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
Almost 85% of all registered nurses (RNs) are working in the nursing field in jobs in the hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing care facilities, and schools to name a few.
A house supervisor is a role occupied by experienced registered nurses with Basic Life Support certification from the American Heart Association and an active professional license.
When it comes to addressing patient care and staffing concerns, let’s look at the responsibilities of a nurse supervisor or house sup, and the opportunities available.
Responsibilities of a House Sup
What does a nursing house supervisor do? The nurse supervisor job description includes the following:
- dealing with patient care issues
- attending to staffing matters
- supervise the nurses and other staff
- administrative tasks
- leading and directing the nurses and staff as they care for patients
- assure the quality of care
- staff development
- maintain nursing guidelines
Their role is mainly to supervise, direct, and lead a team of nurses and staff as they care for patients and perform other related duties.
Nurse Supervisor Job Duties
House supervisor job duties are extensive. They develop and interpret infection-control policies and protocols to protect patients and employees.
They coordinate with the patient, the patient’s family, and the physician to make sure the patient’s needs are being met and to resolve any problems that have come up.
They enforce the administration of medications, proper storage procedures, and regulations for controlled substances.
They document patient care services, ensure medical equipment is working properly by testing and overseeing preventative maintenance and calling for repairs when needed, and evaluate new equipment.
They are in charge of how confidential information is processed to protect patient medical records. They attend professional development workshops and keep abreast of new policies and protocols.
They keep an inventory of all nursing supplies through usage reports, looking at the present trends, and evaluating future needs. They also fill out supply requisitions and allocate money for supplies.
Nurse House Supervisor Salary
The average yearly US salary for a house sup is $77, 500. Some positions have bonuses and profit-sharing which can bring the salary up to $115,000.
The average varies greatly in different parts of the country. For example, in Indiana, the median salary for a house sup is $100,000. In California, a house sup salary rises to $114,000.
Advance Your Career
Now that you have some information on the role and responsibilities of a house sup, it’s time to get started on your next career move. House sups can go on to become nurse managers, executive directors, CEOs, directors of human resources, clinical directors, and more after having years of experience.
Are you ready to experience the freedom of a traveling nursing job? Sign up with us to find the best assignments in the locations you desire. Set your preferences in regard to location, pay, and schedule and you’ll be able to connect with your next assignment right from your phone.
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
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.
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.
Travel nursing opens you up to see much more of the country, live in new places, and explore more work opportunities and connections than you otherwise could in a traditional role. We’ve got all you need to help you find the best travel nursing jobs.
There are a lot of tips and tricks out there from experienced travel nurses; helpful solutions to ensure that you make the best of your time as a travel nurse and end up with the best placements and agencies for your needs. Choosing travel nursing is a commitment, so you want to be sure you get the best opportunities while you explore this exciting field!
Working with Your Recruiter
One key step for finding great jobs is finding a great recruiter and developing a good relationship with them. Your recruiter is your primary go-between for you and the best possible jobs and healthcare facilities. They act as a mentor, providing guidance as you start and progress your career. A good recruiter prioritizes your wants and needs for an assignment and finds you the best placement for your lifestyle, while also answering questions and advising along the way.
This means that the first step in getting great jobs is finding a recruiter you trust and work well with. A frustrating or stressful recruiter is only going to make your job-finding process unpleasant, the last thing you want as you embark on new assignments.
Here are some quick ways to tell that you’ve found a good recruiter:
- They respond to your emails quickly. You shouldn’t have to wait more than a day or two to hear from them if you have questions or requests.
- They’re organized with the information they provide and don’t ask you for last-minute paperwork or information, causing unneeded stress.
- They’re experienced. They’ve helped plenty of other traveling nurses and know the ins and outs of finding great placements.
- They don’t leave you out of the loop. If they aren’t providing pay details upfront, change the info at the last minute, or stop returning emails, they’re not putting your needs first.
- They have your interests at heart. You know they’re actually out there putting in the work to find you a great assignment and great pay.
Once you have a recruiter you like and trust, it pays to be respectful and kind to them in return. If they also enjoy working with you, they’re even more likely to put in the extra effort to find you the best jobs. It may seem like common sense, but a good recruiter is the last person you want to be terse or unpleasant toward!
It also helps to be very direct with them. You may be applying in multiple places or have other recruiters. It won’t offend them if you let them know all the other places you’re in talks with, applications you’re putting in, and recruiters you’re working with. The only thing it will do is help them get a better understanding of your needs and plan.
Get as Much Info as Possible Up Front
Never consider a company, facility, or placement without getting all the facts. There are countless factors to consider, and if any details are being kept from you, you’re not able to make the best possible decision. Before you ask your recruiter to send your resume for a specific position, make sure you know:
- Pay package details
- Stipends and perks
- Working hours
- Patient load and other facility details
- Orientation process and time frame
- The specific hospital’s location and trauma level
Then do the research and comparison shop. You don’t have to apply to and choose the first job you see. Consider your options. Compare pay packages, benefits, locations, and schedules. If you know you’ll need day or night shift or a flexible schedule, make those considerations a major part of your decisions about where to apply and what placement you’ll accept. Be sure to explore the differences between national and regional agencies. Decide whether you prefer an agency with one point of contact or don’t mind multiple. Explore unique benefits and how they might help you or factor into a decision.
If you have friends who are fellow travel nurses, don’t be afraid to ask for their input! Those who are in the same shoes can be some of the best resources for finding the truly great recruiters, agencies, locations, and healthcare companies. You’re more likely to trust your friends and family than strangers, so if you have those connection resources, use them!
Use Online Search Engines to Your Advantage
There’s a reason Stability Healthcare (and others like us) exists. It is not easy sorting through the complex web of travel nursing positions, agencies, and recruiters to find the best ones for you. Thankfully, websites like ours make it much easier to compare options, make choices, and even find resources to help you on the job (that’s what our blog is here for!). Our job searching platform simplifies the searching process substantially, providing upfront details, including pay package information, one of the most important components for any placement decision. We also have an expert team on hand to help you set interviews and land jobs. Stability Healthcare removes the need for a recruiter. If you prefer to work on your own to choose assignments, we give you all the resources to do so.Read More
The importance of having health insurance coverage is paramount for everyone – especially travel nurses. However, most travel nurses depend solely on their employers for health insurance coverage. Unlike traditional nurses, travel nurses often change from agency to agency, making keeping health insurance rather complicated.
The Basics of Travel Nurse Insurance
Most travel nurses believe they won’t be eligible for health care coverage because they travel all the time. Not to mention, due to the nature of their work, switching employers is a common practice. Besides, they’re often looked at as contract or temporary workers, rather than full-time employees. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most travel nurses are eligible to receive health insurance coverage under their agency’s contracts. Not to mention, most of the time, these health insurance plans cover dental and vision as well.
Do Travel Nurses Get Health Insurance?
They do. However, it depends. The majority of nursing agencies do offer health insurance for travel nurses. But, most of the time, coverage is only available when you’re on assignment. Reading the start and end dates of your coverage before you sign any contract is crucial to ensure you understand the extent of your health insurance coverage under the agency’s specific plan.
Pros & Cons of Choosing the Agency’s Health Insurance Policy
There are always two sides to a travel nursing agency healthcare coverage offering. Just as they’re with any other company that offers health plan coverage for their employees.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of choosing the agency’s health insurance policy.
- The travel nursing agency makes the process of setting up your health insurance policy without you having to do all the work.
- Often, the agency’s health insurance plan is more affordable than finding private insurance on your own. Most of the time, agencies cover some, if not all, of the cost.
- Usually, the agency’s insurance plan offers better coverage than external solutions.
- Often, gaps in coverage are common. Not all agencies’ health insurances start right away.
- Most travel nursing agency insurances only cover you while you’re on assignment. Your coverage depends entirely on your employment.
- When working with multiple agencies, your health insurance deductible thresholds might change.
Pros & Cons of Choosing a Private Health Insurance Policy
Like any other employee, travel nurses have the option to decline coverage through the agency and seek their coverage through a private policy. Similarly to choosing the agency’s plan, there are some ups and downs of taking private insurance coverage.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of preferring a private health insurance policy as a travel nurse.
- There won’t be any gaps in coverage.
- It provides greater flexibility and personalization to meet your healthcare needs.
- It allows you to work with as many agencies as you want without worrying about deductibles.
- Private insurance policies are often more expensive. You’ll have to pay for the policy on its fullest.
- You’ll have to do the research and the enrolling process by yourself.
- Might not provide the same coverage or benefits as the agency’s insurance policy. Often, it will be less.
Travel Nurse Insurance Options
Once you’ve chosen between the agency’s health plan or private insurance, it’s time to analyze the different options available. Keep in mind that these will change based on the type of health insurance plans your agency offers.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
With this plan, you have access to a network of preferred healthcare providers chosen by the insurance company. Choose this type of plan if you’re expecting to see specialists often and if you plan to stay at the same location for quite some time.
- The network of providers is only local.
- In-Network providers are usually covered entirely.
- Out-of-network providers are still available at a higher co-pay rate.
PPO for Travel Workers
Similarly to the previous plan, but with a broader network of providers. Choose this type of policy if you know you’ll be moving across different states.
- The network of providers expands over several states.
- You’ll have to check the different providers in each state.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
With this plan, you must choose a Primary Care Physician (PCP). To see any specialist, you’ll need a referral from your PCP. Choose this style of plans if you already have a PCP or primary healthcare provider.
- Referrals must be within your HMO network.
- You’ll have to pay for all the costs if you use an out-of-network provider.
- Medical emergencies may be covered whether providers are in-network or not.
Online PPO plans, HMO plans require a primary healthcare provider, which can only be local.
Point of Service (POS)
Consider this a hybrid plan, including some aspects of an HMO and some of the PPO policy. With this type of policy, you still need a Primary Care Physician, but your out-of-network providers are more affordable.
- Access to a bigger network than HMOs, but smaller than PPOs.
- Visits to out-of-network providers are partially covered.
- Often have high deductibles and premiums.
Maintaining Your Travel Nurse Insurance Policy
When it comes to choosing healthcare coverage as a travel nurse, there are many questions. What will it cover? Will my insurance stop working if I’m on vacation? What happens if I switch travel nursing agencies? Can I keep my insurance after my assignment is completed? These are all valid questions you should pose to the agency you’re considering before signing any agreement.
However, in most cases, whether you’re a travel nurse or a contract employee with benefits, know that leaving or changing jobs is a qualifying event for you to be open to purchase or seek health insurance again.
All of this is thanks to COBRA, The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Under this federal health insurance program, eligible employees and their dependents can continue the benefits of existing health insurance coverage if they lose their job.
In almost all cases, whether you willingly or involuntarily leave a job, which means your benefits are terminated, you’re eligible for COBRA coverage. The best part? In the majority of the cases, you’ll be able to purchase the same health coverage plan at your employee’s group rate. Under COBRA, you can continue this type of coverage for up to 18 months, or over, if you qualify.
How to Apply for COBRA
If you have a qualifying event in your career, meaning you voluntarily left an agency or you’re terminated, you have time to file for COBRA coverage.
- Ask your employer to notify their plan administrators within 30 days of your departure.
- Wait up to 14 days to receive an election or qualifying notice from your plan administrator.
- You have up to 60 days to file all paperwork and send it back to the administrator.
- Then, you have 45 days to pay the initial premium.
Of course, all of this applies when you choose to accept the agency’s health insurance plan in the first place. If you decided to use private insurance instead, remember that you’re responsible for the payments, whether you’re employed or not.
What to Consider When Looking for the Right Travel Nurse Insurance Plan
Choosing the right travel nurse insurance plan is a personal decision. You have to consider your current health needs, the type of medications and prescriptions you require, your family-planning schedule, and so forth.
Here are some things to consider when choosing the right one.
- When does coverage starts? Some travel nursing agencies offer coverage from day one, while others have a more extended waiting period.
- What are the premiums and copays? Make sure you’re able to negotiate or find the lowest premiums and co-pay options possible.
- Are dental and visual coverage included? Having a more comprehensive plan will be more beneficial and cheaper in the long run.
- What about prescription medication coverage? If you need regular prescriptions, ask about the out-of-pocket cost for prescriptions under the various plans they offer.
- Can you get coverage between jobs? Even if you don’t switch agencies, ask about what happens when you’re on vacation or not on an assignment. Some travel nursing agencies will extend your coverage during your time off.
Want to Learn More about Travel Nurse Insurance?
Stability Healthcare is an industry leader in travel nursing. Our outstanding benefits include day-1 premium insurance, paid-time-off, and competitive pay. Visit our benefits page to learn more about our packages. 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
Who doesn’t love getting paid? Stability Healthcare knows we aren’t the only source for nursing careers, which is why we’re here to prove we have some of the best rates on the market. This month, Stability is running Compare for Cash, a campaign where you compare your current salary or competitor’s quote with us and we will send you 10 dollars!
With travel nurses in high demand, travel nursing salaries are often higher than the salaries of the permanent hospital staff. If you want to fill your wallet and your desire for adventure, travel nursing might be the right fit for you. When picking a travel nursing placement, salary is one of the main considerations for a lot of people because no one wants to be financially stressed on top of moving to a new city.
Stability makes travel nursing easy for you; just pick your destination and we’ll sort out the details. Not only are you getting the base salary advertised, but, typically, you will receive additional benefits through the Stability Healthcare Nursing Agency. The benefits vary from placement to placement, but the agency assists you with housing, travel reimbursement, licensing support and fees, bonuses, incentives, benefit packages, and retirement needs.
Think you are ready to learn more about the competitive wages that travel nursing offers? Go compare your rates with Stability. All it takes is some basic information about your current position, and not only will we compare your rates with the desired Stability placements for free, but we will also send you $10 just for doing so!Read More