To Extend or Not to Extend: The Travel Nurse Dilemma

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Should you stay or should you go? It all depends on what you’re looking for in a travel nurse contract extension.

By Megen Robbins, Cirrus Medical Staffing

By definition, travel nurses have the opportunity to move from place to place, and hospital to hospital all over the U.S. with every new assignment. Part of the fun is finding the next position offering the pay package you need, the location you want, and the facility that will help you grow professionally.

Most of the informative articles and tips circulating about travel nursing relate to helping you find a new assignment, and yet information about extending your current assignment seems almost absent from the narrative. This article will break down the pros and cons of extensions, and how to talk to your recruiter and facility about this option.

What is an extension?

An extension is when a healthcare traveler chooses to extend their current contracted assignment for an agreed-upon number of weeks. The length of the extension varies depending on what the hospital needs and what you’re willing to do.

Why extensions can be good

It’s easy. For everyone involved, extensions require less work to arrange. All of your paperwork is done, so you won’t have onboarding or orientation at the facility. You have housing set up and you already know your way around the city. Licensing and testing are already complete. Just sign on the dotted line to extend and you’re up and running!

It means you get more time to enjoy your current location. Maybe it’s the new people you’ve met that you’re not ready to leave behind quite yet or the hiking trails you haven’t had time to explore, or maybe you just need more time to think about where you’d like to go next.

You can still negotiate. Usually, recruiters provide the best deal possible on your first contract at a facility, but sometimes you can redistribute expenses into your pay package such as travel stipends, expenses for drug/TB testing and physical, criminal background check (if ordered by facility), or compliance and credentialing costs. However, if you’ve never traveled with a company before, you may have already received things like a sign-on bonus and other one-time-only perks in your first assignment’s pay package, so keep that in mind.

It’s flexible. On new assignments, the number of weeks you’ll be there is set in stone on your contract, and most facilities aren’t interested in shortening the length to appease a traveler. If you’re offered an extension, however, the facility knows you’re acclimated to your unit. Having you stay on, even if only for half the length of your first assignment, is more efficient than orienting a new traveler in your place. Unconventional contract lengths are typical for extensions, so you have more control over how long you stay.

Why extensions can be bad

It’s not in your best interests. Feeling pushed into an extension is the most basic reason why extensions can be bad for you as the traveler. Make sure you communicate to your recruiter how you feel about every aspect of the assignment throughout your contract. If there is something that can be changed to make your experience better, your recruiter can help you consider your options by pinpointing exactly what’s making you unhappy. Otherwise, your recruiter may not know what needs to change and therefore cannot help you in a meaningful way. If your recruiter knows why you’re unhappy and they aren’t actively submitting you elsewhere per your request, it might be time to find a new recruiter.

You’re unhappy at the facility itself. If you’re unhappy at the facility, and other factors don’t make staying worth it (like money), then extending may only be an option for you if no new contracts work out. Again, communicate with your recruiter and make sure they are actively submitting you to new positions so you have a new assignment lined up. One of the beauties of being a travel nurse is that you have the option to move on after a relatively short time, no questions asked.

How extensions come about

You’re approached about it by your recruiter and/or facility. Hospitals typically start to consider extensions up to four weeks prior to the end of your current contract. Sometimes you’ll get more notice; depending on the time of year or census patterns of the facility, hospitals may release their needs well in advance. You’ll be approached by your recruiter to weigh your options when they’re made aware of an opportunity to extend.

You bring the idea to your recruiter. Whenever the thought to extend occurs to you, it’s never too early to let your recruiter know. They can tell the facility you are interested in and start the process of arranging a contract that maximizes your income. Also, keep an open line of communication with your nurse manager so they know you’re interested in staying and they can work on getting any necessary approvals for the contract extension in advance.  Also, be prepared to discuss time off requests with the nurse manager and your recruiter.  You want to have those ready to go and approved up front to get the contract locked down quickly. Your recruiter can help you navigate an extension even before a facility’s needs are released. Just like you would for a new assignment, the earlier you start hunting – even if you’re looking to stay put – the better your odds of a successful placement.

The bottom line on extensions

Contract extensions should be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis – every assignment is different, and your reasons for staying may change depending on your circumstance. Extensions are a great way to get more of what’s important to you at the time; whether it’s more of the people, more money, more time to explore, or simply more time to find your next destination without a lapse between assignments.

Whatever your reasons to extend, they’re your reasons. Communicate openly with your recruiter and maybe your dilemma, to extend or not to extend, will cease to be a dilemma at all.

 

About the Author: Megen Robbins is the Marketing Supervisor at Cirrus Medical Staffing, a full-service healthcare staffing agency and travel nurse company. In her spare time, she’s usually hanging out with her two children under age 4, while simultaneously daydreaming about alone time. Find more travel nursing job advice, tips, and news on the Cirrus blog!

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Preparing for Hurricane Florence: What Travel Nurses Should Know

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A look at Hurricane Florence from space. The Category 2 storm is expected to hit the East Coast this weekend.

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall near the Carolina coast later today and into the weekend. Forecasters are already calling it “the storm of a lifetime.” Are you in the path of the storm? If you are, don’t panic. Here’s what travel nurses can do to stay safe before and after a natural disaster while on assignment.

Before the storm:

Learn your facility’s emergency response plan: Most facilities have an emergency response plan in place to protect their patients and staff during critical events or natural disasters. In some cases, hospitals will even evacuate their patients if they can. However, just like hospitals, no two emergency response plans are alike. So, make sure you understand your role within that plan. Your unit manager should be able to brief you on your specific role and answer any of your questions.

Stock up on supplies: Prepare for what you’ll need before and after a natural disaster. The American Red Cross recommends this handy checklist of emergency supplies. For example, you should have a 2-week supply of non-perishable food and water as well as a full tank of gas in your car. You may also want to purchase a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio so you can get the latest information from the National Weather Service.

Consider your housing situation: Make sure you have a Plan B for housing in the event that your current living situation becomes uninhabitable. Talk with your recruiter and your facility managers beforehand to determine your best course of action.

After the storm:

Contact your friends and family: Let your loved ones know you are safe. You can do so on Facebook or use the Safe and Well website. As a travel nurse, it’s also a great idea to put your recruiter on this list.

Avoid flooded areas and downed power lines: Flooding brings with it the risk of waterborne bacterial contamination and downed power lines pose a potential threat in the aftermath of a storm.

Don’t drink the tap water until authorities have given the all-clear. Tap water might not be safe to drink immediately following a natural disaster, so use your bottled water and/or boil the tap water before you use it.

Should you ever find yourself preparing for a natural disaster while on assignment, we hope these tips can help you stay safe. Thank you to all the travel nurses who have weathered similar storms or disasters in the name of patient care! You inspire all of us!

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Nurses Week 2018 Steals and Deals

Nurses Week 2018

Nurses Week is May 6th to 12th! Get the most out of your Nurses Week with these deals!

Nurses Week 2018 is almost here! Are you ready? To help you celebrate your week to the fullest, Travel Nursing Central has compiled a list of Nurses Week discounts, freebies, and deals for you.

Cinnabon: As the proud sponsor of the DAISY Foundation, Cinnabon is understandably all about nurse appreciation. During Nurses Week, show your medical ID badge to any participating Cinnabon store and receive a free, delicious treat full of gooey goodness! 

American Nurses Association: Interested in technology and nursing? Then ANA’s free webinar “Emerging Technology and Its Impact on Nursing Practice” is for you! Participants will earn a free CE and gain useful insight into the impact of technology on a nurse’s daily practice, real-world advice for adapting, and how to enhance patient care using technology. The live webinar is slated for May 9th at 1 p.m. ET. Registration closes at May 8th at 7 p.m. You can learn more here.

Lippincott Nursing Center: Enter for a chance to win a $50.00 Scrubs.com gift card at Lippincott Nursing Center’s website. All you need to do is explain what #NurseStrong means to you when you complete their form here. Applicants will also receive a $10 off CE coupon just by participating.

Medical Solutions: This travel nurse staffing company is pulling out all the stops for Nurses Week. Head over to WeLoveOurNurses.com and play trivia games, quizzes, and more for a chance to win some amazing prizes, including a $1,500 grand prize.

Disney World: The most magical place on Earth loves nurses too. They offer a hotel discount to nurses at the Swan and Dolphin. When booking your rooms, use the code DREAMS to receive the discount. You will have to provide your medical ID badge at check-in to get the discount. For more information, click here.

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.

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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7 Helpful Pieces of Advice for New Travel Nurses

A career in travel nursing offers several key differences from a traditional nursing position. For many nurses, it is a uniquely exciting career, offering experiences and new settings they would not experience otherwise.

hospital%20nurse%20with%20wheelchair%20patient 600x - 7 Helpful Pieces of Advice for New Travel NursesFor some nurses, travel nursing offers the right combination of excitement and job flexibility.

If you’re interested in a travel nursing career, read up on personal accounts by experienced travel nurses, and take the time to select the right travel nursing agency. Here are seven other helpful pieces of advice for new travel nurses.

1. Organize All Essential Documentation

The ability to plan ahead is essential to a successful travel nursing career. Make sure you have the following on hand for when you sign with a travel nursing agency:

  • Current nursing license and specialty certifications
  • Immunization records
  • List of references with contact information
  • Professional resume highlighting your skills and strengths

Having these important pieces of information ready makes it easier to prepare for phone interviews with potential employers, because you can focus more on questions you want to ask and on understanding policies and schedules.

2. Keep an Open Mind and Remain Flexible

In addition to excellent planning ability, you must also have a certain amount of flexibility. Ultimately, a travel nursing career can allow you to tailor your career to your desire to travel, or to your family’s needs, but especially at first, you must be prepared to be flexible and accept assignments with an open mind.

3. Learn How to Pack Strategically for Assignments

Don’t expect to pack perfectly the first time. Strive to pack light, yet know what your “essentials” are, whether that’s family photos, a personal journal, or a special throw or bed pillow. Travel nursing agencies will inform you about what is available in any housing they provide. Over time you will learn what really is necessary and what you can leave at home.

4. Understand Pay Rates and Other Benefits Before Accepting an Assignment

An outstanding travel nursing agency welcomes questions, so don’t be shy inquiring about benefits, base salary, canceled shift policies, shift differentials, and other pertinent information. Determine whether benefits like health insurance are offered, and if so, what percentage of the premiums you’ll be responsible for.

male%20nurse%20with%20little%20girl 600x - 7 Helpful Pieces of Advice for New Travel NursesThe right travel nursing agency is happy to answer your questions. 

5. Allow Yourself Plenty of Time to Prepare for Your First Shift

Generally, it’s better to show up more than one day before your start date. If you can allow a few days to settle in, rent a car (if necessary), learn your commute time, and stock up on food and household items, your first day on the job will be far less stressful. Knowing your neighborhood, including things like where the local supermarket is, can also minimize stress.

6. Realize that Getting Accustomed to Travel Nursing Takes Time

Travel nursing isn’t for every nurse, and those who are well-suited for this path may not realize it at first. Once you learn to pack well, save receipts, and take care of the details, you’ll be able to evaluate travel nursing as a career choice and determine if it is right for you. Many nurses choose travel nursing and can’t imagine doing it any other way.

7. Choose the Right Travel Nursing Agency

The importance of choosing an outstanding travel nursing agency cannot be overemphasized. Your agency should be large enough to offer you the opportunities you want, yet small enough to provide the attention you need, answer your questions, and generally have your back as you take on travel nursing assignments. The right travel nursing agency is ready to listen to you, answer your questions, and help you build a career that lets you shine and that provides the challenges and rewards you want.

Travel nursing offers many amazing opportunities. Not only can nurses pursue travel to places they may never have had the chance to go, travel nurses with families can schedule their assignments to mesh with school schedules, or a spouse’s schedule, offering flexibility and earning power. If you are interested in travel nursing, Travel Nursing Central invites you to fill out our sign-up form. It’s an important first step towards what could be an outstanding nursing career for you.

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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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5 Caffeine Alternatives For Travel Nurses

Take a crack at drinking coconut water instead of coffee. This refreshing beverage can help you stay alert during a long shift.

Take a crack at drinking coconut water instead of coffee. This refreshing and healthy beverage can help you stay alert during a long shift.

By Troy Diffenderfer

TravelNurseSource.com

We’ve all been there. The last few hours of a particularly tough shift just seem to crawl by. You’ll often grab another cup of coffee to get you through the day. How many cups is that? Four? Five? You might have even lost track.

Unfortunately, too much caffeine can become detrimental to your health. High blood pressure, heart palpitations, and trouble sleeping are just a few issues that could plague your nursing career. Luckily, these 5 caffeine alternatives for travel nurses will allow you to power through those rounds without the negative side effects.

  1. Teas: Many nurses are leaning toward tea for their energy fix. Green tea, Reishi mushroom tea, and yerba mate all pack a punch in the caffeine department. In particular, yerba mate is a great alternative to coffee. Preferred by many, yerba mate is filled with nutrients and provides the same coffee-like buzz. Even better, this alternative can also minimize the “crash” that many coffee drinkers experience. Yerba mate is made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the celebrated South American rainforest holly tree.
  1. Coconut Water: Not too fond of tea? Consider trying coconut water as your new beverage of choice. Known for its natural energy boosting properties, coconut water is a cleaner, more nutritious coffee alternative. Coconut water is naturally sweet, contains bioactive enzymes, and is chock-full of electrolytes, which makes it a good replacement for sugary sports drinks. Not surprisingly, this awesome refreshment’s popularity is on the rise.
  1. Smoothies: Trade in your sweet latte or flavored coffee drink for a fruit smoothie. Oftentimes, that afternoon slump you might experience isn’t from a lack of sleep — low blood sugar levels could just as easily be the culprit. So, fight the afternoon doldrums with a smoothie. Bonus tip: add nuts to your smoothie for a high-protein pick-me-up.
  1. Wheatgrass: What better way to start the morning than with a shot? Okay, not that kind of shot. We’re talking about a wheatgrass shot. Wheatgrass is a trendy alternative for those clinicians who need an energy boost pronto. Although it’s an acquired taste, nutritionally-speaking, wheatgrass is off-the-charts good for you. This natural energizer is full of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
  1. Exercise: Many assume that you need some sort of drink or snack to replace the typical boost you receive from coffee. However, exercise can actually go a long way to keeping you motivated throughout the day. A morning jog or daily stretching can help you tackle the day head-on. Exercise also releases endorphins, which help you feel energized and happy. Plus, you’ll be practicing healthy habits as well.

Make sure when you go to grab that cup of coffee that you’re thinking about these great caffeine alternatives.

Troy Diffenderfer is a digital content editor and marketer for TravelNurseSource.com. He’s worked closely with travel nurses all over the country to provide information as well as job placement in the field. In his free time, he enjoys reading as much as possible and listening to a wide range of music. He strives to provide the best possible content for all his readers in an informational and entertaining manner.

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Five Blogs Every Travel Nurse Should Follow

These blogs can help you find the tools you need for a successful travel nurse journey.

These blogs can help you find the tools you need for a successful travel nurse journey.

Whether you’re new to travel nursing or a veteran, you need to be armed with the right tools to help you navigate your travel nurse journey. Fortunately, there are several blogs out in the social media universe to help you do just that. Even better, Travel Nursing Central has the rundown on which travel nursing blogs every travel nurse should follow in order to have a successful career below:

The Gypsy Nurse: Along with a new look, this trusted travel nurse blog also recently rolled out an excellent travel nurse toolkit. From a pay calculator to a housing database, you can easily find the information you need before you hit the road.

Travel Nurse Classroom: Mike, a former travel nurse recruiter, is the author of Travel Nurse Classroom, a blog and podcast.  The podcasts tackle complex industry topics, such as how to negotiate your pay, and have a refreshing agency insider viewpoint. This site deserves a second glance, especially if you’ve ever wondered about the inner workings of a healthcare staffing agency.

TravelNursingBlogs.com: This gem of a blog has a “Ask a Travel Nurse” section. It can be an incredibly powerful resource for new travel nurses. You can get answers to your most burning travel nurse questions from an experienced current traveler. What’s not to love about that?

Blue Pipes: Does tax season make you break out in a cold sweat? You’re certainly not alone. A travel nursing career can make for a tricky tax return, but don’t fret. You can find out all you need to know at Blue Pipes, a popular travel nurse blog. We really enjoyed this site’s comprehensive four-part article series on tax deductions for the travel nurse.

Travel Nursing Central: While we don’t mean to toot our own horn, the fact remains that TNC is a great resource for the travel nurse. TNC provides travel nurse advice, hospital reviews, and a travel nurse checklist. Our team also highly recommends reading the Top Travel Nursing Companies. These ratings are based on reviews from actual travel nurses, so it’s a great way to learn which agencies are respected by your peers.

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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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Top 9 Tips for Adapting to the Night Shift

Switching to the night shift can be a rough transition if you're not prepared. Follow these tips to stay happy and healthy during your assignment!

Switching to the night shift can be a rough transition if you’re not prepared. Follow these tips to stay happy and healthy during your assignment!

By Haley Thomann

Fusion Medical Staffing, LLC

So you are about to embark on a new journey and a new contract. The pay is great. The location is perfect. The only thing holding back your full proclamation of excitement? You are going to be working nights — for the first time!

According to fellow travel nurses, here are the top 9 tips for adapting to the night shift:

  1. Block schedule: This seems obvious, but make sure you ask about your schedule. It can be very tough to transition back and forth between day and night when your shifts are separated throughout the week. Use that last night shift of the week to have a shorter sleep, it will help you adjust to daytime hours when you are off.
  1. Invest in room darkening curtains: This tip was unanimous when it came to our night shift warriors — even if you don’t work nights, these things are AMAZING! Toss in some ear plugs and a sleep mask if you are really sensitive.
  1. Request top floor apartment living: Since most people are working “normal” hours and have the weekends off, they aren’t usually considerate of the person sleeping below them. Make sure to request the top floor whenever possible for a little more peace and quiet.
  1. Start your day with breakfast: Some prefer to wake up at 5 p.m. and have dinner, but this is your new morning. Start it with breakfast! Regardless of what you eat when you wake up or before you go to sleep, make sure it is not something super heavy!
  1. Stay healthy: From eating healthy to getting exercise, these things will help your body stay functioning through the change and long hours. Consider meal prepping and packing a healthy lunch to keep yourself from grabbing junk food on your way home to crash for the night. (well, day.) Sleepless = bad cravings.
  1. Avoid caffeine: Yeah, we know, it sounds crazy! Why wouldn’t you slam a bunch of coffee and energy drinks to make it through? All that caffeine will start to take a toll on your body, so instead, STAY HYDRATED! It will help you in so many ways. Some travel nurses also suggest if you are going to have that caffeine, cut it off at 3 a.m.!
  1. Get some outside time every day: Soak up that Vitamin D! It certainly can’t hurt. If that still doesn’t feel like enough, invest in a nice sun lamp!
  1. Laugh and smile daily: Seems like weird advice? Night shifters typically have less social interaction, which can create issues with communication and the smoothness of a shift. Make sure to interact and bond with your coworkers. It will give you that little boost!
  1. Consider how you are getting home: Some of our travelers have had a bit of a commute when heading home after working nights. If you are too tired, DO NOT DRIVE HOME! Call a friend or take a little nap. Another tip from several of our night shift pros — wear DARK sunglasses when you head home in the daylight. That light can trigger your body to stay alert and awake, which will keep you up when you are trying to wind down.

Most importantly, listen to your body. It is a good idea to take a break from night shifts if you have been going at it for a long period of time. You know your own body, so take the best care of you that you can. Don’t be afraid to ask your coworkers what helps them out too!

Haley Thomann has been with Fusion Medical Staffing for just over 3 years, managing all its social media and content. She absolutely loves her side of the job because she gets to interact with amazing travelers, help potential travelers find the answers they need, and represent the Fusion brand. Outside of work, she loves spending time with her husband and 1-year-old daughter, Dylan Olivia. For more travel resources from Haley, check out Fusion’s blog at http://blog.fusionmedstaff.com/ or connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hwenthe.

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