Cross Country is extremely proud to announce that one of its travel nurses is about to begin her 100th travel assignment. Caridad Atienza, a pediatric nurse, has worked approximately four travel nurse assignments per year since she joined the company in 1992.
Caridad has a “whatever it takes” attitude, which has served her well since she began her journey as a nurse in the Philippines, where she was born and graduated from nursing school with a BSN. Shortly after graduation, she traveled with a friend to take a nursing assignment in Canada, but quickly decided she wanted to work somewhere warmer that would allow her to indulge her love of golfing year-round. That is when she discovered travel nursing, and Cross Country. She also met a Cross Country recruiter she is still with to this day, Dijana Lesh. Caridad credits her strong relationship with Dijana as one of the main reasons she has remained loyal to the company for so long.
According to Dijana, Caridad takes things in stride and goes into every hospital assignment looking for ways she can personally make things better. Since she began her career with Cross Country, Caridad has worked at hospitals in Texas, Florida and California, and has stayed at some assignments for nearly five years. Her dedication to nursing excellence earned her a number of accolades from her nurse managers throughout the years, and she was recognized with a DAISY Award, as well. She has also overcome a number of obstacles, including those arising out of increasingly tighter immigration laws. She has taken and passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) exams and undergone multiple visa screens.
Caridad says she enjoys all the opportunities travel nursing brings, both personally and professionally, as well as the financial aspect that has allowed her to live and work wherever she chooses. She said if she could tell her younger self anything, it would be to start travel nursing even sooner than she did. Being a travel nurse, Caridad says, helped her become a better nurse. It also inspired her to give back, which led to her putting her six nieces and nephews in the Philippines through college. She wanted them to have the best opportunities possible in life, and to have something that could never be taken away from them. After they all finished school, she wanted to do even more. Eventually, she started a foundation to put underprivileged children in the Philippines, many of whom she has never even met, through college, too. She likes the idea of giving these kids a better life, and in turn, helping to create a better community.
Caridad says integrity and character are very important to her, and she feels Cross Country shares these values, which is why she loves working for the company. “I love being with Cross Country. The freedom of being a traveler is tremendous for me. I cannot believe I have a hundred assignments! It’s amazing. It shows you that I love Cross Country, because they’re always there for me, no matter what!” she added, emphatically.