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Double up

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 6:30 a.m. December 20, 2013
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Strategies
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Traveler: Candace Smith, chief nursing officer, Voalte, Sarasota. The firm developed technology that allows nurses and hospital employees to communicate with each other over smartphones. Smith works with the clinical team at Voalte and the firm's senior leadership.

Itinerary: Smith has only been with Voalte since November, but she already has trips planned to see clients in Boston, Chicago and Phoenix, among other cities. Smith also traveled extensively in her last job, with Chicago-based health care supply manufacturer and distributor Medline Industries. She was a senior vice president and chief nursing officer with Medline, and was often on the road from Monday through Thursday. “The traveling life can be a little crazy,” says Smith. “It's interesting and exciting, but I don't think I knew how exhausting it was going to be.”

Double up: Smith always has a suitcase packed with everything she needs, from shampoo to sneakers. All the items are doubles of what she already has. “I even have a duplicate set of makeup in there,” says Smith. “It's a little expensive, but it's worth it.” That's because Smith's No. 1 travel rule is to go efficiently.

Squeeze it in: Shrink-wrap is an integral part of every Smith trip. She puts a robe, pajamas and exercise clothes in shrink-wrap — anything that doesn't matter if it gets a little wrinkled. Then she can fit more items in the suitcase. She also packs a sewing kit.

Hotel scents: Smith's road warrior experience taught her one truth about the hotel industry: No matter how good the service is, it isn't home. So Smith packs some essential items to make it feel closer to home. The list includes popcorn and seasoning; slippers, because “hotel carpets are nasty,” she says; Lysol wipes to clean the TV remote, phone, faucet and door handles; a 10-times magnifying mirror; and a travel candle.

White coat: Smith wore her nursing lab coat on a flight from Tampa to New York City in May because she was scheduled to speak later in the day at a medical conference. It was convenient, and her dress decision also saved a man's life. That happened when some flight attendants ran to Smith soon after takeoff to see if she could help a passenger who was in cardiac arrest. A nurse for more than 30 years, Smith used the plane's defibrillator and she also worked on the man's body temperature. “My technique,” says Smith, “is to freeze them and bring them back.”

It worked. The man, traveling alone, started to breath again.

Turbulent night: The medical save in the sky was the second surreal experience Smith has had on a flight in recent years. The other one was in April 2012, when she flew from Tampa to Houston. Her flight was supposed to go to Dallas, but heavy turbulence caused the plane to suddenly drop more than 5,000 feet somewhere over Lake Charles, La. The jolt, recalls Smith, caused coffee and food to smash into the plane's ceiling. People all around her were screaming, including a few who unbuckled their seat belts.

“I thought that was the end of my life,” says Smith. “I thought this would be my destiny, and I'm going to die here.”The plane recovered and landed in Houston. Smith says she saw crewmembers and passengers being wheeled away on stretchers. But it wasn't until she arrived in Dallas when Smith realized her flight had made national news.


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