Every travel nurse has their own unique and fascinating story to tell. GIFTED Healthcare is proud to share the stories of our heroic nurses, which is why we feature an RN story every month in our GIFTED Spotlight.
Today’s spotlight shines on James Dorsett, a GIFTED travel nurse with a deep history of serving others in healthcare and beyond.
Read on to learn about James’ nursing journey: the life experiences that inspired him to become an RN, why he enjoys the life of a travel nurse, and working on the front lines of COVID-19.
Life Lessons: The Air Force, Compassion for Patients
James Dorsett is originally from Tampa, Florida, and now lives in Biloxi, Mississippi. He has been a registered nurse for 3 ½ years. But before his nursing career began, James worked as a medic in the United States Air Force for over 15 years.
James primarily spent his years in the military at three different bases. He was stationed in Mississippi from 1999 to 2005 (when Hurricane Katrina tragically decimated the Gulf Coast), Georgia from 2005 to 2009, and spent the last three years of his career in London, England, retiring in 2012. He was also deployed to Afghanistan once.
This provided James with a wealth of caregiving experience and also helped him develop compassion for patients.
“The Air Force kind of used me as a nurse, because I had an EMT license,” James said. “After 15 years spent taking care of wounded soldiers, it becomes embedded in you to make an impact in someone’s life rather than just take care of them.”
James also received important lessons about caregiving from his superior officers.
James recalled, “I had a Lieutenant Colonel that told me something a long time ago: treat your patients like children, because a child loves and trusts you unconditionally, and the closest thing to that level of trust is a patient. That was an extremely powerful message for me, and it stuck with me forever.”
Travel Nursing: See One, Do One, Teach One
James said that his experiences in the Air Force prepared him for travel nursing. As a medic, he was introduced to many different nursing specialties and taught how to adapt quickly to new situations and environments.
“Most of the time I was in a hospital setting, and I got to move around the hospital every two years,” said James. “I got to do Family Practice and clinic work, MedSurg, ICU, Labor & Delivery – my range of experience was diverse.”
In addition, James discussed a military philosophy that emphasizes mental agility and adaptation: See One, Do One, Teach One.
“If you’re learning something new, you see it once, do it once, and then you’re skilled enough to teach it,” he said. “That really helped me once I became a travel nurse. On new travel nursing assignments, you have to be able to adapt, integrate, and overcome – no matter what system they have, what charting they have, what policies they have, you have to be able to integrate yourself quickly into what’s going on.”
“Taking the Leap” with GIFTED Healthcare
Prior to becoming a travel nurse, James was working on staff at a local healthcare facility in Biloxi. He said that he learned about GIFTED from his best friend, who is also a GIFTED travel nurse.
James realized that travel nursing would provide him with better pay rates and flexibility than a staff position. In January of 2020, he “took the leap” to travel nursing and joined GIFTED.
James said that he was “welcomed with open arms” at his first assignment in Houma, LA. He said that it took a moment to get used to, but that his military training was extremely helpful in “assessing the situation to determine how business was done at [his] assignment.” Spoken like a true officer of the military.
Travel Nursing & Experiences with COVID-19 Frontline Care
The COVID-19 pandemic began while James was on his first assignment. James has a minor in Public Health and was trained for large-scale outbreaks and germ warfare in the military, which prepared him more than most for the pandemic.
“The beginning of the pandemic was stressful, but I never let it affect the level of care I provided for patients,” said James. “The best way to handle the emotional and physical stress of the situation was to focus on proper technique and using PPE the best that you can.”
James’ first contract ended in April, after which he took a COVID-19 crisis response contract to continue providing frontline care.
“By April, I had been around COVID-19 for weeks, so it didn’t scare me as much,” he said. “There were a lot of hurdles, but the ratios at my facility were low, and I could give better care and focus more on my patients.”
The Ideal Nurse
Any time we spotlight a GIFTED RN, we always ask them to describe their vision of an ideal nurse. For their answers, each of them must draw from an intensely personal and unique set of experiences to describe their own philosophy of care and the level of care they aspire to provide.
When we asked James to describe the ideal nurse, he responded:
“Someone who’s a straight shooter. Someone who can be honest and not sugarcoat things. Someone who is empathetic, not sympathetic. And for me, everything is about trust. If you lose the trust of your patient, you lose everything. I am a nurse because I like making an impact in people’s lives. If you do the best you can 100 percent of the time, people remember that. ”
Make an Impact as a Travel Nurse with GIFTED Healthcare
We are proud to support travel nurses like James Dorsett, who strive to touch patients’ lives every day. GIFTED looks forward to James’ future as a travel nurse, and we thoroughly enjoyed learning about his nursing journey and his philosophy of care!
It’s our mission to give nurses and healthcare professionals the opportunities and resources they need to thrive.
Begin your adventure today with GIFTED Healthcare!