To quote Saoirse Ronan in Ladybird, “I wish I could live through something.” 2002 may have only been a palindrome, but living in 2020 certainly constitutes LIVING through something. We are facing unprecedented times, as the news likes to remind us constantly. And if you’re a nurse working on the front lines, you’re in the eye of the hurricane (yes, I have been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack a little too often since it came out on Disney+).
People journal for a lot of different reasons: to keep record of different periods of their life that they can pass down to future generations; to work out their feelings at the end of a rough day; even just to have something to look back on a year from now and think, “Wow, my life was so different then.” All of these reasons feel particularly pertinent today. And if you’re traveling to different nursing placements, every month can feel like a different lifetime.
If you weren’t an avid journaler before, or if you could never picture yourself putting pen to paper every day, this might be the time to reconsider. Here’s a guide to help you get started.
Step 1: Figure out what kind of journaler you want to be
A lot of people are repelled from journaling because they have one idea in their mind of what keeping a journal is. But that’s the beauty of a journal, it’s yours! You can decide to do whatever you want with it. There is no wrong way to journal, except to not do it at all.
You should find the way that’s most suited to your personality. If you’re a type-A person who loves color-coded binders and keeps track of all your pens throughout life, you might be suited to the bullet journal journey. If you’re someone who is allergic to routine, and whose hand cramps up after a few sentences of writing, start smaller. Write a sentence a day. Think about something you want to log each day, to keep track of, and you can add on as you go.
The most important step to deciding what kind of journal you want to keep is identifying your purpose. Why are you keeping a journal? Is it because you want to have a record of the life you’re living right now? Is it because you want an outlet to express yourself? Is it because your boyfriend is driving you nuts and your friends are tired of hearing about it? Figure this out, and then take into account what kind of personality you have and what is going to be manageable for you. Here are just a few examples of different kinds of journaling.
This may be the most traditional method. You sit down at the end of your day, and you record what happened. For some, this can also be a useful form of meditation. Taking stock of the day behind you and reflecting on it can be peaceful. And you might find out that a seemingly nothing-day held something meaningful after all. The best outcome from keeping a journal like this is you’ll have a detailed record of your life to look back on, either with fondness or with horror, depending on the day probably. But if you’re someone who struggles with your attention-span and you’re questioning whether this whole journaling thing is worth it to begin with, this might not be the best place to start. Just writing what happened moment to moment in your day can feel redundant and mundane, and then you won’t get excited about journaling. If this sounds like you, abort! Try a different kind of journaling first.
Journals can be meaningful but they can also be functional. In this case, your journal is serving your goals, whatever they may be. Maybe you’ve made a goal to meditate or do yoga every day. Keeping a journal logging your meditation hours can help hold you accountable. Some people keep food diaries which can be useful in tracking recipes and coming up with future ideas — these can also just be funny. Maybe you’ve started a new prescription and you’re trying to keep track of how it’s affecting you day by day. The possibilities are endless. But this is a good kind of journal for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time. It’s also an easy place to start for someone who isn’t used to journaling regularly. Sometimes a daily log can be limited to a sentence or two. It’s easy and not as scary as chronicling your whole day.
For the more introspective journaler, sometimes it’s not about writing what happened during your day, but how you’re feeling at the moment you’re journaling. If you feel like it’s cheesy to begin a journal entry with “Dear Diary, today I…,” you’re not alone. But there are ways to talk about your day without recapping what happened. These kinds of journals can be considered stream of consciousness journals. Let your thoughts flow onto the page and don’t worry whether they make sense grammatically or if your handwriting is even legible. It may be odd to think of journaling as a form of meditation, but your thoughts are usually running at a pace much faster than your hand can write. So when you try and capture these thoughts and feelings, you have to slow your mind down, and make enough sense of what you’re feeling that you can formulate sentences. It can be a release to put what’s going on in your head into something tangible. This type of journal can feel a little less like a chore for someone who verges on right-brained. When keeping a journal like this, it’s good to remember that you’re not writing for anyone but you. You don’t have to hide anything or keep anything from your journal in fear of someone else reading it. You could even burn these after you’ve filled them up.
Sometimes your journals don’t have to be about YOU at all. If you’re someone who has always had a knack for writing, but you’re not confident enough to share that talent publicly, a journal can be a great way to hone your writing voice. You could look for writing prompts online and challenge yourself to write short essays or stories before you go to bed. Or maybe this is a journal you keep on you at all times, so you can jot things down anytime inspiration strikes. If you want a really good perspective on how to incorporate writing into your daily life, read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
The Stresser (Mental Health Journaling)
This journal, in some ways, is a cross between a reflection journal and a tracker journal. But with one key goal is maintaining and staying aware of your mental health. Particularly if you’ve taken the step of starting therapy or counseling, these kinds of journals can be incredibly useful. The things that stress us out, make us sad or angry or depressed, can change day to day, but there’s usually an overarching theme, a thread connecting all of these triggers. If you’re seeking professional help, or even talking to friends and family, it can be easy to focus on the particulars, the things that are stressing you out in the specific moment. But if you keep a journal of how you are feeling every day, it becomes an incredible tool for working through the larger challenges in your life. Try taking 30 minutes every night to write down anything that hurt you or upset you during the day, and even the things that made you happy. Then read what you’ve written at the end of the week or month and see if you can begin to see patterns forming.
Now there are literal dream journals and metaphorical dream journals. Both are really, really fun! If you’re someone who has a lot of whacky dreams that you remember really well, keep a literal dream journal. But also a journal can be a great place to plan your future, to reflect on the person you want to be. Especially if you’re in a placement far from your home and you’re having a tough time at work, keeping a journal where you can visualize what life might be like in the years to come can be calming. Maybe accompany this kind of journal with a vision board of where you want to go next.
Step 2: Find the right journal
Now we’re getting to the fun part: deciding on your medium. A journal doesn’t have to be a leatherbound book filled with blank pages, although if you’re a romantic then it certainly can be. But you want to figure out what medium suits your routine and lifestyle best. For some people, this means the notes page on your MacBook or an app on your phone. Or even a google doc.
Although, there is some evidence to suggest that writing by hand is better. Some research shows that writing with a pen and paper can help us process and understand concepts better. That’s why rewriting all your notes the day before an exam can be a useful studying method. Writing by hand can be cathartic, since in the modern world, we don’t do it very often.
But if you feel disgusted by your own handwriting and putting pen to paper is becoming a barrier, transition to a journaling app. There are some apps or websites that will block all other notifications or websites while you’re writing, so you can have a completely clear headspace.
If you are going the traditional route, don’t be afraid to splurge on a journal that will make you happy aesthetically. It might seem silly, but if you love rainbows and the color yellow, and your journal is yellow with rainbow stickers on it, you might have a more positive association with it. Same goes with pens!
Step 3: Develop a routine and hold yourself accountable
The most important part of journaling is actually doing the journaling. Once you’ve decided what you want out of a journal and how you plan on journaling, it’s time to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Decide what time of day is best for you to journal. Is it in the morning while you’re drinking coffee? Is it sitting up in your bed in the evening? Maybe it’s something you want to log throughout the day. All of that will depend on what kind of journal you’re writing. But find ways to encourage yourself to keep the habit up. Perfection is the enemy of good. Give yourself a break if you miss a few days and don’t worry if you don’t feel like writing much on certain days. The act of doing it every day, even for a short period of time, is good for the soul.
Bonus: Scrapbooking your placements!
While some people’s lives might be genuinely boring during quarantine, if you’re a travel nurse your life is NEVER boring. So even more reason to document all the places you go. Maybe forgo the journal and get a scrapbook instead. Buy a polaroid camera and take pictures of your different adventures at each placement, write notes about your experience on the back and keep them as reminders of where you’ve been and the people you met along the way.Read More
As COVID-19 cases ramp up again, stress management is key, especially for a travel nurse. If you’re looking for new ways to manage anxiety, natural mind/body remedies can be helpful tools. To some, it might sound like some hippie witchy-woo-woo, but there is research that suggests aromatherapy and essential oils are useful in calming the mind and body. They certainly can’t hurt.
If you’re new to the essential oil game, here are seven oils that are known to help manage stress. You can rub these on your skin, diffuse them into your room, spray them on your clothes, or take a bath in them.
A study in 2013 suggested that inhaling Jasmine oil can promote a sense of well-being and even romance. The scent derived from white flowers has always been popular for it’s sweet fragrance. It even shows up in a number of perfumes. Now some scientists believe it has a calming benefit to the central nervous system, and unlike similar oils, it calms without causing sleepiness. So you can diffuse it in the mornings before work!
Lavender is one of the most common essential oils, and a familiar scent to most. But it’s ability to clear and calm the mind has also been backed up by science. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine asked participants to complete a memory-related task after exposing them to a stresser. Those who had inhaled a lavender aroma prior to the stressor performed better on the test than those who were given a placebo oil. It’s thought to calm anxiety through impacting the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Many use lavender oil as a spray. And in fact a study in the International Journal of Nursing Practice showed that using a 3% lavender oil spray reduced work-related stress for up to four days. You can also take a nice lavender bath by mixing the oil with an unscented bath gel.
Ylang Ylang Oil
Ylang Ylang, a scent derived from the tropical plant native to India, has been proven to reduce blood pressure and stress-hormone levels. It’s an oil better consumed later in the day rather than before work. One study found that while Ylang Ylang limited stress, it also impaired memory and lengthened processing speed.
Lemon Balm Oil
A 2011 study showed that taking lemon balm capsules may help people with mild to moderate anxiety disorders, as well as improve sleep. And when diffused into a room, lemon balm provides a fresh and uplifting scent.
If you’re a fan of Earl Grey, you’ll like this one. Bergamot is derived from a citrus fruit and is the featured aroma in the famous tea. It also may relieve your stress. Several studies show that bergamot can help improve negative emotions. And one study in 2015 linked bergamot to lowering saliva cortisol levels, a hormone often called the body’s “stress hormone.”
If you plan to use bergamot on the skin or in a bath, make sure you combine it with a carrier oil (like avocado or jojoba), as too much bergamot can cause irritation to the skin.
Holy Basil Oil
If flowery scents aren’t your thing, give a few drops of Holy Basil a try. It’s not quite the same basil you’d use to make garlic bread, but it has a similar smell. It contains a compound called eugenol which gives it a minty scent combined with a spicy aroma. One study in 2014 showed that holy basil has the potential to treat mental and physical stress.
Remember, just like the Italian food you’d cook with it, a little bit of holy basil goes a long way. You only need a few drops to diffuse the homey smell into your apartment.
Yuzu oil has been used in Japanese culture for centuries for its therapeutic properties. It is pressed from the fruit peel of the Citrus Junos Tree. Its scent is somewhere between a mandarin and a grapefruit. It’s also a great natural tool for stress relief.
According to a small study back in 2013, yuzu was found to decrease salivary chromogranin A, an indicator of stress. It’s also thought that the essential oil can suppress the sympathetic nervous system, which produces the body’s fight or flight instinct. So yuzu might not be best for a high stakes situation, but it’s great for relaxation.Read More
As Coronavirus cases are ramping up in nearly every state in America, it’s becoming a bit more complicated to be a travel nurse. But if you’re planning to hop on a plane in the next few weeks to your next work destination, this guide has you covered. Here’s everything you should know about how travel is changing right now, and the best tips to staying safe, whether you’re commuting in a plane, train, bus or car.
Top Tips for Traveling Safe
Start planning your “Corona Travel Kit” weeks before you leave
Hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and other sanitary necessities are becoming hot commodities again. If you know you’re traveling, make sure you’re stocked up well ahead of time. And think hard about what you’ll need in various travel situations.
For instance, if you’re flying, you can only carry on a bottle of hand sanitizer that contains 12 ounces or less. So stock up on mini-bottles. And also consider alcohol and Clorox wipes (get both) as a better option for flying. After all, wipes can also sanitize where you’re sitting and putting your hands on. And you can use them to wipe down your phone and wallet. Disposable gloves can be useful too, but make sure not to touch your face with your gloves on.
If you’re driving, there are a couple of other items to consider bringing with you. Keep a package of trash bags handy as your Clorox wipes and disposable gloves begin to pile up. You could also consider buying an air purifier for your car if you’re driving with others.
Avoid shopping while traveling
Whether you’re flying or driving, the most likely way you’d come into contact with strangers is through shopping. Whether it’s buying a snack at a gas station, or a water bottle at the Starbucks near your terminal, this is putting you at extra-risk of interacting with strangers and touching items that others have likely also put their hands on. Just plan ahead and avoid this altogether if you can. Bring more snacks than you think you need, and plan for a packed lunch and possibly dinner, even if you’re flying. Bring an emptied reusable water bottle if you’re flying. And if you’re driving, bring multiple water bottles (though don’t drink so much that you have to stop to pee all the time).
Speaking of peeing, do it at your house before you go!
Cover that face!
It’s human nature to want to touch your face, and it’s a habit that is incredibly difficult to crack. So the easiest way to stop yourself from doing it in a high-risk situation like traveling is to cover as much of your face as possible. Wearing a mask is a given, but also wear your reading glasses or even your sunglasses if you can. It might not take the temptation away, but if you have to take the extra step of taking your glasses off before rubbing your eyes, you’ll have time to realize what you’re doing and quickly put some hand sanitizer on.
Check in to your flight online/ use a carry-on suitcase
Another way to avoid as much human contact as possible while flying is to check in ahead of time online, and try and limit yourself to a carry-on suitcase. That way you can head straight to security and skip a step of standing in line and talking to TSA.
Take a window seat
When you travel by air, you’re actually at quite a limited risk of contracting disease from inhaling particles because of the HEPA air filters found on most planes. But still, it’s hard to abide by the 6-feet-apart social distancing guidelines when you’re crammed in a plane. While you might usually prefer the aisle seat, consider taking the window seat instead. The aisle will put you in close contact with flight attendants and any passenger getting up to use the restroom.
Also, wear a mask for the duration of your flight. We know it sucks. But it will ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
When driving, prepare for the worst
Limiting how many times you stop during a road trip also means prepping as much as you can to avoid emergency stops. AAA isn’t always going to save you, and it will put you in contact with strangers. Also, because of COVID-19, a lot of local repair shops have limited hours. Try and be as self sufficient as you can. Make sure you have a spare tire and jack, and practice changing a tire before you go. Get new wipers, your oil changed and your fluids topped off before you leave. Maybe even have someone who knows cars pretty well take a look at your engine.
As a last resort, look up all the auto-repair shops along your root and jot down their hours and numbers.
Change your mindset
If you’ve been in one place for several months, you might start getting lax about sanitizing your hands, not touching your face, or keeping 6 feet away from others. Even if you’ve been going into a hospital every day, it’s easy to be lulled into a sense of normalcy around this virus as we’re now into month four of the pandemic. So hours before you board a plane or get into a car to travel cross-state, put yourself into a little bit of a panic mode. You don’t want to have so much anxiety about traveling that you freak out and don’t think properly, but a little bit of fear can be powerful. Read a couple articles about the dangers of COVID-19 before you leave the house, to refamiliarize yourself with the risk you’re facing.
Make a checklist
And then once you’re sufficiently scared of this possibly-deadly virus, immediately make a checklist for everything you need to be mindful of before you get into an airport or a car.
- Am I touching my face?
- Am I applying hand sanitizer every 15 minutes or so, or before I touch my face? (You could even make a timer on your phone)
- Has my phone or wallet come in contact with any surface?
- When I’m taking my mask off for any reason, are my hands clean?
- What are the conditions in which it’s okay to take my mask off?
- How can I avoid contact with strangers as much as possible?
- If I’m driving, how many times should I expect to stop?
- Have I wiped down the gas pump before using it?
Plan for after you arrive
If you’re flying into your new destination, make sure you’re thinking about how you’ll get to where you’re staying once you get off the plane. Public transportation has been shut down in many states, and shuttles can be too-close-for-comfort. If you’re going to take an Uber, make sure to keep your mask on and the window down. Also look up where the pick-up location for ride-shares and taxis is before you land.
Also, if you’re staying in an AirBnb or some other temporary lodging, go to the state website and see if they’ve placed any kind of guidelines or restrictions on lodging. Some places like Maine, require you to present a negative COVID-19 test to the owners of your AirBnB or hotel.
The best way to limit your travel and stress levels? Get tested for COVID-19 before you head out, and after you arrive. Make sure you get your test in time to have the results back before you leave, and try to quarantine as best you can while waiting for results.
Some states or workplaces ask that you get a test within 24 hours of arriving in your city. But if this isn’t your situation, try and wait four or five days after traveling to get tested. It’s more likely your test will be accurate if you wait a few days beyond when you think you might have been exposed. If you’re forced to take a test right when you get into the city, maybe take another one a week later, just to be safe.
Navigating travel restrictions
As states like Texas and Florida have begun seeing more cases than ever before, some other states are closing or restricting their borders to outside travelers coming from certain areas. If you’re traveling on assignment, these restrictions don’t necessarily all apply to you. Most states have made exceptions for essential workers, but it is still important to know all the rules before you travel. This will allow you to plan ahead and possibly arrive in a city a few weeks before your assignment starts if you are expected to quarantine. Restrictions can change week-by-week and even day-by-day, but here are some of the states that have travel restrictions as of Thursday, July 2.
Connecticut, New York and New Jersey
Governors of the tri-states all came together late in June and decided they would place restrictions on travelers coming from high COVID areas. Travelers coming from a state that has a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average are expected to quarantine for 14 days.
These states as of Thursday are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. You can always check for updates here.
Each of the three states has slightly varied exemptions for essential workers and short-term travel, as well as enforcement.
In New York, essential workers, which includes almost any kind of health care worker, “should seek diagnostic testing for COVID-19 as soon as possible upon arrival (within 24 hours) to ensure they are not positive.” They’re also directed to avoid spending prolonged time in public places or congregate settings for at least 7 days. So don’t go to the outdoor patio bar until you’ve gotten your COVID test results back. If you are reported or caught violating any of these travel restrictions in New York, you’re subject to a $2,000 fine. Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t gone into great detail about what enforcement will look like, but you might want to have some kind of hospital or work identification with you at all times, especially in the airport. You can read the full travel advisory here.
Connecticut’s travel policy is a little more lax. It simply states that travelers who work in critical infrastructure as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are exempt from quarantine. You might want to call the helpline if you are working somewhere that is not an Emergency Room, because the CISA only designates “emergency medical services” as essential. Connecticut has no fine for violators of the quarantine. “It will be up to individuals to abide by the advisory.”
Finally, New Jersey says that anyone “traveling for business” is exempt from the quarantine rule. While vague, this should include travel nurses. And the quarantine is technically voluntary.
At the start of June, New Mexico reinstated its order that outside travelers from anywhere must self-quarantine for 14 days. Healthcare workers are excluded from this policy, but if you have friends or family traveling with you, check out all the rules related to travel quarantine here.
Rhode Island’s list of states subject to travel restrictions is even longer than the tri-state list. You can check out the current 24 states here. If you’re traveling from one of these states, you are expected to quarantine for 14 days, OR you can get a COVID-19 test and only quarantine until you receive negative results.
If you need to go to work straight away, you can also get a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to your arrival in Rhode Island, and the restrictions will be waived when your results come back negative.
Maine requires that all travelers coming from anywhere except New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, quarantine for 14 days, or get a COVID-19 negative test result shortly before or after arriving. Maine is particularly strict with its policy, and requires non-residents to sign a Certificate of Compliance indicating either that they have received a negative COVID-19 test result or that they will quarantine in Maine for 14 days. If you’re staying in an Airbnb, hotel or any other kind of lodging, you’ll be expected to present this Certificate of Compliance to the owner of said establishment. Essential workers are exempt from this.
Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts
To check out the details of all these states’ travel restrictions, go to this Southwest page. Southwest, and most other airlines, keep track of all the changing travel restrictions on their home sites, so keep checking them regularly to see if any of these policies might affect you.
Itching to travel to your next destination?
Now that you’re informed about how to keep yourself safe while traveling, are you ready to pick a new nursing gig? Remember that with Stability Healthcare, you can easily find great travel nursing placements. Sign up today!
People have various reasons for becoming a travel nurse. For one, there’s the flexibility of time off between contracts. Then, there’s the opportunity to travel. But, with the average nursing student graduating with anywhere between $40,000 and $54,900 in debt, the pay difference compared to being a staff nurse, is reason enough to choose this lifestyle.
However, as a travel nurse, tackling your student loan debt, in addition to your traveling debt can seem quite the challenge. Don’t despair, the fact that you’re currently working as a travel nurse will help you tremendously to tackle your loans and become debt-free.
Understand Your Debt
To tackle your debt efficiently, you must understand how each one works. For example, most student loans have fluctuating interest rates and high fees. On the other hand, credit card debts tend to have high-interest rates too. But then, you have something like a mortgage, which hopefully has a fixed rate.
Most people assume tackling their most significant debt first should be their strategy. However, most financial experts agree that handling your debts with the highest interest rates, fluctuating rates, or high fees, should be your priority.
For example, the average student loan carries an interest rate of 4.53% to 7.08%. But, the average interest rate on credit cards is 15.09%. So, following the one-debt-at-a-time technique, you should focus on your credit card payments first, and then, start tackling your student loan.
Of course, each case will be different. If you’re struggling with multiple debts and loans, consider speaking to a financial expert that can help guide your decision on how to tackle debt.
Cut Down Expenses Back Home
Once you’re aware of the structure of your debt, it’s time to find ways to save more money. One way to do that? By cutting expenses back home. Check if your house qualifies as a tax home, and if there are some tax deductions, you can benefit from every year. Perhaps you can deduct meals, certain travel expenses, and even professional expenses.
If you own a home, consider if there’s a possibility to rent out a room while you’re gone. If you live by yourself, maybe listing your place on Airbnb while you’re on assignment can help you bring in additional income. Ask your cable and Internet provider to see if you can pause the service for the months you’ll be on assignment.
Otherwise, do your best to downside your permanent home and figure out ways to cut down on expenses such as gardening, utilities, and so on.
Set Up an Assignment Budget
Having a budget will help you get a better idea of where you’re spending money. Working long hours and fluctuating schedules can easily change your perspective on spending. Between transportation expenses, rent, travel arrangments, taxes, and so on, it can be easy to drop large sums of money without realizing it. Thus, ending up with more debt than ever before.
As you create your budget, set different categories for your recurring expenses, for example:
- Food and dining
- Personal products
Give yourself some wiggle room in each one of these categories to have some potential money leftover.
Then, once you can see how much money is left over, you can create a separate budget to allocate a payment towards paying your debts. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan, list your debts by priorities, and highlight how much you will be able to pay each month.
Control Your Travel Expenses
Even though, as a travel nurse, you spend most of the days working, travel expenses can add up quickly. Make sure you’re using the budget to help you stay on track with your expenses. Analyze where you can cut down:
- Consider driving towards your assignment city versus flying
- Think about finding a roommate(s) to divide living expenses
- Choose smaller towns that have lower living-costs than larger cities
- Avoid eating out as much as possible
- Analyze the pros and cons of using public transportation versus renting a vehicle
Overall, being mindful of your expenses will help you work towards minimizing your debt in the long run. If you’re able to stick with your budget, managing your expenses shouldn’t be an issue.
Keep in mind that life happens, and as a travel nurse, shifts can often be everchanging, making your expenses the last thing on your mind. Consider syncing your bank account and credit cards to a budget app on your smartphone to stay organized. Make sure you have automatic payments set up for your credit cards to avoid late-fees. Set up reminders or auto-pays for your non-high-priority debts, so you can at least pay the minimum balance each month.
The Benefits of Being a Travel Nurse
Travel nurses earn slightly more than staff nurses, placing you at an advantage to tackle your debt. If you’re able to track your expenses, take advantage of tax deductions for travel nurses, and set up your budget, most likely, you’ll be able to pay off your debt.
It might be challenging in the beginning, and cut-cutting measurements might take time to become habits, but you can do this. Remember that all of these steps towards a debt-free life are somewhat temporary. Once you’re able to get rid of your most burdening debts, you’ll have to adjust your budget to make sure you remain debt-free going forward.
If you work with a travel nurse agency, remember to tap into their resources. Most travel agencies can help you with housing and travel expenses by pairing you with partners or other travel nurses. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an agent and discuss your debt situation. While they might not provide financial assistance, they might be able to offer solutions to help you control your expenses.
Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day—and for good reason. Not only will it replenish the nutrients in your body but it’ll also boost your energy levels.
Whether you’re coming home from your night shift or getting ready to head out for your day shift, it’s definitely not something that you want to skip! Here are a few healthy recipes that you might want to try.
1. Avocado Toast (With Optional Egg)
Avocado toast is both easy to make and delicious. Start by toasting two slices of bread—you want it to be golden and crispy.
From there, peel and mash one small avocado. Add in a teaspoon of lime juice and some salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the avocado evenly onto your toast. If you prefer, you can also top it with a boiled egg, poached egg, or scrambled egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Yogurt and Berry Smoothie
This recipe is great for those with busy schedules as it takes less than five minutes to make. The first step is to gather your ingredients—we recommend using 3/4 cup of blackberries and 3/4 cup of blueberries.
Add the berries to a blender. Next, add in one cup of soy milk, one whole banana, and one pack of plain Greek yogurt. Pulse for 30 seconds.
Mix well with a fork and pulse for another 30 seconds. Serve immediately or put it in the fridge until ready to serve.
3. Cheesy Spinach Microwave Quiche
Believe it or not but you can make a quiche in the microwave. Start by adding 1/2 cup of fresh spinach into a mug. Add in two tablespoons of water.
Cover the mug with a paper towel and microwave for one minute on high. Drain the water from the spinach.
Crack an egg into the mug. Add in 1/3 cup of milk as well as 1/3 cup of shredded cheese. Mix with a fork until everything is thoroughly combined.
Cover with a paper towel and microwave again for 2-3 minutes on high.
4. Banana Chia Seed Pudding
Puree two ripe bananas and 1 1/2 cup of milk in a blender. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. It can be refrigerated for up to a week if you store it in an airtight container.
Making Healthy Meals For Breastfast
And there we have it—four quick and tasty breakfast recipes. The best part is that you can make them easily anytime—whether it’s before or after your shift. After all, you can’t work on an empty stomach!
Are you a travel nurse? Thinking of broadening your knowledge and experience? Feel free to give our online platform a try—we offer exciting travel nursing opportunities that can expand your career prospects.
Interested? Check out our travel nursing jobs page for more!Read More
If you have the drive to help people by changing or saving their lives, then becoming an ICU nurse could be a potential career choice for you. But ICU nurses are a special make of people — not everyone can handle the pressure of an intensive care unit and the chance to save a life.
But if you believe you have what it takes to fill the shoes of a real-life hero, here’s what you need to know about pursuing a career as an ICU nurse.
What is the Exact Role of an ICU Nurse?
These types of nurses are absolutely crucial to the successful operation and management of any hospital and most importantly, the intensive care unit.
The ICU’s primary focus is to take care of people who have suffered some form of trauma, a life-threatening accident, had major surgery, organ failure, heart attack, and stroke. The ICU also looks after cancer patients who have reached a very critical point in their care.
The role of an ICU nurse is to oversee the care of a patient in an ICU unit by continually reading and monitoring their vital signs. Often times, a patient’s life falls into their hands. If their vitals are deteriorating rapidly, it’s the ICU nurse’s job to notify the right person, in the best time-frame. In some cases, an ICU nurse will have to take an intervention into their own hands. They are also required to speak with family members and doctors on a regular basis.
Most patients who go into ICU are in critical condition. Some of the most common conditions an ICU nurse will face include:
- Post-operative patients who have received an organ transplant or open-heart surgery
- Trauma patients who are recovering from near-fatal incidences such as a car accident, shooting, or assault
- Infectious patients who are suffering from dangerous conditions such as sepsis
- Stroke patients who are in need of post-operative care and physical therapy
- Cancer patients admitted for recovery after intensive chemotherapy, transplant surgery, or infection
The role of an ICU nurse is an important and stressful job — no doubt about it. But it can also be very rewarding. Learning to handle the stress of a critical moment and find your focus is essential.
Critical Traits of an ICU Nurse
So, in order to become an ICU nurse what kind of person do you need to be? Some of the over-arching qualities include:
- An ability to handle the pressure of life-and-death situations
- Being a good communicator
- Being a true team player
- Being able to multi-task
- Having commitment and dedication to working long shifts
- A knack for critical thinking
- Above-par time management skills
Aside from these personal traits, it’s also important that an ICU nurse is in good physical health. This job requires you to be on your feet for many hours a day, so physical stamina is part-and-parcel of the position.
Dealing with Difficult Situations
The atmosphere of an ICU unit can be super-charged one minute, and relatively somber the next. Being able to separate yourself emotionally from this vast range in work atmosphere is crucial.
Ultimately, an ICU nurse has to remember how important their job is and not let their own personal feelings come in the way of a life-and-death decision. But this is not to say you cannot feel or express empathy. In fact, this is another important part of the job. ICU nurses often deal with traumatic, end-of-life situations. You should be able to offer both psychological support and empathy to family members.
The same goes for applying or withholding medical care when a patient has a living will in place. If their wish is to not be kept on life support, it is your job to obey their wishes. This may feel like a completely unnatural part of the job. It goes against everything nurses are taught about saving lives. But if this is a legal wish, it must be honored.
Salary, Education and Nursing Skills
According to national data, the median annual salary for an ICU nurse is approximately $75,119 as of April 2020. However, this amount does range between $67,691 and $81,623. ICU nurses are also privy to a host of benefits including health insurance, paid leave, and 401k plans.
In order to prepare for a long-lasting and truly fulfilling career as an ICU nurse, you will have to meet a number of different qualifications, first. Ideally, you will need to study a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). This should be with an accredited university, including specialized training in life-threatening conditions.
However, a BSN is not always necessary. You can also study an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and will have to pass the NCLEX-RN national exam that qualifies you as a registered nurse. You will also need to gain experience working in a critical care setting, then take an exam to become a critical care registered nurse (CCRN).
Some of the highly specialized, additional skills an ICU nurse should hold include:
- Advanced cardiac life support
- Life support
- Trauma care
- Critical care
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Patient and family education
- Discharge planning
Essentially, a bachelor’s degree lays the important groundwork for a career in nursing. Much of this additional skill is learned through additional courses and most importantly, real-life work experience.
Build a Fulfilling Career in Nursing
If you’re interested in a career as an ICU nurse, Stability Healthcare is here to help you take your nursing career to the next level.
If you’re already a trained and experienced ICU nurse, we also offer exciting travel nursing opportunities to help broaden your experience and knowledge. If you’re interested in a new career challenge, explore our travel nursing jobs for more…Read More
There’s a wealth of podcasts out there targeting many different groups. As a nurse, staying on top of the latest news and educational resources is paramount. But your education doesn’t have to remain limited to a textbook or a guide. Podcasts are an excellent way of listening to what’s happening in the nursing industry, learn tips from seasoned nurses, and learn to cope with the ins and outs of being a nurse.
So, next time you have a few minutes to spare between shifts, your commute, or on your days off, tune-in to these podcasts that will help you grow as a nurse.
Listen for: Mental Health Care
Nurses, particularly travel nurses, need to nurture their mental health. Working with emotional cases, dealing with high levels of stress, and sometimes being at the forefront of chaos, can be mentally and emotionally drawing. Meditation Minis Podcast helps you focus on your mental health. Most episodes are around 10 minutes, which means they’re the perfect podcast to listen during shifts when you’re having a rough day at work. Plus, they follow a friendly setting that’s not intimidating for meditation beginners.
Listen for: Continuing Education
A must-listen for nurses everywhere. NRSNG features current content centered around nurses’ education and professional interests. From personal journeys to the latest developments in the nursing industry, this podcast covers it all. Tune-in to listen from an extensive network of certified nurses and special guests that bring a fresh, real-life perspective to nursing education and the nursing profession.
Listen for: Travel Nursing Insight
Maybe you’re a travel nurse looking for ideas on how to optimize your assignments. Or, perhaps you’re an RN looking to explore the world of travel nursing. No matter in which bucket you fall, this podcast will be your go-to place of everything travel-nursing related. Listen for an unscripted insight into travel nurses everywhere. Look out for new episodes sharing advice, personal stories, and the latest developments in the travel nursing industry. Even if you’re not planning on ever becoming a travel nurse, this podcast stills offers tips and solutions that can benefit any RN in the field today.
Listen for: Self-Care and Self Help
Even the most seasoned nurses know the importance of self-help/ This podcast, hosted by Robert Duff Ph.D., answers mental health questions without the BS. When you’re listening to the podcast, you feel as if you’re talking to that very frank friend who isn’t afraid of telling you the facts straight. The podcast explores mental health topics like depression and borderline personality disorder, which can come in handy for nurses dealing with patients in these conditions. But, it goes a bit further talking about topics like perfectionism, which might be quite common among nurses.
Listen for: Real-life Insight Into Nursing
While nurses work with many people all the time, it’s easy to feel lonely and misunderstood. This podcast is a nurse favorite because you’re talking to nursing professionals that go through the same experience as you are. Each podcast episode, hosted by two registered nurses. One nurse shares personal stories to impart motivation and inspiration, while the other taps into the darker side of nursing, not everyone talks about.
Topics range from daily issues nursing professionals face in their professional and personal lives to hospital challenges and workplace bullying. Expect to hear everything about the flu, nursing frustrations, and mental health in the workplace. The Good Nurse Bad Nurse podcast is an excellent option for everyone in the nursing field, but it’s a must-listen for nursing students or those looking to venture into this exciting field.
These are some of the podcasts you should be listening to right now. There are thousands of podcasts available online talking about nursing, mental health, family, wellness, even fitness. Tune-in to these podcasts whenever you have spare time, while on your commute, or as you’re filling in paperwork. A few minutes a day can make a huge difference in your day, so whenever you feel down, or you feel a bit lost, listen to one of these podcasts to stay updated, guided, and ready to go.
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
The night shift…someone has to do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s anyone’s first choice of schedule. Whether you’re stuck with your first night shifts and aren’t sure how you’re going to make it through or you’re a veteran night-shifter looking for some new ways to stay alert and survive the night, here are some tried and true tips from nurses who’ve been in your shoes.
Eat and drink smart to stay awake
Besides relying on your caffeinated drink of choice, drink a ton of water so there’s no chance of dehydration making you more tired than you need to be. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks are definitely essential, but also be careful to use them properly so you don’t end up fading when they wear off. If you’re getting tired, chew gum or eat licorice; the intense flavors are great for a boost of focus and energy, plus the act of chewing itself keeps your body a bit more awake. And plan your “dinner” time for around 1 a.m., or whenever you might start really dragging during the shift. Pick snacks that give a good healthy energy boost, things with plenty of protein are good picks. The “grazing method” of small snacks throughout the shift can be another good way to continuously get a bit more energy.
Even if you’re on a slow shift or are working on desk work, get up and move often. Walk around the building or your station. If you need to wake up even more, do lunges or other simple exercises up and down the hallway or at your workstation.
Make sure you’ll make it home safely
Before getting in a car to drive home (if you are driving yourself), be sure that you’re completely awake and safe to make it all the way back. If you have any doubt, there’s no harm in taking a fifteen-minute nap in your car to recharge enough to get home safely. If you think you’re safe to drive but still want to be sure to stay alert, there are plenty of classic ways to do so–blast music, keep the windows down, and keep chewing gum or eating licorice.
Find ways to keep your mind active on the job
Typically night shifts are the busier or more demanding times to work, but if you’re on a slow shift or location, finding good ways to keep your mind busy or fun ways to fill breaks is a good idea. Obviously talking to other coworkers on the same shift is the easiest and best way to stay up and get some more enjoyment out of work. But if you want to fill some time in other ways, read for a bit, catch up on work-related news or projects, or listen to music quietly at your station even while working (if you can).
Find a smart sleep cycle
Of course, when working nights sleeping during the day is not only helpful but necessary. If you find it hard to get enough sleep during daytime hours, invest in blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out the light (which can be hard to adjust to). Be sure to find time during the day when you’ll be able to have a quiet house or bedroom to get enough sleep to survive the next night. And if you can, be smart about grouping shifts–try to work 2-3 night shifts in a row, then sleep as much as possible in between them and flip your sleep schedule on your days off.