Traveling Nurses Find Future in UT’s MSN Program

Published: Mar 26, 2012
As travel nurses, the Michael and Michelle Franks have seen a variety of hospital rooms, surgical procedures and patients.
As travel nurses, the Michael and Michelle Franks have seen a variety of hospital rooms, surgical procedures and patients.
Michael and Michelle Franks are one of only three couples that have enrolled in the master’s of nursing program at The University of Tampa. As they come to the end of the two-and-a-half year journey through the program this May, the nurses said working full-time at Tampa General Hospital and going to school is a lot of work, but completely worth it.

“The faculty are excellent, the clinical hours are higher than at other schools, you have oral boards,” said Michelle Franks. “I think they definitely push us harder, but I’m very happy with all we’ve learned at UT.”

As travel nurses, the two have seen a variety of hospital rooms, surgical procedures and patients. From February 2007 until 2009, the two traveled to cities like Boston, Naples and San Diego for three- to five-month contracts in large metropolitan hospitals and rural community settings.

While the Florida State University grads loved the experience, it was not without its challenges — from setting up house with all the essentials every couple of months to getting their bearings in their assigned hospitals.

“You don’t know where to put your lunchbox, you’re the first in shift rotation, you have to learn new charting and different medicines,” said Michelle Franks. “You have to be able to figure out a situation fast in order to serve your patients.”

The excitement in uprooting every couple of months wore off and the two longed for some stability. In 2009, they decided to change course.

“We’ve gotten to see and do enough in this career to want to do more, and we can do more,” said Michael Franks, who works as an emergency department nurse.

“We wanted something that would challenge us a little more and allow us to be more a part of the decision process,” said Michelle Franks, who works primarily in the cardiac intensive care unit.

They both agreed that their experience working with nurse practitioners allowed them to see the kind of positive impact they could have on a patient’s life with their MSN, and how the work of a nurse practitioner is more education- and patient-centered.

Program director Cathy Kessenich said in her 13 years of teaching, the Franks are one of only three couples to go through the program together. She thinks there is an interesting competitiveness to those who enroll together, as well as an empathy and understanding of what the other is going through.

For the Franks, it’s just one more challenge met together.
 

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