by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer
If you’re friends with Chance Perry-MacNeill, RN, you know you have to catch him when you can.
When he was interviewed for this story he was working his first 13-week contract in Tennessee, coming back to Oklahoma for 2-3 PRN shifts in the ICU at Integris Edmond.
His sights were set on his next travel location – maybe the Big Apple, Las Vegas or even the Tampa Bay area.
He loves to travel and he loves to learn, but most of all he loves where he’s at right now at Integris Edmond and he loves the direction is career is headed.
ON THE ROAD
A Claremore native, Perry-MacNeill earned his nursing degree at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
The plan, from very early on, was for him to become an OB/GYN.
“I decided originally to get my degree in nursing and then go on to medical school,” he laughed. “But now I want to become a nurse anesthetist.”
He still wants to work with the mother-baby population. He sees himself administering epidurals and working closely with children.
The road from Claremore to Edmond began when Perry-MacNeill was accepted into the University of Central Oklahoma for his undergraduate work. He chose SWOSU to round out his career.
“I felt a close feel to the (SWOSU) staff when I had my interviews. I felt more at home there than at a larger school,” he said.
Living in Yukon at the time, he made the hour-long commute two to three times a week to earn his nursing degree in Weatherford.
That was while he worked full-time at Integris Edmond as the health unit coordinator Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The pull to remain at Integris was strong.
“You know, I think it’s the people I work with and the patients we serve here,” he said. “I feel like I get a mixture of calm days and a mixture of exciting, fast-paced days. It’s not always very fast-paced where you can get tired of your job. I don’t feel like I’m getting burnt out.
“I feel like it’s a very good work-life balance.”
Just to make sure – and to round out his skills – he tried his hand at travel nursing.
“It’s definitely interesting and has made me appreciative of Integris definitely as a system,” he said.
Going in, he was geared up for whatever his new facility might throw at him coming in as a higher-paid contract nurse.
But he was pleasantly surprised.
“I really think that is a big myth,” he said. “I honestly think it depends on your attitude. I go in smiling and I’m nice to people. The charge nurses on the units that I’m floated to are fair to me and they treat me like staff.
“They’re very thankful (I’m there) but honestly it could be the facility I’m at. But I have heard there are facilities out there that throw you to the wolves.”
He’s seen his fair share of war stories on the online travel group chats.
That’s why he’s a big believer in mandated nurse-to patient ratios.
“I think evidence-based practice has shown that safety (is correlated) to patient load,” he said. “I think we really need to focus on that.”
He’s floated to step-down all the way down to med-surg.
“It’s a little overwhelming at times but I make them aware that I’m going to need some help,” Perry-MacNeill said. “A big part of it is letting them know I’m not used to taking five patients all the time and I’m probably going to need some help. They’re very understanding of it.
“I find that here too where they float out ICU nurses to intermediate care and it’s no different. It’s really nice having a charge nurse saying ‘Hey, do you need anything.’”
With most CRNA schools requiring two years of ICU experience, Perry-MacNeill is honing up his resume while working on his student loans.
“I think I’m probably ready to apply in the fall,” he said.
And a lot of planning goes into his travel assignments, which are helping cut into that debt before he has to accumulate more.
“A lot of it is pay driven,” he said. “Depending on where you’re staying a bedroom can go for $750 a week to $1,200-$1,500 a week just for a bedroom. It really depends on the pay package and if you want to be freezing your butt off in the winter or in a warm environment.”
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