Staying Safe While on Assignment
Author: Ashley Bennett, RN, MSN
Pulse Check: Safety
The potential for danger is everywhere, but as a health care provider traveling alone, it is important to mitigate risk whenever possible. Pulse Clinical Alliance has placed hundreds of clinicians all over the United States and keeping them safe is a top priority. The following recommendations are easy, effective, and will give you peace of mind while on assignment.
Find a trusted friend or relative to share your location with from your cell phone. This way, even if you forget to update them on your work schedule or travel plans, they will always know your location. If ever an emergency arises, they will be able to find you should you have your phone with you. You can also use helpful apps like Life360 which include features like crash detection and roadside assistance.
Write Down Emergency Info
Write down important local emergency information and have it handy. Your Pulse Clinical Alliance recruiter’s phone number, the manager’s number for the hospital you are assigned to, local police or your housing security office. When highly stressful emergency situations occur, you may not be thinking straight. Having this information readily accessible can make you much more prepared. Use this premade list to help you keep track.
In the military you hear, ‘keep your head on a swivel’. In the age of cell phones, we often walk around with our heads down, checking social media or texting. This can leave you oblivious to potential threats. If your head is up and actively scanning your surroundings, you are much more likely to identify and avoid potential threats. Make note of security cameras and if you ever feel uneasy, directly face those cameras so you are in full view. Exuding confidence and awareness can often be enough to ward off potential attackers. It can also be helpful to attend a self-defense class such as Krav Maga and carry self-defense items like pepper spray.
Choose Safe Housing
If you have chosen to travel as a health care clinician, chances are that financial benefits of travel were part of your decision-making process. When it comes to housing, finding safe accommodations should trump cost effectiveness. Check references from previous tenants and investigate online to see if there are any reviews. If something seems off, trust your gut and look elsewhere. Finding the right location can keep you safe. Be sure to review local crime statistics on websites such as SafeWise.com and do your research to find the safest areas around the facility you will be working for. Take into consideration public transportation and security features included with the rental.
Staying safe on assignment doesn’t have to be difficult. Proper planning and awareness can mitigate risk and make your travel assignment successful. If you are looking for a travel assignment or are unsure of where to start, contact us. We are happy to answer your questions.
5 Hot Destinations for Travel Nurses
- San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a popular destination for travel nurses due to its high demand for healthcare professionals. With a diverse population and a rich culture, this city has plenty to offer in terms of food, music, and entertainment. Additionally, San Francisco is home to some of the best hospitals in the country, including UCSF Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center.
- Miami, Florida
Because of Miami’s large population and growing healthcare industry, there is a consistent high demand for nurses. Miami is home to several top-ranked hospitals and healthcare facilities, including the University of Miami Hospital and Jackson Memorial Hospital. This can be a draw for travel nurses who want to work in top-notch facilities. Travel nurses in Miami can earn competitive salaries, and the cost of living in Miami is relatively low compared to other major cities. Miami is known for its warm, sunny weather and beautiful beaches, which can be a major draw for travel nurses looking for a change of scenery.
- Boston, Massachusetts
For travel nurses who want to work in a historic and culturally rich city, Boston is a perfect choice! Boasting incredible hospitals such as, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston offers great clinical environments and opportunities to build your resume. Plus, Boston is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the country, like the Freedom Trail and Fenway Park.
4. Seattle, Washington
Seattle is a great destination for travel nurses who want to experience the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Home to some of the best hospitals in the country, including the University of Washington Medical Center and Swedish Medical Center. Seattle also offers a vibrant arts and culture scene, as well as great outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and kayaking.
5. Minneapolis, Minnesota
The demand for healthcare professionals in Minneapolis has created a competitive job market, with many facilities offering generous salaries and benefits packages to attract top talent. Minneapolis is also consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States, thanks to its high quality of life, cultural amenities, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Travel nurses are often attracted to the city’s vibrant arts and music scene, as well as its numerous parks, lakes, and bike trails. Lastly, Minneapolis is home to several renowned healthcare institutions, including the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
Tips for Travel Nurses
- Plan ahead: Before you embark on your travel nursing assignment, research the area you’ll be working in and plan accordingly. You’ll want to make sure you have appropriate housing, transportation, and access to healthcare services, if needed.
- Pack wisely: If you are planning to travel frequently for different assignments, try to pack light. Pack appropriate clothing for the climate, comfortable shoes for work, and any necessary medical equipment. Also, make sure to bring your nursing license and other important documents, as well as any personal items that will make your stay more comfortable.
- Maintain good communication: It’s important to stay in touch with your recruiter, agency, and coworkers while on assignment. Be sure to communicate any concerns or issues as they arise and keep everyone informed of your availability and plans.
- Take care of yourself: Travel nursing can be a rewarding, but also demanding experience. It’s important to prioritize your health and well-being by getting enough rest, eating healthy, and staying active. Find ways to relax and decompress after work, whether it’s through exercise, meditation, or other activities.
- Embrace new experiences: Travel nursing offers the opportunity to explore new places, meet new people, and gain valuable experience. Embrace the adventure and take advantage of the unique opportunities that come with travel nursing. Try new foods, explore local attractions, and connect with the local community to make the most of your experience.
5 Tips from a Pulse Recruiter
- Keep your important documents (BLS, ACLS, PALS, TNCC etc.) organized in a sharable folder. This will help eliminate time and confusion of what you do have and which licenses are current or need updating.
- Keep an account with enough money to sustain yourself on the road. We will always try to accommodate travellers to the best of our ability, but it helps to have an emergency fund.
- Establish a connection with your recruiter. You two work together as a team! The hiring process is very time sensitive, so be sure to save their contact information and be as responsive as possible.
- Be honest about any time off you may need. Facilities take time off very serious since they’ve only contracted you for a specific amount of time.
- Introduce yourself to your managers and establish contacts within the hospital your contracted at. We typically do not have access to your direct supervisor’s contact information. If anything comes up, it’ll be more efficient to go straight to your manager at the facility.
The Role of a Recruiter in the Job Process
In the last decade, the healthcare recruiting industry has boomed, with recruiters playing a crucial role in the nursing profession by connecting healthcare facilities with qualified nurses. But what exactly is the role of a recruiter? And how are they beneficial to nurses looking for their next opportunity?
- Recruiters have in-depth knowledge about various healthcare organizations and their specific requirements. They can assess a nurse’s skills, experience, and preferences to identify the most suitable job opportunities. This ensures that nurses are placed in positions that align with their qualifications and career goals.
- Job searching can be a time-consuming and overwhelming process, especially for nurses who are already working long hours. Recruiters can streamline the job search by providing access to a wide range of positions, pre-screening candidates, and coordinating interviews. This allows nurses to focus on their current responsibilities while the recruiter manages the logistics of the job search.
- Recruiters often have access to job openings that may not be advertised publicly. Healthcare facilities may choose to work exclusively with recruiters to fill their nursing positions, giving nurses access to these hidden job opportunities that they wouldn’t find through traditional channels.
- Recruiters specializing in nursing have a deep understanding of the healthcare industry, including its trends, regulations, and specific demands. They can provide valuable insights and guidance to nurses, helping them navigate the job market, understand the requirements of different roles, and make informed decisions about their career path.
- Recruiters can act as intermediaries during the negotiation process, advocating for nurses and ensuring they receive fair compensation and benefits. They have knowledge of industry standards and can help nurses secure competitive salary packages, signing bonuses, relocation assistance, and other perks.
- From resume preparation to interview coaching, recruiters can offer guidance and support at each stage of the hiring process. They can help nurses tailor their resumes to highlight their strengths, provide interview tips, and offer feedback to improve their chances of landing their desired positions.
Overall, recruiters play a vital role in connecting nurses with suitable job opportunities, simplifying the job search process, and providing industry expertise and support. They serve as valuable allies for nurses, helping them navigate their careers and secure rewarding positions in the healthcare field.
The Current Nursing Shortage: Addressing the Crisis
In recent years, the healthcare industry has been grappling with a significant challenge—the nursing shortage. As the backbone of patient care, nurses play a crucial role in hospitals, clinics, and various healthcare settings. However, the growing demand for healthcare services combined with an aging population has led to a shortage of qualified nurses.
Understanding the Nursing Shortage
The nursing shortage is a multifaceted issue that affects healthcare systems worldwide. While the specific severity varies by region, the underlying factors contributing to this shortage are universal.
- Aging Population and Increased Demand: The global population is aging rapidly, leading to an increased demand for healthcare services. As a result, more nurses are needed to provide quality care for individuals with complex medical conditions and chronic illnesses.
- Retirement of Experienced Nurses: Many experienced nurses are reaching retirement age, creating a significant loss of skilled professionals in the field. Their departure leaves a gap in the workforce that is challenging to fill.
- Insufficient Nursing School Capacity: Despite the growing demand, many nursing schools struggle to accommodate an adequate number of students due to faculty shortages, limited resources, and a lack of clinical training sites. This limits the number of new nurses entering the profession.
- Workforce Burnout and Attrition: Nurses face high levels of stress, long working hours, and emotional exhaustion, which can contribute to burnout and attrition. The demanding nature of the job and inadequate staffing ratios drive many nurses to seek alternative career paths or retire early.
Consequences of the Nursing Shortage
The nursing shortage has far-reaching consequences that impact the entire healthcare system and patient outcomes:
- Increased Workload and Decreased Quality of Care: Nurses are often burdened with heavy workloads due to understaffing, leading to reduced time spent with each patient. This compromises the quality of care, potentially resulting in medical errors and poorer health outcomes.
- Higher Nurse-Patient Ratios: With fewer nurses available, the nurse-patient ratio increases, placing additional strain on nurses and compromising patient safety. Studies have shown that higher ratios are associated with increased mortality rates and longer hospital stays.
- Financial Implications: The nursing shortage places a financial burden on healthcare organizations. The cost of recruiting and retaining nurses, overtime expenses, and the need to hire temporary staff can be substantial, impacting the financial stability of healthcare institutions.
Addressing the Crisis
To overcome the nursing shortage and mitigate its consequences, various strategies can be implemented:
- Increase Nursing Education Capacity: Nursing schools should expand their capacity to admit and train more students. This requires increasing faculty resources, providing adequate clinical training sites, and exploring innovative educational models, such as online programs, to reach a larger number of aspiring nurses.
- Enhance Recruitment and Retention Efforts: Healthcare organizations should implement comprehensive recruitment strategies to attract new nurses. This includes offering competitive salaries, benefits packages, flexible work schedules, and professional development opportunities. Additionally, efforts to improve nurse job satisfaction and work-life balance can help retain experienced nurses.
- Invest in Nurse Leadership and Professional Development: Encouraging nurses to pursue advanced degrees and leadership roles can empower them to address challenges within the healthcare system. Investing in ongoing professional development programs and mentorship opportunities can help nurses build their skills and expertise.
- Advocate for Policy Changes: Policymakers must recognize the urgency of the nursing shortage and implement measures to address it. This includes providing funding for nursing education, offering incentives for nurses to work in underserved areas, and addressing factors that contribute to nurse burnout.
The current nursing shortage poses significant challenges to the healthcare industry. As a country we must work to understand the underlying causes and implement targeted strategies to address the issues that are greatly affect this industry and our healthcare system.
Top Skills for Nurses That May Surprise You
Learning to cultivate your natural talents, knowledge, and skills is important in any career. but what exactly is essential for clinicians?
Here are 15 skills that you should develop to help you grow and flourish in your career:
- Reliability and Strong Work Ethic– Can the team you work with rely on you to show up to work when scheduled and be there on time? Are you professional and productive with your time and with the patients assigned to you?
- Communication – Are you able to effectively communicate with management, co-workers, and patients? Are the notes you leave for the next shift written in a way that is accurate, neat, clear, and easy to read? Are patients sure of the information you share with them so that they can go home and apply it? Excellent verbal and written communication skills are vital for effective patient interactions, collaborating with colleagues, and documenting patient information accurately.
- Time Management- Are you able to prioritize, manage and organize daily tasks? Efficiently managing time and prioritizing tasks to ensure timely delivery of care and meet patient needs within the constraints of a busy healthcare setting is crucial.
- Conflict Resolution– Are you able to calmly resolve an issue that comes up? Being able to work with your team to overcome difficulties will serve you well as you grow in your career.
- Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving – Are you able to gather and analyze information whether it be test results, observations, or patient history that has communicated to you and apply them to form a rational and unbiased decision on care for a patient? Identifying and addressing patient care issues, anticipating potential complications, and implementing appropriate interventions help promote positive outcomes.
- Empathy- Do you show kindness and care for your patients? The way that you as a nurse, make a patient feel, will exponentially increase the likelihood of the effectiveness of your work and the healing that you and your organization are working to provide.
- Confidence- Are you confident in your clinical assessment? Are you able to be an advocate for your patient, representing them to your team members, doctors, and management? Confidence in your work and your knowledge will help give your patient and teammates confidence. This will allow you to deliver safe and competent care.
- Adaptability– Being flexible and adaptable in changing patient conditions, healthcare policies, and emerging technologies will help you deliver quality care and respond appropriately to unexpected situations.
- Teamwork- Are you willing to help others on your team to help complete the work that has been presented? Working collaboratively with interdisciplinary healthcare teams, including doctors, pharmacists, therapists, and other healthcare professionals will help provide comprehensive care to your patients.
- Networking- Can you help someone else by introducing them to someone you know? Helping others rise by connecting them to people you know and then sharing knowledge will increase your value in your workplace. They will then likely be open to do the same for you. Be open to contacting people you know to help others achieve their goals. Whether it is a position that will pay more and or an opportunity to increase their knowledge so that they can grow professionally.
- Attention to Detail- Paying close attention to detail in tasks such as medication administration, documentation, and monitoring patient vital signs to ensure accuracy and patient safety will help you and your team create the most effective plan.
- Stress Management- Are you able to effectively manage your stress so that you can be a calm and soothing caregiver for the patient and for their families and loved ones? Developing emotional resilience to cope with challenging and stressful situations, maintaining a professional demeanor, and practicing self-care will help prevent burnout.
- Trust- Can patients trust you to keep their information confidential? Respecting your patient’s privacy is important to providing emotional support and establishing trust.
- Curiosity- Are you curious about new methods of care and open to a lifetime of learning? The world of medicine is constantly evolving and with that, methods and practices are changing as well. Are you committed to keeping your knowledge up to date and willing to participate in cutting edge technology and practices to provide the best care for your patients?
- Physical health- Do you practice what you preach? As a medical professional, it is important to convey to your patients that they need to prioritize their health. It is also important you are showing them it’s important by doing it yourself. Not only will it give you credibility, but all the benefits of good health will come along with it: clear thinking, physical ability, better mood, and a boost in serotonin!
These are just some of the skills and character traits that are essential to nursing. Some will come naturally to you and some will develop as you grow in your career.
Why Furnished Finder is the Best Housing Tool for Travel Nurses
As a healthcare recruiting company, we are familiar with the many options and platforms used to find housing. However, time and time again, Furnished Finders continues to be the clear winner. With its targeted approach, extensive database, and support for healthcare professionals, it’s the perfect tool for traveling clinicians looking for flexible, comfortable, and safe housing. If you haven’t had the opportunity to use Furnished Finders, see below as to why we recommend it as your go-to housing tool!
- Flexible Accommodations – Furnished Finder understands the unique needs of healthcare professionals, including those working on short-term assignments or travel contracts. The platform collaborates with healthcare staffing agencies and employers to offer tailored housing solutions for medical professionals. Clinicians can book weekly or monthly accommodations, as well as chose between a whole unit or single room in a house. This is a great option for those traveling with family or other travelers!
- Large Inventory – Furnished Finder has a large and comprehensive database of furnished rentals, with listings in various locations across the United States. The platform collaborates with property owners, landlords, and real estate professionals, enabling them to showcase their furnished properties. This extensive inventory increases the chances of finding suitable options in desired areas.
- Competitive Pricing – Traveling can quickly become expensive, with housing taking over much of the budget. The travel nursing industry has even seen an influx of clinicians buying RVs and vans to cut cost. While that can be an amazing adventure, it’s not for everyone! Furnished Finder’s fair pricing gives traveling clinicians a more traditional option, while also being affordable.
- Trusted – Furnished Finder takes measures to ensure the legitimacy and accuracy of its listings. Property owners and landlords are required to provide detailed information and photos of their rentals, giving users a clear idea of what to expect. Additionally, the platform employs a verification process to authenticate property owners and enhance trust and safety for users. Travelers will also have direct contact with property owners for quick support.
- User Friendly – Furnished Finder’s website and mobile application are both incredibly user-friendly, making it easy for users to search, browse, and filter through available listings. The interface allows users to specify their preferences, such as location, rental duration, price range, and amenities, facilitating a more personalized and efficient search experience.
Why You Should Use Social Media as a Travel Nurse
As social media becomes a prevalent part of our everyday lives, we are starting to see how different platforms can be used as a tool to promote and enhance our professional lives. This is especially true for the travel nurse industry, which has taken social media by storm and by doing so has created a community that is rarely seen in other workforces. If you are currently a travel nurse, or are interested in becoming one, see below for the benefits social media can bring to you and your career.
- Networking: Social media platforms like LinkedIn & Facebook provide opportunities for travel nurses to connect with others in the field. You can join travel nursing groups, interact with experienced nurses, and build relationships with fellow travel nurses. These connections can be valuable for sharing experiences, seeking advice, and finding new job opportunities.
- Job search: Many healthcare facilities and travel nursing agencies post job openings on social media platforms (including Pulse). By following these accounts and engaging with their content, travel nurses can learn about new job opportunities and potentially connect with recruiters.
- Education and training: Social media can be a great resource for staying up-to-date on the latest healthcare news and developments. Nurses can follow industry thought leaders and organizations to learn about new treatments, best practices, and training opportunities. Instagram has a very large community of nursing accounts solely dedicated to sharing educational information for certain specialties.
- Support and community: Travel nursing can be a challenging and isolating profession, but social media can help connect travel nurses with others in similar situations. TikTok and Instagram are especially helpful, with accounts focused on sharing tips for, housing, transportation, recreational activities, and more.
As always, remember it is important to maintain professionalism and privacy by not sharing confidental patient information while using social media.
Follow us on Instagram, Linkedin, and Facebook @pulseclinicalalliance!
What Every Nurse Should Know About Why They Need a LinkedIn Profile
Nurses may not be the first people you think of when you think of a profile on LinkedIn. But it is just as valuable for nurses as it is for any business leader or rising young executive. LinkedIn is a social network that helps people develop their professional careers. People use it to create contacts and highlight their talents and experience. Here are 5 reasons you as a nurse should create a LinkedIn profile.
1. Showcase Your Experience
A LinkedIn profile will showcase your experience in many ways. It builds credibility and builds trust in your experience because hospital administrators and hiring managers can view your recommendations and connections, and show where you have added value. In your profile, add all employment experience and nursing practicums and any other related work you may have done including volunteer work..
Be sure to add any accomplishments, skills, professional knowledge and additional/ post graduate education received to include the highest degree attained, licenses, certificates earned and and honors and awards you have been given.
2. Exhibit Your Talents
A LinkedIn account provides several ways exhibit your talents in a meaningful way to your account viewers. Taking provided skill assessments and showing endorsements can illuminate proficiency in particular software or technical skill.When you complete a seminar, or attend a conference, post about it and share what you learned and how and why this is a valuable new skill for you to use in your nursing position. Share successes in your career!
3. Research Companies
A LinkedIn profile can help you research future employers. By following healthcare organizations and hospitals you will be able to easily gather insight on possible future employers. You will also see who is associated with these organzations. You may even find someone you know that can provide a key introduction to your dream job.
4. Increase Exposure
Look for professional groups to join. If you focus on specific keywords your profile will pop up in searches. For example, if you are a nurse that specializes in Oncology, use that term to describe yourself.
Using other keywords like your certifications, degrees, travel nursing, and licenses will also bring people to your profile.
Just be sure to backup the language that you use with your experience, interests and activities.
As mentioned above, joining professional groups will increase your exposure but it will also increase the reach of your influence and those who can influence you. Connecting with leaders in the nursing industry and professional organizations is one of the biggest benefits of a LinkedIn profile. You can find mentors who can provide leadership for your current position and future growth as a nurse.
Nursing has been described as a lifelong learning role. Being active on LinkedIn can keep you on the cutting edge of medical research and practice.
Covid-19 and the Travel Nurse Carousal
It’s likely safe to say that just about every person in the United States has interacted with a registered nurse at some point in their life. When you’re born, when you’re sick, when there’s an emergency, registered nurses play a vital role in your care. It begs the question: Who are these registered nurses? Where did they go to school? Where are they from? How were they hired? Are they an employee of the hospital? The answers to these questions vastly changed from 2019 to fall 2021, when travel nurse job openings increased nearly 500%. Not only are travel nurses not employed by the hospital they’re currently working in, their home may be in an entirely different state. How did this happen? And where are all the “local” nurses? Well, they’re off traveling to another state too!
As we witnessed Covid-19’s impact on big cities like New York and Los Angeles, hospitals became overwhelmed with patients and the demand for clinical staff quickly outweighed the supply. To meet this demand, hospitals were forced to bring in out-of-state nurses. Traditionally, travel nurses are able to charge a modest premium for their services. In the woes of Covid uncertainty, hazard pay brought this premium to new heights. We’re not talking about a 150-200% increase, but a 300+% increase. In fact, some registered nurses were offered $8,000-$10,000 per week. Numbers this high were enough to incentivize just about anyone, even the most inexperienced traveler.
The bitter sweetness to registered nurses stepping up in a crisis situation was the void that was left in their absence. Nurses were leaving their small rural hospitals to face the pandemic head on in large cities, and for that, we are all thankful. But what about the hospitals they left? In return, they were faced with the same staffing shortage and were forced to bring in additional travelers, while still competing with big city rates. Before we knew it, the big city nurses working full time for the hospitals, not privileged to those generous travel rates, were leaving to fill the void left by the new traveling nurse. And that’s the short on how COVID-19 completely changed the nursing industry and kickstarted the travel nurse carousal.