Dealing With Difficult Patients While Travel Nursing

Dealing with difficult patients is a skill. Whether you are new to the nursing scene, or a seasoned vet, you know that there are just some patients that push you a little (or a lot) over the edge some days. Most of the time, we are pretty easy going and know to expect the unexpected, especially if you are an ER nurse. Here are tips for dealing with difficult patients while travel nursing that you can think about when you or your patient are having one of those days.

Use these tips to help deal with difficult patients.

Listen

Whether your patient is in for something minor or something major, sometimes they just want to be heard. Just a moment to make eye contact and hear them out with all their complaints, doubts, anger, etc. This could be a way of expressing how nervous or scared they are about what may or may not be happening. One of our Gypsy’s put it best on Facebook, “Listen, and listen some more. If a patient has a complaint about a previous nurse, often better to just listen, then obtain the presence of the charge nurse or supervisor, or if the facility has a patient liaison or representative. A lot of times, they just need to be heard. Never make excuses.”

Respond

It’s typical after a long day or even a long week to have a short fuse. Nurse or not, we are all guilty of this from time to time. Although it may seem like a no-brainer for you, sometimes all they need is for someone to hear them out and respond with patience and kindness. Assure them that they will have all their questions answered and even ask if anything needs to be clarified. This may take a bit longer for some, but it will result in a better, more satisfying stay for both in the long haul.

Ask

“Ask when you can’t find something, ask when you don’t understand them, ask for help if you need it, ask if you can help them, ask the patient questions, it’s okay to show emotion to your patient, it’s okay to sit and cry with them. Sitting down next to them for 30 seconds makes it feel like you spent 5-10
minutes with them sometimes. Share yourself with patients and their families.” This can mean the world to your patients and the lives they touch by a simple act of compassion. Showing the patient that you’re human too with a little bit of humility can go a long way in calming them down as well.

Kill them with kindness

Biting your tongue can be hard. It’s not always going to be a patient that is just hurt or confused or frustrated. Sometimes you just plain cannot calm them down or talk sense into them. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s perhaps something they’ve ingested that is making them act that way. For all involved, at times, it may be best for the sake of your own sanity to just kill them with kindness. Even at your highest stress level, at least you can leave with no remorse in your actions and may even be able to get a laugh out of it down the road.

If all else fails, be honest.

When you have tried and tried, and nothing seems to work, be sure you abide by the policy and let the patient know, calmly, the consequences of their actions if they proceed. Ensure you have documentation of what you’ve done or tried to do, as well as any documentation they may need to fill out to leave AMA, etc.; it’s best to have all your ducks in a row. It may be that “gentle” nudge to show them that you care, but they respect expected both ways.

Take-Away

How do travel nurses deal with difficult patients?

Listen, Respond, Ask Question, Kill them with kindness, and if all else fails…be honest.

I hope this helps you regroup your thoughts after a rough day, make you feel like you’re not alone on these crazy days, or even help if you’re new to the game. We love hearing your thoughts and what works best for you! Comment below with your best advice to share with the gypsy community!

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Top Benefits of Compression Socks

Nurses and healthcare workers are on their feet for sometimes 12 hours at a time.  Sometimes even more. And for numerous days at a time.  Finding ways to keep your feet comfortable is imperative.  Great shoes play a huge part in this, however many nurses swear by compression socks.

What are compression socks and what are the true benefits of them?

According to Wikipedia “Compression stockings are elastic compression garments worn around the leg, compressing the limb. This reduces the diameter of distended veins and increases venous blood flow velocity and valve effectiveness. Compression therapy helps decrease venous pressure, prevents venous stasis and impairments of venous walls, and relieves heavy and aching legs.”

Healthline says that some benefits of compression socks are:

1. Boost circulation in your legs

Boosting the circulation in your legs helps to get the necessary nutrients and blood flow to the tissue in your legs, keeping them healthy.

2. Support veins

Compression socks help to support your veins and can help prevent varicose veins.

3. Prevent blood from pooling in your leg veins

Pooling in the leg veins can be very painful and if not treated can the swelling and pressure will increase.

4. Diminish leg swelling

Leg swelling can lead to other issues and can also be very painful.

5. Prevent the development of deep vein thrombosis in your legs

This is a huge plus for compression socks as deep vein thrombosis is very serious and can lead to more serious issues and sometimes death.

6. Help lessen the pain caused by varicose veins

Being on your feet for as many hours at a time that nurses are, already causes tired and painful legs.  Add varicose veins to it and it can be unbearable.

Other benefits can include:

  • Fewer leg pains
  • Better circulation
  • Less swelling in the legs and feet
  • They can help with joint pain

There are many benefits to wearing compression socks, we hope that you have found this article helpful.  Not all compression socks are the same, so you need to do your research.

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Places to Consider for Your Fall Travel Nursing Assignment

Fall.The time of year that reminds us how beautiful change is as winter draws near. From colorful trees to slow freezing streams, here are some locations you should consider when planning your next travel assignment.

Places to visit while traveling this fall

Minnesota

Minnesota– A family-friendly state known for its outdoor activities makes Minnesota a top spot to take in fall-time views. The are many opportunities for you to go camping, kayaking, and fishing to immerse yourself in the season and state.

 

Tennessee

Tennessee– The Great Smoky Mountains and nearby farms will make for a memorable stay in Tennessee. You can take in the views by horse-back and hiking the many trails in the surrounding area. Already rich in history, visiting Tennessee in fall will only add to the experience.

 

Washington

Washington– Rolling hills, waterfalls, and national forests will keep you busy as you venture throughout Washington. You’ll want to be sure to carve out time so you can stop by vineyards to indulge in not only the scenery but the flavors of fall as well.

 

New Jersey

New Jersey– Known for the monarch butterfly migration in the fall, you can also stop to see stunning sunsets on beaches across the state. Catching rays of sunlight between clouds, you’ll see the colors of fall casting their hues across New Jersey’s bodies of water.

 

Vermont

Vermont– Foliage, as you drive Route 9, will leave you breathless; trees with shades of red, yellow, orange, and green fill vast areas of land across the state. In addition to the dramatic drive, there is a good chance you could see various types of wildlife, bears, deer, and moose to name a few.

 

We hope this list of great places to visit while traveling this fall helps you along your travel nurse adventure!

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Travel Nurse Housing: Agency Provided Housing

There are 3 travel nurse housing options to consider.
  • Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing – Discussed Below
  • Securing your own travel nurse housing with a ‘stipend’
  • Travel in an RV

Travel Nurse Housing Tax Implications

It’s important to understand that no matter which housing option you opt for, you must have a valid tax-home in order to be able to obtain ‘free’ housing. If you do not have a tax-home, your housing costs should be taxed as income. Many agencies will not tell you this.

Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

With agency provided housing, the agency takes care of everything for you.  From deposits (excluding any pet deposits), utilities, and furnishing.  All you should have to do is show up. Your travel nurse housing should be ‘move-in ready’.  Sometimes the internet or cable TV is not included. You may have to arrange this on your own if you need/want it.  Ask the agency if this is included. Many Agencies provide housing in hotels, motels, and extended stay type properties. These can vary greatly.  It’s important to ask what type of housing, and where and do your research.

Additionally,  if you are taking company provided housing, it’s important to know what is actually included in the companies description of ‘furnished’. ‘Furnished’ can mean a wide variety of different things to different people. I discussed the importance of clarifying what is ‘furnished’ in a previous post so I won’t rehash it here.

Questions to Ask about your Travel Nurse Housing

In addition to knowing what is furnished in your company provided housing, here is a list of other questions about travel nurse housing that you might find helpful.

  • What type of property do you provide? Apartment. Hotel. Etc.
  • What amenities does the apartment/housing offer? Ie fitness center, pool, business center (fax, copy, print).
  • Is parking provided? Is there a fee? Will the company cover?
  • The time frame for move-in and move-out.  Most companies will give you a day or two on both ends of the contract.
  • Contact information for housing.
  • Microwave, TV, Vacuum, provided? (don’t assume that your housing will include these items)
  • Address of the housing?

To-Do Before You Move Into your Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

The following is a “To Do” list to help you ease into your agency provided travel nurse housing smoothly:

  • Obtain the address and contact information of the housing and call them yourself to confirm your arrival date and time.
  • Research the area prior to your move. Use the internet. There are a ton of internet resources to check on crime rates, locations, police blotters, etc. Use these resources and if you find any information that might be concerning to you, notify your recruiter and request a different housing assignment if appropriate.
  • On arrival at the location, drive around the neighborhood and assess the safety. Does it appear to be a safe neighborhood?
  • Obtain a copy of the lease.
  • Obtain the after-hours maintenance/emergency contact information. (Sometimes this is included in your lease)
  • If you travel with a pet; request a copy of the pet rules. (You may have to sign a pet waiver).
  • Make sure to do a pre-inspection of the apartment as soon as you arrive. I would suggest that you also take photos of any damages and make sure that the manager is made aware and it is noted on your lease.
  • Check that all windows and doors latch and lock securely.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

Advantages

  • You don’t have to spend countless hours trying to find adequate and affordable travel nurse housing.
  • Many times you are actually treated better by the apartment staff when going through a large company. (They want you happy so they can get long-term business).
  • You are not responsible for monthly payments.
  • If housing is limited in the area, you might actually get better housing by using the agency’s resources.

Disadvantages

  • You have little to no control over the location and type of travel nurse housing provided.

Please keep an eye out for the next part of this series on travel nurse housing.

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Best 9 Hospitals for Travel Nurses to Work

As a travel nurse finding a great hospital or nursing facility for your next assignment can seem overwhelming. There are so many hospitals and nursing facilities within the United States.  Fellow travel nurses on our Facebook group said the below hospitals are the best hospitals for travel nurses. You will find a little bit of information from each hospital’s website as well. *They are listed in no particular order. 

Omaha, Nebraska- Children’s of Omaha

Children’s Hospital of Omaha prides itself as the only full service, pediatric healthcare center in Nebraska. They provide expertise in more than 50 pediatric specialty services to children across the five-state region and beyond.

Nebraska’s only…

They are home to Nebraska’s only Level 4 regionals NICU and the state’s only Level 2 Pediatric Trauma Center. Their regional heart center offers expertise in pediatric heart transplantation.

They are recognized as a 2018-19 Best Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report in five pediatric specialties: Cardiology and Heart Surgery, Pulmonology, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Orthopedics, and Diabetes & Endocrine Disorders.

They state that “Teamwork, friendly coworkers, a supportive leadership team, and a family-like atmosphere make our workplace feel like home. You will enjoy autonomy, the respect of our world-class physicians, and the opportunity to advance your career.”

Wailuku, Hawaii- Maui Memorial Medical

Maui Memorial Medical Center is affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. They pride themselves on providing high-quality, patient-centered, affordable care for all residents and visitors on Maui and Lanai. Because they are affiliated with Kaiser Permanent they can provide industry-leading technology systems, evidence-based medicine, and nationally recognized care quality.

Together in health:

One of their missions states “From developing programs and initiatives to support the total health of our communities to creating the best place to work, deliver, and receive care, Maui Health System is committed to improving the health of the people of Maui and Lanai”

Boston, Massachusetts- Boston Medical Center

As their website states “At Boston Medical Center, all are welcome and treated equally. The best and brightest physicians, representing virtually every medical specialty, choose to work here for the opportunity to make a difference in their community and beyond.

Unwavering in its commitment to the community, BMC is a private, not-for-profit, 514-bed, academic medical center located in Boston’s historic South End. The primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine, BMC is the largest safety-net hospital and busiest trauma and emergency services center in New England.”

Teaching:

At Boston Medical Center teaching and education are very important. They are the principal teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. They are devoted to training future generations of healthcare professionals. “Every member of the hospital’s medical and dental staff holds an academic appointment at the Boston University School of Medicine or the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine. BMC operates 66 residency training programs with 817 resident and fellowship positions”

Charlottesville, Virginia- UVA

UVA prides itself on being a health system that includes a hospital, level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia.

Through research and clinical trials, they stay at the leading edge of the treatments they offer.

They rank among the nation’s top hospitals because their doctors, nurses, and caregivers make every effort to push the envelope of healthcare.

UVA’s goals include:

  • Become the safest place to receive care
  • Be the healthiest work environment
  • Provide exceptional clinical care
  • Generate biomedical discovery that betters the human condition
  • Train healthcare providers of the future to work in multi-disciplinary teams
  • Ensure value-driven and efficient stewardship of resources

West Plains, Missouri- Ozark Medical Center

Ozarks Medical Center is changing the way medical care is delivered to their area by providing the rare combination of advanced medicine and compassionate care you can only get at home.

Ozarks Medical Center is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, an independent, not-for-profit organization that develops standards of quality in collaboration with health professionals.

Their website goes on to state that:

“At Ozarks Medical Center, our physicians, nurses, staff, administration, and board of directors are dedicated to providing quality care to our patients. Our goal is to demonstrate superior clinical quality, safety, and effectiveness. We strive to create a culture of safety and quality for all services: every patient, every time.

The people of this region can be very proud of the high caliber of physicians currently on staff at OMC. With more than 100 doctors, OMC has a strong core of primary care physicians as well as numerous specialists.”

Grand Forks, North Dakota- Altru Hospital

Altru Health System is a community of over 4,000 health professionals and support staff committed to caring for the region for more than 100 years. They serve over 200,000 residents in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, they also provide an array of services to meet the needs of patients of all ages and levels of health. 

Mayo Clinic Care Network:

As you will find on their website they are the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, because of this Altru’s providers have access to clinically integrated tools extending Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise to patients. “Together, we share a common philosophy, commitment, and mission to improve the delivery of healthcare through high quality, data-driven evidence-based medical care, and treatment.”

Seattle, Washington- Swedish Cherry Hill

Cherry Hill is part of the Swedish Hospitals. The campus is undergoing improvements currently and they have a master plan in place that they say ” The new master plan represents a 30-year vision for the future of the Swedish Cherry Hill campus that will allow Swedish to continue providing family medicine and emergency services to patients of all ages, while also treating the most complex cardiovascular and neurological diseases.”

Their commitment to improving the health of our region extends beyond patient care. Whether through physician clinics, health education, research, and innovation or other means of outreach, they are committed to caring for the people in their region and beyond.

Richmond, Virginia- Virginia Commonwealth University Health (VCU)

As you will find on their website VCU prides itself on offering above standard care. “From new, life-saving procedures or a clinical researcher who finds promise in new cancer treatment, we’re making possibilities a reality. The exciting new medicine is happening at VCU Health – every day.”

They have it all:

  • Five schools
  • An academic medical center
  • A Level I trauma center
  • One of only two NCI-designated cancer centers in Virginia
  • The region’s only full-service children’s hospital
  • More than 800 physicians in 200 specialties
  • With a community health center, dedicated research teams, facilities and valued partners in every field

Puyallup, Washington- Good Samaritan

Good Samaritan Hospital is part of the MultiCare Health System. It is a comprehensive, private not-for-profit medical system serving the growing populations of Pierce and King Counties in the greater Puget Sound region of Washington.

Their medical staff includes 1,600 of the region’s most respected primary care physicians and specialists.

Their website states that their expanding health care delivery system is based in Tacoma and includes acute care hospitals in Tacoma and Puyallup as well as:

There are 6,210 hospitals in the United States. This is just the top 9 hospitals for travel nurses as mentioned by fellow travel nurses in The Gypsy Nurse Facebook group. There may be others that you find great as well. Be sure to mention your top hospitals for travel nurses in the comments below. 

We hope this list will help you along your journey as a travel nurse.

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Happy Nurses Week!

nurses-week-ad-blogHappy Nurses Week to all! In celebration of this fine occasion, Medical Solutions is hosting a Las Vegas-themed week of fun and contests over at their Facebook page. From May 6-10, two nurses each day will win gifts like 3-piece luggage sets, iPad Minis, $250 gift cards for gas, spa services, and airfare. The festivities kick off today with the “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” Instant Win Game. Come back throughout the week for the RN Roulette Sweepstakes, “Let’s See Your Poker Face” Photo Contest, Hunka Hunka Caption Contest and the “Viva Las Vegas” Trivia Game.

Medical Solutions Travelers have each received a special Nurses Week card with two scratch-offs allowing them even more chances to win. The grand prize at stake here is a trip for two to fabulous Las Vegas, October 28-29, for the 2013 Travelers Conference, including airfare, lodging and spending cash. Just enter your scratch-off codes at WeLoveOurNurses.com to discover what you’ve won!

Finally, undergraduate nursing students have an opportunity to win money for school with the second annual Nurses of Tomorrow scholarship competition. The contest is held to support future nurses in their educational pursuits as they work to become the next generation of nurses, nurse leaders and educators. Based on several criteria — including a short essay answering the question: “What do you feel are the most important components needed for quality nursing care? — three lucky winners will each receive a $1000 scholarship. Click here for full competition details and to apply by the June 6, 2013 deadline.

Happy Nurses Week!

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Travel Nursing Central Voted Top Nursing Site 2012

100 Best Nontraditional Nursing Sites - 2012OnlineLPNtoRN released an article highlighting the 100 Best Nontraditional Nursing Sites in 2012. This list contains the top sites that cover nursing careers outside of standard hospital or clinic settings. Travel Nursing Central is proud to have been voted #11! Check out the list on onlinelpntorn.org.

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