Nursing is a noble career choice — but not everyone is suited to this type of job. Nurses are a special breed of people. They work exceptionally long hours and work under constant pressure. Their job requires empathy, kindness, quick thinking, skill, and intuition.
Nursing can also be a very fulfilling profession. It’s filled with plenty of challenges and excitement to help you grow as both a person and a medical professional. There’s also a brilliant opportunity to branch off into travel nursing. This allows you to explore a country while broadening your nursing skill and knowledge.
If you’re thinking of becoming a travel nurse, this blog outlines everything you need to know.
What Is Travel Nursing?
A travel nurse is a registered nurse with the same clinical background as any other nurse. They work for an independent staffing agency that assigns them to different care areas to fulfill short-term employment gaps. These travel nursing positions are temporary, generally spanning 13-weeks at a time.
Travel nursing came about when the field of nursing faced a shortage throughout the U.S. Hospitals and clinics developed a scheme that offered open nursing positions, higher pay, and housing while covering the cost of relocation.
Travel nurses are generally legible to work in any state across the country as well as at international nursing locations. The appeal of travel, higher pay, and broadening your skillset is what makes travel nursing highly popular today.
The Importance of Travel Nurses
Travel nursing serves a major socio-economic purpose. It helps to bridge the gap between supply and demand within the healthcare industry. This ensures that the nationwide population receives the care they need and deserve.
Travel nurses also help to fulfill the mandatory nurse-patient ratios throughout hospitals and clinics across the country. Essentially, this increases patient safety, lowers mortality rates, and improves patient outcomes.
To add to this, travel nurses bring with them a different skillset and bags of knowledge from different care areas, backgrounds, and geographic locations. Overall, this makes for a more diversely skilled healthcare industry.
A Quick Guide on Becoming a Travel Nurse
In order to become a travel nurse, you’ll have to complete and receive a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. Otherwise, an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from an accredited university will also suffice.
After this, all nurses must pass the NCLEX — the National Council Licensure Examination. This means you are a licensed nurse in your chosen state of practice. The NCLEX is a nationwide exam for all nurses in the U.S. and Canada. Schooling generally takes two-four years, depending on the length of the nursing program you choose.
When it comes to medical practice, there is no better way to broaden your knowledge and skillset through hands-on experience. With nursing, experience is probably the most important factor in becoming a sought-after travel nurse.
Most travel nursing agencies look for nurses with a minimum of two years’ experience in the healthcare industry. If you have the following traits, this makes you extra appealing to nursing agencies:
- Strong leadership skills
- Expertise in a chosen field (additional certifications)
- Good communication skills
- Dependable and reliable
- Works well under pressure
- A good problem solver
Aside from this, nursing also requires you to have great interpersonal skills. This is because you will have to deal with many different walks-of-life throughout your nursing career, especially when travel nursing.
Bear in mind that it’s important to investigate nursing license requirements for each state. You may need to apply for a different nursing license depending on what state you intend to work in. Licenses may take days, weeks, or even months to obtain, so always plan ahead!
Travel Nurse Certifications
You don’t necessarily have to have any additional nursing certifications other than your nursing degree and license. But it does give you an edge over other nursing applicants.
Having an advanced RN certification makes your skillset all-the-more desirable to hospitals, clinics, and travel nursing agencies. Some of the most worthwhile certifications that are nationally recognized include:
- Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN)
- Certified Nephrology Professional (CHN)
- Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN)
- Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse (CPAN)
- Certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR)
- Certified in Care, Coordination, and Transition Management (CCCTM)
It really does depend on your preferred area of expertise, but additional certifications can make all the difference in your travel nursing applications and placement.
Travel Nurse Salary and Other Benefits
Travel nursing salaries tend to vary greatly. This is due to the average earnings based state-by-state, the nursing department, the nursing agency, and any additional certifications. Most travel nurses are paid an average of $1,300 to $2700 per week. This makes for an average annual income of $44,727 to $106,985.
Generally, nurses with specialized experience in more intensive departments tend to earn more. This includes Neonatal Intensive Care, the Operating Room, Intensive Care, and the Cardiac Cath Lab.
Other than their weekly salary, travel nurses are also legible for non-taxed stipends for their living expenses and housing in each state they work in. These stipends are paid on top of your hourly nursing rate. Some other stand-out nursing benefits include:
- 401K investment options
- Free continuing education courses
- Tax advantage plans
- Medical, dental, and vision insurance
- Nursing license reimbursement
- Referral bonuses
- Liability and disability insurance
- Worker’s compensation
Keep in mind that you should do your homework before signing up with just any travel nursing agency. Your nursing recruiter is an important figure in your career as they are the bridge between you and your next travel nursing placement.
They also ensure you are paid what you’re worth, and should always be open and honest with you about placement opportunities. Do your research, and find the best agency fit to suit your career needs.
Bring Your Travel Nursing Career to Life With Stability Healthcare
If you’re interested in becoming a travel nurse, Stability Healthcare is your go-to for finding some of the best travel nursing opportunities in America.
Search for career opportunities, set an interview, and book your next nursing assignment through our detailed online portal. Browse for travel nursing jobs here and find your ideal placement today…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
Dealing with difficult patients is every nurse’s daily cup of coffee. After all, nurses tend to interact with patients when they’re at their best and worst versions of themselves. One report even goes as far as pointing out that at least 15 percent of patient encounters are what we would consider “difficult.” Yet, as nurses, caring for challenging patients is part of the job. A difficult patient can be:
- The dependent clinger that makes unreasonable demands
- The entitled demander who’s often a bully and has a long list of needs
- The manipulative will do anything to make things go their way
- The self-destructive who engages in dangerous behaviors
No matter what type of difficult patient you’re dealing with, following these helpful tools will help you stay calm and take care of yourself as well.
Give Yourself a Break
When the situation has escalated, and you start to feel tense, it can be impossible to deal with a problematic patient without taking a break. Most people will advise you not to take it seriously, but deep down, you know that’s easier said than done. After all, nurses are known for their ability to remain calm in stressful situations or to work with troublesome patients.
Communications skills are key here. Make sure you remain calm and continue to speak in a soft voice to your patient. However, allow yourself a break and set time to reset. To let it go, you need to step away from the situation. Go for a brief walk, talk to a colleague about it, fit in a quick meditation session, or maybe enjoy a sweet treat to bring the stress down. Giving yourself a break will help you come back recharged, refreshed, and ready to give it another try.
Consider the Root Cause
Patients can get irritated by infinite things while at the hospital. If you’re struggling with an angry or irritated patient, think about the root cause. Is it fear? Are they stressed? Could it be a side effect of medications? All of these are potential root causes that can improve the nurse-patient relationship. Try to think about the possible causes of their outburst. Once you understand this, it will be easier to assess the situation and know the next steps into achieving harmony. Talk to the doctors and other nurses, consider speaking to their family, whatever it takes to help you understand the patient better will help you find the best way to manage them.
Check Your Body Language
Nurses like to believe their patients can’t tell when they don’t like them. In reality, your body language speaks volumes. So does the tone of your voice. After the first rocky encounter with a patient, you might look tense, and your voice might sound more irritated, patients can quickly pick up on these pointers. At this point, both of you have your defenses up and are ready to fire at each other.
Before walking into the room or even speaking to your patient, do a body and mental check-in. Take a deep breath and remember that having an attitude towards your patient won’t do much good in the long run.
Lean on Empathy
When people say not to take it personally, they mean it. Remember that your role is about the patient and their journey. Lean on empathy and try to look at the situation from the patient’s perspective. Being at a hospital, for whatever reason, is a scary situation for anyone. Not being their best self is quite common. Lean on empathy and try to communicate your efforts for understanding how they’re feeling with your patient.
Even when you can’t 100% be in their shoes, expressing that you’re thinking about things from their perspective will make patients feel understood and cared for. It might also help them lose their guards since they’ll realize that you’re there to care for them.
Use the Behavior Agreement
Here’s the most crucial tool of all — the behavior agreement. Listen, while nurses are empathetic and caring, that’s no excuse for tolerating abuse. Set up clear boundaries with abusive patients that don’t understand these boundaries. Never let a patient yell, curse, diminish, or discredit you in any way. Ensuring they’re fully aware of these boundaries the moment they exhibit abusive behavior is paramount to stop them on their tracks.
Ask your supervisors about your abusive behavior protocols; many hospitals will allow you to be discharged from treating those patients. If that’s available to you, let the patient know that you won’t be treating them any longer due to their abusive behavior and that their abusiveness won’t be tolerated in the clinic. It’s surprising how many patients will change their demeanor after hearing such agreement and terms.
Know When to Ask for Additional Help
Sometimes, some patients will need additional help, and so will you. Recognize when you need to speak to another nurse for support. If you believe your patient might benefit from talking to a counselor or mental health specialist, don’t be afraid of raising the question. In the end, it’s all about the patient and their wellbeing.
Throughout your career as a nurse, you’ll always encounter difficult patients. Keep these helpful tools to stay centered and calm so that you can offer your patients the best care possible.Read More
There’s never been a more needed time for Nurses Week, which is celebrated every year from May 6th to May 12th. All across the country, our nurses are working harder than ever to save lives in the middle of a global pandemic. If they were underappreciated before, they certainly can’t get enough praise now. So this May is the time to go all out for Nurses Week. Morale needs a boost, and there are so many simple, but fun and meaningful ways to celebrate this week. Here are a few ideas.
Bring in Therapy Dogs
A lot of facilities have therapy dogs to comfort patients in hours of need. But nurses need comfort too! If your hospital or a hospital nearby already has a therapy dog program, you can inquire about bringing in pups for the nursing staff. There’s nothing like some puppy love to lighten the mood during a stressful time.
Some hospitals celebrate their staff by bringing in masseuses to give free 10-minute shoulder massages. It’s a great way to say, “we know you’re working hard, and you deserve some time for yourself.” In fact, it’s likely that there are several massage therapists who would be willing to donate their time, free of charge, during the coronavirus.
Donuts and cookies might taste good, but they are impersonal. The best way to show you care is just to write it out. Nurses can write sweet letters of appreciation to each other, or staff leadership could also write individual notes to the staffers that help them each day. Nurses could craft some cute letterboxes to put on their desk and encourage their coworkers to drop in a few kind words. You could also make a “snap cup” like Elle Woods did in Legally Blonde 2. Throughout the week, everyone can drop in praises for nurses across the floor.
Sometimes, you have to give your hardworking staff permission to let loose on their lunch hour. Installing games like ping pong or giant Jenga, is a good way to encourage some fun staff bonding throughout the week. You could even have a ping pong championship with winners getting bonuses or gift cards to local businesses.
Ice Cream Social
Go all out with the ice cream bar this year. Deck it out like a frozen yogurt shop with all kinds of toppings to choose from. Maybe even offer different kinds of cones. Nothing says “I love and appreciate you” more than mint chocolate chip ice cream with fudge and whipped cream topping.
“We don’t want to do our own potluck!”
One nurse told us that her offices in the past have planned potlucks for nursing week, but this often asks the nurses themselves to do unnecessary preparation on a week that’s supposed to be celebrating them! Instead, plan for a local restaurant to cater lunch. You’re supporting a local business during COVID-19 and you’re treating your nurses to food they love! And “provide a whole meal, not just pastries and snacks” our nurses say. There’s no shortage of sweets in the breakroom of any given clinic or hospital. If you really want to show them you care, do the full lunch. Also, giving out gift cards to local businesses is always a good idea too.
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
Starting a career as a travel nurse is both exciting and frightening. We all know that starting in the nursing field comes with its number of common mistakes. But, when you add in the travel aspect, you’re bound to face even more risks of making mistakes.
1. Not Taking The Housing Search Seriously
When it comes to housing, travel nurses can work with their agency to arrange accommodations for them, or they can choose a stipend to find their arrangements. It’s common for new travel nurses to choose the latter as they believe they’ll be able to find reasonably priced housing and save some money.
However, most people underestimate how long it takes to find housing. By the time their assignments begin, many new nurses find themselves without housing arrangements. Not to mention, many find accommodations that are too big or too small for their needs, which can mean additional expenses.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Start by planning your house search way early in the process. Ideally, you want to talk with your travel nursing agency to ask for help with housing. Remember, they have experience making these arrangements for thousands of travel nurses across the nation. Whatever you believe you can do, they’ll probably do it faster and find a better deal.
2. Making Charting or Documentation Errors
As you’re going through nursing school, there’s a lot you focus on, but most people forget about paperwork. One of the most common mistakes new travel nurses make in the field is charting or documentation errors. Recording the essential patient’s information is a critical part of your job as a nurse. But, it’s also one that leads to many common mistakes. You must become aware of the proper way to fill charts and documentation, as any error can make you liable for lawsuits.
How to Avoid this Mistake: First of all, make sure you take the time to read through the documentation as you see it for the first time. Make it a habit to double and triple check your input before you file away a chart. Include any prescribed medication, discontinued medicines, every nursing action, any changes in your patient’s condition, and any order or suggestion given regarding the patient’s care.
3. Making Assumptions About Policies
If this is your first job as a travel nurse, you’re unlikely to make this mistake. However, if this isn’t your first assignment, but you’re still new to the industry, making assumptions about policies is a common mistake. Not knowing the procedures and policies of your workplace can be detrimental. While no one expects you to memorize them on the first day, you should follow policies and protocols after a few weeks in the role. Remember, never assume policies or procedures are universal; what works for one hospital might not work for the other.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Try to familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of your new workplace before you arrive. Reach out to your travel nursing agency to see if they can help provide you with the right information. If you can’t do this beforehand, then make it a priority to ask about policies on your first week and start getting used to their process.
4. Not Asking for Help
Most new travel nurses fall for this mistake. Travel nurses are expected to be experts in the field, which leads new nurses to abstain from asking questions out of fear of looking inexperienced. However, not asking for help from a coworker or your travel nursing advisor might place you at risk of making a medical error that could potentially endanger a patient’s life.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Get rid of the idea that seasoned nurses are unwilling to help. Stop making excuses to avoid making questions. If you have a concern or question, reach out to coworkers, supervisors, and other personnel around you for help. Ideally, you want to find yourself a mentor that will guide you through the various situations you’ll encounter as a travel nurse.
5. Making Mistakes with Medications
While this mistake might arise from faulty administration policies, it is a common mistake many new travel nurses make. Dispensing the incorrect dosage, handing out the wrong medication, or giving a prescription to the wrong patient are all errors that most nurses have experienced. It’s common for new nurses to feel extra pressure, which can lead to a foggy mind, therefore result in common mistakes like handing out the wrong medication to a patient.
How to Avoid this Mistake: The best way to ensure you prevent this mistake is by focusing on your patient and having a clear mind. Try to find ways to manage your emotions and stress, as well as keeping your personal life outside of your work life. As a nurse, you need a sharp mindset to prevent as many mistakes as possible.
6. Not Being Prepared
Many new travel nurses get caught up on the excitement of their assignments and forget about the details. Making sure your state nursing license is ready, your credentials and other documentation are current, that you’ve done all required training and tests before deadlines. These are just some of the things you need to know before starting your assignment. Also, knowing who your supervisor will be, what floor you’ll be working on, and more is all part of the process.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Talk to your travel nurse agency recruiter and make sure they can guide you through every checklist item you need before you start your assignment. They should be able to provide you first-day instructions to give you a better idea of what to expect.
7. Skim Through Your Contract
Landing your first assignment as a travel nurse can be quite exciting. However, most people forget to read through their contracts and end up having questions or issues with the terms and agreements. Beyond the overall picture, you have to look at your compensation package and your assignment guidelines. The more you get familiar with your contract, the fewer surprises you’ll encounter than the road.
How to Avoid this Mistake: First of all, read through your entire contract. Look for sections that discuss missed-hours penalties, your untaxed income, contract violations, and more. If you must, try to find a lawyer with experience working with travel nurses to look over the contract before you agree to any commitment.
8. Not Having a Tax Home
Even many seasoned travel nurses make this mistake. Most travel nurses have what’s known as an untaxed income, or stipend portion of their salary. The only way to reap these benefits is by establishing a tax home. It’s not difficult to have a tax home, and your travel nurse agency can help you make sure you have all the paperwork needed to file for one.
How to Avoid this Mistake: The moment you start looking for your first travel nurse assignment, you should begin the process of filing for a tax home. There are many IRS rules for establishing a tax home, but if you have them all, it should be an easy filing.
9. Staying Too Long
Stemming from our previous common mistake, staying for too long is another common issue. It’s easy to fall in love with an area, but sometimes it can become a double-edged sword. When you stay too long on the same location, you can undermine your tax home, which means you might lose tax benefits. While “too much” is a challenging timeline to determine, you should avoid any long-term assignment contracts. If you don’t qualify for a tax home, then this is a mistake that won’t bring you any adverse effects.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Make sure you double-check your assignments timeline. If you’re working with an agency, let them know you have a tax home established, and you cannot work in one place for more than 12 months in any 24 months.
10. Failing to File All Your Taxes
We all make tax mistakes from time to time. But, new travel nurses often find themselves making the same tax error. It can be confusing, after all. As a travel nurse, you’re likely to move from state to state, which means you have to pay taxes in every state you work. It doesn’t matter where your tax home is, or how much your agency pays in taxes; you still have to pay them in every state. How much you pay depends on many factors.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Even if you understand your taxes well, as a travel nurse, it’s best to work with a professional. Because you have to deal with various state laws, don’t procrastinate on your taxes. Start working on your filings as soon as you can to avoid any penalties or issues.
While there’s no way to prevent these mistakes altogether, knowing about them can help you be more self-aware of your actions and your first steps as a travel nurse. Reach out to seasoned nurses and travel nurse agencies and ask them about the common mistakes they’ve seen, their stories might help you avoid some of these mistakes.
A huge plus of being a travel nurse is your ability to bring along a pet. Stability Healthcare advocates for bringing your pet with you, whether you find housing through Stability or through other methods. According to the National Institutes of Health, “animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.” Additionally, they can decrease stress and even help lower blood pressure.
In these trying times where we can’t spend time with the ones we love (in person), a pet is a great buddy to quarantine with. So, whether you’re traveling with your family or by yourself, bringing along an extra companion can help you acclimate. However, there are factors, and a few tips, you should keep in mind while traveling with pets:
Make sure your specific housing can accommodate your pet.
Before you commit to your housing, give their pet policy a close read and make sure having a pet is allowed. Many places will have certain restrictions – such as breed if it’s a dog, animal size, or the number of animals on the premises. Additionally, they may have a monthly pet fee, or a pet deposit, that they’ll require you to pay. This fee can differ greatly amongst properties. If you’re staying in a hotel, certain rooms are designated for pet owners, while others are not. If you’re confused, reach out to the property owner for guidance. And, as Stability Healthcare says, if you’re working in an exotic location, check out any quarantine rules that you may have to abide by. An example of a place where this might apply might be Hawaii.
Consider whether your housing is safe for you pet.
Just because your housing allows pets, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe for them. For example, if you have a dog, you need to make sure that it will have plenty of space to move around. This includes an area for them to relieve themselves, an adequate place for you to walk them, etc. The neighborhood should also be at the forefront of your mind – if you don’t feel safe walking around at night, you certainly won’t feel safe walking around your pet! If you’re bringing along a dog, check to see if there is a dog park nearby or other places like a dog-friendly beach or bar.
Are there amenities for you and your pet nearby?
It would be a drag if the nearest pet store was a long trek from your housing. While choosing your housing, browse the area and see if there are any places you can easily stock up on supplies for your pet. This is important for a wide range of pets – dogs, cats, amphibians, fish, etc. If you have a more exotic animal, whose supplies may be harder to come by, call local places and see what they have in stock ahead of time.
How to transport your animal to your new work location
Although a lot of airlines offer animal travel with a fee, some don’t. If you plan on flying with your animal, thoroughly research if the airline you’d like to use allows it. Larger animals, like big dogs, will have extra fees or will not be able to take a flight. You’re pet may not be able to fly with you if they don’t fit the airlines’ age requirement. Additionally, you will need to call your airline representative ahead of flying, usually two or more days in advance, and you will need to bring your pet to the vet and get a health certification.
All of these rules can differ between airlines, but the gist is the same. Typically, a ton of info can be found on the airlines’ website. American Airlines, for example, has a tab specifically for flying with animals. Although many airlines have very specific requirements, like kennel size, health certificate requirements, etc., it’s definitely worth it to bring along your companion.
If you’re packing up your belongings and using a U-Haul to move, they do allow pets! Their website offers a ton of great tips that are specific to moving your animal with a U-Haul. It should be noted that animals shouldn’t be put in the cargo area of the car/truck, and should be kept separate from furniture and your belongings. There should be plenty of room on the seat next to you to put a kennel, cage, or crate. And, on the plus side, if your animal is a dog who is fine with being in a car, it can sit shotgun next to you! Just make sure to purchase a seat belt adapter ahead of time.
Your own car
The best method of transportation is the one that’s safest for you and your animal. Typically, being able to transport you animal in your own car or a familiar car is ideal. This way, if you need to stop and allow your animals to relieve themselves, or if you animal is say, a parrot that makes a lot of noise, you won’t be worried about disturbing others. You’ll also be able to bring a ton of supplies with you, like that big bag of cat food or box of toys for your bird.
Other methods of travel
There are a few other methods of travel that you can use to bring your pet. Check their respective websites to see their policies:
Stability Healthcare is a great supporter of travel nurses bringing along their pets. Allow yourself plenty of time to research the pet policy of your housing and transportation method. It can be a lot of work, however, having your pet with you is worth it and can help you more easily acclimate into your new work location.Read More
The concept of social distancing during COVID-19 is daunting, but incredibly important. As a travel nurse, you should still be practicing social distancing while you’re not at work. Keep in mind that even though Stability Healthcare offers day one insurance with United Healthcare, you still want to take steps to keep yourself in the best physical shape.
It’s easy to feel sluggish while you’re home, especially in between shifts. It’s important to remember that keeping active will help with your energy levels and overall health. Below, find an overview of what social distancing is, and how to stay active when you have to actively distance yourself.
What is social distancing?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, social distancing “is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness.” That’s why upcoming events, such as conferences and concerts, and non-essential businesses, like movie theaters and restaurants, have been closed until further notice. Additionally, the CDC recommends that people stay at least six feet away from each other, preferably more. This applies when you need to go out for necessities, like food or medication.
This does not mean that you should still go to the beach or a popular hiking path. The best way to protect yourself and others is to stay at home. Even though a brisk walk to get a latte from the walk-up coffee shop seems tempting, it’s not worth the risk. Protect yourself and others by staying at home.
Ways to stay active while socially distancing yourself
Use online methods to exercise
Skip going to the gym, whether it’s in your apartment building or on the way to work, and exercise at home instead. Chances are, your gym is closed anyway. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of credible online guides for at home workouts. If you’re lucky, you may have some equipment at home to work with, such a stationary bike or weight lifts. However, don’t fret if you don’t own any workout equipment. There are several bodyweight exercises you can do, or you can turn objects you have at home into make-shift weights. Here is a brief list of a few suggested exercise guides:
The MyFitnessPal app is available online and on most smartphones. In addition to being a useful tool if you’re counting calories and tracking your weight, the app offers different exercise routines. These routines fall in different categories – “Healthy At Home”, “Run Strong,” “Core Strength,” etc. There are also different routine lengths – so if you need a quick workout between your travel nurse shifts or a longer workout for when you have the evening off, MyFitnessPal can be tailored to your needs. Although the basic app is free, you can upgrade for perks like macro and micro counting food, amongst others.
Making household objects into weights
This will depend on what you have available at your house and if you like to lift weights. For decades, people have been turning household objects into weights; cans of beans, milk carton, vinegar bottles, laundry detergent, and more. There are quite a few articles that give suggestions on what to use and how to use them, like Cosmopolitan, Thrillist, and HBFIT. Obviously, this is customizable to what you have in your household.
Blogilates (plus other Youtube channels!)
Blogilates was started by Cassey Ho about a decade ago. Since then, she’s won awards for her social fitness videos, and has amassed millions of social media followers and subscribers. She has hundreds, if not thousands, of videos to choose from, ranging from 10-minute core exercises to full-length at home workouts. She also does 30-day workouts, which include different daily routines. Seeing as social distancing is most likely going to span several weeks, this may be a fun challenge to try. Ho is incredibly easy to understand and is very encouraging, and a great at-home workout guru for beginners.
Purchase at-home workout equipment and guides
If you feel like you need actual weights, try looking online. Even though a lot of websites are backed up due to COVID-19, if you’re willing to wait a week or two, you should be able to get some basic weights online. On Amazon, you can buy everything from dumbells to weight lifting benches. If you’d like to support smaller companies, you can buy their in-house tools, like the Glute Lab’s glute loop.
Why is being physically active important?
There are ways physical activity benefits your overall health; it puts you at lower risk for chronic diseases, early death, cancer, diabetes, and more. Additionally, according to the CDC, higher amounts of physical activity can lower your annual health bills, improve your cognitive function, and help you destress. By keeping active during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can encourage your own personal and mental health.Read More
There’s always been an emphasis on washing hands – you’ve heard it from your parents, from your middle school health teacher, from the employee posters on the wall in restaurant bathrooms. However, many are unaware of its extreme importance, and how effective it truly is in preventing illness and disease. Handwashing helps protect yourself and others from getting sick and is a key factor in helping to stop pandemics, like the recent wave of coronavirus. Despite being taught how hand washing is beneficial, most people don’t know how to wash their hands correctly. Look below for a guide on how to do so.
Why You Should Wash Your Hands
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper handwashing can help prevent the passing of infections and germs between people. Using water and antibacterial soap mostly eliminates germs from your hands. This is significant because people often touch their eyes, faces, and mouths, which are the primary orifices through which germs get into the body. Additionally, there are many customs throughout the world that have people touching each other’s hands, like a handshake as a greeting, which can lead to the spread of germs. If a person doesn’t practice proper handwashing, they can also pass along germs through the objects they touch, like handrails, door handles, etc.
Historically, the introduction of handwashing has helped decrease the number of people who get sick with respiratory issues and gastrointestinal illness, especially in more susceptible populations like children. Hand washing can also aid in fighting antibiotic resistance. If there are fewer infections, there will be fewer antibiotics prescribed.
How to Properly Wash Your Hands
- Turn on the faucet, wet your hands, turn off the faucet. You can use any temperature of water. There have been no significant studies that prove warm water is more effective in removing germs while hand washing, which is a huge plus for those whose skin may be irritated by hot water. By turning off the faucet, you’ll save water.
- Apply soap to your hands, lathering all over, including under your fingernails, and scrub for at least 20 seconds. It may seem counterintuitive to turn off the faucet and touch it again to turn it on, but there is no information that there is a significant amount of germs transferred between faucets and hands. Lathering and scrubbing with soap is one of the most important steps while washing your hands. It is much more effective in killing germs versus just washing your hands with water, and the friction helps pick up any microbes or foreign substances (like dirt) that can be on your skin. The ideal time for scrubbing is 20 seconds. If you have a hard time singing, you can think or hum the alphabet song twice.
- Rinse with clean water. After you’re done, turn off the faucet. This will ensure that you get all of the soap off your hands. If there is any leftover residue, it could cause potential skin irritation. Although many people in the past have recommended using a paper towel to touch the faucet and turn it off, there is no evidence that supports that this is an accurate safety measure against germs. Instead, it can lead to paper towel waste.
- Dry your hands. To dry your hands, use either a clean towel or air dry them. Studies that examine the benefits of using hand dryers are lacking, so as of now, a clean towel or air drying is the best method.
When and how to use hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is not interchangeable for hand washing. According to the CDC, soap and water is capable of eliminating more germs than hand sanitizer. Additionally, hand sanitizer is less effective when hands are visibly dirty (think dirt, oil, grease, etc.) However, if soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizer is better than nothing.
A person should use a hand sanitizer that is made up of at least 60% alcohol. Typically, only a small amount is needed, but the label on the bottle will specify how much a person should use. Squeeze a dollop onto one palm and then rub your hands together until both hands are covered and dry.
There are many misconceptions about how to properly wash your hands. Clearly, correct handwashing is especially important during flu seasons (look at Stability Healthcare’s blog post about Coronavirus here), but the main priority is to always practice the right way of handwashing.
As a reminder, Stability Healthcare offers multiple healthcare plans when you’re a travel nurse. The best way to not get sick is to use prevention methods, like hand washing or using hand sanitizer in cases when you’re not able to use soap and water. Keep in mind that you’re not just keeping yourself safe, but you’re keeping others safe too!Read More