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
To quote Saoirse Ronan in Ladybird, “I wish I could live through something.” 2002 may have only been a palindrome, but living in 2020 certainly constitutes LIVING through something. We are facing unprecedented times, as the news likes to remind us constantly. And if you’re a nurse working on the front lines, you’re in the eye of the hurricane (yes, I have been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack a little too often since it came out on Disney+).
People journal for a lot of different reasons: to keep record of different periods of their life that they can pass down to future generations; to work out their feelings at the end of a rough day; even just to have something to look back on a year from now and think, “Wow, my life was so different then.” All of these reasons feel particularly pertinent today. And if you’re traveling to different nursing placements, every month can feel like a different lifetime.
If you weren’t an avid journaler before, or if you could never picture yourself putting pen to paper every day, this might be the time to reconsider. Here’s a guide to help you get started.
Step 1: Figure out what kind of journaler you want to be
A lot of people are repelled from journaling because they have one idea in their mind of what keeping a journal is. But that’s the beauty of a journal, it’s yours! You can decide to do whatever you want with it. There is no wrong way to journal, except to not do it at all.
You should find the way that’s most suited to your personality. If you’re a type-A person who loves color-coded binders and keeps track of all your pens throughout life, you might be suited to the bullet journal journey. If you’re someone who is allergic to routine, and whose hand cramps up after a few sentences of writing, start smaller. Write a sentence a day. Think about something you want to log each day, to keep track of, and you can add on as you go.
The most important step to deciding what kind of journal you want to keep is identifying your purpose. Why are you keeping a journal? Is it because you want to have a record of the life you’re living right now? Is it because you want an outlet to express yourself? Is it because your boyfriend is driving you nuts and your friends are tired of hearing about it? Figure this out, and then take into account what kind of personality you have and what is going to be manageable for you. Here are just a few examples of different kinds of journaling.
This may be the most traditional method. You sit down at the end of your day, and you record what happened. For some, this can also be a useful form of meditation. Taking stock of the day behind you and reflecting on it can be peaceful. And you might find out that a seemingly nothing-day held something meaningful after all. The best outcome from keeping a journal like this is you’ll have a detailed record of your life to look back on, either with fondness or with horror, depending on the day probably. But if you’re someone who struggles with your attention-span and you’re questioning whether this whole journaling thing is worth it to begin with, this might not be the best place to start. Just writing what happened moment to moment in your day can feel redundant and mundane, and then you won’t get excited about journaling. If this sounds like you, abort! Try a different kind of journaling first.
Journals can be meaningful but they can also be functional. In this case, your journal is serving your goals, whatever they may be. Maybe you’ve made a goal to meditate or do yoga every day. Keeping a journal logging your meditation hours can help hold you accountable. Some people keep food diaries which can be useful in tracking recipes and coming up with future ideas — these can also just be funny. Maybe you’ve started a new prescription and you’re trying to keep track of how it’s affecting you day by day. The possibilities are endless. But this is a good kind of journal for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time. It’s also an easy place to start for someone who isn’t used to journaling regularly. Sometimes a daily log can be limited to a sentence or two. It’s easy and not as scary as chronicling your whole day.
For the more introspective journaler, sometimes it’s not about writing what happened during your day, but how you’re feeling at the moment you’re journaling. If you feel like it’s cheesy to begin a journal entry with “Dear Diary, today I…,” you’re not alone. But there are ways to talk about your day without recapping what happened. These kinds of journals can be considered stream of consciousness journals. Let your thoughts flow onto the page and don’t worry whether they make sense grammatically or if your handwriting is even legible. It may be odd to think of journaling as a form of meditation, but your thoughts are usually running at a pace much faster than your hand can write. So when you try and capture these thoughts and feelings, you have to slow your mind down, and make enough sense of what you’re feeling that you can formulate sentences. It can be a release to put what’s going on in your head into something tangible. This type of journal can feel a little less like a chore for someone who verges on right-brained. When keeping a journal like this, it’s good to remember that you’re not writing for anyone but you. You don’t have to hide anything or keep anything from your journal in fear of someone else reading it. You could even burn these after you’ve filled them up.
Sometimes your journals don’t have to be about YOU at all. If you’re someone who has always had a knack for writing, but you’re not confident enough to share that talent publicly, a journal can be a great way to hone your writing voice. You could look for writing prompts online and challenge yourself to write short essays or stories before you go to bed. Or maybe this is a journal you keep on you at all times, so you can jot things down anytime inspiration strikes. If you want a really good perspective on how to incorporate writing into your daily life, read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
The Stresser (Mental Health Journaling)
This journal, in some ways, is a cross between a reflection journal and a tracker journal. But with one key goal is maintaining and staying aware of your mental health. Particularly if you’ve taken the step of starting therapy or counseling, these kinds of journals can be incredibly useful. The things that stress us out, make us sad or angry or depressed, can change day to day, but there’s usually an overarching theme, a thread connecting all of these triggers. If you’re seeking professional help, or even talking to friends and family, it can be easy to focus on the particulars, the things that are stressing you out in the specific moment. But if you keep a journal of how you are feeling every day, it becomes an incredible tool for working through the larger challenges in your life. Try taking 30 minutes every night to write down anything that hurt you or upset you during the day, and even the things that made you happy. Then read what you’ve written at the end of the week or month and see if you can begin to see patterns forming.
Now there are literal dream journals and metaphorical dream journals. Both are really, really fun! If you’re someone who has a lot of whacky dreams that you remember really well, keep a literal dream journal. But also a journal can be a great place to plan your future, to reflect on the person you want to be. Especially if you’re in a placement far from your home and you’re having a tough time at work, keeping a journal where you can visualize what life might be like in the years to come can be calming. Maybe accompany this kind of journal with a vision board of where you want to go next.
Step 2: Find the right journal
Now we’re getting to the fun part: deciding on your medium. A journal doesn’t have to be a leatherbound book filled with blank pages, although if you’re a romantic then it certainly can be. But you want to figure out what medium suits your routine and lifestyle best. For some people, this means the notes page on your MacBook or an app on your phone. Or even a google doc.
Although, there is some evidence to suggest that writing by hand is better. Some research shows that writing with a pen and paper can help us process and understand concepts better. That’s why rewriting all your notes the day before an exam can be a useful studying method. Writing by hand can be cathartic, since in the modern world, we don’t do it very often.
But if you feel disgusted by your own handwriting and putting pen to paper is becoming a barrier, transition to a journaling app. There are some apps or websites that will block all other notifications or websites while you’re writing, so you can have a completely clear headspace.
If you are going the traditional route, don’t be afraid to splurge on a journal that will make you happy aesthetically. It might seem silly, but if you love rainbows and the color yellow, and your journal is yellow with rainbow stickers on it, you might have a more positive association with it. Same goes with pens!
Step 3: Develop a routine and hold yourself accountable
The most important part of journaling is actually doing the journaling. Once you’ve decided what you want out of a journal and how you plan on journaling, it’s time to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Decide what time of day is best for you to journal. Is it in the morning while you’re drinking coffee? Is it sitting up in your bed in the evening? Maybe it’s something you want to log throughout the day. All of that will depend on what kind of journal you’re writing. But find ways to encourage yourself to keep the habit up. Perfection is the enemy of good. Give yourself a break if you miss a few days and don’t worry if you don’t feel like writing much on certain days. The act of doing it every day, even for a short period of time, is good for the soul.
Bonus: Scrapbooking your placements!
While some people’s lives might be genuinely boring during quarantine, if you’re a travel nurse your life is NEVER boring. So even more reason to document all the places you go. Maybe forgo the journal and get a scrapbook instead. Buy a polaroid camera and take pictures of your different adventures at each placement, write notes about your experience on the back and keep them as reminders of where you’ve been and the people you met along the way.Read More
As COVID-19 cases ramp up again, stress management is key, especially for a travel nurse. If you’re looking for new ways to manage anxiety, natural mind/body remedies can be helpful tools. To some, it might sound like some hippie witchy-woo-woo, but there is research that suggests aromatherapy and essential oils are useful in calming the mind and body. They certainly can’t hurt.
If you’re new to the essential oil game, here are seven oils that are known to help manage stress. You can rub these on your skin, diffuse them into your room, spray them on your clothes, or take a bath in them.
A study in 2013 suggested that inhaling Jasmine oil can promote a sense of well-being and even romance. The scent derived from white flowers has always been popular for it’s sweet fragrance. It even shows up in a number of perfumes. Now some scientists believe it has a calming benefit to the central nervous system, and unlike similar oils, it calms without causing sleepiness. So you can diffuse it in the mornings before work!
Lavender is one of the most common essential oils, and a familiar scent to most. But it’s ability to clear and calm the mind has also been backed up by science. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine asked participants to complete a memory-related task after exposing them to a stresser. Those who had inhaled a lavender aroma prior to the stressor performed better on the test than those who were given a placebo oil. It’s thought to calm anxiety through impacting the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Many use lavender oil as a spray. And in fact a study in the International Journal of Nursing Practice showed that using a 3% lavender oil spray reduced work-related stress for up to four days. You can also take a nice lavender bath by mixing the oil with an unscented bath gel.
Ylang Ylang Oil
Ylang Ylang, a scent derived from the tropical plant native to India, has been proven to reduce blood pressure and stress-hormone levels. It’s an oil better consumed later in the day rather than before work. One study found that while Ylang Ylang limited stress, it also impaired memory and lengthened processing speed.
Lemon Balm Oil
A 2011 study showed that taking lemon balm capsules may help people with mild to moderate anxiety disorders, as well as improve sleep. And when diffused into a room, lemon balm provides a fresh and uplifting scent.
If you’re a fan of Earl Grey, you’ll like this one. Bergamot is derived from a citrus fruit and is the featured aroma in the famous tea. It also may relieve your stress. Several studies show that bergamot can help improve negative emotions. And one study in 2015 linked bergamot to lowering saliva cortisol levels, a hormone often called the body’s “stress hormone.”
If you plan to use bergamot on the skin or in a bath, make sure you combine it with a carrier oil (like avocado or jojoba), as too much bergamot can cause irritation to the skin.
Holy Basil Oil
If flowery scents aren’t your thing, give a few drops of Holy Basil a try. It’s not quite the same basil you’d use to make garlic bread, but it has a similar smell. It contains a compound called eugenol which gives it a minty scent combined with a spicy aroma. One study in 2014 showed that holy basil has the potential to treat mental and physical stress.
Remember, just like the Italian food you’d cook with it, a little bit of holy basil goes a long way. You only need a few drops to diffuse the homey smell into your apartment.
Yuzu oil has been used in Japanese culture for centuries for its therapeutic properties. It is pressed from the fruit peel of the Citrus Junos Tree. Its scent is somewhere between a mandarin and a grapefruit. It’s also a great natural tool for stress relief.
According to a small study back in 2013, yuzu was found to decrease salivary chromogranin A, an indicator of stress. It’s also thought that the essential oil can suppress the sympathetic nervous system, which produces the body’s fight or flight instinct. So yuzu might not be best for a high stakes situation, but it’s great for relaxation.Read More
People have various reasons for becoming a travel nurse. For one, there’s the flexibility of time off between contracts. Then, there’s the opportunity to travel. But, with the average nursing student graduating with anywhere between $40,000 and $54,900 in debt, the pay difference compared to being a staff nurse, is reason enough to choose this lifestyle.
However, as a travel nurse, tackling your student loan debt, in addition to your traveling debt can seem quite the challenge. Don’t despair, the fact that you’re currently working as a travel nurse will help you tremendously to tackle your loans and become debt-free.
Understand Your Debt
To tackle your debt efficiently, you must understand how each one works. For example, most student loans have fluctuating interest rates and high fees. On the other hand, credit card debts tend to have high-interest rates too. But then, you have something like a mortgage, which hopefully has a fixed rate.
Most people assume tackling their most significant debt first should be their strategy. However, most financial experts agree that handling your debts with the highest interest rates, fluctuating rates, or high fees, should be your priority.
For example, the average student loan carries an interest rate of 4.53% to 7.08%. But, the average interest rate on credit cards is 15.09%. So, following the one-debt-at-a-time technique, you should focus on your credit card payments first, and then, start tackling your student loan.
Of course, each case will be different. If you’re struggling with multiple debts and loans, consider speaking to a financial expert that can help guide your decision on how to tackle debt.
Cut Down Expenses Back Home
Once you’re aware of the structure of your debt, it’s time to find ways to save more money. One way to do that? By cutting expenses back home. Check if your house qualifies as a tax home, and if there are some tax deductions, you can benefit from every year. Perhaps you can deduct meals, certain travel expenses, and even professional expenses.
If you own a home, consider if there’s a possibility to rent out a room while you’re gone. If you live by yourself, maybe listing your place on Airbnb while you’re on assignment can help you bring in additional income. Ask your cable and Internet provider to see if you can pause the service for the months you’ll be on assignment.
Otherwise, do your best to downside your permanent home and figure out ways to cut down on expenses such as gardening, utilities, and so on.
Set Up an Assignment Budget
Having a budget will help you get a better idea of where you’re spending money. Working long hours and fluctuating schedules can easily change your perspective on spending. Between transportation expenses, rent, travel arrangments, taxes, and so on, it can be easy to drop large sums of money without realizing it. Thus, ending up with more debt than ever before.
As you create your budget, set different categories for your recurring expenses, for example:
- Food and dining
- Personal products
Give yourself some wiggle room in each one of these categories to have some potential money leftover.
Then, once you can see how much money is left over, you can create a separate budget to allocate a payment towards paying your debts. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan, list your debts by priorities, and highlight how much you will be able to pay each month.
Control Your Travel Expenses
Even though, as a travel nurse, you spend most of the days working, travel expenses can add up quickly. Make sure you’re using the budget to help you stay on track with your expenses. Analyze where you can cut down:
- Consider driving towards your assignment city versus flying
- Think about finding a roommate(s) to divide living expenses
- Choose smaller towns that have lower living-costs than larger cities
- Avoid eating out as much as possible
- Analyze the pros and cons of using public transportation versus renting a vehicle
Overall, being mindful of your expenses will help you work towards minimizing your debt in the long run. If you’re able to stick with your budget, managing your expenses shouldn’t be an issue.
Keep in mind that life happens, and as a travel nurse, shifts can often be everchanging, making your expenses the last thing on your mind. Consider syncing your bank account and credit cards to a budget app on your smartphone to stay organized. Make sure you have automatic payments set up for your credit cards to avoid late-fees. Set up reminders or auto-pays for your non-high-priority debts, so you can at least pay the minimum balance each month.
The Benefits of Being a Travel Nurse
Travel nurses earn slightly more than staff nurses, placing you at an advantage to tackle your debt. If you’re able to track your expenses, take advantage of tax deductions for travel nurses, and set up your budget, most likely, you’ll be able to pay off your debt.
It might be challenging in the beginning, and cut-cutting measurements might take time to become habits, but you can do this. Remember that all of these steps towards a debt-free life are somewhat temporary. Once you’re able to get rid of your most burdening debts, you’ll have to adjust your budget to make sure you remain debt-free going forward.
If you work with a travel nurse agency, remember to tap into their resources. Most travel agencies can help you with housing and travel expenses by pairing you with partners or other travel nurses. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an agent and discuss your debt situation. While they might not provide financial assistance, they might be able to offer solutions to help you control your expenses.
Anti-racist reading lists have been circulating across the internet in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. Non-black people who want to be better allies have been rushing to book stores to pick up Ibram X Kendi’s “How to be an Anti-Racist” or Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility.” But the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement is health care. The COVID-19 death rate for black Americans is 2.33 times higher than the death rate for white Americans, according to a report put out by the APM Research Lab on June 11. As the American Public Health Association has said, racism is a public health crisis.
It’s important for front-line workers, especially nurses, to take time to understand why these racial disparities in health persist. Black Americans aren’t simply dying of COVID-19 at higher rates because they make up a higher percentage of essential workers, although that’s a problem in itself. There’s a great mistrust of healthcare in the black community based on a long history of abuse that still continues today. There are great books written on this very issue. So if you’re a nurse, here’s YOUR reading list.
Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington
If you really want to understand the full history of racial abuse in health care, spanning from the days of slavery to 2007, when Medical Apartheid was published, this is the book to get you started. In grade school, you might have learned about the Tuskegee experiments, in which the government experimented on black men with syphilis for 40 years, allowing many of them to die in the process. But Washington digs into lesser known experiments that date back even further. She examines how social Darwinism and the pseudoscience of eugenics were born out of strings of experiments on slaves and freedmen. Washington’s book was revolutionary at the time it was published, because it allowed public health experts to understand that a century of abuse that sowed distrust of healthcare professionals in black America has more to do with the racial health deficit than anything else.
Black Man in a White Coat by Damon Tweedy, M.D.
Once you know your history, it’s time to look at how racial bias persists in healthcare today. In this deeply personal memoir, Tweedy tells a first-hand account of both the discrimination he himself faced in becoming a doctor, and what he came to learn about race and healthcare through his patients. In medical school, Tweedy heard over and over again the phrase, “more common in black than whites” about a slew of diseases. But as he came face to face with black patients, he realized there was more to the story.
Medical Bondage by Deirdre Cooper Owens
Owens zeroes in on a specific branch of medicine: gynecology. In her book “Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology,” she examines how the advances of modern gynecology were built on the backs of poor black women exploited by doctors. This book is powerful in bringing to light and dispelling myths about blackness and medicine that doctors have been treating as doctrine for years. It’s important literature for understanding your own biases as a healthcare professional and the possible biases of the doctors around you.
Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination by Alondra Nelson
While the Black Panthers are most remembered for their revolutionary and militant struggle for justice, they were also trailblazers for health advocacy surrounding racism. Nelson tells the little-known history around the Black Panther’s network of free health clinics, its campaign to raise awareness about genetic disease, and its challenges to medical discrimination. Nelson’s deep dive into how the Black Panthers addressed health care back in the 1970s could be a guidepost for solutions proposed today.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
If you haven’t heard of the name Henrietta Lacks by now, you might be living under a rock. Oprah played her daughter in a movie! But before Skloot’s book in 2010, few knew the infamous story behind the naming of the HeLa cell. If you haven’t read Skloot’s nonfiction narrative about a black woman exploited up until her death, and her family’s fight for justice, you should definitely pick it up. Lacks’ story is just one of thousands of black women whose bodies were used for scientific advancement, despite never benefiting from those advancements.
Invisible Visits by Tina K Sacks
Sacks, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, chooses to highlight middle-class black women’s experience with health care, showing that it isn’t just poor people who are treated differently in healthcare settings, rather the issue is race-specific. The book is filled with unsettling anecdotes about black women’s pain being dismissed, and the great lengths they must go to advocate for better treatment. Sacks also discusses what must happen to end racism healthcare. We must go beyond anti-bias training and get to the root of the issue, she says.
Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality by Dayna Bowen Matthew
Speaking of solutions, Dayna Bowen Matthew offers up a comprehensive one in her 2015 book “Just Medicine.” Matthew agrees with Sacks that the money our healthcare system spends on bias training will have only a small effect on the massive death toll health disparities have cost black Americans. Through a slew of research, Matthew has determined that the greatest solution to address medical racism is through an overhaul of the legal system, putting in place legal remedies that accurately address implicit and unintentional forms of discrimination.
An American Health Dilemma: A Medical History of African Americans and the Problem of Race: Beginnings to 1900 by W. Michael Byrd and Linda A. Clayton
While a little more academic, this book is comprehensive in documenting the important history, not just of how African-Americans were treated in the traditional healthcare system, but in how they developed their own kind of care and treatment. Reading this book in its entirety will give you a strong understanding of the roots of racism in health care, and the names of black medical pioneers that a traditional medical education largely leaves out.
If you’re interested in ordering any of these books online, check out this list of black-owned bookstores.Read More
World Oceans Day is held every year on June 8th to raise awareness of the vital importance of our oceans and the role they play in sustaining a healthy planet. To celebrate, we’re sharing 8 of our favorite Stability placements on the ocean. Now that the sun is getting hotter and the days are getting longer, there’s no better time to take a job on the beach… or at least near a beach.
San Diego, CA
Miles of sandy beaches, surfable waves, sailboats, and a zoo. What’s not to love about San Diego? Right at the bottom of California, where it’s sunny and warm all year round, it’s hard to find a better beachtown.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.
When most people not from New York think of a beach getaway, they might not think of the north shore of Long Island. But why not? Long Island’s gold coast is beautiful and much less crowded than the Hamptons. Grab a craft beer and catch a bonfire on the beach this summer after work, and you won’t be sorry.
There are two placements in Riverhead, and you can see all of our high paying New York placements here.
Fort Bragg, CA
Describing Fort Bragg sounds like you’re making up a romantic little beach town for a novel. In Northern California off the Mendocino Coast, Fort Bragg is best known for Glass Beach, with its shore full of colorful glass stones. The beach is part of sprawling MacKerricher State Park, which supports varied birdlife and harbor seals. If you want a break from the ocean, you can hop onto The Skunk Train, a steam locomotive that weaves through the redwood forests of the Noyo River Canyon. This quiet old logging town is a perfect place to spend a sleepy summer in Northern California.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.
A summer in South Florida is certainly one you won’t forget. Even with the restriction of COVID-19, you’re bound to have a fun time on the beach this summer. Eat some delicious Cuban food, take in the palm tree scenery, and gaze at that beautiful blue ocean.
Check out all of our Florida placements here.
This small university town on the north end of Humboldt Bay will offer you some beautiful beach days on the Gold Coast, as well as a relaxed hippie vibe to settle into after a hard day’s work. Arcata is known for its progressive politics and its vegetarian restaurants, but it’s also just outside of Crescent City, where there’s miles of white sandy beaches and the weather is always a little chilly, perfect for those long walks on the beach.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.
The Western Gulf Coast of Texas is probably another beach that escapes most people’s minds when they think about where to vacation. But if you’re someone who loves wide open spaces and cheap rent, you might consider it. Brownsville might be the cheapest place in America you can live in and still be only a few miles from the ocean. And Boca Chica Park and South Padre Island boast truly beautiful beaches, with sea turtles and water parks and all.
You can look at all of our Texas placements here.
San Francisco, CA
If you want a scenic beach but you also crave city life, there’s no place better than San Francisco. As long as your calves are well equipped to walk up endless hills, you’ll experience so much culture and beauty in this city. And with Stability’s high paying placements there, you can actually afford the cost of living.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.
We’re saving the best for last, because there is no beach like Venice Beach. Bring your skateboard and your hacky sack, and get ready to embrace the boardwalk lifestyle. Inglewood might be a small town landlocked outside of Los Angeles, but it’s only a 20-minute drive to Venice Beach, and a 20-minute drive the other way to Manhattan Beach. You can have it all living here, including an almost $3,000 a week placement.
You can see all of our high paying California placements here.Read More
If you have the drive to help people by changing or saving their lives, then becoming an ICU nurse could be a potential career choice for you. But ICU nurses are a special make of people — not everyone can handle the pressure of an intensive care unit and the chance to save a life.
But if you believe you have what it takes to fill the shoes of a real-life hero, here’s what you need to know about pursuing a career as an ICU nurse.
What is the Exact Role of an ICU Nurse?
These types of nurses are absolutely crucial to the successful operation and management of any hospital and most importantly, the intensive care unit.
The ICU’s primary focus is to take care of people who have suffered some form of trauma, a life-threatening accident, had major surgery, organ failure, heart attack, and stroke. The ICU also looks after cancer patients who have reached a very critical point in their care.
The role of an ICU nurse is to oversee the care of a patient in an ICU unit by continually reading and monitoring their vital signs. Often times, a patient’s life falls into their hands. If their vitals are deteriorating rapidly, it’s the ICU nurse’s job to notify the right person, in the best time-frame. In some cases, an ICU nurse will have to take an intervention into their own hands. They are also required to speak with family members and doctors on a regular basis.
Most patients who go into ICU are in critical condition. Some of the most common conditions an ICU nurse will face include:
- Post-operative patients who have received an organ transplant or open-heart surgery
- Trauma patients who are recovering from near-fatal incidences such as a car accident, shooting, or assault
- Infectious patients who are suffering from dangerous conditions such as sepsis
- Stroke patients who are in need of post-operative care and physical therapy
- Cancer patients admitted for recovery after intensive chemotherapy, transplant surgery, or infection
The role of an ICU nurse is an important and stressful job — no doubt about it. But it can also be very rewarding. Learning to handle the stress of a critical moment and find your focus is essential.
Critical Traits of an ICU Nurse
So, in order to become an ICU nurse what kind of person do you need to be? Some of the over-arching qualities include:
- An ability to handle the pressure of life-and-death situations
- Being a good communicator
- Being a true team player
- Being able to multi-task
- Having commitment and dedication to working long shifts
- A knack for critical thinking
- Above-par time management skills
Aside from these personal traits, it’s also important that an ICU nurse is in good physical health. This job requires you to be on your feet for many hours a day, so physical stamina is part-and-parcel of the position.
Dealing with Difficult Situations
The atmosphere of an ICU unit can be super-charged one minute, and relatively somber the next. Being able to separate yourself emotionally from this vast range in work atmosphere is crucial.
Ultimately, an ICU nurse has to remember how important their job is and not let their own personal feelings come in the way of a life-and-death decision. But this is not to say you cannot feel or express empathy. In fact, this is another important part of the job. ICU nurses often deal with traumatic, end-of-life situations. You should be able to offer both psychological support and empathy to family members.
The same goes for applying or withholding medical care when a patient has a living will in place. If their wish is to not be kept on life support, it is your job to obey their wishes. This may feel like a completely unnatural part of the job. It goes against everything nurses are taught about saving lives. But if this is a legal wish, it must be honored.
Salary, Education and Nursing Skills
According to national data, the median annual salary for an ICU nurse is approximately $75,119 as of April 2020. However, this amount does range between $67,691 and $81,623. ICU nurses are also privy to a host of benefits including health insurance, paid leave, and 401k plans.
In order to prepare for a long-lasting and truly fulfilling career as an ICU nurse, you will have to meet a number of different qualifications, first. Ideally, you will need to study a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). This should be with an accredited university, including specialized training in life-threatening conditions.
However, a BSN is not always necessary. You can also study an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and will have to pass the NCLEX-RN national exam that qualifies you as a registered nurse. You will also need to gain experience working in a critical care setting, then take an exam to become a critical care registered nurse (CCRN).
Some of the highly specialized, additional skills an ICU nurse should hold include:
- Advanced cardiac life support
- Life support
- Trauma care
- Critical care
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Patient and family education
- Discharge planning
Essentially, a bachelor’s degree lays the important groundwork for a career in nursing. Much of this additional skill is learned through additional courses and most importantly, real-life work experience.
Build a Fulfilling Career in Nursing
If you’re interested in a career as an ICU nurse, Stability Healthcare is here to help you take your nursing career to the next level.
If you’re already a trained and experienced ICU nurse, we also offer exciting travel nursing opportunities to help broaden your experience and knowledge. If you’re interested in a new career challenge, explore our travel nursing jobs for more…Read More
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
Many travel nurses have the desire to go where they’re most needed, and their impact has been particularly elevated during this global pandemic. Nurses have been sent in troves to New York City as the virus rages through the city’s understaffed hospitals. And Stability Healthcare still has many placements topping at around $5,500 a week in New York. But as the worst of the outbreak appears to be over for now in the large metropolis, it’s also important to look at where COVID-19 might strike next in the United States.
As several states plan to loosen their shelter-at-home orders in the coming weeks, scientists are predicting that the worst of COVID-19 in the United States is far from over. It’s hard to track where the upper respiratory virus, which has claimed the lives of over 50,000 Americans, will hit the hardest in the next few months leading into the fall. Some of the outbreaks have come entirely by chance. A person without symptoms could be particularly contagious and spread the virus widely. Some scientists say that the weather has an impact.
All of this uncertainty can make it hard to predict where nurses will be most needed in the coming months. But studies have proven that despite some uncontrollable variables, how a state’s leadership and its residents take action in preventing the spread of COVID-19 can make a notable difference in regional outbreaks.
If you’re a nurse looking ahead to where your work will be most needed, it’s wise to look at what government leaders are doing to keep residents safe, which states have higher elderly populations and which states have cut funds to hospitals in recent years. We’ve put together a list of a few places that might be at high risk for a major outbreak this year, and will certainly need the help of experienced travel nurses.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has come under fire this week for his controversial reopening plan. Kemp said in a tweet that nonessential businesses including hair salons, gyms, barbershops, tattoo parlors, bowling alleys, and nail salons will be allowed to resume some operations on Friday, April 24. And on Monday, April 27, theaters, social clubs and dine-in restaurants will be allowed to reopen also. With over 22,000 confirmed cases and 892 deaths in Georgia and the number of deaths per day still rising, many are saying Kemp is reopening way too soon.
Kemp said he felt confident that the state could reopen safely based on “favorable data and more testing,” but Georgia has only tested 100,000 people in its population of 10.62 million people. That’s only 1 percent of the population. A recent study out of LA County found that 55 times as many people had antibodies for CoronaVirus than the number of people who tested positive in the county. This could mean that all across the country, hundreds of thousands of people had or have COVID-19 without knowing it. And Kemp didn’t exactly do a good job of combating the spread of the virus at the forefront. He waited until April 2 to issue a stay-at-home-order — way later than most of the country. Even if everyone follows the social distancing rules when opening their business, another major outbreak in the state seems inevitable. And it doesn’t help that Georgia’s hospital capacity is lower than half the country’s, with a rate of 2.4 beds per 1,000 people.
Stability has about a dozen placements in Georgia right now, topping at $3,409 weekly.
This small New England state might seem like an odd place to experience a COVID-19 outbreak, but it has two damning characteristics: It ranks in the top 10 states with the highest elderly population in the country, and it ranks very low in hospital capacity, with only 2.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people.
New Hampshire has only seen 51 deaths related to CoronaVirus and only 1,588 confirmed cases. Numbers alone, this seems small. But with a population of only 1.36 million people, the small state actually has the same death rate as California and Florida. Its outbreak is also rising steeply. Test numbers from Thursday, April 23 showed that the state added 84 cases in a day.
Fortunately, Governor Chris Sununu said he is likely to extend the state’s stay-at-home order beyond May 4. Still, the state is predicted to surpass its hospital capacity and will certainly need some help.
There’s one high-paying placement open in New Hampshire right now, but also check back later as placements change week to week.
Missouri is another state toying with reopening many of its businesses as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. On Friday, cases reached 6,625, with a 20 percent increase in COVID-19 related deaths. However, Governor Mike Parson said that almost every business will be able to open in Missouri on May 4, citing a much lower case number than predicted at this point.
A member of the state’s coronavirus task force said that the state has ICU beds and ventilator capacity, and enough personal protective equipment. But early projections about the virus predicted that Missouri would far surpass its hospital capacity (about 3.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people), and an early opening for the state could make this prediction a reality.
There are over 30 placements available in Missouri.
If it isn’t clear by now, the states that should be watched most closely are the ones who were reluctant to close at the onset of coronavirus and are now considering reopening prematurely. Alabama, like Georgia and Missouri, fits the bill.
Governor Kay Ivey issued a shelter-in-place order for the state on March 28, well after many states in the country. And as Alabama has appeared to surpass its peak, with 14 days of consecutive decline, many are calling for the state to open its doors. Including, Will Ainsworth, the state’s Lt. Governor. Ivey’s stay-at-home order ends next week. But even Ivey herself has expressed concern about testing, with only 1.1 percent of the population tested. If the state opens too early, it could risk overwhelming its hospital capacity – which is only 3.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people.
Connecticut is already one of the hardest-hit states in the country, with the third highest death rate just below New Jersey and New York. But experts say that death and isolation will continue in the state for several more weeks. Statistical models predict that the state’s outbreak is less than halfway over, and deaths could possibly double from 1,544 to just over 3,000. Undeniably, the state’s hospitals are overburdened, with just 2 beds per 1,000 people.
Governor Ned Lamont said that businesses will likely not reopen until early June. As cases continue to grow, there are several high-paying placements for nurses in the state.
With many states approaching their peak days as far as the number of cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19, people crave a path to normalcy. However, amid the pandemic, healthcare workers continue their fight to help as many people as possible, with limiting resources and staff members to support them. Coronavirus updates keep changing by the minute, if not by the second. With more confirmed cases, healthcare workers are still trying to piece together the ins and outs of this pandemic. For travel nurses, emergency nurses, and other essential healthcare personnel keeping up with COVID-19 updates are of the utmost importance for their health and wellbeing.
The Latest COVID-19 Numbers
As of this writing, there are 579,005 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and 22,252 total deaths, expanding across 55 jurisdictions. Signs of the spread slowing down are optimistic if people follow social distancing and stay at home. However, there’s no way to guarantee this will happen, and we’ll indeed be able to flatten the curve.
While all of this is continuously happening, healthcare workers and facilities are now facing new challenges of their own. On the one side, healthcare facilities are now looking at strategies to mitigate personnel staffing shortages. On the other, healthcare personnel is scrapping for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as shortages continue to worsen.
Healthcare Workers Looking for PPE
Right now, there’s a severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of PPE. Risk in demand, panic buying by healthcare facilities and civilians, hoarding, and misuse are leaving hospitals struggling to meet needs. The shortage of personal protective equipment is placing doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers at higher risks.
From gloves, respirators, medical masks, face shields, goggles, aprons, and gowns, the need for PPE is real.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, beyond supplies diminishing, prices have surged. For example, surgical masks have increased prices six times.
The concern with supplies is that it might take months to go back to normal. According to the World Health Organization, we need close to 89 million medical masks each month for the COVID-19 response. The number goes up to 76 million when we talk about examination gloves. Plus, 1.6 million goggles per month. To meet these rising demands, the WHO estimates that the manufacturing of PPE must increase by 40 percent.
Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE You Should Know
As healthcare facilities left and right kept looking for ways to optimize the supply of PPE, the CDC stepped in with some guidelines.
- Reserve PPE for HCP and replace PPE typically used for source control with other barrier precautions such as tissues.
- Use re-usable PPE that can be reprocessed.
- Use PPE beyond the manufacturer-designated shelf life for training.
- Consider allowing healthcare personnel to extend the use of respirators, facemasks, and eye protection, beyond single patient contact.
Hospitals and Facilities Looking for Staff
At the frontlines of the outbreak, healthcare workers are finding themselves in an unprecedented staff shortage. Over 9,000 healthcare workers contracted COVID-19 over a week. However, the numbers are not one hundred percent accurate because many cases go unreported. The rise in cases correlates with the shortage of PPE to keep workers safe. Not to mention, ongoing staff shortages in healthcare isn’t a COVID-19 only problem. It’s estimated that even before the outbreak, the US needs to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 to care for the aging population qualitatively.
So far, the states facing the most number of cases include New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, closing the top five. Overall, job postings for healthcare workers tripled in the US in a matter of days. The top states with Coronavirus-related job openings include California, Washington, Georgia, Maryland, and New York. Altogether, these five states account for 61% of the job demand. Out of these job postings, about 21% of the market is looking for Registered Nurses.
The surge in demand for healthcare personnel expands to government entities, nonprofits, the private sector, and beyond. Right now, trying to fill staffing gaps is one of the top priorities to control the outbreak.
What Can You Do?
As a travel nurse, you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to navigate the situation. If you’ve chosen to be part of the frontline warriors, reach out to your travel agency to start making the necessary arrangement. Right now, travel nurses with the flexibility to move from one state to another quickly are what most healthcare facilities need. Stability offers placement for nurses in many of the cities experiencing a surge in demand. For all the brave nurses out there, reaching out to the various states battling the outbreak, Stability wants to be your ally and partner to make sure your placement arrangements are as straightforward as possible, so you can focus on what matters the most – caring for others.Read More