Nurse Spotlight: Joni Schexnaydre
The More the Merrier
Six cats, two children, one travel nurse, and a lifetime of adventures. Joni Schexnaydre, a MedSurg RN, has been traveling with GIFTED Healthcare since 2021, but she isn’t the only one along for the adventure. Joni travels with her two daughters and their six cats to nursing assignments across the country.
During the height of COVID, her daughters’ school went virtual, and Joni took this as a chance to travel and explore together as a family.
“It has made the experience absolutely amazing,” said Joni. “It has had a bit of a healing effect for us. Each of our out-of-town contracts could not have come at a better time.”
The family has traveled to Mississippi, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Iowa together all while Joni’s 12 and 18-year-old daughters kept up with school from home. One of the family’s most memorable experiences was being able to explore New York City while Joni was on assignment in New Jersey.
Travel Nursing in New Jersey
“Summit, New Jersey is precious. It is 20 minutes outside of NYC so we hopped on the train as much as we could to visit the city and the city just got into our souls,” said Joni. “I got home from work one day, slept for 3 hours, and then the girls and I went to the Broadway show. We packed my days off with everything from the Statue of Liberty to Times Square.”
Travel Nursing in Iowa
While on travel assignments, Joni also keeps a journal of the family’s adventures and interactions they have with humans they meet along the way – from co-workers to patients, uber drivers, and everyone they meet in between, Joni embraces what each person imparts them with.
“I can’t get over how much I loved Iowa and the Iowans,” said Joni. “Honestly, everywhere I have been I can’t get over the people I am meeting. From the Nurse techs to the community, everyone is incredible.”
“We try to get to know the history of the towns we visit so in Iowa we visited the capital went to hockey games and acted like tourists. It was slower in Des Moines, which was peaceful, and we got to experience the snow in the winter which the girls never have at home.”
Joni was raised by a nurse, growing up watching her mother work at the bedside in critical care for 46 years. When Joni was 25, her daughter was diagnosed with a heart condition that required immediate heart surgery at a very young age.
While sitting at her daughter’s bedside, Joni looked at her mother and said, “Alright mom, I am going back to school. There is a nurse inside of me that is ready to come out.”
After that, Joni attended LSU to earn her BSN and for the past 7 years, she has helped patients in a variety of hospitals, feeling lucky to do so each and every day.
“The blessing of being a travel nurse goes beyond any monetary gain,” Joni said. “The memories that my daughters and I have been able to make, I could not have done in any other avenue. Having time in one location is tremendous and has revolutionized my career. I never knew travel nursing would bless me in the way that it has”
To Joni, the ideal quality of a nurse is persistence.
“You can’t back down in nursing. It is not for the faint of heart. It takes persistence at every facility to give your patients the care they deserve.”
Joni and her daughters dream of taking the adventure of a lifetime and to them, that is a travel nursing contract in Hawaii. Although Joni is not sure to how to bring all six of their cats – she knows they will make it work one day!
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