While every city is at different stages of re-opening, there is one thing that you can do just about everywhere. Get take out!
Take-out is a great way to explore the culture of the city you are working in. You can enjoy it in the comfort of your home or even set up a picnic at a park.
With COIVD cases spiking in Texas right now and a lot of travel nurses taking placements there, we thought it would be a great state to start our Stability Food Guide!
Of course, you can’t be in Austin without eating tacos on a regular basis. Vaquero Taquero is one of our personal favorites. They currently have a walk-up window for takeout orders, and options for delivery (online or phone calls).
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What’s a placement in Texas without some BBQ? You absolutely can not go wrong with Austin’s classic Franklin Barbeque. We recommend ordering a few days in advance to make sure you get your hands on their best BBQ before it’s sold out.
If you’re looking to beat the heat and in the mood for something sweet, you have to check out Lick Ice Cream. Their scoop shops are currently open as usual, available for curbside pick-up, and available via third-party delivery.
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We’re making it easy for y’all to get pints delivered right to your front door 😎: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✨ Once weekly FREE local front door delivery (select zip codes apply). Order by Tuesday at 10pm for Austin zip codes and Wednesday at 10pm for San Antonio zip codes. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✨ Local & Nationwide Delivery through @goldbelly , @ubereats , @grubhub , @doordash . Link in bio for more info. Enjoy our creamy goodness right on your couch (and in your PJs!). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📸: @dreammieeee
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If you haven’t tried Viet-Cajun cuisine yet, you’re in for a treat. Saigon House is best known for “Viet-Tex” smoked brisket pho and “H-Town Bang” crawfish. You can order online for both pick-up and delivery.
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Throw a 🔥 if ya like this for lunch??? Open 11am-9pm! Wed-Sunday! 3645 Cypress Creek Parkway #saigonhouse #houstonfoodies #SaigonHouse #SaigonHouseHTX #Houston #Cajun #houston_insta #htx #igofhouston #f52grams #buzzfeast #Seafood #ighouston #huffpostgram #hou #feedfeed #screwston #thisishouston #htown #seafoodporn #houstonrestaurants #clutchcity #houstonfoodies #forkyeah #houstoneats #houstonfood #crawfishhouston #houstonfoodie #713 #VietCajun
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If you’re wanting to unwind after a crazy shift, Rosie Cannonball is just what you need. They are currently offering boozy negronis in adult juice packs that make for the perfect after-work cocktail. And of course, we can’t forget about the food, their menu offers a wide range of pizzas and sides. P.S. Don’t forget to take a peek at their dessert menu. Did someone say frozen s’mores?
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The weekend is calling ✨ A Cannonball G&T and our Lambrusco Spritz are the perfect pairings for your To Go & Delivery orders! #ginandtonictime #spritzseason #houstonsummer #houstondrinks #thegreatamericantakeout #datenightathome #contactlesspickup #contactlessdelivery #saverestaurants
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If you’re vegan and feeling bummed about missing out on the Texas BBQ scene, have no fear! Houston Sauce Pit’s menu boasts overflowing baked potatoes stuffed with chopped “veef” and Beyond Meat sausage and much much more. Try it out yourself, they are currently open for pick-up.
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What’s better than a Vegan BBQ picnic? A Vegan BBQ picnic with an ice cold ❄️ Indigo Strawberry Lemonade 🍓 🍋 . Get to @houstonsaucepit before you miss out!! #indibrewco#houstonsaucepit#strawberrylemonade#veganbbq#txbbq#houston#bbq#veganhouston
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If you’re in the mood for sushi, Nori Handroll Bar is a MUST. With a special curbside pick-up menu available, you’re all set to have the perfect sushi spread. If you’re having decision-making problems or want to try a little bit of everything, we recommend the NHB box set.
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NOW OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK! ———— NHB is now open everyday from 5pm to 9pm! We are still working towards an eventual normal dining experience. At this time we will offer daily takeaway and delivery as usual. We will keep you updated on dine in services as we progressively expand our services with safety in mind! ———— Thank you all for your constant love and support! Please don’t forget to add a small tip when ordering! It helps our staff out tremendously! ———— #norihandrollbar #rollgasm #rollwithnori #deepellum #deepellumeats #instadfw #instadallas #dfwfoodies #instafood #foodgasm #temaki #sake #tapas #NHB #deepellumfood #dfwfood #goodeatsdfw #dallaseats #handroll #omakase #sushiislife #sushiisforlovers #dallasfood #nigirisushi #temakilovers #uni #texasstrong
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Cane Rosso is known for their authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas. Some have even gone as far to saying this is the best pizza you’ll find in Texas. They are currently available for pick-up and delivery.
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Nobody knows what June has in store for us in this year of insanity. One thing I can tell you for sure is that Cane Rosso has not one, but TWO pizza specials for the month of June!! ⠀ For dinner, you're looking at the Primavera Pie, a white pie featuring: housemade mozzarella, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, confit garlic, roasted peppers, mushrooms, basil, and parm. WHAT'S UP, VEGETARIANS?!?!⠀ ⠀ And, at long last, we're bringing back everybody's favorite dessert pizza, the Peach Bella Mela!! Luscious roasted peaches meet creamy vanilla mascarpone, that good caramel sauce, and powdered sugar. ⠀ ⠀ In other news, in accordance with the citywide curfews now in effect, Cane Rosso Deep Ellum will be closing at 5 PM, and Cane Rosso Fort Worth will be closing at 6 PM. We will update you all when normal hours resume for those affected locations. ⠀ ⠀ #canerosso #pizza #bellamela #peach #peaches
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This Dallas staple is one you most definitely don’t want to miss. Keller’s Drive-In has the best burgers in town. Don’t forget to grab some crispy onion rings and a milkshake for the full experience. Not to mention, you’re always sure to have a friendly experience with their staff (even though their smiles are hiding under a mask).
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There are some things so quintessentially “Dallas” that they can’t be skipped. And one of those things is Keller’s Hamburgers 🍔this year, it celebrates its 54th year in Dallas as a classic drive-in. And you can say not much has changed 🤷🏼♀️ they still serve classic poppyseed buns and burgers and hot dogs 🌭 at a great price. Let’s just say if you’re thinking fast food for lunch, think again! This is a million times better, made to order, just for you. Pictured is the No. 5 (or most popular) burger with double meat, cheese, lettuce 🥬 tomato 🍅 with special sauce 😍 it was worth every bit of that 3$ 🤤 and add onion rings, you’ll thank me later. Next time you’re thinking something quick do yourself a favor and look for the green sign on Northwest Hwy & Abrams #eastdallas #dallasburgers #hamburger #kellersdrivein #dallaslegend #affordableeats #dallas #foodie #instafood #dallastx #dallaseats #dallasfoodie #dallasinsta #instadallas #dallasblogger #dfw #dfwtx #dfweats #dfwfoodie #dfwinsta #dfwblogger #instadfw #ilovemycity #karliedoesdallas #doingdallasthings
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Trying to decide where you’ll take your next travel assignment? We can help. Head over to stabilityhealthcare.com and we can get you on your way.Read More
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
Almost 85% of all registered nurses (RNs) are working in the nursing field in jobs in the hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing care facilities, and schools to name a few.
A house supervisor is a role occupied by experienced registered nurses with Basic Life Support certification from the American Heart Association and an active professional license.
When it comes to addressing patient care and staffing concerns, let’s look at the responsibilities of a nurse supervisor or house sup, and the opportunities available.
Responsibilities of a House Sup
What does a nursing house supervisor do? The nurse supervisor job description includes the following:
- dealing with patient care issues
- attending to staffing matters
- supervise the nurses and other staff
- administrative tasks
- leading and directing the nurses and staff as they care for patients
- assure the quality of care
- staff development
- maintain nursing guidelines
Their role is mainly to supervise, direct, and lead a team of nurses and staff as they care for patients and perform other related duties.
Nurse Supervisor Job Duties
House supervisor job duties are extensive. They develop and interpret infection-control policies and protocols to protect patients and employees.
They coordinate with the patient, the patient’s family, and the physician to make sure the patient’s needs are being met and to resolve any problems that have come up.
They enforce the administration of medications, proper storage procedures, and regulations for controlled substances.
They document patient care services, ensure medical equipment is working properly by testing and overseeing preventative maintenance and calling for repairs when needed, and evaluate new equipment.
They are in charge of how confidential information is processed to protect patient medical records. They attend professional development workshops and keep abreast of new policies and protocols.
They keep an inventory of all nursing supplies through usage reports, looking at the present trends, and evaluating future needs. They also fill out supply requisitions and allocate money for supplies.
Nurse House Supervisor Salary
The average yearly US salary for a house sup is $77, 500. Some positions have bonuses and profit-sharing which can bring the salary up to $115,000.
The average varies greatly in different parts of the country. For example, in Indiana, the median salary for a house sup is $100,000. In California, a house sup salary rises to $114,000.
Advance Your Career
Now that you have some information on the role and responsibilities of a house sup, it’s time to get started on your next career move. House sups can go on to become nurse managers, executive directors, CEOs, directors of human resources, clinical directors, and more after having years of experience.
Are you ready to experience the freedom of a traveling nursing job? Sign up with us to find the best assignments in the locations you desire. Set your preferences in regard to location, pay, and schedule and you’ll be able to connect with your next assignment right from your phone.
As Coronavirus cases are ramping up in nearly every state in America, it’s becoming a bit more complicated to be a travel nurse. But if you’re planning to hop on a plane in the next few weeks to your next work destination, this guide has you covered. Here’s everything you should know about how travel is changing right now, and the best tips to staying safe, whether you’re commuting in a plane, train, bus or car.
Top Tips for Traveling Safe
Start planning your “Corona Travel Kit” weeks before you leave
Hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and other sanitary necessities are becoming hot commodities again. If you know you’re traveling, make sure you’re stocked up well ahead of time. And think hard about what you’ll need in various travel situations.
For instance, if you’re flying, you can only carry on a bottle of hand sanitizer that contains 12 ounces or less. So stock up on mini-bottles. And also consider alcohol and Clorox wipes (get both) as a better option for flying. After all, wipes can also sanitize where you’re sitting and putting your hands on. And you can use them to wipe down your phone and wallet. Disposable gloves can be useful too, but make sure not to touch your face with your gloves on.
If you’re driving, there are a couple of other items to consider bringing with you. Keep a package of trash bags handy as your Clorox wipes and disposable gloves begin to pile up. You could also consider buying an air purifier for your car if you’re driving with others.
Avoid shopping while traveling
Whether you’re flying or driving, the most likely way you’d come into contact with strangers is through shopping. Whether it’s buying a snack at a gas station, or a water bottle at the Starbucks near your terminal, this is putting you at extra-risk of interacting with strangers and touching items that others have likely also put their hands on. Just plan ahead and avoid this altogether if you can. Bring more snacks than you think you need, and plan for a packed lunch and possibly dinner, even if you’re flying. Bring an emptied reusable water bottle if you’re flying. And if you’re driving, bring multiple water bottles (though don’t drink so much that you have to stop to pee all the time).
Speaking of peeing, do it at your house before you go!
Cover that face!
It’s human nature to want to touch your face, and it’s a habit that is incredibly difficult to crack. So the easiest way to stop yourself from doing it in a high-risk situation like traveling is to cover as much of your face as possible. Wearing a mask is a given, but also wear your reading glasses or even your sunglasses if you can. It might not take the temptation away, but if you have to take the extra step of taking your glasses off before rubbing your eyes, you’ll have time to realize what you’re doing and quickly put some hand sanitizer on.
Check in to your flight online/ use a carry-on suitcase
Another way to avoid as much human contact as possible while flying is to check in ahead of time online, and try and limit yourself to a carry-on suitcase. That way you can head straight to security and skip a step of standing in line and talking to TSA.
Take a window seat
When you travel by air, you’re actually at quite a limited risk of contracting disease from inhaling particles because of the HEPA air filters found on most planes. But still, it’s hard to abide by the 6-feet-apart social distancing guidelines when you’re crammed in a plane. While you might usually prefer the aisle seat, consider taking the window seat instead. The aisle will put you in close contact with flight attendants and any passenger getting up to use the restroom.
Also, wear a mask for the duration of your flight. We know it sucks. But it will ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
When driving, prepare for the worst
Limiting how many times you stop during a road trip also means prepping as much as you can to avoid emergency stops. AAA isn’t always going to save you, and it will put you in contact with strangers. Also, because of COVID-19, a lot of local repair shops have limited hours. Try and be as self sufficient as you can. Make sure you have a spare tire and jack, and practice changing a tire before you go. Get new wipers, your oil changed and your fluids topped off before you leave. Maybe even have someone who knows cars pretty well take a look at your engine.
As a last resort, look up all the auto-repair shops along your root and jot down their hours and numbers.
Change your mindset
If you’ve been in one place for several months, you might start getting lax about sanitizing your hands, not touching your face, or keeping 6 feet away from others. Even if you’ve been going into a hospital every day, it’s easy to be lulled into a sense of normalcy around this virus as we’re now into month four of the pandemic. So hours before you board a plane or get into a car to travel cross-state, put yourself into a little bit of a panic mode. You don’t want to have so much anxiety about traveling that you freak out and don’t think properly, but a little bit of fear can be powerful. Read a couple articles about the dangers of COVID-19 before you leave the house, to refamiliarize yourself with the risk you’re facing.
Make a checklist
And then once you’re sufficiently scared of this possibly-deadly virus, immediately make a checklist for everything you need to be mindful of before you get into an airport or a car.
- Am I touching my face?
- Am I applying hand sanitizer every 15 minutes or so, or before I touch my face? (You could even make a timer on your phone)
- Has my phone or wallet come in contact with any surface?
- When I’m taking my mask off for any reason, are my hands clean?
- What are the conditions in which it’s okay to take my mask off?
- How can I avoid contact with strangers as much as possible?
- If I’m driving, how many times should I expect to stop?
- Have I wiped down the gas pump before using it?
Plan for after you arrive
If you’re flying into your new destination, make sure you’re thinking about how you’ll get to where you’re staying once you get off the plane. Public transportation has been shut down in many states, and shuttles can be too-close-for-comfort. If you’re going to take an Uber, make sure to keep your mask on and the window down. Also look up where the pick-up location for ride-shares and taxis is before you land.
Also, if you’re staying in an AirBnb or some other temporary lodging, go to the state website and see if they’ve placed any kind of guidelines or restrictions on lodging. Some places like Maine, require you to present a negative COVID-19 test to the owners of your AirBnB or hotel.
The best way to limit your travel and stress levels? Get tested for COVID-19 before you head out, and after you arrive. Make sure you get your test in time to have the results back before you leave, and try to quarantine as best you can while waiting for results.
Some states or workplaces ask that you get a test within 24 hours of arriving in your city. But if this isn’t your situation, try and wait four or five days after traveling to get tested. It’s more likely your test will be accurate if you wait a few days beyond when you think you might have been exposed. If you’re forced to take a test right when you get into the city, maybe take another one a week later, just to be safe.
Navigating travel restrictions
As states like Texas and Florida have begun seeing more cases than ever before, some other states are closing or restricting their borders to outside travelers coming from certain areas. If you’re traveling on assignment, these restrictions don’t necessarily all apply to you. Most states have made exceptions for essential workers, but it is still important to know all the rules before you travel. This will allow you to plan ahead and possibly arrive in a city a few weeks before your assignment starts if you are expected to quarantine. Restrictions can change week-by-week and even day-by-day, but here are some of the states that have travel restrictions as of Thursday, July 2.
Connecticut, New York and New Jersey
Governors of the tri-states all came together late in June and decided they would place restrictions on travelers coming from high COVID areas. Travelers coming from a state that has a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average are expected to quarantine for 14 days.
These states as of Thursday are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. You can always check for updates here.
Each of the three states has slightly varied exemptions for essential workers and short-term travel, as well as enforcement.
In New York, essential workers, which includes almost any kind of health care worker, “should seek diagnostic testing for COVID-19 as soon as possible upon arrival (within 24 hours) to ensure they are not positive.” They’re also directed to avoid spending prolonged time in public places or congregate settings for at least 7 days. So don’t go to the outdoor patio bar until you’ve gotten your COVID test results back. If you are reported or caught violating any of these travel restrictions in New York, you’re subject to a $2,000 fine. Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t gone into great detail about what enforcement will look like, but you might want to have some kind of hospital or work identification with you at all times, especially in the airport. You can read the full travel advisory here.
Connecticut’s travel policy is a little more lax. It simply states that travelers who work in critical infrastructure as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are exempt from quarantine. You might want to call the helpline if you are working somewhere that is not an Emergency Room, because the CISA only designates “emergency medical services” as essential. Connecticut has no fine for violators of the quarantine. “It will be up to individuals to abide by the advisory.”
Finally, New Jersey says that anyone “traveling for business” is exempt from the quarantine rule. While vague, this should include travel nurses. And the quarantine is technically voluntary.
At the start of June, New Mexico reinstated its order that outside travelers from anywhere must self-quarantine for 14 days. Healthcare workers are excluded from this policy, but if you have friends or family traveling with you, check out all the rules related to travel quarantine here.
Rhode Island’s list of states subject to travel restrictions is even longer than the tri-state list. You can check out the current 24 states here. If you’re traveling from one of these states, you are expected to quarantine for 14 days, OR you can get a COVID-19 test and only quarantine until you receive negative results.
If you need to go to work straight away, you can also get a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to your arrival in Rhode Island, and the restrictions will be waived when your results come back negative.
Maine requires that all travelers coming from anywhere except New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, quarantine for 14 days, or get a COVID-19 negative test result shortly before or after arriving. Maine is particularly strict with its policy, and requires non-residents to sign a Certificate of Compliance indicating either that they have received a negative COVID-19 test result or that they will quarantine in Maine for 14 days. If you’re staying in an Airbnb, hotel or any other kind of lodging, you’ll be expected to present this Certificate of Compliance to the owner of said establishment. Essential workers are exempt from this.
Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts
To check out the details of all these states’ travel restrictions, go to this Southwest page. Southwest, and most other airlines, keep track of all the changing travel restrictions on their home sites, so keep checking them regularly to see if any of these policies might affect you.
Itching to travel to your next destination?
Now that you’re informed about how to keep yourself safe while traveling, are you ready to pick a new nursing gig? Remember that with Stability Healthcare, you can easily find great travel nursing placements. Sign up today!
It is an important time in history for healthcare professionals to examine their own internal biases, and also look at the health care system as a whole. Studies have shown that by and large, Black Americans get less, and sometimes worse, care than white Americans. And much of this discrepancy comes from a distrust sown from years of abuse. We have a list of books you can read to gain a deeper understanding of this history. But if you want a quick overview, here are some things you should know about healthcare and racism.
The Tuskegee experiment
The Tuskegee experiment wasn’t the first time that healthcare professionals mistreated black patients, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. But the 40 year study on syphilis that started in 1932 would become infamous among Black people in America. And it would come to represent the way white medical professionals value Black lives. So as a nurse, it’s important you know what happened.
In Macon County, Alabama, 600 Black men were chosen as subjects for a study on untreated syphilis among Black communities. But most of them had no idea they were participating in the study. It was conducted by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and involved blood tests, x-rays, spinal taps and eventually, autopsies of the subjects. The men chosen for this study, mostly because doctors had recognized syphilis in their lab reports, were simply told they were being treated for “bad blood.” And many received no treatment at all.
Even after penicillin was discovered as a safe and reliable cure for syphilis, the majority of men did not receive it.
On top of knowingly allowing Black men to die of a treatable disease, the experiment was rooted in pseudoscience and incorrect, racist theories of medicine. Scientists at the time believed Black men to be naturally hyper-sexual, and thus more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases. They attributed the lower birth rate and higher miscarriage rates among black communities to STDs, without any real evidence of this being true. Many doctors and medical professionals operated under the assumption that Black men had larger genitals but smaller brains, and thus were inherently sexually perverse and immoral. This kind of pseudoscience helped reinforce the most common motive for lynching black men: accusing them of raping white women. Thus the most brutal forms of racism during the Jim Crow era were inherently linked to healthcare and to the Tuskegee Experiment itself, which in some ways existed to service sexual stereotypes about Black communities.
It was also at the root of scientists’ hypothesis that Black men and women were so unintelligent that they would not seek treatment for syphilis or other diseases. By the 1950s, though, doctors involved in the study were actively trying to stop their patients from learning of or seeking treatment for their disease. And even against their best efforts, 30 percent of subjects who survived to that point had received penicillin treatments.
None of it made sense. Saying that Black men were too “stoic” to seek out or retain treatment for syphilis was inherently flawed because their subjects were told they were already receiving treatment. But the point was to reinforce the idea that Black communities are less likely to seek out medical treatment and thus their higher death and infection rates made sense, absent of any medical malice. It’s important to note because this belief still exists in medicine today.
There’s a lot more to learn about the experiment. This site gives a great and more detailed overview. A final note on the study: It continued until 1972, two decades after the Nuremberg code was written to prohibit harmful human experimentation.
Eugenics and forced sterilization
There were 5,000 black women sterilized without their consent from 1933 to 1973 in North Carolina alone. Never heard of forced sterilization? This is how it happened.
Back in 1849, a Texas biologist and physician proposed a bill mandating sterilization of the mentally handicapped and any of those possessing genes he deemed “undesirable.” The proposed law was rooted in a growing philosophy of the time called eugenics. Eugenics was a belief, largely held by scientists, that you could improve the human species by controlling reproduction, only allowing the birth of children whose parents have “desirable” genetic traits. It was inherently racist. The bill didn’t come to a vote in 1849, but it was the first of its kind. And would come up again and again in the decades to come.
Finally by 1909, Indiana, California and Washington all successfully passed mandatory sterilization laws for the “feebleminded,” meaning mentally handicapped. In 1927, the Supreme Court ruled that forced sterilization was not against the constitution. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”.
By the 1960s, tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized in state-run eugenics programs, according to investigative reporters for NBC News. NBC interviewed women who had gone into the hospital for some kind of procedure, sometimes to give birth, and afterwards, without their consent, were sterilized. One woman, Elaine Riddick, discovered records that an 8-person eugenics board in Raleigh, North Carolina had deemed her “feebleminded” and “promiscuous” and recommended she be sterilized. She was only 13 years old at the time, and was pregnant after being raped by her neighbor. This was what eugenics programs did. A group of white men assessed patients they had never met and deemed whether they were fit to bear children.
This practice was all but endorsed by the White House in the 1970s, when the Nixon administration dramatically increased Medicaid-funded sterilization of low-income Americans, predominantly people of color. While Nixon’s policy required voluntary consent from patients, this restriction was largely evaded. Thousands of patients have come forward to say that they were sterilized without their consent. Almost all of them were black women, Native American women and Puerto Rican women. The last known legal forced sterilization was performed in Oregon in 1981.
Sickle Cell disease
It’s widely known among the medical community that sickle cell disease is more common among Black Americans. Sickle cell is a genetic disease that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body, and it can cause chronic pain, multi-organ failure and stroke. Because sickle cell is genetic and scientists guess that it began in West Africa, Americans with a strong African ancestry are more likely to have it.
It’s no coincidence that sickle-cell impacts Black Americans more acutely than any other race and sickle-cell research receives far less funding than comparable diseases. There are more cases of sickle cell than cystic fibrosis, yet cystic fibrosis receives 3.5 times more funding. For this reason, there has been far less progress in treating and preventing sickle cell, even though 1 out of 13 black babies are born with the genetic trait.
While life expectancy for almost every major medical condition has increased in recent years, the life expectancy for sickle-cell has decreased. In 1994, life expectancy for sickle cell patients was 42 for men and 48 for women. By 2005, life expectancy had dipped to 38 for men and 42 for women.
It’s not just about funding and research. The way patients with sickle-cell are treated plays a large role in their ability to survive the disease. Many cases of sickle-cell get misdiagnosed, even though a genetic test will make it clear whether a patient has the trait. One medical student said that she was taught to be careful with sickle-cell testing because “they might become de facto paternity tests.” While a sickle-cell test does reveal genetic inheritance patterns, so do tests for cystic fibrosis and Tay-Sachs disease. She said there was never a concern about revealing a different “baby-daddy” in these other tests.
Sickle-cell involves dramatic episodes of pain, which need to be treated or they can result in death. But many patients are told to go home, or are left waiting in an emergency room for hours when they are admitted for a sickle-cell flare up. This connects to a pattern of medical professionals continually doubting and undermining the pain of their Black patients.
There’s a fact getting passed around the internet recently that encapsulates the problem with how Black patients are treated: Black Americans were actually spared in the opioid addiction crisis because physicians were so resistant to prescribing them pain medication.
According to MedPage Today, white patients are twice as likely to receive opioids for migraines or back pain as black patients. This is rooted in the false belief that Black patients feel pain less acutely than white patients. A study in 2016 found that half of white medical students in a 200+ person survey believed that there were biological differences between how white and black patients experience pain. And these respondents were more likely to suggest inappropriate treatment for black patients, underscoring how false ideas about race and medicine can cause physicians to act incorrectly in many cases.
This viral Tik Tok coming from white OBG-YN Dr. Jennifer Lincoln puts it best: “It’s a holdover from the days of slavery, when white people needed to feel better about abusing slaves. Black people used to be operated on without anesthesia and were used in studies without their consent, so this was a convenient lie. To this day, Black people are less likely to get the same treatment in terms of pain medication. They’re more likely to wait longer in the emergency room. They’re less likely to be taken seriously. It’s a holdover from the days of slavery.”
As Lincoln pointed out in her Tik Tok, perception of Black pain plays a huge role in the maternal morbidity crisis, one of the most modern areas of blatant racism in healthcare.
According to the CDC, Black women in the U.S. are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy than white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health. Researchers also said that about 60% of all pregnancy related deaths can be prevented with better care.
Many signs of preeclampsia, a dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy which is the leading cause of maternal death, often go ignored for black patients, as the New York Times reported back in 2018. Preeclampsia and the seizures that develop after preeclampsia are 60% more common for Black women. This quote from Times piece seems most telling:
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel.”
And while some might chalk a higher infant and maternal mortality rate up to lower income and lack of education, this actually factors very little. A black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.
Even American exceptionalism, or the belief that we are the leader of the world in scientific and all kinds of advancement, is brought crashing down as a result of racism. The lack of care American healthcare offers to Black mothers causes it to rank at the very top among industrial countries in infant and maternal mortality rates. That’s not a list you want to come in at #1. The United States is one of only 13 countries in the world where the rate of maternal mortality is now worse than it was 25 years ago.
Doulas, or a medically trained woman who offers guidance and support during pregnancy and birth, have made a comeback in recent years, as one potential solution to improving care for Black mothers. Community-based doula groups have popped up in cities across the country aimed at providing black women in particular the care they are not getting from their doctors.
Finally, the most recent instance of racism in healthcare is happening right now. 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. The blog Scientific American put this into context: If Black Americans were dying at the same rate white Americans were, 13,000 people would still be alive.
In today’s health crisis, there’s a throughline of all the historical racism we have detailed for you above. For a century, doctors and physicians have claimed that Black people are genetically dispositioned to contract certain diseases, to die earlier, to wait too long to seek out care. And with the great racial disparity of COVID-19, you’re seeing them do it again. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who was a doctor before he was elected, said that there were “genetic reasons” for why Black residents were dying at a higher rate than white residents. He cited no evidence. Scientists writing in Lancet and Health Affairs, some of the world’s leading medical journals, have also cited unknown genetic and biological factors as a possible cause for higher Black death in COVID-19, also providing no evidence.
The widely held concept that there are genetic factors that lead Black Americans to have higher blood pressure and diabetes is dispelled pretty well here. The reality is there are environmental factors that cause Black patients to have underlying conditions like asthma, which could make their COVID symptoms worse: higher rates of pollution in black neighborhoods, lack of quality housing, limited access to healthy food, and racial discrimination in healthcare, for starters.
On top of these underlying health conditions, the care that Black Americans receive when they get sick is also killing them at higher rates. As has been proven in studies and anecdotal evidence throughout history, doctors and physicians tend to not take Black patients’ pain as seriously as white patients. And this has been displayed as many Black patients claim to have been denied COVID-19 tests despite displaying symptoms. According to a study from research firm Rubix Life Sciences, Black patients displaying COVID-19 symptoms were six times less likely to receive testing or treatment, in comparison to white patients who exhibited symptoms.
White communities are also more likely to have more testing sites than Black neighborhoods. NPR reported that Nashville, Tennessee was initially unable to transport tests and PPE to testing sites in neighborhoods that were predominantly Black. And in Chicago, Black neighborhoods had lower testing rates than white neighborhoods.
Once again, Dr. Lincoln’s Tik Tok says it best: “Doctors, nurses, anybody in the medical field, check your implicit bias. Stop yourself every time you’re caring for somebody who has a different skin color than you and check your bias.”Read More
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
Despite the grueling nature of working as a nurse in the middle of a pandemic, many students are flocking to the career. Some nursing schools have reported more than a 30 percent increase in applicants since COVID-19 broke out.
This is likely because in an uncertain economy, nursing jobs are really needed. In a report, The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) said there will likely be a need for 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026, and those numbers will be even higher amid the pandemic.
But for those who are already in nursing school, on the path to gaining their RN license, the future might feel a little uncertain. While all college students are adjusting to online classes, nursing students have it a little harder. There are 500 hours of direct patient care and 1,000 hours of clinical hours required to complete a nursing program certified by the AACN. And the association has made it clear that these hours are still required, despite some hospitals that have been hesitant to invite a class of undergrads into their clinics and emergency rooms.
Nursing students face challenges on two ends of a spectrum: Some are struggling to get the clinical hours they need without proper licensing to work in a hospital, and others are being propelled onto the front lines of fighting this virus, as hospitals in particularly affected areas are struggling to maintain their staffing needs.
For those who might be feeling in over their head, we’ve interviewed a nursing student at the University of Portland about how her program is adjusting amid the pandemic.
Q: Are you still expected to do clinicals? Is that scary for you?
My clinical was in an assisted care facility so our rotation ended early to protect the residents and limit exposure. The abrupt ending was scary because we were worried about meeting our program’s clinical hour requirement but luckily we were able to do so through additional assignments.
Q: Do you feel like nursing students are getting thrown into work early because hospitals are understaffed?
I have not experienced this where I am, but I definitely heard talk of that being a possibility if hospitals turned chaotic.
Q: Has a lot of what you’re learning shifted to treating COVID-19? Or how has your curriculum changed at all during this time?
The content of my curriculum remained the same with additional lessons that incorporated emerging information about COVID-19. My cohort was supposed to start our summer semester and clinical rotation in May but for many reasons, it was canceled. Our curriculum for our senior year has been shifted and we will graduate in August of 2021 rather than May of 2021.
Q: How are you feeling during all of this? Is there something that helps keep you calm, sane?
The transition to online learning was very stressful. The shift in our curriculum and graduation date was very upsetting, but knowing that I will be able to start my senior year in the fall has kept me sane and given me something to look forward to.
What’s been the hardest part of nursing school during the pandemic for you?
Being in nursing school in the middle of a pandemic and having to switch to online learning was extremely overwhelming. The hardest part was finding the same motivation to study and focus on school, being at home with a big family rather than on campus. Although this situation has been scary and difficult, it has made me even more empowered to join this profession.
If you’re a nursing student in your final two semesters and you’re struggling financially, the AACN Foundation announced in April that they are launching a COVID-19 Nursing Student Support Fund. Students selected will receive $500 awards to help support them as they work on gaining their nursing degree. You can apply for aid here.
And if you’re considering working as a travel nurse once you graduate, check out Stability’s myriad of placements here.
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