The concept of social distancing during COVID-19 is daunting, but incredibly important. As a travel nurse, you should still be practicing social distancing while you’re not at work. Keep in mind that even though Stability Healthcare offers day one insurance with United Healthcare, you still want to take steps to keep yourself in the best physical shape.
It’s easy to feel sluggish while you’re home, especially in between shifts. It’s important to remember that keeping active will help with your energy levels and overall health. Below, find an overview of what social distancing is, and how to stay active when you have to actively distance yourself.
What is social distancing?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, social distancing “is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness.” That’s why upcoming events, such as conferences and concerts, and non-essential businesses, like movie theaters and restaurants, have been closed until further notice. Additionally, the CDC recommends that people stay at least six feet away from each other, preferably more. This applies when you need to go out for necessities, like food or medication.
This does not mean that you should still go to the beach or a popular hiking path. The best way to protect yourself and others is to stay at home. Even though a brisk walk to get a latte from the walk-up coffee shop seems tempting, it’s not worth the risk. Protect yourself and others by staying at home.
Ways to stay active while socially distancing yourself
Use online methods to exercise
Skip going to the gym, whether it’s in your apartment building or on the way to work, and exercise at home instead. Chances are, your gym is closed anyway. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of credible online guides for at home workouts. If you’re lucky, you may have some equipment at home to work with, such a stationary bike or weight lifts. However, don’t fret if you don’t own any workout equipment. There are several bodyweight exercises you can do, or you can turn objects you have at home into make-shift weights. Here is a brief list of a few suggested exercise guides:
The MyFitnessPal app is available online and on most smartphones. In addition to being a useful tool if you’re counting calories and tracking your weight, the app offers different exercise routines. These routines fall in different categories – “Healthy At Home”, “Run Strong,” “Core Strength,” etc. There are also different routine lengths – so if you need a quick workout between your travel nurse shifts or a longer workout for when you have the evening off, MyFitnessPal can be tailored to your needs. Although the basic app is free, you can upgrade for perks like macro and micro counting food, amongst others.
Making household objects into weights
This will depend on what you have available at your house and if you like to lift weights. For decades, people have been turning household objects into weights; cans of beans, milk carton, vinegar bottles, laundry detergent, and more. There are quite a few articles that give suggestions on what to use and how to use them, like Cosmopolitan, Thrillist, and HBFIT. Obviously, this is customizable to what you have in your household.
Blogilates (plus other Youtube channels!)
Blogilates was started by Cassey Ho about a decade ago. Since then, she’s won awards for her social fitness videos, and has amassed millions of social media followers and subscribers. She has hundreds, if not thousands, of videos to choose from, ranging from 10-minute core exercises to full-length at home workouts. She also does 30-day workouts, which include different daily routines. Seeing as social distancing is most likely going to span several weeks, this may be a fun challenge to try. Ho is incredibly easy to understand and is very encouraging, and a great at-home workout guru for beginners.
Purchase at-home workout equipment and guides
If you feel like you need actual weights, try looking online. Even though a lot of websites are backed up due to COVID-19, if you’re willing to wait a week or two, you should be able to get some basic weights online. On Amazon, you can buy everything from dumbells to weight lifting benches. If you’d like to support smaller companies, you can buy their in-house tools, like the Glute Lab’s glute loop.
Why is being physically active important?
There are ways physical activity benefits your overall health; it puts you at lower risk for chronic diseases, early death, cancer, diabetes, and more. Additionally, according to the CDC, higher amounts of physical activity can lower your annual health bills, improve your cognitive function, and help you destress. By keeping active during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can encourage your own personal and mental health.Read More
It’s clear that these are unprecedented times with a lot of uncertainty. With the recent spike in people infected with COVID-19, it seems as if everyone’s stress levels have skyrocketed alongside it. Being in the healthcare industry you are on the frontlines of this battle, which doesn’t make things any less stressful! Although it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, confused, and upset about the current circumstances, it’s also important to find ways to try and destress. This will help you be able to think and react more clearly and calmly. You should spend time finding your own personal way to ease tension, but look below for some tips.
Familiarize yourself on COVID-19 prevention
Anxiety and stress aside, you should still be informed of the basics regarding COVID-19 and its best prevention methods. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is your best source. Here is the page for their suggested prevention methods. As the CDC says, the best way to avoid getting the virus is by refraining from exposure to the virus. This can be done by socially distancing yourself, washing your hands, and cleaning surfaces in your home daily. If you have to leave the house for any reason, you should try and stand at least six feet apart from others. Comb through the page to see more specifics on COVID-19 prevention.
Ways to handle stress
Take care of yourself physically
Although exercising may be daunting during a global pandemic, it can benefit you tremendously. Not only has exercise been clinically proven to help lower stress levels, but it provides an activity for you to focus on. Even under self-isolation, you can still take a walk outside or on a bike ride (just keep in mind to try and stay six feet away from others). If you don’t feel comfortable outside, there are several options to get a workout indoors. A few suggestions: Blogilates, which offers both short and longer exercise routines, Yoga with Adriene, who takes you through both beginner and more difficult yoga workouts, and Planet Fitness’ free live streams. These are just a few examples of many free workout plans available online. Additionally, if you have in-home work equipment, try and instill some type of daily physical activity in your routine.
Self-isolation is also a perfect time to try out the new recipes you haven’t had the chance to yet. After stocking up at the grocery store, find a meal plan suitable for you, putting healthy, clean meals at the forefront. However, it’s always a good idea to treat yourself every once in a while!
Find activities that you enjoy
Obviously your daily routine is going to look different while under self-isolation. It’s a great idea to make sure you try and do some of the normal activities you enjoy, whether that is reading a book, watching a movie, listening to music, knitting, playing card games, or chatting with friends.
- Movies: Luckily, we live in a digital age that allows us to have thousands of movies at our fingertips. With recent events in mind, there are dozens of streaming guides popping up on what to watch when you’re self-isolating, like Paste’s 30 Best Stand-up Comedy Specials on Netflix. There are guides for nearly every genre and streaming platform, like Thrillist’s Best TV Shows with 100+ Episodes to Stream, UPROXX’s 10 Best Rom Coms on Hulu, and more. There’s even a Netflix Party extension so you can watch something on Netflix simultaneously with others.
- Music: Free music is everywhere – on Spotify, Youtube, Reddit threads, Bandcamp, plus others. Make a calming playlist with music that relaxes you, or a playlist of pop music that you can dance to and take your mind off of things. If you use Spotify, you can even make a collaborative playlist with friends, which will lessen the burden of feeling isolated. Spotify, Apple Music, and plenty of other streaming services typically have already-made playlists that are curated for specific moods.
- Hobbies: Chances are, you will have more down-time for the next few weeks. There are plenty of hobbies you can pick up, such as reading, knitting, scrapbooking, embroidery, sewing, puzzles, and more. We recommend following self-isolation practices and ordering supplies online.
Chat With Family and Friends
Self-isolation doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to loved ones. Chat with family and friends over the phone, or schedule a Facetime session. There’s also Google Hangout, Go To Meetings, and several other online resources to video chat someone. If you want something more tangible, you can also write letters, or send momentos in the mail.
Take a break
It’s extremely important to give yourself a mental break. It might seem pertinent to keep updated on every single news item regarding coronavirus, but taking a break from the internet and TV can be beneficial. Putting aside time to meditate, or do a relaxing activity, or to chat with a friend over the phone can help put you in a more positive headspace.
While you’re busy taking care of everyone else right now, make sure you are taking care of yourself! If you need more resources, check out CDC’s advice on Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19. There are many online resources to help cope with stress during a global pandemic.Read More
At the time of this writing, there are 193,475 confirmed cases, 7,864 deaths, and 164 countries battling the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the World Health Organization. While millions of people choose to self-quarantine, practice social distancing, and stay home, healthcare workers remain at the forefront lines of defense against the virus. So far, dozens if not hundreds of healthcare workers have fallen ill with COVID-19, and more are quarantined after exposure to the virus, leaving the U.S. health system with an unexpected shortage of staff in hospitals.
How Healthcare Workers Are Keeping Up
When something like a virus outbreak turned pandemic occurs, the manuals of operations change on a daily if not on an hourly basis. The constant shift of recommendations from the CDC, hospital management, and the media can leave healthcare workers at a loss. Finding the right protocol in a situation that continues to evolve can be challenging for many hospitals. Let alone for conversations and best practices to trickle down to every healthcare worker in the facility.
Adjusting to the News
Due to the massive extent of the virus, with confirmed cases in all 50 states of the United States, the shortages of personal protective equipment is unavoidable. In response to this shortage, the CDC scaled back on its recommendations about PPE for personnel working with COVID-19 patients.
For example, the use of N95 respirators is now recommended to be reserved with procedures in which small particles are more likely to be produced, versus at all times. To deal with the shortage, the CDC is now recommending surgical masks as an alternative for N95 respirators. Other PPE, such as eye protection, gloves, and gowns, are still recommended.
The Quarantine Dilemma
Another issue both healthcare workers and hospitals are facing is the current quarantine protocol. So far, when a patient tests positive for COVID-19, large groups of staff members, including doctors, nurses, and administrative staff are placed on quarantine for at least 14 days before getting back to work. This is leaving hospitals short on staff to continue to address the situation.
Recently, the Berkshire Medical Center in Massachusetts quarantined 160 employees after exposure to patients who tested positive. This quarantine forced the center to find 54 temporary nurses to support the shortage of staff. Situations like this are happening all across the nation, leaving hospitals and healthcare personnel more vulnerable than ever before.
Besides, it’s not just those at hospitals and medical centers that are exposed. Caregivers outside hospitals and nursing homes are also vulnerable and exposed to risks.
Most healthcare workers understand the risk and have a call to stay in the front lines of defense against the outbreak. However, putting large staff groups in quarantine for 14 days after contact with COVID-19 patients is not a viable solution due to the shortage of staff happening allover.
Understanding the Risk
It’s essential to understand the occupation risk with COVID-19 and how to protect personnel that falls under each category. Here are some recommendations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
For Low Exposure Risk Workers
These are jobs that don’t require contact with people known to be or suspected of being infected with the virus. They don’t have close contact with the general public and other coworkers.
- Additional PPE is not required
- Other controls are not necessary. Workers should continue operations as usual
For Medium Exposure Risk Workers
Workers with high-frequency interaction with the general public. In this case, additional measurements need to be implemented to make sure they’re working in a safe environment.
- Install physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze guards, where feasible
- In addition to N95 respirators, workers with medium exposure risk need some combination of gloves, a gown, a face mask, and a face shield or goggles
For High and Very High Exposure Risk Workers
These are healthcare workers at the front lines of treating patients with confirmed COVID-19 cases. In this instance, making sure the optimal levels of security are in place is paramount to safeguard their wellbeing and health.
- Making sure they wear all PPE gear to prevent contamination
- Have standards in place for how to proceed if a worker tests positive for COVID-19
Protecting Yourself and Your Family
If you’re a healthcare provider working through the COVID-19 outbreak, your family’s safety is most likely one of your top priorities. Even as your workplace takes significant safety precautions, you’re still in a risky environment, which exposes your loved ones to the virus.
As you return home, make sure you:
- Thoroughly wash your hands before greeting your family
- Wash any clothes you’re wearing
- If you’re a medium to high-risk healthcare personnel, considering keeping distance with your family members
- Ensure your home remains clean and disinfected every day
- Recommend that they self-quarantine if possible to prevent exposure
While the situation continues to evolve, keep track of everything you can do to stay safe, and keep your loved ones safe as well. Remember, like many other pandemics, this too shall pass. Try to focus on self-care, attend your mental health, and do your best to manage your stress levels. Find support within your community and loved ones. Remind yourself of your value to society and bravery for being at the front lines of the situation and find comfort in the thought that you’re saving lives each day.Read More
Spending a few weeks in Music City amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Nashville is known for its bustling music venues, and the Honky Tonks on Broadway, usually flooded with tourists. But on a beautiful Spring day and with a full tank of gas, you can have a perfect day off while still social distancing. Here’s a day worth of adventures, without all the cowboy-boot-wearing crowds.
Have an early morning to-go breakfast at Loveless Cafe
Drive straight down Highway 100 until you see an old sign for the Loveless Motel. There you can have the most delicious Southern Breakfast you could ask for. A global pandemic might be the best time to grab food at this Nashville breakfast staple without any wait time. Try their biscuits with the strawberry or apricot jam and no other biscuit will ever live up. Get grits, or a platter of biscuit sandwiches, chicken, sausage, and a personal favorite, pimiento cheese and fried green tomato. By the time you’re done, you’ll want to take a nap. Explore the grounds of what really was once a classic ‘50s Nashville motel (while keeping a mindful distance of those around you). There are local shops lined along where the rooms used to be. And there’s a Loveless gift shop where you can buy wholesale bags of the Loveless biscuit mix, stock up now so you can keep enjoying Loveless from the comfort of your own home!
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Loveless Cafe (@lovelesscafe) on
Take a hike in Percy Warner Park
Get back in your car, and head back East on Highway 100 for a few miles. On your right, you’ll see a mound of hills that make up Percy Warner Park. Hiking trails weave in and out of Nashville’s rolling hills. And they’re super easy treks. It’s a great way to take in some nature, and also burn off those biscuits. Hikes can range from a quick half an hour to four or five. Choose a quick one. You have more to do today!
Drive down Natchez Trace and get lost.
Since you’re already on the West side of Nashville, it’s hard not to hit the historic, and beautiful, Natchez Trace Parkway. When your legs are tired of hiking, experience Tennessee’s greenery driving with your windows down instead. Blast the ‘O Brother Where Art Thou folk soundtrack and drive down the parkway, going nowhere in particular. You’ll encounter some fun landmarks on your way. There’s the big white Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge. You can pull over and gaze out from the overpass at just how far Nashville’s green hills stretch into Franklin. Or take the exit right before and gaze at the bridge in its entirety. Either way, it makes a good photo op.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Sara Kauten (@sarakauten) on
If you’re feeling truly adventurous, take the exit for Leaper’s Fork, a small town just outside of Nashville. You can drive down the historic block lined with old country stores and antique shops. Stop in Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant for a cone of ice cream. Then head back into the city. Hopefully the sun will be setting on your ride back. There’s nothing like a Nashville sunset.
Get a Martin’s Barbeque Sandwich to go
As you get back into the center of town, we recommend you try Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint for dinner. Go to the Belmont location, and try a sliced beef brisket or a pulled pork shoulder. And load up on sides, from hush puppies to mac & cheese. Get it all to go.
Eat it on top of your car in Love Circle
Then head to Love Circle, the hill in Hillsboro Village that offers an almost completely unobstructed view of the city. Eat your bar-b-que on top of your car and watch as the sun goes down. A perfect Nashville day.
Does Nashville sound like a place you’d like to explore? See available positions at Stability Healthcare and get a start on your next adventure!
Most people look to books as a form of escape from their challenging work and home lives. So for a travel nurse, a book about infectious diseases or bedpans might not seem like the obvious choice for that perfect airplane or train read. But nurses also have to stay up to date and informed, and sometimes a really good medical book can make you more excited to go to work in the morning. Here are five books that every travel nurse should read.
The Nurse’s Story by Carol Gino
Carol Gino has done, and seen, it all. In her career as a nurse she’s worked in the Emergency Room, Intensive Care, the Burn Unit, Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Pediatric Intensive Care, and Hospice Care for the terminally ill. And her 1997 novel on the trials of life as a nurse was an instant classic. Particularly if you’re new to nursing, Gino’s book is a window into what is to come, whether it is leaving work after a patient has died for the first time, and wondering how to shed that feeling of loss coming home to your family, or making difficult decisions on how to treat a patient’s unbearable pain. Gino’s book is a lesson in empathy and also explores ethical questions that undoubtedly every nurse will encounter in their lifetime. But it also shines light on the joy and the love found in the job. What it means to bring a new life into the world, or to hold a person’s hand as their journey ends.
Gino’s book is both gutting and hopeful. It would be a great book to gift to friends and loved ones who want to know more about what your job entails. Gino also offers a sigh of relief for nurses who have been working for a long time, as she addresses compassion fatigue and how to deal with burnout.
You can order her book on Amazon for $14.95 here.
Hitting the Road: A Travel Guide to Nursing by Shalon Kearney
Shalon Kearney is a travel nursing veteran. And in her 2002 book, she offers a short and no-nonsense guide to “hitting the road” as a travel nurse. She has complete listings for 70 health care staffing agencies, she offers tax and financial advice, tips on planning international travel, and also offers ways to self-assess, providing useful check-ins for how to track your improvement as a nurse even as you’re on the move. This all-inclusive guide is a breezy read, and can be a life-saver for nurses just starting in the industry. Kearney takes some of the seemingly-impossible parts of the job and breaks them into easy and understandable steps.
Buy it on Kindle Books for $9.95 here.
One Nurse At A Time: On A Mission: A Personal Journey into the Heart of Humanitarian Nursing by Sue Averill and Elizabeth Coulter
For a less clinical and more uplifting and breezy read on travel nursing, Averill and Coulter’s book full of stories is wholly satisfying. Their 2017 book captures the adventurous and exciting spirit of travel nursing. Whether it’s taking place in an African riverboat or just a particularly goofy day in the emergency room, this book will remind you why your job, despite all it’s challenges, is fun. And more importantly, following these nurses on their humanitarian journey to change the world will remind you why your job is meaningful. Averill and Coulter are women to aspire to, and they’re also a barrel of laughs.
This book is actually free on Kindle Unlimited, or you can buy it for $12.99 in paperback here.
When Nurses Hurt Other Nurses: Hurt Nurses: Recognizing and Overcoming the Cycle of Nurse Bullying by Cheryl Dellasega, Sigma Theta Tau International Staff
Anyone who has spent time in this industry knows that it can sometimes be toxic. Nurses often go underpaid, and hospitals and clinics that are understaffed create a tense environment for employees who have to juggle responsibilities that should have been divided by a much larger staff. Younger nurses can face brutal treatment from managing nurses who have already weathered the storm of a nursing career. And this can be even more true for travel nurses, who are often new to a well-oiled machine. When you’re in a tough situation at work, it’s easy to think you’re the only one. It’s also easy to think it’s completely your fault. That’s why this book, published in 2011, was groundbreaking.
It explains the history of nurse bullying and examines why this toxic behavior occurs and looks at ways to prevent it. It includes workshops and tipsheets inside to help nurses in real time deal with difficult situations that arise.
One nurse on GoodReads said, “As someone who has been bullied, this was an important book for me to read. It helped me work through some of my feelings, and my anger. I am thinking of having it sent to my former supervisor and/or the COO who also played a part in the entire bullying experience.
It is nice to know that in some places around the world, bullying is recognized in the nursing profession and steps are being taken to stop the cycle.”
Buy it at Barnes & Noble for $25.34 here.
Highway Hypodermics: Travel Nursing 2019 by Epstein Larue
This is the bread and butter. The 300-page guide that leaves no stone unturned in pursuing travel nursing. Epstein Larue, a Cirrus Medical Staffing traveler, has been updating her helpful guide to how to find jobs as a travel nurse, how to balance expenses, and more, for over a decade. So you can trust that her most recent addition put out last year has literally everything you could ever want to know about being a travel nurse. She’ll guide you through finding that perfect travel assignment, negotiating contracts, and even getting the proper vaccinations and health checks. This is a must-read if you’re looking to branch out into travel nursing.
You can buy the most recent edition on Kindle for $9.99 here.
BONUS: Travel Nurse Coloring Book
Who doesn’t love a good coloring book? Destress while also recording some of your sweetest moments with patients with this whimsical coloring book made specifically for travel nurses.
Want to explore more about travel nursing opportunities?
Stability Healthcare is an industry leader in travel nursing. Check out our Travel nursing jobs page for dozens of listings for high-paying gigs all across the United States. If you still have questions, contact our representatives. They are always available to help you start a fascinating career in the travel nursing field.Read More
There’s always been an emphasis on washing hands – you’ve heard it from your parents, from your middle school health teacher, from the employee posters on the wall in restaurant bathrooms. However, many are unaware of its extreme importance, and how effective it truly is in preventing illness and disease. Handwashing helps protect yourself and others from getting sick and is a key factor in helping to stop pandemics, like the recent wave of coronavirus. Despite being taught how hand washing is beneficial, most people don’t know how to wash their hands correctly. Look below for a guide on how to do so.
Why You Should Wash Your Hands
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper handwashing can help prevent the passing of infections and germs between people. Using water and antibacterial soap mostly eliminates germs from your hands. This is significant because people often touch their eyes, faces, and mouths, which are the primary orifices through which germs get into the body. Additionally, there are many customs throughout the world that have people touching each other’s hands, like a handshake as a greeting, which can lead to the spread of germs. If a person doesn’t practice proper handwashing, they can also pass along germs through the objects they touch, like handrails, door handles, etc.
Historically, the introduction of handwashing has helped decrease the number of people who get sick with respiratory issues and gastrointestinal illness, especially in more susceptible populations like children. Hand washing can also aid in fighting antibiotic resistance. If there are fewer infections, there will be fewer antibiotics prescribed.
How to Properly Wash Your Hands
- Turn on the faucet, wet your hands, turn off the faucet. You can use any temperature of water. There have been no significant studies that prove warm water is more effective in removing germs while hand washing, which is a huge plus for those whose skin may be irritated by hot water. By turning off the faucet, you’ll save water.
- Apply soap to your hands, lathering all over, including under your fingernails, and scrub for at least 20 seconds. It may seem counterintuitive to turn off the faucet and touch it again to turn it on, but there is no information that there is a significant amount of germs transferred between faucets and hands. Lathering and scrubbing with soap is one of the most important steps while washing your hands. It is much more effective in killing germs versus just washing your hands with water, and the friction helps pick up any microbes or foreign substances (like dirt) that can be on your skin. The ideal time for scrubbing is 20 seconds. If you have a hard time singing, you can think or hum the alphabet song twice.
- Rinse with clean water. After you’re done, turn off the faucet. This will ensure that you get all of the soap off your hands. If there is any leftover residue, it could cause potential skin irritation. Although many people in the past have recommended using a paper towel to touch the faucet and turn it off, there is no evidence that supports that this is an accurate safety measure against germs. Instead, it can lead to paper towel waste.
- Dry your hands. To dry your hands, use either a clean towel or air dry them. Studies that examine the benefits of using hand dryers are lacking, so as of now, a clean towel or air drying is the best method.
When and how to use hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is not interchangeable for hand washing. According to the CDC, soap and water is capable of eliminating more germs than hand sanitizer. Additionally, hand sanitizer is less effective when hands are visibly dirty (think dirt, oil, grease, etc.) However, if soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizer is better than nothing.
A person should use a hand sanitizer that is made up of at least 60% alcohol. Typically, only a small amount is needed, but the label on the bottle will specify how much a person should use. Squeeze a dollop onto one palm and then rub your hands together until both hands are covered and dry.
There are many misconceptions about how to properly wash your hands. Clearly, correct handwashing is especially important during flu seasons (look at Stability Healthcare’s blog post about Coronavirus here), but the main priority is to always practice the right way of handwashing.
As a reminder, Stability Healthcare offers multiple healthcare plans when you’re a travel nurse. The best way to not get sick is to use prevention methods, like hand washing or using hand sanitizer in cases when you’re not able to use soap and water. Keep in mind that you’re not just keeping yourself safe, but you’re keeping others safe too!Read More
As a travel nurse, you’re at the frontlines of defense against the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As confusion, anxiety, and fear continue to escalate, the outbreak shows no slowing signs with more than 101,900 confirmed cases, 3,486 deaths, and 94 countries with cases, as of March 7th. Let’s explore the various ways you can stay safe as a travel nurse.
Keep Up with the Updates
While you don’t have to read every five-minute alert about the Coronavirus, knowing the basics is paramount. What we know about the COVID-19 virus right now is that it spreads person-to-person via respiratory droplets produced by coughs or sneezes. There’s some belief that if a person touches a surface infected with COVID-19 and then touches their nose, mouth, or eyes, the virus can also enter the system.
The incubation period is anywhere between 2-14 days, with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms are very similar to the common flu or a cold.
How to Stay Safe as a Travel Nurse
Although there’s no way to prevent the infection, taking careful measurements is your best defense against the Coronavirus. The CDC recommends that all healthcare professionals working throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to practice Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, and Airborne Precautions.
- Hand Hygiene: using alcohol-based wipes and washing your hands. Remember to do this before and after touching a patient, even if you use gloves, after contact with fluids or blood, after aseptic tasks, and after glover removal.
- Wear Personal Protective Equipment: always wear gloves, gowns, goggles, and face shields, as well as N95-or higher respirators.
- Use Disposable Patient-Care Equipment: if there’s multiple-patient equipment that can’t be disposed of, then clean and disinfect the equipment before re-using.
- Limit transport of patient: make sure patients are in a room that requires minimal interaction outside of the room, even for medical purposes.
- Follow Etiquette Procedures: adhere to respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette, hand hygiene, and triage procedures throughout the visit.
Other tips to keep in mind:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
- Avoid touching any public surfaces, bathroom handles, doors, etc.
Myths and Facts about the Coronavirus
With so much information out there, it can be challenging to differentiate what’s real from what’s not. Make sure you’re always fact-checking updates with organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), who continue to share valid information every hour.
COVID-19 Is Deadly – Myth
Fact: Not to degrade the toll of the losses to Coronavirus, but so far, the fatality rate for this disease is still under four percent. Almost 80% of the cases report mild symptoms, with some people reporting no symptoms at all. At the moment, those who are at higher risk are people over the age of 60, smokers, and those with underlying medical conditions. Not to mention, fatalities are linked t further complications exacerbated by the virus, not the COVID-19 infection itself.
The Virus Only Affects Old People – Myth
Fact: While older populations are at higher risk, the Coronavirus can affect people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. What’s true, though, is that older people are more susceptible to complications and, as with any other virus, have a harder time fighting the illness.
Alcohol Wipes Kill the Virus – Myth
Fact: While it’s partially true that using rubbing-alcohol wipes can help disinfect your hands, it won’t prevent the virus from entering your system. Make sure you’re using a hand sanitizer with over 60% alcohol to kill microbes. Using hand sanitizing wipes will also help you get the bacteria off your hands and surfaces.
More Resources for Healthcare Professionals
As a travel nurse, odds are you’re taking the necessary steps to stay safe already. Beware that if you’re in the process of starting a new assignment, or if you’re being transferred to a new hospital to support the Coronavirus efforts, you’re likely to get tested before you can start your new position.
In the meantime, take the news with a grain of salt. Stay updated with your hospital’s prevention and containment plans. For more, here are some resources by the CDC:
- Healthcare Professional Preparedness Checklist For Transport and Arrival of Patients Potentially Infected with COVID-19
- Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19
- Sequence for Putting on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Important Steps for Using NIOSH-Approved N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators
- Healthcare Professionals: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
As always, if you have questions about how to manage your travel nursing assignments during the Coronavirus outbreak, feel free to contact our representatives for guidance.
Travel nursing opens you up to see much more of the country, live in new places, and explore more work opportunities and connections than you otherwise could in a traditional role. We’ve got all you need to help you find the best travel nursing jobs.
There are a lot of tips and tricks out there from experienced travel nurses; helpful solutions to ensure that you make the best of your time as a travel nurse and end up with the best placements and agencies for your needs. Choosing travel nursing is a commitment, so you want to be sure you get the best opportunities while you explore this exciting field!
Working with Your Recruiter
One key step for finding great jobs is finding a great recruiter and developing a good relationship with them. Your recruiter is your primary go-between for you and the best possible jobs and healthcare facilities. They act as a mentor, providing guidance as you start and progress your career. A good recruiter prioritizes your wants and needs for an assignment and finds you the best placement for your lifestyle, while also answering questions and advising along the way.
This means that the first step in getting great jobs is finding a recruiter you trust and work well with. A frustrating or stressful recruiter is only going to make your job-finding process unpleasant, the last thing you want as you embark on new assignments.
Here are some quick ways to tell that you’ve found a good recruiter:
- They respond to your emails quickly. You shouldn’t have to wait more than a day or two to hear from them if you have questions or requests.
- They’re organized with the information they provide and don’t ask you for last-minute paperwork or information, causing unneeded stress.
- They’re experienced. They’ve helped plenty of other traveling nurses and know the ins and outs of finding great placements.
- They don’t leave you out of the loop. If they aren’t providing pay details upfront, change the info at the last minute, or stop returning emails, they’re not putting your needs first.
- They have your interests at heart. You know they’re actually out there putting in the work to find you a great assignment and great pay.
Once you have a recruiter you like and trust, it pays to be respectful and kind to them in return. If they also enjoy working with you, they’re even more likely to put in the extra effort to find you the best jobs. It may seem like common sense, but a good recruiter is the last person you want to be terse or unpleasant toward!
It also helps to be very direct with them. You may be applying in multiple places or have other recruiters. It won’t offend them if you let them know all the other places you’re in talks with, applications you’re putting in, and recruiters you’re working with. The only thing it will do is help them get a better understanding of your needs and plan.
Get as Much Info as Possible Up Front
Never consider a company, facility, or placement without getting all the facts. There are countless factors to consider, and if any details are being kept from you, you’re not able to make the best possible decision. Before you ask your recruiter to send your resume for a specific position, make sure you know:
- Pay package details
- Stipends and perks
- Working hours
- Patient load and other facility details
- Orientation process and time frame
- The specific hospital’s location and trauma level
Then do the research and comparison shop. You don’t have to apply to and choose the first job you see. Consider your options. Compare pay packages, benefits, locations, and schedules. If you know you’ll need day or night shift or a flexible schedule, make those considerations a major part of your decisions about where to apply and what placement you’ll accept. Be sure to explore the differences between national and regional agencies. Decide whether you prefer an agency with one point of contact or don’t mind multiple. Explore unique benefits and how they might help you or factor into a decision.
If you have friends who are fellow travel nurses, don’t be afraid to ask for their input! Those who are in the same shoes can be some of the best resources for finding the truly great recruiters, agencies, locations, and healthcare companies. You’re more likely to trust your friends and family than strangers, so if you have those connection resources, use them!
Use Online Search Engines to Your Advantage
There’s a reason Stability Healthcare (and others like us) exists. It is not easy sorting through the complex web of travel nursing positions, agencies, and recruiters to find the best ones for you. Thankfully, websites like ours make it much easier to compare options, make choices, and even find resources to help you on the job (that’s what our blog is here for!). Our job searching platform simplifies the searching process substantially, providing upfront details, including pay package information, one of the most important components for any placement decision. We also have an expert team on hand to help you set interviews and land jobs. Stability Healthcare removes the need for a recruiter. If you prefer to work on your own to choose assignments, we give you all the resources to do so.Read More
Anywhere between 50 to 70 million US adults struggle with a sleeping disorder. Travel nurses are no exception. As a travel nurse, it’s easy to struggle with sleeping habits as you work long hours. Not to mention, moving from one state to another can often leave you with a jet-lag-like sleeping pattern that disrupts your energy, stress, and anxiety levels.
There are so many factors that interfere with sleep, that one can hardly find a one to control them all. However, you can develop healthy sleeping habits to help you find restorative sleep every night. Keep reading for some science-backed tips to get better sleep.
1. Set a Schedule
Having a sleeping schedule is paramount for travel nurses. As your working hours can shift, your time zones vary, and your workdays fluctuate, a sleeping schedule helps you stay consistent. Studies suggest that going to bed and waking up at the same time is beneficial for long-term sleep quality.
For better sleep, consider going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Keep in mind, this might be challenging at first, but even if all you had was a few hours of sleep, wake up at your scheduled time and work your way up to sleeping seven to eight hours a night.
2. Use Light to Manage Your Circadian Rhythms
You probably know that your circadian rhythms regulate your sleep-wake cycle. It responds to light or darkness exposure, which means how we interact with these throughout the day will impact our sleeping cycle.
Make sure you’re getting enough sun and light exposure during the day to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. A critical aspect during the winter months and for travel nurses serving in states that have low sun exposure. One study says getting at least two hours of sun exposure a day can improve your sleep patterns by 80 percent.
Additionally, you also want to be wary of blue light at night. Nighttime light confuses your brain, making it believe it’s still daytime, which suppresses the release of melatonin hormones, further disrupting sleep cycles. Stay away from blue light at least two hours before bedtime, and make sure your bedroom is free of any bright lights.
3. Create the Ideal Sleeping Environment
Where we sleep is as essential as every other piece of advice on this list. While as a travel nurse, you won’t always be able to set everything up to your preference, you should try to keep specific guidelines on your bedroom to help you sleep better.
To start, make sure you’re sleeping on a comfortable and supportive mattress. If the one available at your housing location, consider investing in a mattress topper to guarantee comfort. Keep things like external noise, lighting, and temperature controlled. One study believes temperature is the biggest disruptor when it comes to sleep. Keep the room anywhere between 60 to 67 degrees or a temperature that feels cold but comfortable.
4. Watch Your Diet
What you eat during the day can impact your sleeping cycle as well. Stay away from cigarettes, alcohol, and of course, caffeine if you’re struggling with your sleep. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, avoid any consumption of caffeinated foods or drinks after 2 pm.
Additionally, make sure you time your dinners accordingly. Late-night eating can disrupt the natural secretion of melatonin, disrupting your sleeping cycle. However, if hunger strikes, consider a light late-night snack at least 45 minutes before bedtime. Try warm milk, oatmeal, yogurt, mozzarella cheese, crackers with cheddar, or turkey with cream cheese.
5. Find a Sleeping Routine
Work-related worries, lifestyle woes, and other stressful thoughts can mess up with your sleeping schedule. Consider finding the right sleeping technique to signal your brain and body is bedtime. Take a hot bath or shower, try essential oils, practice meditation. Maybe go through a short yoga or stretching routine before heading to bed. Breathing techniques also help.
Find a sleeping routine that works for you, and just as your waking-up and going-to-bed schedule, stick to this routine every day. After a while, your brain will immediately tell you’re getting ready for bedtime and start making you feel more rested and sleepy.
6. Avoid Taking Naps
Skipping daytime naps might be a daunting ask for travel nurses. While naps can be beneficial, they can also confuse your body’s internal clock. The truth is, short and scheduled naps can be helpful and improve brain function. The problem is that long naps — over 30 minutes — make your brain think it’s time for bedtime, leaving you more exhausted than before and hurting your sleeping patterns when it’s time to sleep.
If you have difficulties sleeping at night, avoid daytime napping as much as possible. Instead of crashing in the middle of the day, look forward to a complete sleep session every night.
7. Rule Out Sleeping Disorders
Last but not least, make sure you’re not dealing with a sleeping disorder. If you’re following all the tips outlined before, you even incorporated sleeping aid supplements such as melatonin to your nutrition plan, and you’re still struggling, something else might be happening.
Going back to the start, almost 70 million people in the US have some sleeping disorders. Speak with your primary care physician to look at your options. Maybe it might be time to talk to a sleep therapist and get to the root cause of your poor sleep.Read More
Any interview can be intimidating, especially for a position in the medical world. However, being a good interviewee is key to any career, and being prepared for one (or several!) can help ease your mind. Below are a few tips to prepare yourself when applying for a travel nurse position.
Get plenty of rest and relaxation beforehand
Interviewing can be stressful enough, and if you don’t get enough sleep beforehand, it can be even more so! Make sure to get plenty of sleep before your interview, so you feel refreshed and ready to go. Refrain from making any late-night plans that will deter you from preparing for your interview. You only get one first impression, so set aside some time for self-care.
Dress for success
While interviewing for a travel nurse position, you want to put your best self forward. If you have an in-person interview, you want to dress and act for the part. This also includes any video or Skype interviews. Hospitals are professional settings, so you want to dress towards the business-formal side. Basic makeup, simple jewelry, and neutral colors are all go-tos, however, feel free to show some of your personality (like a fun scarf or bright nails). Don’t be pressured to wear anything that makes you feel stiff or too overdressed. Finding a balance of professional and comfortable will make you feel and look good for your interview.
Research the hospital prior to your interview
If you’re interviewing for a specific hospital, research it beforehand. Know the basics of the hospital, like its larger departments, important employees, and the area it’s in. By showing your interest, it’ll reflect motivation (a key attribute of an ideal candidate). While researching, write down any questions you may have, so you can ask them during or after your interview.
Have your employee history ready
As an ideal candidate, you want to be organized. Take a moment to sit down and collect all of your personal history that may be pertinent to your future travel nurse position, like any schooling and previous-related experience. If the interview is over the phone, physically write this out in a list so you ensure you don’t forget to communicate any related experience. If the interview is in person, bring this list with you and read over it a few minutes before your interview to refresh your mind. As stated on the Stability Healthcare FAQ page, “the expectation for travelers is to hit the ground running so the stronger your background, the easier it will be to acclimate to a position.” So, be honest with your experience, but make sure you don’t leave anything out.
Additionally, your interviewer will most likely ask you overall questions about your work history and ethics. Have a few examples ready for likely questions. Here are some you may be asked:
- Have you ever had conflict in the workplace? If so, how did you handle it?
- Why did you leave your last position?
- What are your best qualities in the workplace?
- What are some qualities that you need to work on?
- Name some particular accomplishments you’ve had while being a travel nurse.
- Why are you qualified to work in this position?
Have handy tools nearby
The more organized you are, the more professional and less frazzled you’ll be during your interview. If you’re interviewing over the phone, keep other tools at arm’s length, like your smartphone so you can reference its calendar to plan ahead any big life events, etc. that you’ll have to work around. Also, keep a pen and paper (or another note-taking device) so you can write down key information you learn during the interview.
Think of which qualities are desired in a travel nurse
There are a few qualities that places tend to look for in travel nurses, so communicate how you fit into those expectations. As the Stability Healthcare site points out, these qualities include, but are not limited to flexibility, a good attitude, being organized, friendly, and having a sharp mind. As previously stated above, travel nurses are expected to hit the ground running, so being flexible is a key aspect. As a travel nurse, you have to learn hospital regulations and people rather quickly, so learning on the fly is a desirable characteristic. Overall, you want to have a good attitude, so show up to the interview with a smile on your face and a friendly attitude.
Prepare questions to ask your interviewer
Ahead of your interview, write down any pertinent questions you have, especially those specific to the position you are interviewing for. Not only will this show that you’re involved and motivated to learn more about the position, but it will give you a better insight into expectations for the position.
A few general questions you can ask:
- What does a typical shift look like?
- Is there a dress code?
- Are there any overtime shifts and will I be expected to work on the weekends?
- What is the time-off policy?
- How are people scheduled?
- Will I float between units?
- What are the main expectations for this position?
Following these tips can make your interview seem less daunting. If you have multiple interviews, most of these tips can be applied to each one. However, as mentioned in tip #2, research each position you’re applying for so you’re best prepared. Good luck!Read More