovec @ Medical Solutions

“Penny is completing her 4th travel assignment (2nd one with me). She has encountered some very unsavory situations in her assignments with me, mostly surrounding changes made by the hospital after she accepted her contract. I have never seen someone handle them so seamlessly and with a “big picture” attitude as she does. She truly is a joy for me personally to work with, but more importantly I believe she is an asset to all units she touches, and I can imagine that I would love to have a nurse like her. Each hospital has offered an extension as well, which comes as no surprise. She embodies what a traveling nurse should be in every aspect.”

Patricia Hingst (Patty Travels)
Submitted by: Crystal Austin @ Atlas Medstaff

“I am nominating Patricia Hingst for the 3rd Annual Nightingale award.

There are those times in life that when you meet some one ..you just know that person is special and that you want to know them for life. Patty is one of those people. Which is I believe Patty embodies the 3 core values that the Gypsy Nightingale award is based on. Collaboration, Camaraderie and Community.

Collaboration & Camaraderie: Patty is always there to help with advice, thoughts and suggestions to not only the nurses on the Gypsy Nurse boards, but also the recruiters. She is there to help calm situations and help those that are struggling with their assignment, those that may be home sick and ready to give up, or those that are just looking for someone to listen and to share their experience with. She help recruiters with suggestions on how to handle a sensitive situation and find solutions to problems that will help heal a situation. I have talked with a lot of RN’s that value Patty’s opinion and trust her wisdom and words. Patty is honest, forth coming and always tried to find the best solution  in every situation or tried to calm in down with a way to laugh or a way to get people thinking.

Community: Since I met Patty, she has been a true traveler. When she is on assignment, she will seek out other travelers and plan meet & Greets. She has been a great source of friendship for a lot of the travelers she has met along the way especially when the travel way can be a very lonely place for some.

I write this nomination from my heart. Not as a recruiter or Account Manager, but as a friend who holds Patty and her friendship very close to my heart. She has been there for me not only professionally, but also personally. I value her opinion, advice and her friendship. She has the personality that people gravitate towards. She makes you feel welcome and comforted from the first moment you meet her. I imagine her patients feel the same way!”

Estella Bennett LPN
Submitted by: Elizabeth McDaniel

“Florence Nightingale once said, “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.” This sole concept is what makes Estella Bennett a true gypsy nurse. She’s not afraid of the unknown. Unknown state, unknown city, unknown facility… She travels not knowing exactly what she’s walking into, but never fearing it. Because she knows if she allows herself to succumb to the fear that is inevitably inside of the rest of us, she wont be able to do her job. She walks into every new place, head held high, smile on her face, ready to make a difference in a new group of people’s lives. She knows all eyes on her. She knows as well as they do, that she’s the “traveler,” so she has to work extra hard to fit in. But it doesn’t take long. Soon she’s forming bonds with every patient, laughing with them, crying with them. Every patient touches her life in some way as she touches theirs. She does with ease, what most of us strive on a daily basis to do in our careers, which is make a difference. When the assignment is over she’s both saddened and excited. Saddened because she’s leaving the patients that she has grown so close to, but excited to go to someplace new and once again make a difference there.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with her and traveling with her for several years now. She is the kindest, most genuine nurse that I have ever met. She treats her patients as if they were her own family. She fights harder for her patients than any other nurse I have worked with. She doesn’t believe she’s better than anyone and helps everyone she comes across. She teaches those who want to learn. She learns from those who want to teach her. She’s approachable and easy to get along with. She is definitely unforgettable. And if you ever get the chance to work with her or see her work, you’ll never forget her either. Shes got the heart of a gypsy and embodies everything Florence Nightingale thought nursing should be.”

Jill Owens, RN-BSN
Submitted by: Jordan Dial @ Tailored Healthcare Staffing

“It is with great pleasure that I recommend Ms. Jill Owens for the 2015 “Gypsy Florence Nightingale” award.

I have had the pleasure of working with Jill for a year now.  Since we first started working together, Jill has taught me so much about the nursing side of the travel nurse industry.  She has been an RN for 12 years, and has spent over eight of them as a travel nurse.  She has worked at multiple facilities, both large and small, and has received accolades at each and every one that she has worked for.

Whenever I have a question about what I can do better as recruiter, or what Tailored Healthcare can do better as a company, I turn to Jill for advice.  She has worked with several agencies in the past, and knows the business inside and out better than anyone I have ever met.

Jill has a passion for nursing and is compassionate about each and every patient that she comes in contact with.  Her patients love her, the doctors adore her, and each and every facility begs for her to extend.  When I first heard about Jill from a previous traveler that referred her to me, I knew that I had to have her on our team.  There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful to have Jill working with us at Tailored Healthcare.  Not only is Jill a tremendous asset to the facilities that she works with, but, she is a valuable resource for me personally.  I think that I am a better recruiter because of Jill and the valuable insight that she has offered me from a travel nurse’s perspective.”

Thank you all for everything you do!!  HAPPY NURSES WEEK!

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