Top 5 Fitness Apps for the Travel Nurse

Fitness apps for the travel nurse

Jump-start your fitness goals for 2017 with these apps for the travel nurse!

January is all about New Years’ resolutions. If you’re like most of us, somewhere on your list of resolutions for 2017 is getting back into shape.  Heck, maybe you’re one of the lucky few who actually kept this resolution last year, and now you want to maintain your fitness level.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it can be hard to keep your workout schedule when you’re a travel nurse. To help you reach your fitness goals while you’re racking up those travel miles, TNC has the top 5 fitness apps for the travel nurse below:

MapMyRun: You’re new in town — again — and you have no idea where the best jogging routes are. With MapMyRun, you’ll never be at a loss. From hiking trails to city streets, this cool app can help you find where all the cool kids are running these days. When you find a route you love, you can save it or share it with an online community of more than 40 million members. Plus, MapMyRun will send you tips on how to improve your workout so you can reach your running aspirations.

7-Minute Workout Challenge: This popular high-intensity circuit workout app can really benefit the busy travel nurse. You can do the challenge anywhere. All you need is a wall, a chair, and hypothetically 7 minutes of your time. You can repeat the workout to maximize your results, so 7 minutes could turn into 21 minutes if you’re going for the gold.

The workout includes a series of 12 bodyweight training exercises like squats or push-ups. Each move should be performed for roughly 30 seconds with a 10 second rest in between. Get ready to sweat, because the “high-intensity” part of this routine is no joke.

Dailyburn: If you like the idea of a personal trainer in the comfort of your own home, then DailyBurn could be your new fitness obsession. Dailyburn is an online streaming video program that allows you to pick from a variety of exercise routines led by several fitness experts. Fans of Dailyburn like the diversity of workout options. However, unlike some others on this list, Dailyburn is subscription based.

Sworkit: This fitness app has been likened to Spotify, but instead of song playlists, you can create a playlist of workout routines. The app allows you to choose from a variety of fitness programs or build your own. Plus, you can tell the app how long you want to work out for, so you can time it to your favorite TV show or podcast.

MyFitnessPal: This free app tracks your food intake and workouts to help you make better lifestyle choices. It’s a digital diet and exercise diary meets calorie counter. The best part? The app has a database of more than 5 million different food items, so it’s easy to track your intake no matter what you eat.

These top 5 fitness apps for the travel nurse make keeping your New Years’ resolutions easier than ever before!

What are some of your favorite workout routines when you’re on the road? Tell us in the comments section below!

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5 Holiday Decorating Tips for the Travel Nurse

With the holidays almost here, it’s time to deck those halls! As travel nurses everywhere know, decorating in a temporary home can sometimes mean wishing for a Christmas miracle. Never fear! With these 5 holiday decorating tips for the travel nurse, you’ll be able to make your home feel merry and bright without the help of Santa’s elves.

  1. Christmas wreath

    You can make a big statement in a small space with these holiday decor ideas!

    Invest in temporary wall hooks: These little gems make holiday decorating a breeze, especially for the travel nurse on the go! Hang these hooks anywhere — they’re easy to install and they won’t mess up your walls come January 1st.  Plus, they are perfect for Christmas stockings or wreathes! Which brings us to our next point…

  1. Purchase an evergreen wreath: Don’t have the space for a tree? No problem! Use a real pine wreath for instant holiday style. They’ll make your apartment smell like a Christmas tree without the mess. What’s not to love about that??
  1. Add sparkle with twinkle lights: Create a winter wonderland in just minutes. White or colored lights hung from your ceiling or draped gracefully over doorways can add a touch of glamour to tiny spaces.
  1. Hang ornaments from bookshelves: Who needs a tree to decorate when you have a bookshelf? Dress up your ordinary furniture with ribbons and glittering glass balls for full effect. Those wall hooks we mentioned earlier might come in handy here. Extra tip: you can hide the hooks if you stick them on the top of your furniture.
  1. Add a holiday throw pillow: If DYI really isn’t your thing, you can simply spruce up for your living room couch with fun, holiday throw pillows. No fuss, no muss. We told you it was easy! Need a few ideas? Click here!

Thanks to these 5 holiday decorating tips for the travel nurse, you’ll be ready for the season in no time!

Any decorating tips that we missed? Let us know how you adorn your apartment for the holidays in the comments below!

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4 Simple Stretches for the Travel Nurse

Whether you're on a mountain top or in the middle of your shift, you can do these quick stretches anywhere!

Whether you’re on a mountain top or in the middle of your shift, you can do these quick stretches anywhere!

You spend most of your day caring for patients, and that can be a full body workout. After a long 12-hour shift, the last thing you probably want to do is go to the gym. And while we certainly don’t blame you, your personal fitness shouldn’t always take a back seat.  With just a few minutes each day, you can actually help prevent potential injuries and increase your endurance when you practice these 4 simple stretches for the travel nurse:

Cat and Camel Stretch: This easy to learn stretch can help relieve lower back pain and help strengthen your spinal cord. According to WebMD, a static Cat and Camel stretch can be done using the following steps:

  • Lace your fingers together and turn your palms to face outward in front of you.
  • Reach your arms as far as you can, curving your back and shoulders forward.
  • Hold for roughly 10 seconds.
  • Release your fingers, and grab your wrists or fingers behind your back.
  • Raise your arms as high as you can behind your back without releasing your hands so your chest opens and your shoulders roll back.

Lying Bed Stretch: According to nursing blog Scrubs.com, the lying bed stretch can help reduce back and neck pain. And the best part? As its name implies, you don’t have to leave your bed for this one!

  • Simply lie back on your bed.
  • Raise both arms over your head, so that your elbows face the ceiling and your hands dangle over the edge of the bed.
  • Hold for 15 seconds, then slowly bring your hands back to your side.
  • Repeat one to two times as needed.

Half Dog at the Wall: This modified yoga pose is also great for the busy travel nurse. All you need is a wall and a few seconds of free time. Doyouyoga.com suggests this stretch to help relieve stress and boost your energy level:

  • Stand facing a wall, about a leg’s length apart.
  • Place your hands on the wall roughly at shoulder height.
  • Press your hands against the wall, and bend your knees a bit and slowly walk your feet away from the wall.
  • Keeping your hips positioned over your feet, gradually walk out until your arms are straight and form a long line with your torso and belly.
  • Push your arms strongly towards the wall, while creating an upward lift from your knees to your hips.
  • Gradually straighten your knees.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • Slowly come back up.

Supine Pelvic Tilt: This classic exercise routine works well for those of you who suffer from low back pain. So basically, all nurses everywhere, right? This stretch can take a bit more time, but it’s worth the effort! The American Council on Exercise recommends you follow these steps:

  • Lie back on a mat or the floor with your knees bent, your feet flat on the ground, and your arms at your sides in a “T” position.
  • As you exhale, use your abdominal muscles to press your low back into the floor. Be careful to not lift your hips. Hold this position for a short time.
  • Next, slowly inhale and slant your pelvis in the opposite direction. This should create an arch between your low back and the floor. Again, make sure to keep your hips and tailbone on the ground. Hold this position briefly, then return to your starting position.
  • Rest a few seconds between each set. Depending on the amount of time you have, you can do 2-3 sets at a time.

As a travel nurse, you’re constantly on the move, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with constant back pain and stress. These quick stretches can help you let go of stress, relieve your tired and sore muscles, and help prevent personal injuries on the job.

What other activities help you unwind after a long day?

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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!
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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

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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.

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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?

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How to Make Your Medical Resume Great

It’s important in any field or industry, but it’s especially important for travel nurses to have an amazing resume in order to help them get placed in the jobs they want at the locations they want.

Want to know how to make your medical resume great? Check out this helpful infographic from Carrington College to get your resume where it needs to be to give you the best options for landing the travel nurse jobs you want!

medical resume tips

Any burning resume questions or tips for others? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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Summertime Travel Nursing: Making the Most of Your Travel Nurse Assignment

Summertime Travel Nursing: Making the Most of Your Travel Nurse Assignment

Summertime Travel Nursing: Making the Most of Your Travel Nurse Assignment

Although its allure entices many travel nurses (and rightfully so!), not every assignment can be in beautiful, beachy, sunny Hawaii. But the good news about summertime travel nursing is that the climate generally gets a little more awesome nationwide — making it the perfect time to really get out there and make the most of your travel nurse assignment.

As most travelers know, and as TNC shared here recently, every state has something that makes it beautiful! So here are a few fun, summertime links I found to help you make the most of your summertime travel nurse assignment:

Travel Nursing Blogs did a fun roundup of Ultimate Roadside Attractions for Travel Nurses here, including some of the more unique destinations to check out while on or heading to your assignment, such as the Oregon Vortex, Carhenge, the World’s Largest Six-Pack, and even driving through a redwood tree in California! TNB also has a post about Summer Survival for Travel Nurses here.

Nursing Link did a post about fun summer nursing jobs here. Although not traditional travel nursing jobs, they are in the same vein. The post discusses the options of summer camp nurse and cruise ship nurse!

Fastaff offered a roundup of general summer health and safety tips here. It’s all stuff you should know, but it’s never a bad idea to review.

American Traveler offers some summertime tips for specific locations here.

Medical Solutions offers some info on some of the best locations for a summer travel nursing contract here.

RN Central has an older (2011, but still relevant) post about 5 great working vacations for summer travel nurses here.

And here is a great story about a traveler named Deb Keller who made the most of her summer assignment in the Midwest.

Wherever you land this season, just be sure to make the most of it and have some hot fun this summertime!

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How Recruiters and Travel Nurses Can Build Trust

trust sign

Find out how you and your recruiter can build and maintain a trustworthy relationship.

Sometimes, in order to learn how to do something well, it’s helpful to understand how it should not be done. Over at Blue Pipes Blog, Kyle Schmidt recently shared a pair of posts that illustrate this — one about ways recruiters betray the trust of travel nurses and one about ways travelers betray the trust of recruiters.

14 Ways Recruiters Betray the Trust of Travel Nurses

Before diving in, Schmidt notes that the “travel healthcare industry is unique in ways that tend to accentuate the importance of trust between candidate and recruiter.” For example, he writes, healthcare travelers are not just depending upon their recruiters for a job, but often also counting on them for housing and travel arrangements as well as help coordinating the many documents and credentials needed to be in order prior to an assignment.

Including quotes from actual nurses pulled from forums and social media, Schmidt then details his list of the 14 ways recruiters can compromise travel nurses’ trust. Themes from this list include any lack of being upfront, lack of communication and follow-up, being too pushy, proceeding without a nurse’s permission, pay issues, and more. Click here to read this blog in full.

15 Ways Travel Nurses Compromise the Trust of Recruiters

After Schmidt’s article described above, he says he got requests — primarily from travelers — that he do an article on how travel nurses compromise the trust of recruiters. He carefully explains that neither list is representative of all recruiters or all travelers, and that perhaps this set of articles will help “bridge gaps between travelers and recruiters.”

After discussing that it’s in each traveler’s best interest to maintain a trusting relationship with their recruiters, Schmidt dives into the ways travel nurses can compromise their recruiters’ trust. These can include disrespect for housing, repeatedly cancelling shifts or backing out of contracts, lack of communication, incomplete paperwork, missing interviews, not being upfront, and more. Click here to read this full post.

How Recruiters and Travel Nurses Can Build Trust

It seems to me after reading both posts that most of these issues boil down to honesty and communication. A good, solid relationship with your recruiter is key to your success as a travel nurse. To that end it’s important that both parties treat each other with respect and honesty.

First, you need to work with someone you’re compatible with. Beyond that, ethical behavior on both ends and a two-way street approach to good, honest communication seems to be the best recipe for a happy traveler-recruiter relationship. I hope these tips on how not to be will help you and your recruiters be aware of how to be in order to have the most successful relationship possible.

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