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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
Travelers Conference 2016 is coming soon! Are you ready?
Whether you are new to the travel nursing industry or an expert in the field, there’s something for everyone at the Travelers Conference. Known as TravCon, this year’s weekend-long event, held September 25-27, promises to be the networking “Super Bowl” for traveling healthcare professionals. So that begs the question, are you ready for the 2016 TravCon in Las Vegas? Here are 5 tips for getting the most out of Travelers Conference 2016, so you can have a fun and productive weekend:
- Research: Before you even register or book your flight to Vegas, you should do your homework. Research which staffing agencies will be there, and determine which ones fit your criteria. You don’t want to waste your time at this conference talking to a recruiter whose company doesn’t fit your needs. Keep in mind what you are looking for in a potential employer, including the company’s reputation, benefits packages offered, traveling jobs available, and pay. Travel Nursing Central is a great place to start your research. Check out our agency rankings here.
- Connect: This event is a great opportunity for you to gain more insight into the traveling healthcare profession. Find the companies you researched as top performers, and introduce yourself to a recruiter. It’s usually helpful to put a face to a company. If you already have a great relationship with your staffing agency, this can also be a good time to introduce your travel nursing friends to your current recruiter. After all, this is how networking is done.
- Ask Questions: This seems obvious for a newbie traveler, but even a veteran traveler can learn new things by asking questions. It’s also important to ask the right questions. If you’re new to the industry, find out what it takes to be a successful traveling healthcare professional. If you’ve been around the block before, maybe now is the time to determine what you need to do to take your career to the next level. For the record, TravCon offers more than 25 sessions over the course of the weekend, and many qualify for CEU credits.
- Listen: Most people assume that networking is all about selling yourself as a potential employee to a company. You end up doing all of the talking, but learn practically nothing about the job or company. At the end of the day, networking is simply having a conversation. It’s important to remember that conversations are two-way streets. So, ask your burning questions, but then, really listen to the answer. Maybe a company you researched isn’t quite as great as it looked on paper, or perhaps a recruiter helped calm your fears about traveling with their agency.
- Follow Up: What happens at TravCon, shouldn’t always stay at TravCon. It’s always a good idea to follow up with the people you met. Whether it was a recruiter or just a new fellow travel nurse, you never know where these new connections will take you. In the age of social media, it’s also pretty easy to do. Connect with your new contacts on Facebook or LinkedIn and send a message. These relationships could be the start of a new career or friendship!
With these 5 tips, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your 2016 TravCon experience. To learn more about the conference, or to register for sessions, visit their website here.
For those travelers who have experienced TravCon before, do you have any other tips for what to expect during this conference? What worked and what didn’t?
Don’t Be This Guy: Here are some strange state laws to mind as you travel from state to state.
As a Travel Nurse you get the awesome opportunity to work while you explore the United States in all its glory. For the gorgeous beaches of Hawaii and California, to the delicious BBQ of Memphis and Kansas City, the serene lakes of Minnesota and Wisconsin to the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and New York — and every awesome stop in between.
As you travel state to state for different assignments, you will likely discover different cultures, sayings, food trends, and all manner of differences from your home state.
But what about strange state laws?
Did you know that in North Carolina it is against the law to steal used kitchen grease?
How about that in Ohio it’s illegal to give fish alcohol?
Speaking of alcohol, did you know that in Texas you are only legally allowed to take three sips from your beer while you are standing?
To make extra sure you don’t accidentally break the law while traveling, check out this list of strange state laws compiled by Thrillist, which details the most irregular regulations in all 50 states.
Doing a hospital interview for a travel nursing position can be a mixed bag, depending upon your mindset going into it. Most people get at least a little nervous going into such an interview, which is totally natural. But you want to also remember that the interview is not just for the hospital to decide if they want you, but also for you to determine if you would be happy working at that location. Here to help you is this Travel Nursing 101: Hospital Interviews.
Of course you are interested in the position, or you wouldn’t be interviewing for it, but you want to be very sure to ask a lot of questions so that you can get a really clear idea of the hospital’s strengths and weaknesses, qualities and quirks.
You will want to ask a lot of details about the hospital, including: safety and traffic in the area surrounding the facility, the size of the hospital and the unit you’d be working in, patient population, parking options, dress code, and more. Make sure to record the interviewer name and notice the type of rapport you have with them — this person is a representative of the hospital so you may be able to glean some information on the general climate of attitude based upon how he or she conducts the interview.
You will also want to ask about staffing and what will be expected and required of you, as well as what to expect from the work environment there. It’s always good to ask very specific questions to get exactly the information you want, but at the end of the interview, ask a more open-ended question, like: “Is there anything else you’d want a nurse to know about the facility or their role as temporary staff?” Doing this opens things up and you’ll be surprised by the good info you might get from this type of question.
Click here for our “Hospital Interview Questions for Travel Nurse” from our Travel Nurse Resource section, which includes several handy checklists for travel nurses. There are also a couple of helpful links, such as other travelers’ ranking of hospitals and a link to U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Hospitals rankings.
Good luck with your interview — we hope you find a hospital that is complementary to your skills and attitude!
After reviewing hundreds of websites, Pacific Medical Training honored Travel Nursing Central with the “Best of Nursing Sites” Award. Our site was selected because it fulfilled a combination of the following:
- Site Usability
We’d like to thank Pacific Medical Training for honoring us with this great recognition and are happy to provide great content for travel nurses everywhere.