5 Easy Ways to Decompress from the Stress of Travel Nursing

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To be your best travel nurse self, it’s important to take a breather and de-stress when you can.

By Susan Whitman, Executive Vice President at Freedom Healthcare Staffing

There’s no denying that travel nurses work hard. And, with the added pressure of adapting to new environments, family, and social life on top of taking care of all your patients, it’s natural to get a little stressed every now and then. But, in order to be your very best, it’s important to not let the stress take control of your mind and body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can affect everything from sleep, anxiety, and even your mood. When working in the healthcare industry, this is exactly what you don’t want. So, it’s key to find ways to help you de-stress after a long travel assignment or even just a tough night shift.

Here are some things you can do to relax and feel rejuvenated again:

Heat it Up

Nothing is better than a nice hot bath after a hard day’s work, maybe even paired with a tangy glass of wine. But, baths aren’t the only way to decompress with the help of a higher temperature. Take advantage of your surroundings! Is your travel assignment in Colorado or Utah? Is there a spa nearby?

Use this opportunity to research what is around your area and look for local hot springs, saunas, or even mud baths. These offer the perfect chance to fully unwind, relax those aching muscles, and leave feeling like a new person. Not to mention your skin will reap all the benefits.

Get Mineral Rich

Speaking of hot springs, did you know they are rich in essential minerals such as iron, sulfate, chloride, sodium, and calcium? These help with things such as blood flow, digestive functions, and more. If hot springs aren’t your thing, consider adding these minerals by taking dietary supplements. Giving your body the resources it needs to be its very best is a great start to getting rid of and fighting stress. If you are fully nourished, you’ll perform better.

At the very least, ensure you’re taking a daily multivitamin and eating foods that provide you with all your body needs to produce the energy you need to keep up your knockout work ethic. Spinach, sweet potatoes, quinoa and blueberries are all superfoods that can help you get the vitamins and minerals you need.

Take A Vacay

Sometimes you just need to get away. Even those who “get away” as part of their jobs like travel nurses, need an escape every now and then. Use your traveling opportunities to your advantage. Don’t stay cooped up in your apartment all day. Get out and explore the local attractions. Or, better yet, take an actual vacation. Travel somewhere just for fun, or take off a few days to spend some time at a local retreat. When you work as a travel nurse, the world is your oyster. Do everything you can and use it as a way to escape from the stressors of everyday work.

Mediation

Adding meditation into your daily schedule can truly do wonders, even if it’s only a 10 minute session. During this process the body decreases its production of cortisol and adrenaline, while increasing neurotransmitters associated with calm, including dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Besides these obvious health benefits, recent studies have shown that regular meditators experience more happiness, less anxiety, and greater feelings of purpose.

Get Moving

After a long shift, exercising is probably the last thing you want to do. But, it’s a great way to get your mind clear and decompress. Whether a nice run or just a quick walk around the facility you work, moving around helps send energy throughout the body while also increasing blood flow to the brain. Like anything, this can differ person to person. But, when stress has a hold of you, it’s important to try a variety of things so you can relax and perform at your very best.

As a travel nurse, stress doesn’t have to run your life. It’s important not to allow it to affect your mood, and energy; especially for the sake of your patients. Try these 5 ways to see what works best for you! Always remember, as a nurse you do a lot for the people around you so take the time out of your busy schedule to do something for yourself, too.

 

 

Susan is the Senior Vice President & CFO of Freedom Healthcare Staffing, a staffing agency for traveling nurses across the U.S. based in Aurora, Colorado. Susan has over 20 years of experience in the hospital & staffing industries beginning in 2001 as the Vice President of Fastaff Travel Nursing. The Freedom Healthcare team and Susan take pride in helping their travelers find the healthcare jobs of their dreams, providing support, outstanding benefits, and unbeatable compensation. Learn more about Freedom Healthcare: http://www.freedomhcs.com/

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Top Travel Nursing Companies for 2018

With so many travel nurse staffing companies out there, it can be difficult to find one that’s right for you. Luckily, Travel Nursing Central is here to help. In fact, we’re thrilled to reveal our Top Travel Nursing Companies for 2018!

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The results are in! Find out which travel nurse companies earned the gold in 2018!

We analyzed more than 5,500 reviews from actual travel nurses to rank approximately 215 healthcare staffing agencies. Several factors were evaluated including benefits, pay, housing, customer service, efficiency and more.

To be considered for TNC’s list, each agency needed to meet certain criteria. They must have a website, have at least 20 reviews on our site, and have been voluntarily reviewed by a travel nurse in the last three months. Our annual honor roll reflects only reviews submitted during the previous year.

Below, you’ll find the top 12 travel nurse companies for 2018:

  1. Flexcare Medical Staffing
  2. Talemed
  3. Medical Solutions
  4. Travel Nurse Across America
  5. Tailored Healthcare Staffing
  6. LiquidAgents Healthcare
  7. Fusion Medical Staffing
  8. Total Med Staffing
  9. Medical Staffing Solutions, Inc.
  10. Republic Health Resources
  11. Next Travel Nursing
  12. Medical Staffing Solutions, LLC

We hope these reviews help you find your ideal staffing company! Did your travel nurse agency make the cut? Click here to see the full list.

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Celebrate Travel Nurses Day 2017!

Calling all travel nurses: it's Travel Nurses Day this Friday, October 13th!

Calling all travel nurses: Travel Nurses Day is Friday, October 13th!

Everywhere you look, there are pumpkin spice lattes, leather boots, and a colorful pageant of vibrant leaves. It must be fall.

For travel nurses, the fall season also means a special holiday, Travel Nurses Day, is near. Created by Medical Solutions, Travel Nurses Day celebrates the hardworking spirit of travel nurses everywhere. This Friday, October 13th is your chance to treat yourself and celebrate your travel nursing career.

Over at Medical Solutions, they’ve started the festivities early. Starting today, you can play games, enter contests, listen to music, and win PRIZES all week long!

Here’s the delightful lineup for Travel Nurses’ Day 2017:

Contests and Games

  • A #NurseLaughLove Photo Contest on Instagram
  • Quizzes such as, “Where Should I Travel Next?” and “What’s Your Ultimate Source of Bliss?”
  • Two sets of fantastically fun Photofinds
  • Two sets of terrifically tremendous Travel Libs
  • A Find Your Bliss Playlist to keep you rocking through your special day

Prizes:

You can visit TravelNursesDay.com anytime starting now until midnight, central standard time on Oct. 15, 2017. Prize winners will be announced the following week.

Happy Travel Nurses Day to all you amazing travelers out there!

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Travel Nursing in a Crisis Area: Four Things to Know

Hurricane Harvey has devastated the Houston area. Travel nurses are needed now more than ever.

Hurricane Harvey has devastated the Houston area. Travel nurses are needed now more than ever.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, both Florida and Texas are in desperate need of nurses. In fact, Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently pleaded for roughly 1,000 volunteer nurses via Twitter. Fortunately, many travel nurses will answer the call and provide much-needed support in the days and months ahead.

However, traveling to a crisis zone is not your typical travel nurse assignment. If you plan to travel to either Florida or Texas, here are the top four things you need to know:

  1. Getting there could be tricky: You might have to use indirect methods to reach your destination. That’s because the most direct routes, like major highways, might be impassible at the moment. So, instead of driving in your car, you might have to travel by boat or find a helicopter ride, like this group of nurses did.
  1. Your temporary living/working situation could be less than ideal: Parts of Houston and many communities in Florida are still under water, so housing will likely be scarce. Likewise, your work environment could prove to be more stressful than normal. For example, according to The New York Times, some nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida are still without power. Hospitals there may also have water damage, which can lead to mold and other potential health risks to you and your patients.
  1. You may be at risk for burnout: Extended hours, lack of sleep, and increased stress levels could be a recipe for burnout if you’re not prepared. So, remember to pack a few burnout prevention techniques along with your gear before you leave. For example, don’t forget to practice self-care, like eating regular meals or taking a few minutes’ mental break when necessary. Self-care is vital, especially in crisis situations. You won’t be able to help others if you become sick.
  1. You can make a difference: Despite the risks, most travel nurses will volunteer because they feel called to help people affected by the recent hurricanes. If you have the constitution for it, crisis travel nursing can be incredibly rewarding. You can be confident knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of your patients and your fellow healthcare workers.

If you are interested in joining the disaster relief efforts in either Florida or Texas, you should talk to your recruiter, or simply volunteer with the American Red Cross. However, if you are unable to travel or are currently on assignment elsewhere, you can also donate your money to a specific charity and/or give blood.

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The Case for Travel Nurse Recruiters

A great recruiter can be your friend and guide during your travel nurse journey.

A great recruiter can be your friend and guide during your travel nurse journey.

Travel nurses and their recruiters are a dynamic duo in the healthcare staffing industry. Like peanut butter and jelly or mac and cheese, one without the other is unthinkable. That is, until now.

Nomad Health, a site that directly connects freelance doctors to healthcare systems without a middleman, recently expanded their services to travel nurses as well.

Before you jump on the recruiter-free bandwagon, you should carefully consider all the advantages you have with a recruiter on your side:

Pay: According to Nomad’s website, travel nurses will automatically earn more money since medical facilities are saving on recruiter fees. Taken at face value, this statement seems to make sense. However, you should keep in mind that no two bill rates are the same, so there’s really nothing “automatic” about better pay. In fact, in some cases, a recruiter can actually help you advocate for a better compensation package.

Jobs: Without recruiters, Nomad claims you can find job opportunities on your own terms. While that certainly sounds liberating, it’s simply not true. As a travel nurse, you don’t have to take any job you don’t want. Likewise, a great recruiter is your partner in your job search, and that means he or she can help you land your dream job. Your recruiter knows what hospitals are looking for in a candidate, so he or she can offer you sound career advice when needed. Plus, as an industry insider, your recruiter may know of jobs that haven’t even been advertised yet.

Safety Net: Besides job opportunities and pay, travel nurses also need to consider their safety while on assignment. In an ideal world, your travel nursing assignment would go off without a hitch, but that’s unfortunately not always the case. Just look at Travel Nursing Central’s Sticky Situations Q&A section! Your recruiter is your friend and safety net when something unexpected happens to you while on assignment. When you think of the alternative, who would you call? The Ghostbusters?

So, while it’s tempting to ditch your recruiter, this model probably wouldn’t add up to an overall amazing travel nursing experience. A recruiter offers you several advantages including industry knowledge, career advice, and a helpful ear should something unexpected happen.

What do you think? Is a recruiter-free agency appealing or do you plan to stick with your recruiter? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 Helpful Housing Websites for Travel Nurses

Jump for joy with these housing websites for travel nurses. Home away from home never looked so easy.

Jump for joy with these housing websites for travel nurses.

Searching for clean, safe, and affordable housing as a travel nurse can often make you feel like you’re on a never-ending episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. While many travel nurses avoid the housing headache altogether with staffing agency accommodations, there are plenty of travel nurses who take the stipend instead. So, if you are on a current quest for housing, check out these 4 helpful housing websites for travel nurses:

HomeSuite: Want a place that feels like home, but has the luxury of a hotel? Consider HomeSuite, an online company that connects people to furnished rentals in major cities across the country. The HomeSuite team manages the hassle of booking for you, so moving to a new city is as painless as possible.

Synergy Global Housing: Synergy Global Housing offers housing solutions to corporate travelers in more than 50 countries.  The company prides itself on providing “customized living spaces for your lifestyle.” Among other perks, they also have personal services such as a mobile concierge, a VIP program, and a welcome package for pets.

FurnishedFinder.com: Specifically designed for traveling healthcare professionals, FurnishedFinder.com is one of the largest no-cost housing resources online. It’s well respected within the healthcare staffing industry too. According to its website, most staffing companies use FurishedFinder.com themselves.

Travel Housing Pro: This online company connects corporate travelers to both short-term and long-term rental properties. No need to worry about housing scams with Travel Housing Pro. They are committed to safe and affordable housing options and have rigorous security protocols in place to ensure traveler safety.

We hope these websites help make your quest for the perfect home away from home easier. If you have more questions about travel nurse housing, make sure to check out our Housing Checklist.

There are many great housing rescores out there for travel nurses. Did we list your preferred online housing resource? If not, which ones do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Fantastic Summer Reads for the Travel Nurse

Looking for a few good beach reads for your summer travel assignment? We've got you covered!

Looking for a few good beach reads for your summer travel assignment? We’ve got you covered!

Whether you hanging out at the beach or waiting in an airport terminal for your next flight, a good book can make any travel nurse adventure more fun. So, in the name of summer road trips, we’ve compiled 5 fantastic summer reads for the travel nurse. Happy reading!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a poor black farmer, was dying from cancer. Before her death, some of her cells were removed during a biopsy and cultured without her permission. Henrietta’s cell line, known by scientists as HeLa cells, became the basis for several medical breakthroughs, including the polio vaccine. Today, however, Lacks’ family can’t afford health care. This 2010 bestseller tells an astonishing story where race, science, and ethics collide.

Anatomy of a Super Nurse: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming Nursey: This is a must-read for any recent nursing school grad! Acclaimed blogger and author Kati Kleber, BSN, RN, CCRN, shares her experiences and provides hilarious insights and practical tips on how to survive that crucial first year in the nursing field. Even seasoned nurse veterans will get a chuckle out of Kleber’s storytelling.

The Hospital at the End of the World: Thinking of taking your travel nursing skills overseas? Then you need to pick up The Hospital at the End of the World. This nonfiction narrative describes one nurse’s adventures while teaching for a summer in Nepal. It’s Eat, Pray, Love meets Seven Years in Tibet.

I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse: This is a collection of short stories about real-life nurses’ experience in the demanding world of healthcare. Several nurses in different stages of their career share their “firsts”, their struggles against burnout, and ultimately what keeps them in the profession. Warning: This book will make you laugh and probably ugly cry.

Outlander: If you’re looking for pure summer escapism, you won’t regret reading Outlander. In this Diana Gabaldona bestseller, WWII British army nurse Claire Randall accidentally travels back in time to 18th century Scotland. While trying to find a way back to her own time and husband, Claire is forced to marry Jamie, a young Highlander. Things get complicated when Claire finds herself falling in love with the Scottish warrior.

Wherever your travel nursing journey takes you this summer, we hope you enjoy these great reads!

P.S. What are you reading this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 Tips for Working with a Traveling Nurse Recruiter

Open communication with your recruiter can make your travel nursing journey easier.

Open communication with your recruiter can make your travel nursing journey easier.

By Susan Whitman | Sr. Vice President & CFO at Freedom Healthcare Staffing

So, you’ve decided to become a traveling nurse. Congratulations! There’s a lot of planning to do as you begin this journey, but the most important might very well be developing communication with your recruiter. Yes, thinking about your first desired location, how you’re going to lightly pack for 13 weeks and what your furbaby will need for the journey are all important, but before getting overwhelmed, find comfort in knowing your recruiter is there to help you with all of this and more. To enjoy such useful support, communication with recruiters must be at an all-time high.

With these 4 tips, you’ll grow into your new travel nursing position without sweating the small stuff.

What’s Your Preferred Method of Communication?

45% of job seekers think texting is a professional way for recruiters to communicate with them. Whether you prefer texting, Facetime or even Facebook Messenger, let your recruiter know what you’re most likely to check often.

Your recruiter will need to be able to contact you frequently, and you want him or her to, especially if one of your preferred facilities has openings. Don’t let perfect assignment opportunities slip through the cracks because the email inbox is archaic to you. There will be times when you need advice or guidance through your current assignment as well. So, the easier it is for your recruiter to contact you, the better your experience will be.

It’s Okay to Say No

Honesty is extremely important when working with a traveling nurse recruiter. Don’t feel bad if they present you with an assignment you’re less than excited about. You decided to become a traveling nurse for many reasons, one of which was the ability to explore different cities across the nation. It’s acceptable to be a little picky about the places you want and don’t want to visit. After all, the traveling from facility to facility in new towns and cities is an amazing perk!

“You know how to take care of people, this is what you were born to do… You will find that traveling brings back the best part of nursing. It allows you to take care of your patients without having to get hung up on the inner workings of the unit,” said Crystal Gustafson, RN

Don’t get stuck in an assignment because you didn’t want to turn down the recruiter. It’s best to tell them yes or no immediately so they don’t end up doing extra work when they could be finding jobs you’d love.

Get Organized

If you’re brand new to the traveling industry, there are many things you need to set straight before accepting your first assignment. Don’t miss a dream opportunity because you didn’t prepare everything ahead of time. Run through this list before saying, Y-E-S:

  • Get up-to-date on all your vaccinations
  • Apply for your new state license
  • Get your car checked for updates and necessary repairs
  • Give a house key to a trusted family member or friend
  • Stop your mail for the length of your assignment
  • Call your bank and notify them you’ll be leaving for X amount of weeks
  • Ask someone to take care of your lawn if you have one that needs tending to
  • Set up automatic bill payments

With all the essential duties out of the way, you can focus on working with your recruiter to find a great opportunity.

Be True to You

Know what you want in your assignments before letting your recruiter send you any ol’ open positions. Do you have specific compensation preferences? A short list of states you hold licenses in? Certain times of the year you’re available or unavailable to travel? Are you traveling with a pet or partner? Your recruiter needs these specific guidelines so they can focus their research on the positions that suit your lifestyle.

Create an open and easy relationship with your recruiter. He or she will be your partner in finding the opportunities you really want. The better you understand one another, the greater your chances of forming a successful traveling nurse career. And, with their help, you’ll never be alone in your travels.

What are your biggest concerns about taking your job nation-wide?

Susan is the Senior Vice President & CFO of Freedom Healthcare Staffing, a staffing agency for traveling nurses across the U.S. based in Aurora, Colorado. Susan has over 20 years of experience in the hospital & staffing industries beginning in 2001 as the Vice President of Fastaff Travel Nursing. The Freedom Healthcare team and Susan take pride in helping their travelers find the healthcare jobs of their dreams, providing support, outstanding benefits, and unbeatable compensation. Learn more about Freedom Healthcare: http://www.freedomhcs.com/.

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Happy Nurses Week 2017!

Nurses Week is May 6-12th! Celebrate your nurse profession and take advantage of these discounts, games, and contests!

Don’t miss out on all the discounts, games, and freebies for nurses! Nurses Week is May 6th – 12th!

Nurses Week is almost here! To help travel nurses everywhere celebrate in style, Travel Nursing Central’s has the following rundown of 2017 Nurses Week prizes, freebies, and discounts:

Medical Solutions is throwing a party for all nurses at WeLoveOurNurses.com. You can join in the festivities by checking out C. Young’s “So Much Love in the Scrubs” music video tribute, take the “What Kind of Party Are You?” quiz for a chance to win fun prizes, and share free Nurses Week eCards with your fellow nurses. Medical Solutions is also giving away some amazing party favors, like 30 $50 Amazon gift cards, Five Amazon Tap Bluetooth Speakers, three Apple iPad Mini 2s, and more! Nursing students are also encouraged to enter the 6th Annual Nurses of Tomorrow Scholarship Contest, which awards three $2,000 scholarships to future nurses.

This year, rejuvenate your passion for nursing with The American Nurses Association’s free webinar on wellness and burnout prevention. The online class is on May 10th.

Fusion Medical is celebrating Nurses Week with daily giveaways on its Facebook page, and a #scrubselfie contest on Instagram and Twiiter. Contest participants have the chance to win a $500 Visa gift card.

At DiscoverNursing.com, Johnson & Johnson continues to offer free nurse themed magnets, coloring books, a “Nurses Heal” pin, and many other complimentary resources including brochures, posters, videos, and software.

Cinnabon is showing their appreciation for nurses with a delicious and well-deserved free treat. During Nurses Week, simply present your medical ID badge at a participating Cinnabon, and you’ll receive your choice of a free Classic Roll, a MiniBon or a four-count of BonBites.

Lippincott’s will once again offer a variety of daily deals, giveaways, and discounts during Nurses Week as well.

Did we miss any Nurses Week activities or events out there? Let us know in the comments below. In the meantime, Happy Nurses Week to all you hardworking nurses!

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Travel Nurse News Updates: 4 Things to Know

Extra! Extra! Read all about healthcare and travel nursing news this week.

Extra! Extra! Read all about healthcare and travel nursing news this week.

Before you hit the road for your next travel assignment, take a moment to read Travel Nursing Central’s rundown of travel nurse news from this week:

What Nurses Can Expect with a Potential ACA Replacement: Although the American Health Care Act recently failed on the House floor, the issue of healthcare reform isn’t likely to go away. The Gypsy Nurse blog and healthcare staffing agency Travel Nurse Across America take an in-depth look at how a potential ACA repeal and replacement would affect nurses and travel nurses. Read the full blog post here.

Florida to Become a Compact State: In other travel nurse news, Florida lawmakers recently announced that the state will join the ranks of 25 other states participating in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC allows RNs and licensed practical/vocational nurses to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in both their home state and other NLC states. The law will go into effect on December 31, 2018. To learn more about Florida’s new law, click here.

Trav Con 2017 Registration Now Open: Trav Con 2017, the “Super Bowl” of travel nursing conferences, is now accepting early registrations. Located in Las Vegas, this year’s annual networking event is September 17-19th.  Dr. Damania aka ZDogg MD, an internist who also moonlights as a stand-up comedian for medical audiences, is the 2017 keynote speaker. You can learn more about this year’s schedule of speakers here.

ANA Webinar to Focus on Mindfulness for Nurses: Busy travel nurses know that self-care is a must, especially if you want to provide quality care for your patients. Earn one CEU while learning how to practice the art of mindfulness in the American Nurses Association’s upcoming webinar on “Living & Working Mindfully.” It’s not too late to sign up — the live webinar is on April 19th and costs $45. You can register for it here.

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