Top 6 Travel Nurse Myths Busted

You’ve been thinking about travel nursing as a career option for a while now, but you’ve been hesitant to take the plunge. Maybe, you don’t think you can hack it as a travel nurse because you’re naturally shy, or you’ve heard from your friends that travel nurses are given difficult patient loads. Well, Travel Nursing Central has busted the top 6 travel nurse myths wide open below. We bet you’ll be surprised by what you might learn.

Travel Nurse Myths

Don’t let rumors or myths scare you away from a rewarding travel nurse career.

  1. You Must Be Outgoing: While being an extrovert usually helps, it isn’t required in a travel nurse. In fact, most travel nurses believe that being a team player is the more important trait. You’ll make friends faster among the hospital staff if you can quickly learn the hospital’s routine, bring a positive attitude and hit the ground running with your awesome clinical skills. Outside of the hospital setting, there are plenty of perks to traveling alone. First of all, you get to schedule your adventures and enjoy them at your own pace. Going on a hike or indulging in your photography hobby are just some of the activities you can enjoy solo. However, if you’re still worried about how you might handle traveling, you can test the waters by sticking to a location fairly close to home. Then you can truly decide if the travel nurse lifestyle is for you.
  1. You Don’t Get to Choose Your Travel Assignments: Nothing could be further from the truth on this one. You absolutely have a choice when deciding where you want to travel. Your traveling company might not always have a job available in your dream location, but that doesn’t mean you have to go anywhere you don’t want to. Just let your recruiter know a few of your top location preferences and your recruiter will find jobs for you. Overall, remember to keep an open mind about where you decide to travel. You could be surprised to find that you enjoy the slower pace of a small town hospital compared to the rapid-fire pace at a sprawling facility in New York.
  1. You Can’t Take Your Pet with You: There are many companies that will accept your pets as a package deal and will gladly find pet-friendly housing for you. But, not all agencies are willing to let your furry friend come along for the ride. Moral of the story? Do your research before you sign a contract if you want to travel with your pet.
  1. You Aren’t Eligible for Benefits: Almost all travel staffing companies have a benefits package for their travelers, so this myth is a pretty easy one to debunk. However, benefit packages vary greatly with the traveling company. Here again, it pays to do your research. Find out which benefits are the most important to you and go with the company that offers them. You can start your research on TNC’s agency reviews page here.
  1. You Get the Worst Patient Assignments: There’s also the assumption out there that travel nurses get the worst patient assignments. Again, this isn’t usually the case. As a travel nurse, you are there to lighten the hospital’s patient load. Most staff members are happy to have you there, and your patient assignments won’t necessarily be more difficult than a permanent nurse’s load. However, if you know you don’t want to be a floater, put it in writing if possible. Your contract can sometimes be your best protection.
  1. You Will Make Tons More Money as a Travel Nurse: This myth is a bit of a gray area. Many times, travel nurse pay is typically better than a permanent position, but that might not always be the case. There are some assignments that are incredibly lucrative, but others can be comparable to seasoned nurses’ current pay. The key here is to remember that your pay as a travel nurse is usually based on a number of things, including whether or not you take company housing, enroll in company health insurance, and/or the location of your assignment. Again, this all depends on your travel company and how they handle pay. Be sure to ask your recruiter about this issue before you sign a contract, and remember the power of negotiation!
Share

Future Hiring Trends Look Bright for Travel Nurses

When the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, healthcare in America changed forever. By 2022, the number of nursing jobs is expected to increase by 1.05 million. Likewise, travel nurses will also become a vital resource as the healthcare industry struggles to meet this growing demand.

Check out this infographic from Norwich University’s Master of Science in Nursing Program to learn more about how the Affordable Care Act affected the nursing industry. 

Share

Ask Travel Nursing Central: Contract Questions

Questions about travel nursing contracts

Reading your travel nursing contract can sometimes leave you with more questions than answers. It’s important to know what you’re signing up for when you agree to a travel assignment.

Your contract is arguably your most important tool to help you navigate the sometimes uncharted waters of your travel nursing career. It can also be the most confusing. Fortunately, Travel Nursing Central is here to help you map out your professional path. We posted some of your frequently asked questions about travel nursing contracts and our answers here. Please keep in mind that our website should not be substituted for legal counsel. Rather, we hope this information helps you become a better advocate for yourself. As always, we recommend that you speak with your recruiter before you sign or break your contract.

Question: “I am on my first assignment in Kentucky. I agreed to this job because the agency and the hospital both made it sound so much better than it actually is. I took a night shift job, which was a huge mistake. I’m not sleeping well, I’m sick 24/7, and I feel depressed and yuck. On top of that, my contract is extremely vague, and things don’t make any sense to me now. I missed a shift, and now they’re taking money away from me. I want out — I’m going through so much and frustrated. Help!”

Answer: “I’m so sorry your first traveling assignment hasn’t been a fun experience. Even though this trip wasn’t everything you’d hoped it would be, you still have options.

In your case, I recommend that you let your recruiter know how you’re feeling about this assignment so far. If your recruiter has your best interests at heart, she or he should be able to reassure you and offer advice on what to do next. Maybe this current assignment is almost done, and you can soon relocate to another hospital with better hours. After all, that’s the positive side of traveling nursing—most assignments are short.

If your assignment is truly unbearable, you can quit, but make sure you read your contract thoroughly so that you understand the consequences. Some contracts have monetary penalties for travelers who end an assignment early. Again, you can always ask your recruiter to go over your contract with you to explain anything that seems vague to you.

For future traveling assignments, I would also suggest thoroughly reviewing any new contract with your recruiter before you sign anything. It’s not always a joy to read all that legal jargon, but, if you do, you won’t ever again be surprised with any unexpected charges or fees. I hope you start feeling better, and enjoy future trips as a traveling nurse soon.”

Question: “I have been at my current travel assignment for almost a year. I have never done travel nursing before this. My travel agency and facility would both like me to renew, but I have heard from different people that you aren’t considered a contract nurse after a year at one facility. My travel agency says this isn’t a problem. What is your understanding of this? I would like to stay at this facility, but I don’t want any surprises if I decide to stay!”

Answer: “You can work at your current facility as long as you like. However, if you decide to stay, you will no longer be eligible to receive a housing stipend or a Per Diem allowance. If you work in the same location for a year, the IRS considers that location as your new permanent tax home. In the eyes of the IRS, you are no longer away from home, so you can’t receive the tax-free money. Whatever you decide, I hope this information helps you in your travel nursing career. Good luck!”

Question: “I am currently fulfilling a contract in California. I was told by my agency that the company I am working for is going to decrease my rate mid-contract. I found out that it was not affecting all travelers on my unit. When I called my agency upset about this rate change, they told me that I could either accept the rate change or my contract would be cancelled.  Can they do this?”

Answer: First of all, I’m sorry to hear that this assignment has been stressful for you. I would highly recommend asking your recruiter about your contract. I’m not a legal expert, but they should not be able to change the terms of your contract without consent on both sides and without proper notice. However, there could be provisions in your contract which would allow your agency to the cancel the assignment if you don’t agree. Without reading the specifics of your contract, I believe you have two choices in your current situation. You can accept the change and complete the assignment, or you decline the change and start looking for another position with another agency. Again, I would speak with your recruiter first to fully understand your options before you make any decisions in your current assignment. Thanks for writing and good luck!

For more FAQs regarding travel nursing contracts, please click here

Share

5 Tips On Treating a Difficult Patient as a Travel Nurse

Difficult patient

Don’t let a difficult patient ruin your shift. Keep your cool under pressure with these handy tips.

Travel nursing is a rewarding career, but sometimes, you’ll meet a patient who ruins your day with their attitude. You know the type: rude, demanding, or maybe even downright abusive. Whatever the patient’s behavior, it’s still your job to care for his or her needs. So how do you manage to remain the awesome care provider you are when you are confronted with a nightmare patient? Here’s a checklist to help you keep your cool when treating a difficult patient as a travel nurse:

  1. Remember It’s Not Personal: People are usually in a hospital for a reason — they are sick. They might also be afraid, lonely, or on medication that makes them irritable. Everyone reacts to these situations differently, so It’s important to remember that your patient probably isn’t at his or her best around you. Cut them a little slack.
  1. Connect: Sometimes, patients just need someone to listen to them. Ask them what they are worried about, how you can help them in the current situation, or even begin your response with, “I understand why you might feel that way.” In most cases, patients appreciate your efforts more when you show them you care about them as a person, not just another patient.
  1. Remain Calm: When a patient becomes verbally abusive, take a deep breath and stay calm. This doesn’t mean you have to plaster a fake smile on your face. You can diffuse a difficult situation with concise language. For example, it’s better to say, “I understand why you are upset. Please know that I am doing everything I can to help you,” than “I am doing all I can here. You will just have to wait.” It’s also a good idea to set a time limit for how long you are willing to listen to their complaints, and then if necessary, inform the patient you will return when they are ready to listen to you.
  1. Know Your Emotional Triggers: Everyone has their own emotional baggage. Be aware of yours and what language might trigger it. If you are easily hurt by negative comments, take a few moments alone to recover before moving on with your day. Try to stay positive with a good sense of humor about the situation.
  1. Recruit Help: Unfortunately, even the above tactics might not be enough in extreme cases. Sometimes patients can become violent. These patients might have a mental illness, be intoxicated or drugged. Whatever the reason for the outburst, you do not have to put up with physical abuse. When necessary, alert your immediate supervisor to the situation or call hospital security to help.

As a healthcare professional, you know that caring for difficult patients is part of the job. Although it’s not easy, handling these patients doesn’t always have to be a chore. These 5 tips on treating a difficult patient will help you remain a professional, confident travel nurse.

Share

6 Steps to Becoming a Culturally Competent Nurse

Culturally Competent Nurse

It’s important to be respectful of your patients’ cultural differences.

As a healthcare professional, you meet people from all different walks of life. Understanding your patients from a cultural standpoint can be a huge asset to your career. It’s especially important for traveling nurses to gain appreciation for the population they serve at their different assignments. In large cities, there can even be several subsets of cultures within the population your hospital serves.

So what’s a travel nurse supposed to do? Obviously, you can’t learn every single language out there or be an expert in all cultures, but you can prepare a culturally competent checklist for yourself when you encounter a patient with a different culture from your own. Below are six steps to becoming a culturally competent nurse:

  1. Communicate: Does this patient speak the same language as you? If not, find a hospital translator. Communication is obviously the first step in discovering your patient’s needs. As the translator is speaking with the patient, notice the patient’s nonverbal and verbal cues. Different cultures have different communication values.
  1. Determine Level of Comprehension: Does the patient understand you? Head nodding doesn’t always mean they “get it.” The patient might also be embarrassed to ask questions. So gently ask them to repeat what you told them in their own words. If the patient can’t, then you or a translator can re-explain a diagnosis or the situation at hand.
  1. Identify religious beliefs/sexual orientation: Religious beliefs can have a powerful effect on patients as they cope with serious illnesses or choose treatment options. As a nurse, you’ll want to be respectful of your patient’s religious views and discover what treatments your patient is willing to accept. For example, some religions choose the power of prayer over medical intervention. Likewise, it’s important to know your patient’s sexual orientation for similar reasons.
  1. Determine Level of Trust: It can be extremely hard to treat a patient without their trust. If they don’t trust you, they may withhold crucial health-related information. Earning a patient’s trust begins with effective communication. So, be open and honest when communicating with your patient, and use a translator when necessary.
  1. Discuss Dietary Habits: Just like religious views, dietary habits can be a cultural factor in the life of your patient. You’ll want to discuss these habits with your patient and respect their wishes as they recover from a procedure. Showing respect for their values will help increase their levels of comfort and trust with you as their healthcare provider.
  1. Recognize your own cultural biases: Everyone has their own biases and cultural attitudes, so it’s important to be aware of yours. As a nurse, you should not allow your own cultural views to interfere with the treatment of your patient. Not sure where you stand in the cultural spectrum as a nurse? Take Top RN to BSN’s quiz to find out.

As a travel nurse, has there ever been a time when you needed to be culturally sensitive while treating a patient? If so, what steps did you take to ensure you earned that patient’s trust?

Share

5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Travelers Conference 2016

Travelers Conference 2016

Travelers Conference 2016 is coming soon! Are you ready?

Whether you are new to the travel nursing industry or an expert in the field, there’s something for everyone at the Travelers Conference. Known as TravCon, this year’s weekend-long event, held September 25-27, promises to be the networking “Super Bowl” for traveling healthcare professionals. So that begs the question, are you ready for the 2016 TravCon in Las Vegas? Here are 5 tips for getting the most out of Travelers Conference 2016, so you can have a fun and productive weekend:

  1. Research: Before you even register or book your flight to Vegas, you should do your homework. Research which staffing agencies will be there, and determine which ones fit your criteria. You don’t want to waste your time at this conference talking to a recruiter whose company doesn’t fit your needs. Keep in mind what you are looking for in a potential employer, including the company’s reputation, benefits packages offered, traveling jobs available, and pay. Travel Nursing Central is a great place to start your research. Check out our agency rankings here.
  1. Connect: This event is a great opportunity for you to gain more insight into the traveling healthcare profession. Find the companies you researched as top performers, and introduce yourself to a recruiter. It’s usually helpful to put a face to a company. If you already have a great relationship with your staffing agency, this can also be a good time to introduce your travel nursing friends to your current recruiter. After all, this is how networking is done.
  1. Ask Questions: This seems obvious for a newbie traveler, but even a veteran traveler can learn new things by asking questions. It’s also important to ask the right questions. If you’re new to the industry, find out what it takes to be a successful traveling healthcare professional. If you’ve been around the block before, maybe now is the time to determine what you need to do to take your career to the next level. For the record, TravCon offers more than 25 sessions over the course of the weekend, and many qualify for CEU credits.
  1. Listen: Most people assume that networking is all about selling yourself as a potential employee to a company. You end up doing all of the talking, but learn practically nothing about the job or company. At the end of the day, networking is simply having a conversation. It’s important to remember that conversations are two-way streets. So, ask your burning questions, but then, really listen to the answer. Maybe a company you researched isn’t quite as great as it looked on paper, or perhaps a recruiter helped calm your fears about traveling with their agency.
  1. Follow Up: What happens at TravCon, shouldn’t always stay at TravCon. It’s always a good idea to follow up with the people you met. Whether it was a recruiter or just a new fellow travel nurse, you never know where these new connections will take you. In the age of social media, it’s also pretty easy to do. Connect with your new contacts on Facebook or LinkedIn and send a message. These relationships could be the start of a new career or friendship!

 With these 5 tips, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your 2016 TravCon experience.  To learn more about the conference, or to register for sessions, visit their website here.

For those travelers who have experienced TravCon before, do you have any other tips for what to expect during this conference? What worked and what didn’t?

Share

4 Things Travel Nurses Need to Know About Latest Superbug Gene

Super bug

A drug-resistant superbug, known as mcr-1 gene, has appeared for the first time in the U.S. Travel nurses need to be aware of the risks associated with this superbug.

Researchers recently reported a drug-resistant superbug gene has appeared for the first time in the U.S. Healthcare professionals are understandably concerned for the safety of their patients and the general population as a whole. In particular, travel nurses must stay vigilant as the nature of their jobs requires them to relocate to different facilities year round. Below are the top 4 things travel nurses should know about the latest superbug gene.

  1. It’s known as the mcr-1 gene: The latest superbug gene, called mcr-1, was found in a Pennsylvania woman with an e-coli infection last month. In her case, the gene mutated the e-coli bacteria to be resistant to colistin, a medication among a handful of antibiotics that can still treat drug-resistant strains of bacteria. Fortunately, her case was treatable with other last-ditch effort antibiotics.
  1. The gene can spread between species of bacteria: The mcr-1 gene is located on a tiny bit of DNA called a plasmid, which is easily transferable between species. Bacteria can mutate quickly, but the plasmid provides an extra shortcut. What scientists and healthcare professionals are worried about is the potential rise of a giant superbug. Hypothetically, the mcr-1 gene could pass on its traits to another bacterium with other mutations and create a giant superbug. This giant superbug would be resistant to all known antibiotics, and could throw civilization back to the era before prescription drugs.
  1. It’s nasty, and there are others out there: This mutant gene was first found in China in 2015, and since then it’s been popping up around the world. It’s also been found in a range of bacteria. Since the woman in Pennsylvania hadn’t traveled recently, it means that the mcr-1 gene has probably been flying under the radar in the U.S. for a while. Although this gene isn’t the giant superbug, it’s still hard to treat. The mcr-1 gene was resistant to several other classes of antibiotics, including fluoroquinolones.
  1. Your patients could be carriers of superbugs: For years, it’s been known that drug-resistant strains of bacteria have the potential to be found on medical equipment, and even occasionally healthcare workers themselves. However, a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan found that 25 percent of hospital patients tested had some sort of drug-resistant germ on their hands when they were discharged from the hospital.

The superbug may be a scary prospect, but arming yourself with knowledge can help protect you and the patients you serve. Click here to refresh your training on basic infection control and personal protective equipment guidelines. To learn more about the mcr-1 gene, you can read the published study in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy here.

As a healthcare professional, what are your thoughts on the latest news regarding the mcr-1 gene?

Share

Nurses Week 2016!

Nurses Week 2016

Celebrate Nurses Week 2016 in style with fun stuff and freebies from industry organizations! Click here to check out WeLoveOurNurses.com.

It’s almost time for Nurses Week 2016! Travel Nursing Central would like to wish all of the awesome travel nurses out there an amazing celebration!

Here are a few cool things going on this Nurses Week that we wanted to share with you:

Over at WeLoveOurNurses.com, you can enter two contests, win a scholarship, watch a world record be set, and send out eCards to your friends and co-workers.  Medical Solutions is sharing its We Heart RNs World Record Video featuring Miss Colorado, Nurse Kelley Johnson. There’s also the #NurseLaughLove Instagram Contest, Show ’em the Love Mentor Contest, and free, shareable Nurses Week eCards. Gift cards from Amazon, Ulta, and Tafford Uniforms ranging from $50-$250 are the prizes up for grabs. Students will want to enter the 5th Annual Nurses of Tomorrow Scholarship Contest, which awards three $2,000 scholarships to future nurses.

The Gypsy Nurse is known for having created an amazing community for travel nurses. She will honor a 2016 Gypsy Florence Nightingale with a total prize package of approximately $600 in value that includes free admission to the 2016 Travelers Conference in Las Vegas. Nurses can nominate fellow travelers who they think positively represent travel nursing and inspires others in their travel nursing journeys. The Gypsy Nurse is accepting submissions through May 10!

Cinnabon is celebrating Nurses Week again this year with some sweet treats for nurses. May 6-12, 2016, nurses can visit participating Cinnabons, present their healthcare ID badge, and receive a free Cinnabon Classic Roll or MiniBon!

The Right Solutions is hosting a Nurses Week contest that will give away an Apple iPad Air2 and cash prizes to lucky travelers.

Fastaff is celebrating with a Nurse Family giveaway, based on the idea that nurses collect a family of colleagues as they band together to get their challenging work accomplished. Entrants can honor a member of their “nurse family” for the chance to win a $500 Southwest Airlines gift card for both parties.

At DiscoverNursing.com, Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future has free nurse-themed magnets, coloring books, a “Nurses Heal” pin, and many other great and free resources for nurses and nurse educators like videos and software, brochures, posters, and more.

Lippincott Nursing Center is offering discounts on some CE activities and books, free games and articles, an opportunity to share your nursing story and win a FitBit Alta, and more!

So, that’s a good start, but what other Nurses Week fun, contests, free stuff, and other festivities do you know about? Please feel free to share yours in the comments!

Happy Nurses Week 2016, everybody!

Share

How Does Travel Nursing Help Close the Healthcare Gap?

Travel nurses help close the healthcare gap by traveling nationwide to provide patient care wherever it is most needed.

In this great infographic titled “Can Shift Work Close the Healthcare Job Gap?” travel nursing is identified as one means for helping the healthcare industry keep pace with accelerated demand.

Check out this infographic from CompHealth.com

How Can Shift Work Close The Healthcare Job Gap

Share

Travel Nursing Central’s Top Travel Nurse Companies for 2016

There are SO many travel companies out there. It can be daunting for travelers and aspiring travelers to even know where to begin looking for the right fit.

Luckily there are a few sites, such as yours truly, and Highway Hypodermics, which do an annual rankings roundup of the best travel nurse companies around.

The great thing about TNC and Highway Hypodermics’ methodology is that both use actual travel nurses’ reviews to create their lists! Of course, the perfect company can be different for every traveler depending upon what you’re looking for in an agency, benefits, etc. — but these traveler-derived lists go a LONG way in giving you a starting point from which to find your perfect company.

Without further ado, click here to check out Travel Nursing Central’s Top Travel Nurse Companies for 2016.

Share