Many travel nurses have the desire to go where they’re most needed, and their impact has been particularly elevated during this global pandemic. Nurses have been sent in troves to New York City as the virus rages through the city’s understaffed hospitals. And Stability Healthcare still has many placements topping at around $5,500 a week in New York. But as the worst of the outbreak appears to be over for now in the large metropolis, it’s also important to look at where COVID-19 might strike next in the United States.
As several states plan to loosen their shelter-at-home orders in the coming weeks, scientists are predicting that the worst of COVID-19 in the United States is far from over. It’s hard to track where the upper respiratory virus, which has claimed the lives of over 50,000 Americans, will hit the hardest in the next few months leading into the fall. Some of the outbreaks have come entirely by chance. A person without symptoms could be particularly contagious and spread the virus widely. Some scientists say that the weather has an impact.
All of this uncertainty can make it hard to predict where nurses will be most needed in the coming months. But studies have proven that despite some uncontrollable variables, how a state’s leadership and its residents take action in preventing the spread of COVID-19 can make a notable difference in regional outbreaks.
If you’re a nurse looking ahead to where your work will be most needed, it’s wise to look at what government leaders are doing to keep residents safe, which states have higher elderly populations and which states have cut funds to hospitals in recent years. We’ve put together a list of a few places that might be at high risk for a major outbreak this year, and will certainly need the help of experienced travel nurses.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has come under fire this week for his controversial reopening plan. Kemp said in a tweet that nonessential businesses including hair salons, gyms, barbershops, tattoo parlors, bowling alleys, and nail salons will be allowed to resume some operations on Friday, April 24. And on Monday, April 27, theaters, social clubs and dine-in restaurants will be allowed to reopen also. With over 22,000 confirmed cases and 892 deaths in Georgia and the number of deaths per day still rising, many are saying Kemp is reopening way too soon.
Kemp said he felt confident that the state could reopen safely based on “favorable data and more testing,” but Georgia has only tested 100,000 people in its population of 10.62 million people. That’s only 1 percent of the population. A recent study out of LA County found that 55 times as many people had antibodies for CoronaVirus than the number of people who tested positive in the county. This could mean that all across the country, hundreds of thousands of people had or have COVID-19 without knowing it. And Kemp didn’t exactly do a good job of combating the spread of the virus at the forefront. He waited until April 2 to issue a stay-at-home-order — way later than most of the country. Even if everyone follows the social distancing rules when opening their business, another major outbreak in the state seems inevitable. And it doesn’t help that Georgia’s hospital capacity is lower than half the country’s, with a rate of 2.4 beds per 1,000 people.
Stability has about a dozen placements in Georgia right now, topping at $3,409 weekly.
This small New England state might seem like an odd place to experience a COVID-19 outbreak, but it has two damning characteristics: It ranks in the top 10 states with the highest elderly population in the country, and it ranks very low in hospital capacity, with only 2.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people.
New Hampshire has only seen 51 deaths related to CoronaVirus and only 1,588 confirmed cases. Numbers alone, this seems small. But with a population of only 1.36 million people, the small state actually has the same death rate as California and Florida. Its outbreak is also rising steeply. Test numbers from Thursday, April 23 showed that the state added 84 cases in a day.
Fortunately, Governor Chris Sununu said he is likely to extend the state’s stay-at-home order beyond May 4. Still, the state is predicted to surpass its hospital capacity and will certainly need some help.
There’s one high-paying placement open in New Hampshire right now, but also check back later as placements change week to week.
Missouri is another state toying with reopening many of its businesses as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. On Friday, cases reached 6,625, with a 20 percent increase in COVID-19 related deaths. However, Governor Mike Parson said that almost every business will be able to open in Missouri on May 4, citing a much lower case number than predicted at this point.
A member of the state’s coronavirus task force said that the state has ICU beds and ventilator capacity, and enough personal protective equipment. But early projections about the virus predicted that Missouri would far surpass its hospital capacity (about 3.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people), and an early opening for the state could make this prediction a reality.
There are over 30 placements available in Missouri.
If it isn’t clear by now, the states that should be watched most closely are the ones who were reluctant to close at the onset of coronavirus and are now considering reopening prematurely. Alabama, like Georgia and Missouri, fits the bill.
Governor Kay Ivey issued a shelter-in-place order for the state on March 28, well after many states in the country. And as Alabama has appeared to surpass its peak, with 14 days of consecutive decline, many are calling for the state to open its doors. Including, Will Ainsworth, the state’s Lt. Governor. Ivey’s stay-at-home order ends next week. But even Ivey herself has expressed concern about testing, with only 1.1 percent of the population tested. If the state opens too early, it could risk overwhelming its hospital capacity – which is only 3.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people.
Connecticut is already one of the hardest-hit states in the country, with the third highest death rate just below New Jersey and New York. But experts say that death and isolation will continue in the state for several more weeks. Statistical models predict that the state’s outbreak is less than halfway over, and deaths could possibly double from 1,544 to just over 3,000. Undeniably, the state’s hospitals are overburdened, with just 2 beds per 1,000 people.
Governor Ned Lamont said that businesses will likely not reopen until early June. As cases continue to grow, there are several high-paying placements for nurses in the state.
Feeling under pressure is a given for most nurses. Nurses working in the COVID-19 unit are not only facing long hours and extended shifts, but the anxiety and isolation when they go back home continue to take a toll on them. When everything seems to be spiraling out of control, it’s essential to take control of your mental health and do your best to focus on self-care. If you’re a travel nurse working on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic, keep these mental health tips in mind to stay healthy and sane.
1. Allow Yourself to Feel All Feelings
As a nurse, your mission is to care for others. Frequently, you prioritize others’ feelings over yours. Don’t. Allow yourself to feel stressed, sad, anxious, scared, and everything else you might be feeling right now. Permit yourself to have a bad mental health day without feeling guilty. Don’t try to sail the pandemic without acknowledging the elephant in the room. Instead, intentionally allow yourself to feel all the feelings and let your body react how it wants to. Know that this is by no means a sign of weakness or breakage.
2. Take a Break from the News
You’re already living and breathing the progress of the pandemic in your daily life. Consider breaking up with the news and social media information overload to give your mental health a breather. Evidence shows that constant news and social media bursts can make people more anxious. Choose one or two sources for your medical news. Limit your news briefings to twice a day to get an idea of how the outbreak is evolving. There’s no need to check the news every hour.
3. Stay Connected to Friends and Family
Travel nurses, in particular, can feel quite isolated and alone, especially since most of the time, their family and friends live miles away from their workplace. However, isolation and the fact that your family and friends are staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected. Use mobile apps to video chat such as Zoom, Facebook, Whatsapp, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts to see friendly faces. Studies believe face-to-face interaction, even when over a video call, can be useful in preventing depression and anxiety.
4. Practice Conscious Mindfulness
Whether you’re having a rough day or you feel mentally drained when you get back home, mindfulness can help. Meditation can be particularly helpful at alleviating mental pressure, improving mental focus, and reducing stress levels. A short 15-minute breathing session can help you recoup and recharge yourself. Look for mindful meditation sessions on YouTube or download one of the many meditation apps available to get started.
5. Watch Your Diet
When stress kicks in, it’s easy to fold under cravings of sugary and fry foods. Not to mention, right now, nurses working in the COVID-19 unit are burnout and exhausted. High levels of stress can wreak havoc your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to disease. You must keep eating leafy green vegetables, garlic, ginger, turmeric, yogurt, and other immune-boosting foods to keep your body fueled.
6. Ask for Help
Don’t try to do it all alone. Your workload, your personal life, and everything else that’s happening can take a toll on your body and mental health. Ask for help whenever you need it. From someone who can pick up some groceries or food for you to someone who can check-in on your children while you’re at work via a video call. Whatever it is you need, ask for help.
7. Speak to Someone
It’s common for family and friends who are not on the frontlines of the outbreak to have a hard time empathizing with your experience. Talk with someone who understands what you feel from a nurse or healthcare worker’s perspective. Know when you need to talk to a colleague and when you might need to speak to a therapist or mental health professional. Either way, don’t feel ashamed or guilty of discussing your feelings and thoughts with those that can offer help and guidance.
8. Perform Regular Check-ins with Yourself
No one knows more than you how you react to stress, burnout, and exhaustion, so practice self check-ins. Make sure you stop for a few minutes and self-analyze yourself for signs of anxiety, depression, or chronic stress. Remember that this has been an unprecedented scenario for many workers, and your previous coping mechanisms might not be as useful right now. If you notice you’re having difficulty sleeping, feelings of hopelessness and intrusive memories, talk to someone.
9. Spend Time Outdoors
While parks and most outdoor areas are closed to the public. You can still spend some time outdoors. If there’s a patio, balcony, or backyard you can go out to, please do so. Spending time in nature can help reduce work pressure, stress, and anxiety levels. Whenever you have a chance, whether at work or at home, try to spend at least 15 minutes outdoors and practice regenerative breathing techniques to help you stay calm and centered.
10. Do Something You Love
Obviously, when you go back home from working long hours, all you probably want to do is nothing. However, staying active is key to maintaining your mental health during this time. Actively practicing self-care means you carve out time to do the things you love. For example, watching a movie, baking, cooking, reading, dancing, or maybe even painting. Whatever it is you enjoy doing, spending time with these activities will take your mind off what’s happening and nurture your mind.
11. Practice Gratitude
When everything seems to have lost sense, practicing gratitude can do a lot for your mental health. Incorporate gratitude as part of your daily self-care routine to help you stay grounded, grateful, and hopeful. Every day, think of three things you’re thankful for. Repeat these things to yourself out loud whenever you feel down. Another great way to practice gratefulness is by writing down things we’re grateful for by the end of the day. Affirmations can be quite powerful for our mental health.
12. Consider Positive Self-Talk
With so much negativity around you, it can be easy to fall down a path of negative self-talk. Try to avoid this by first noticing your negative self-talk patterns. Once you caught yourself having those thoughts or feelings, immediately replace them with something positive. Maintaining a positive outlook amid adversity is the best shield you can put up to protect your mental health.
For nurses battling the COVID-19 outbreak and working on the floors treating sick patients, self-care is mandatory. Keep these mental health tips in mind while at work and after work hours to make sure you care for yourself during these challenging times.
Whether you’re a nurse working on the front lines, or you’re taking this time to be with your family, building a strong immune system is so important right now. While everyone is furiously washing their hands and social distancing, it can be easy to forget about what’s working inside of your body. These home recipes might bring you some peace of mind, knowing that your body is strong and healthy. Plus they taste good and are a fun quarantine activity. Here are five fun immunity boosting recipes you can whip up in your kitchen. Make them for yourself and your kids!
How many times have your friends challenged you on Instagram to, “see a shot, send a shot”? Give your liver a break and take a few swigs of this jam-packed immunity booster shot recipe instead. It’s got every natural ingredient you need to strengthen your immune system, including garlic and ginger, lemon and orange juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, and turmeric. The best part is that most of this should already be hiding somewhere in your kitchen.
Here’s why all seven of these ingredients are like the Immunity Avengers, coming together to save you from any nasty seasonal cold or flu that might have you freaking out unnecessarily during a global pandemic:
Honey and turmeric are rich in antioxidants, which help protect your cells from free radicals, those pesky molecules that pop up when your body breaks down foods. Free radicals can play a role in heart disease, cancer and more common cases of the cold and flu.
Known for killing harmful bacteria, apple cider vinegar is totally the fighter we need in this crisis. And lemon juice and orange juice are both very high in vitamin C. Orange juice also has antioxidants, and lemon juice helps support your heart and digestive health.
Garlic and Ginger are your tale-as-old-as-time immunity boosters. Both have also been known to help reduce the symptoms of the common cold. They also serve as a flavor kick. After all, shots should be exciting!
Add a dash of black pepper and cayenne (also known to boost your metabolism, which is a win-win during this time of unlimited snacking), and you can make this shot in five minutes. Check out the full recipe here. You can make a whole growler full of immunity juice, that way it’s ready for you each morning, or you can make just a glass-full.
This doubles as an immunity booster, and a perfect Spring/Summer refreshment. Bring a pitcher of it outside on the patio while you garden or read a book.
Water Kefir, a bubbly, fruit-infused drink, is similar to Kombucha in that it’s filled with probiotics, but it’s a little bit less complicated to make on your own. It does take about three days to make, but with only five minutes of prep time. All you need is water kefir grains, which you can order on Amazon Prime and have delivered early next week, water, the fruits of your choice mixed with some organic sugar, maybe some ginger, a strainer, a kitchen towel and some big mason jars!
This fruity, refreshing drink is filled with probiotics to heal your gut, give you an energy boost and even clear up your skin. And warding off inflammatory reactions in the gut is also a really natural way to protect your immune system.
If you’re working from home, drink a glass of this halfway through the day and you’ll get a boost of new energy. If you’re going into the hospital, you can take it to go in a cute mason jar!
Here’s the full recipe with several fun variations.
There’s nothing like a superfood that also tastes delicious. That’s why sweet potatoes are always a go-to when you’re trying to eat a clean, plant-based diet. This recipe for sweet potatoes topped with ginger, miso and scallions is particularly good for the immune system.
You cut your sweet potatoes or yams in half, length-wise, and roast them in the oven for 30 minutes. Then you mix butter, shallots, miso and ginger together in a skillet, and spoon your tasty miso butter over your golden roasted sweet potatoes. It’s a delicious lunch, or a great side to go with dinner.
Sweet potatoes themselves are filled with beta carotene and vitamin A, which help support your immune system and also benefit your vision, your heart and even your teeth. They’re called superfoods for a reason! But it’s the other ingredients in this recipe that really make it a one-two-punch for building up the immune system. Miso itself is probiotic and great for the gut and immune system. And as we’ve said before, ginger is a go-to for boosting immunity.
Get the full recipe for this rich and uber healthy treat here.
Smoothies are some of the most fun and tasty ways to get all the good antioxidants, vitamins and probiotics you need to fight off the cold and flu. This one has everything you need and has enough natural sweetness to make it taste delicious.
First, put in some kale and spinach, which will load you up with Vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber and calcium. Whew! Add some mango pineapple and kiwi to make it taste tropical, but also to add even more Vitamin C. Squeeze in some lemon for an extra metabolism boost. And add some ginger because…. Do we even have to tell you?
Mix it all in with some almond milk, or oat milk, and you’ve got yourself a green smoothie. If it’s not quite sweet enough for you, add some cacao nibs — cocoa, believe it or not, is actually an incredible antioxidant! You can also add some avocado if you want a slightly creamier blend.
Sure, it’s easy to buy granola from the store, but often when you read the back-labels, even the more organic-looking blends have a high dose of fructose corn syrup or other artificial flavorings that cancel out the good protein and fiber you’re looking for. So now that we all have a little more time in the kitchen, take a stab at making your own granola!
This recipe is filled with flavorful, natural ingredients that boost the immune system and leave you feeling full throughout the day. Paired with a dollop of greek yogurt, this is truly a breakfast of champions.
You can look at the full list of yummy ingredients for this recipe here. But we’ll highlight some of the best ones helping your body fight off bad actors.
First off, SEEDS. This recipe includes three different kinds of seeds: flax, pumpkin and sunflower. Flax seeds are filled with Omega 3 fatty acids which help your white blood cells fight off disease and infection. Flax seeds, along with pumpkin seeds, are also rich in iron and zinc, which have antiviral and antifungal properties. Sunflower seeds contain selenium, which helps fight certain types of cancers and boosts your immune system. Plus, they’re rich in Vitamin E which gives you healthy skin and nails.
This recipe also includes agave, the nectar of the tequila gods. If your husband or parents ever give you flack about your mid-day quarantine margaritas, you can always defend yourself by pointing out some of agave’s many healing properties. Agave contains fructans and saponins which are both known to boost your immune system.
Your homemade granola will also contain a healthy dose of cinnamon, which is a powerful antioxidant. It helps that all of these things, including the dried, sweetened mangos, are so delicious! Check out the full recipe and see for yourself.
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
With many states approaching their peak days as far as the number of cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19, people crave a path to normalcy. However, amid the pandemic, healthcare workers continue their fight to help as many people as possible, with limiting resources and staff members to support them. Coronavirus updates keep changing by the minute, if not by the second. With more confirmed cases, healthcare workers are still trying to piece together the ins and outs of this pandemic. For travel nurses, emergency nurses, and other essential healthcare personnel keeping up with COVID-19 updates are of the utmost importance for their health and wellbeing.
The Latest COVID-19 Numbers
As of this writing, there are 579,005 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and 22,252 total deaths, expanding across 55 jurisdictions. Signs of the spread slowing down are optimistic if people follow social distancing and stay at home. However, there’s no way to guarantee this will happen, and we’ll indeed be able to flatten the curve.
While all of this is continuously happening, healthcare workers and facilities are now facing new challenges of their own. On the one side, healthcare facilities are now looking at strategies to mitigate personnel staffing shortages. On the other, healthcare personnel is scrapping for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as shortages continue to worsen.
Healthcare Workers Looking for PPE
Right now, there’s a severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of PPE. Risk in demand, panic buying by healthcare facilities and civilians, hoarding, and misuse are leaving hospitals struggling to meet needs. The shortage of personal protective equipment is placing doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers at higher risks.
From gloves, respirators, medical masks, face shields, goggles, aprons, and gowns, the need for PPE is real.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, beyond supplies diminishing, prices have surged. For example, surgical masks have increased prices six times.
The concern with supplies is that it might take months to go back to normal. According to the World Health Organization, we need close to 89 million medical masks each month for the COVID-19 response. The number goes up to 76 million when we talk about examination gloves. Plus, 1.6 million goggles per month. To meet these rising demands, the WHO estimates that the manufacturing of PPE must increase by 40 percent.
Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE You Should Know
As healthcare facilities left and right kept looking for ways to optimize the supply of PPE, the CDC stepped in with some guidelines.
- Reserve PPE for HCP and replace PPE typically used for source control with other barrier precautions such as tissues.
- Use re-usable PPE that can be reprocessed.
- Use PPE beyond the manufacturer-designated shelf life for training.
- Consider allowing healthcare personnel to extend the use of respirators, facemasks, and eye protection, beyond single patient contact.
Hospitals and Facilities Looking for Staff
At the frontlines of the outbreak, healthcare workers are finding themselves in an unprecedented staff shortage. Over 9,000 healthcare workers contracted COVID-19 over a week. However, the numbers are not one hundred percent accurate because many cases go unreported. The rise in cases correlates with the shortage of PPE to keep workers safe. Not to mention, ongoing staff shortages in healthcare isn’t a COVID-19 only problem. It’s estimated that even before the outbreak, the US needs to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 to care for the aging population qualitatively.
So far, the states facing the most number of cases include New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, closing the top five. Overall, job postings for healthcare workers tripled in the US in a matter of days. The top states with Coronavirus-related job openings include California, Washington, Georgia, Maryland, and New York. Altogether, these five states account for 61% of the job demand. Out of these job postings, about 21% of the market is looking for Registered Nurses.
The surge in demand for healthcare personnel expands to government entities, nonprofits, the private sector, and beyond. Right now, trying to fill staffing gaps is one of the top priorities to control the outbreak.
What Can You Do?
As a travel nurse, you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to navigate the situation. If you’ve chosen to be part of the frontline warriors, reach out to your travel agency to start making the necessary arrangement. Right now, travel nurses with the flexibility to move from one state to another quickly are what most healthcare facilities need. Stability offers placement for nurses in many of the cities experiencing a surge in demand. For all the brave nurses out there, reaching out to the various states battling the outbreak, Stability wants to be your ally and partner to make sure your placement arrangements are as straightforward as possible, so you can focus on what matters the most – caring for others.Read More
Starting a career as a travel nurse is both exciting and frightening. We all know that starting in the nursing field comes with its number of common mistakes. But, when you add in the travel aspect, you’re bound to face even more risks of making mistakes.
1. Not Taking The Housing Search Seriously
When it comes to housing, travel nurses can work with their agency to arrange accommodations for them, or they can choose a stipend to find their arrangements. It’s common for new travel nurses to choose the latter as they believe they’ll be able to find reasonably priced housing and save some money.
However, most people underestimate how long it takes to find housing. By the time their assignments begin, many new nurses find themselves without housing arrangements. Not to mention, many find accommodations that are too big or too small for their needs, which can mean additional expenses.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Start by planning your house search way early in the process. Ideally, you want to talk with your travel nursing agency to ask for help with housing. Remember, they have experience making these arrangements for thousands of travel nurses across the nation. Whatever you believe you can do, they’ll probably do it faster and find a better deal.
2. Making Charting or Documentation Errors
As you’re going through nursing school, there’s a lot you focus on, but most people forget about paperwork. One of the most common mistakes new travel nurses make in the field is charting or documentation errors. Recording the essential patient’s information is a critical part of your job as a nurse. But, it’s also one that leads to many common mistakes. You must become aware of the proper way to fill charts and documentation, as any error can make you liable for lawsuits.
How to Avoid this Mistake: First of all, make sure you take the time to read through the documentation as you see it for the first time. Make it a habit to double and triple check your input before you file away a chart. Include any prescribed medication, discontinued medicines, every nursing action, any changes in your patient’s condition, and any order or suggestion given regarding the patient’s care.
3. Making Assumptions About Policies
If this is your first job as a travel nurse, you’re unlikely to make this mistake. However, if this isn’t your first assignment, but you’re still new to the industry, making assumptions about policies is a common mistake. Not knowing the procedures and policies of your workplace can be detrimental. While no one expects you to memorize them on the first day, you should follow policies and protocols after a few weeks in the role. Remember, never assume policies or procedures are universal; what works for one hospital might not work for the other.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Try to familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of your new workplace before you arrive. Reach out to your travel nursing agency to see if they can help provide you with the right information. If you can’t do this beforehand, then make it a priority to ask about policies on your first week and start getting used to their process.
4. Not Asking for Help
Most new travel nurses fall for this mistake. Travel nurses are expected to be experts in the field, which leads new nurses to abstain from asking questions out of fear of looking inexperienced. However, not asking for help from a coworker or your travel nursing advisor might place you at risk of making a medical error that could potentially endanger a patient’s life.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Get rid of the idea that seasoned nurses are unwilling to help. Stop making excuses to avoid making questions. If you have a concern or question, reach out to coworkers, supervisors, and other personnel around you for help. Ideally, you want to find yourself a mentor that will guide you through the various situations you’ll encounter as a travel nurse.
5. Making Mistakes with Medications
While this mistake might arise from faulty administration policies, it is a common mistake many new travel nurses make. Dispensing the incorrect dosage, handing out the wrong medication, or giving a prescription to the wrong patient are all errors that most nurses have experienced. It’s common for new nurses to feel extra pressure, which can lead to a foggy mind, therefore result in common mistakes like handing out the wrong medication to a patient.
How to Avoid this Mistake: The best way to ensure you prevent this mistake is by focusing on your patient and having a clear mind. Try to find ways to manage your emotions and stress, as well as keeping your personal life outside of your work life. As a nurse, you need a sharp mindset to prevent as many mistakes as possible.
6. Not Being Prepared
Many new travel nurses get caught up on the excitement of their assignments and forget about the details. Making sure your state nursing license is ready, your credentials and other documentation are current, that you’ve done all required training and tests before deadlines. These are just some of the things you need to know before starting your assignment. Also, knowing who your supervisor will be, what floor you’ll be working on, and more is all part of the process.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Talk to your travel nurse agency recruiter and make sure they can guide you through every checklist item you need before you start your assignment. They should be able to provide you first-day instructions to give you a better idea of what to expect.
7. Skim Through Your Contract
Landing your first assignment as a travel nurse can be quite exciting. However, most people forget to read through their contracts and end up having questions or issues with the terms and agreements. Beyond the overall picture, you have to look at your compensation package and your assignment guidelines. The more you get familiar with your contract, the fewer surprises you’ll encounter than the road.
How to Avoid this Mistake: First of all, read through your entire contract. Look for sections that discuss missed-hours penalties, your untaxed income, contract violations, and more. If you must, try to find a lawyer with experience working with travel nurses to look over the contract before you agree to any commitment.
8. Not Having a Tax Home
Even many seasoned travel nurses make this mistake. Most travel nurses have what’s known as an untaxed income, or stipend portion of their salary. The only way to reap these benefits is by establishing a tax home. It’s not difficult to have a tax home, and your travel nurse agency can help you make sure you have all the paperwork needed to file for one.
How to Avoid this Mistake: The moment you start looking for your first travel nurse assignment, you should begin the process of filing for a tax home. There are many IRS rules for establishing a tax home, but if you have them all, it should be an easy filing.
9. Staying Too Long
Stemming from our previous common mistake, staying for too long is another common issue. It’s easy to fall in love with an area, but sometimes it can become a double-edged sword. When you stay too long on the same location, you can undermine your tax home, which means you might lose tax benefits. While “too much” is a challenging timeline to determine, you should avoid any long-term assignment contracts. If you don’t qualify for a tax home, then this is a mistake that won’t bring you any adverse effects.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Make sure you double-check your assignments timeline. If you’re working with an agency, let them know you have a tax home established, and you cannot work in one place for more than 12 months in any 24 months.
10. Failing to File All Your Taxes
We all make tax mistakes from time to time. But, new travel nurses often find themselves making the same tax error. It can be confusing, after all. As a travel nurse, you’re likely to move from state to state, which means you have to pay taxes in every state you work. It doesn’t matter where your tax home is, or how much your agency pays in taxes; you still have to pay them in every state. How much you pay depends on many factors.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Even if you understand your taxes well, as a travel nurse, it’s best to work with a professional. Because you have to deal with various state laws, don’t procrastinate on your taxes. Start working on your filings as soon as you can to avoid any penalties or issues.
While there’s no way to prevent these mistakes altogether, knowing about them can help you be more self-aware of your actions and your first steps as a travel nurse. Reach out to seasoned nurses and travel nurse agencies and ask them about the common mistakes they’ve seen, their stories might help you avoid some of these mistakes.
A huge plus of being a travel nurse is your ability to bring along a pet. Stability Healthcare advocates for bringing your pet with you, whether you find housing through Stability or through other methods. According to the National Institutes of Health, “animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.” Additionally, they can decrease stress and even help lower blood pressure.
In these trying times where we can’t spend time with the ones we love (in person), a pet is a great buddy to quarantine with. So, whether you’re traveling with your family or by yourself, bringing along an extra companion can help you acclimate. However, there are factors, and a few tips, you should keep in mind while traveling with pets:
Make sure your specific housing can accommodate your pet.
Before you commit to your housing, give their pet policy a close read and make sure having a pet is allowed. Many places will have certain restrictions – such as breed if it’s a dog, animal size, or the number of animals on the premises. Additionally, they may have a monthly pet fee, or a pet deposit, that they’ll require you to pay. This fee can differ greatly amongst properties. If you’re staying in a hotel, certain rooms are designated for pet owners, while others are not. If you’re confused, reach out to the property owner for guidance. And, as Stability Healthcare says, if you’re working in an exotic location, check out any quarantine rules that you may have to abide by. An example of a place where this might apply might be Hawaii.
Consider whether your housing is safe for you pet.
Just because your housing allows pets, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe for them. For example, if you have a dog, you need to make sure that it will have plenty of space to move around. This includes an area for them to relieve themselves, an adequate place for you to walk them, etc. The neighborhood should also be at the forefront of your mind – if you don’t feel safe walking around at night, you certainly won’t feel safe walking around your pet! If you’re bringing along a dog, check to see if there is a dog park nearby or other places like a dog-friendly beach or bar.
Are there amenities for you and your pet nearby?
It would be a drag if the nearest pet store was a long trek from your housing. While choosing your housing, browse the area and see if there are any places you can easily stock up on supplies for your pet. This is important for a wide range of pets – dogs, cats, amphibians, fish, etc. If you have a more exotic animal, whose supplies may be harder to come by, call local places and see what they have in stock ahead of time.
How to transport your animal to your new work location
Although a lot of airlines offer animal travel with a fee, some don’t. If you plan on flying with your animal, thoroughly research if the airline you’d like to use allows it. Larger animals, like big dogs, will have extra fees or will not be able to take a flight. You’re pet may not be able to fly with you if they don’t fit the airlines’ age requirement. Additionally, you will need to call your airline representative ahead of flying, usually two or more days in advance, and you will need to bring your pet to the vet and get a health certification.
All of these rules can differ between airlines, but the gist is the same. Typically, a ton of info can be found on the airlines’ website. American Airlines, for example, has a tab specifically for flying with animals. Although many airlines have very specific requirements, like kennel size, health certificate requirements, etc., it’s definitely worth it to bring along your companion.
If you’re packing up your belongings and using a U-Haul to move, they do allow pets! Their website offers a ton of great tips that are specific to moving your animal with a U-Haul. It should be noted that animals shouldn’t be put in the cargo area of the car/truck, and should be kept separate from furniture and your belongings. There should be plenty of room on the seat next to you to put a kennel, cage, or crate. And, on the plus side, if your animal is a dog who is fine with being in a car, it can sit shotgun next to you! Just make sure to purchase a seat belt adapter ahead of time.
Your own car
The best method of transportation is the one that’s safest for you and your animal. Typically, being able to transport you animal in your own car or a familiar car is ideal. This way, if you need to stop and allow your animals to relieve themselves, or if you animal is say, a parrot that makes a lot of noise, you won’t be worried about disturbing others. You’ll also be able to bring a ton of supplies with you, like that big bag of cat food or box of toys for your bird.
Other methods of travel
There are a few other methods of travel that you can use to bring your pet. Check their respective websites to see their policies:
Stability Healthcare is a great supporter of travel nurses bringing along their pets. Allow yourself plenty of time to research the pet policy of your housing and transportation method. It can be a lot of work, however, having your pet with you is worth it and can help you more easily acclimate into your new work location.Read More
As a Stability nurse, you may be working in a variety of facilities, from small clinics to level 1 trauma centers. The amount of physical energy you’ll exert is dependent on your specific position. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a nurse may be working many long, overtime shifts. Although the time length of your travel nurse shift may vary, one fact remains the same: one must have the proper equipment to keep themselves comfortable and healthy. Below is a basic guide to what a travel nurse can wear during their shift to help alleviate discomfort and maximize productivity.
The Best Scrubs
There are hundreds of scrubs that a travel nurse can choose from. These are very customizable since different nurses will look for different assets, like material, stretch, color, or fashion appeal. Here are some of the most reliable and highly rated by nurses:
FIGS Scrubs have one of the most impressive selections of affordable scrubs. One of their best sellers is Katsina, an oversized scrub top. The shirt has impeccable seaming details and a side pocket large enough to fit a tablet or a notebook (or your midday snacks). Since it’s oversized, you have plenty of room to move. Their Leon top is a two-pocket scrub. Its cut is tailored and slim and its super soft material is anti-wrinkle and moisture-wicking, so you’ll stay fresh when you’re on your shift. *pictured above
Dickies originated in 1922, making workwear specifically for those with blue-collar jobs like farmers and ranch hands. Since then, they’ve branched out into several different clothing branches, including a scrubs branch. Their scrubs are broken into 7 different categories: EDS Signature, EDS Essentials, Essence, Gen Flex, Xtreme Stretch, Dynamix, and Advance. All scrubs come in multiple colors and fits.
Here are two examples and their benefits:
EDS Signature is one of their most popular scrub types. According to their site, the scrubs “feature a unisex fit, natural rise and adjustable drawstring for the perfect fit for men or women.” A bonus: the pants have a pocket on the back, a perfect place to stow any loose items.
For anyone looking for scrubs with more storage, Dickies’ Gen Flex scrubs would be the way to go. In addition to front pockets, the Youtility scrub pants have two cargo pockets on the legs and two back pockets. The material is fairly stretchy, so you have plenty of mobility.
Elle Medical Apparel are the scrubs for female travel nurses looking for something fashion-forward without compromising comfortability. Although more basic scrubs are available, they offer more decorative pieces, like the Ruffle Yoke Top or their Mid Rise Tapered Leg Pull-On Pant. The ruffle yoke top features side vents for added mobility and large front pocket, all in a slimming form. The mid-rise tapered leg pull-on pant also features side vents, and an elastic waistband. Small details, like metal eyelets, give a chic edge. As a fun extra layer, Elle Medical Apparel makes contemporary-cut jackets to wear on your break or to wear on your way to your shift.
Other brands that make scrubs:
The Best Shoes
There’re a few different brands that are recommended for workers who are on their feet. Seeing as long shifts can be extra stress on your lower limbs, you want to make sure the shoes offer plenty of support, with a thick sole and footbed. Ideally, the shoes would be non-slip or slip resistant (check to see if your facility had any requirements). Here are a few suggestions:
Dansko is amongst the most popular choices for people who are constantly on their feet. The company is known for their reliable, good-for-your-feet choices, such as their Wynn shoe. A slip-resistant outsole, superior shock absorption, and a thick midsole ensure optimal support and comfort.
Hoka One One’s Arahi 3 is technically an orthopedic shoe, but it’s also a great asset for traveling nurses. It’s available in a few different color combos, including more vibrant swatches and neutral options, and features “a refined midsole and improved heel rocker.” Its upper sole is made of breathable mesh, so your feet won’t get as hot throughout a shift.
These clogs are easy to slide into if you’re in a rush to get to your shift. It has a large toe box and a slip-resistant sole that is also a heel-to-toe rocker. If the $120 price tag seems daunting, Timberland offers a 4-part payment plan.
Other brands with comfortable, supportive footwear:
Other suggestion of what to wear & have with you during your shift:
- If you have long hair, bring a hair tie or two so you can pull back any loose ends.
- Two pairs of shoes – wear the first pair during your first half, then switch into the second. Footbeds can decompress over a certain period of time, so this will help keep your foot supported.
- If you’re breaking in shoes, wear thick socks to prevent blisters.
- A sweater, in case you get cold on your break or want to feel a little more homey when you have free time.
One of the most challenging aspects of being a nurse is managing your emotions. When you’re a travel nurse, this often means you don’t have your core support system by your side to balance the long shift and emotional-draining days that come with being a nurse. Some days, especially when anxiety levels are higher than usual, handling your emotions can seem like an impossible task. Nonetheless, you still have to power through and continue duty as usual.
Focus on Self-Care
When your job is to care for others all day, it’s easy to forget about caring for yourself. However, the best way to handle your emotions is by focusing on self-care. From making sure you’re eating healthy, taking time to do things you enjoy, and caring for your mental health.
Even with hectic schedules, you can still find a few minutes to focus on self-care. The best way to incorporate self-care into your lifestyle is by setting a time on your schedule. Set 15-minutes to a daily lecture, go for a walk outside, or something as simple as taking a hot shower at the end of the day.
Work on Your Emotional Intelligence
One of the most critical skills you’ll develop as a nurse is your emotional intelligence. One study says emotional intelligence (EI) can be 2x as important as technical skills. Successful nurses have an above-average EI, which will be essential to manage your emotions.
Working on your EI will not help boost your professional career, as people with high EI tend to be more empathetic. But, it will also help you manage how other people’s emotions affect you. Some ways to work on your emotional intelligence include:
- Practicing self-awareness
- Motivating yourself to do what you love
- Staying open to feedback
Find a Support System
In any job, especially in nursing, finding “your person,” one you can go to for support and venting. Having this kind of support at work is paramount, particularly for dealing with highly emotional days. Find a person that you can trust, that lets you describe how you’re feeling, and shares frustrations but also is as passionate as you’re about nursing.
Additionally, working on maintaining your support system back home. If your family isn’t close, make sure you reach out to them whenever possible. Phone calls, text messages, and video calls are all wonderful ways to stay connected with your family.
Have a Safe Space
While having friends at work helps take time off and relax, you also need a safe space. Find a safe space at work you can resort to whenever you need a few minutes for yourself. Consider this safe space your venting space to cry, deep breathe, sit for a minute or two. Don’t be picky about this spot. The bathroom, an empty patient room, or a staff break room can also be helpful.
Practice Deep Breathing
The power of breathing can do wonders for managing your emotions. All you need is five minutes to reset yourself. Whenever you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or experiencing emotional stress on the job, a deep breathing practice can help.
One of the most popular and effective breathing technique is the 4-7-8 technique. Here’s how to do it:
- Exhale making a whoosh sound.
- Close your lips, breathe in for four.
- Hold your breath for seven counts.
- Exhale and open your lips, making a whooshing sound for eight counts.
When you take time to practice deep breathing, make sure you do so in a quiet and calm space. Remember that you can’t control everything, deep breath can help you regain control of your emotions.
Know When to Seek Help
While we can do many things to manage our emotions as nurses, sometimes it isn’t enough. Recognize that sometimes talking to a professional can be beneficial. A mental health professional can help you find the right techniques for managing your anxiety levels. Try to carve time in your schedule to visit a therapist or talk in a support group.
If you’re noticing that your anxiety levels are higher, you’re struggling with depressive episodes, or you’re having a harder time than usual processing emotions, it might be time to speak to someone.
Handling Your Emotions Is an Ongoing Process
Every day is a different hurdle. If you have a difficult patient or an emotional case, know that it’s okay to cry, to feel stressed, or to need a break. It’s fine to need to talk away from the situation.
Remember that handling your emotions is an ongoing process. Take time to focus on your emotional intelligence. Find a mentor how can couch you through emotionally-challenging situations. And practice self-awareness in your life. Recognizing and managing your emotions as a travel nurse will benefit your professional and personal life.
If you ever need help with assignments, handling the stress of continually moving, or need the right assistance to find help. Don’t forget to reach out to your agency recruiter for help.
For travel nurses, understanding how compact nursing states operate is paramount for an established, long-term career in the field. Having a multi-state license is not only a must-have as a travel nurse, but it is also a mechanism to ensure you’re practicing nursing under legal standards that apply to most of the states you work.
What’s the Nursing Licensure Compact?
The Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), which started back in 1977, is an agreement that allows nurses to have a single license that permits them to practice in multiple states. To this date, there are 34 states which have ruling NLC legislation available, which means they recognize a multi-state license or have this legislation currently pending.
What about the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC)
Stemming from the Nursing Licensure Compact, in 2018, legislation that adopted new requirements for nurses to work in these compact states became available. The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) ensures nurses with the flexibility, time-saving, and lower expenses of taking on travel assignments in any of the participant states. Not to mention, nurses are now able to practice in-person or through telehealth from their home state of licensure or any other eNLC state. There are currently 29 stats with the eNLC legislature.
Who’s Grandfather Under this Agreement?
Members of the original NLC may be grandfather into the eNLC. Any nurse who held a multi-state license before July 2017 may be grandfathered. To verify if you’re part of this group, visit nursys.com and enter your license number on their QuickConfirm form to confirm you have the authority to practice.
Why the Nursing Compact States Are Important
As a travel nurse, you already understand the implications of working in multiple states. The Nursing Licensure Compact aims to remove these complications and make it easier for nurses to work across state lines. The NLC allows you to get rid of multiple renewal requirements and fees while expanding your mobility and giving you access to a nation-wide healthcare system of nurses.
Eligibility for Compact Nursing License
First of all, only nurses who declare a compact state as their primary state of residence may be eligible for a multi-state license. If you don’t live in a compact state, you will be limited to a single-state license that is valid in that state only and might require other single-state licenses if you want to work in another state. As a resident of a noncompact state, you can apply to as many single-state licenses as you want.
If you do live in a compact state, some of the eligibility requirements include:
- Primary residence in an NLC state.
- Have an active license as a registered nurse (RN) or licensed professional nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN),
- Meet specific requirements held by your home state and of the state where your practice is.
- Pass an NCLEX Nurse Examination.
Keep in mind that an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) isn’t eligible for a multi-state license and must hold an individual state license in each state of APRN practice.
Current List of Nursing Compact States
Here’s the latest list of nursing compact states. Keep in mind that more states are continuing to adopt the multi-state license requirements and offerings.
- New Hampshire*
- New Jersey
- New Mexico*
- North Carolina*
- North Dakota*
- South Carolina*
- South Dakota*
- West Virginia*
*These are states that have an existing eNLC legislation.
Additionally, these are the states with NLC legislation currently pending:
- Rhode Island
Thankfully, over 50% of the states are members of the eNLC legislation, which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to move across states.
How to Apply for a Compact Nursing License
Once you’re sure you meet all the requirements, you can start the process on your state board of nursing website. Find the application form, often listed under “eNLC Upgrade Application” or “Apply for a multi-state license.”
Go through the application progress, if you need assistance, working with a travel nurse agent can be helpful. Then, complete the mandatory fingerprint scan and background check, which will occur at an approved center in your residential state.
After this step, usually a few days or after a couple of weeks, you will receive your new multi-state license in the mail. Once you receive this license, you should be ready to practice in all participatory eNLC states.
Remember to check your current license status. There’s a possibility that your current nursing license is a valid multi-state one. If you’re unsure, check your eligibility using the website mentioned above for verification.
Whether you’re just getting started as a travel nurse or you’re a seasoned nurse, working with a travel agency to ensure your multi-state license is valid and active can place you at an advantage with other nurses. Make sure to reach out to your coordinator or travel nurse agent to go over requirements, updates, and any other processes needed to be able to practice nursing in compact states. At Stability Healthcare, our recruiters and staff members are always available to answer your questions and guide you through the process of obtaining your multi-state license.