The Perks of Becoming a Travel Nurse

The Perks of Becoming a Travel Nurse

The Perks of Becoming a Travel Nurse

*Written by Sarah Darren

Nursing is always a solid career path for people who have compassion for others and a desire to make a difference in the world. For some, it is a calling, but others get into the field of nursing because it offers a stable and fulfilling career path with lots of interesting opportunities. 

This is a fantastic time to begin training as a nurse, simply because the need has never been greater. Not only are people living longer than they used to and requiring more care, but many healthcare organizations are already having staffing issues. This is expanding an exciting opportunity for those interested in travel nursing. 

There are many perks to becoming a travel nurse!

What Exactly is a Travel Nurse?

Most nurses work for a specific hospital, school, assisted living facility, or other organization. They are traditionally employed and typically know what to expect regarding the work environment and their colleagues. 

On the other hand, travel nurses are temporary staff for hospitals and healthcare facilities all over the country. They take on new assignments every few months (typically in 13-week blocks) and work in hospitals experiencing temporary personnel shortages or a higher-than-expected influx of patients. With shifts occurring in the healthcare industry, the demand is only growing for travel nurses. 

Besides traveling around the country and working in different hospitals, travel nurses have the same responsibilities as permanent nurses. They care for patients and take on miscellaneous tasks to help hospitals run. Travel nurses have to adapt to enter a new work environment every few months, but there are several significant perks to being a travel nurse.  

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Enjoy a Great Salary & Benefits

One of the best perks of becoming a travel nurse is the pay.  Travel nurses generally get new assignments through a nurse contracting firm. This means that they enjoy a great salary from their contracts while also receiving benefits from their contracting firm. 

In general, traveling nurses can expect to make around $65,000-90,000 annually, depending on their work and assignment. In addition to this salary, travel nurses might get allowances for temporary housing and living expenses, retirement contributions, health insurance, and even travel reimbursements. 

Although travel nursing might not sound as stable as traditional nursing jobs, the truth is that the work is usually plentiful enough for nurses to make a great living on the road. The benefits can be as good or better than those from a permanent post. 

Expand Your Personal & Professional Experience

Perks of becoming a travel nurse include: expanding your skills, living in new cities, and learning more money!

Working in one geographic area can provide comfort and stability, but it might not offer you new challenges or the opportunity to expand your skillset and experience. Nurses who don’t have the opportunity to work in a diverse healthcare environment might miss out on fulfilling experiences and the ability to build a more impressive resume. 

Travel nurses get the chance to experience different environments and meet people from all walks of life. Not only does this provide professional benefits, but it also helps nurses grow personally. Working in different types of hospitals is a great way to expand your perspective and develop your communication skills and cultural competency. 

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Looking for a Bit More Freedom? Travel Nursing Could be for You!

Nursing jobs are usually quite stable but can also be rigid when it comes to scheduling and time off. If you’re looking for a little more freedom and flexibility, then travel nursing could be a great solution. Although it would impact your paycheck to pass up a contract, travel nursing gives you the option of taking time off if you need to attend to personal business or just take a long vacation. 

You have a lot more control over your schedule and your life as a traveling nurse. You’ll be living in new places and embarking on new adventures every few months, but you also have the freedom to say no to jobs that don’t suit you. 

Travel nursing is rarely boring and can be deeply satisfying. If you get “itchy feet” and don’t like the idea of spending the next 40 years working in the same hospital in the same town, why not consider taking your career on the road?

If you dream of adventure and feel called to help others, then travel nursing could be the perfect career path. Right now, hospitals need people who are willing to drop everything, roll up their sleeves, and help patients get well.

Wound Care Nursing: An Alternative Career Path for Nurses

Wound Care Nursing: An Alternative Career Path for Nurses

According to The Association For The Advancement Of Wound Care (AAWC), “More people are living with a chronic wound than with breast, colon, and lung cancers, and leukemia combined.” Moreover, the prevalence of leg ulcers in the US ranges between 500,000 and one million, and over 1% of the population has or has had a venous leg ulcer.

Yet, the AAWC also notes that while pressure ulcers have a 15% prevalence, at least 95% of them are preventable. Diabetic ulcers are not much different. While 16% of them will lead to an amputation, most are preventable.

Information like this indicates that there is a tremendous need for nurses who are educated in wound care. Utilizing various techniques to assess, treat, and care for patients with wounds, wound care nurses work with the doctor and care team to determine if other treatments like surgery or antibiotics are necessary. Wound care nurses also offer education to patients and their caretakers about caring for wounds, reducing their incidence, and preventing further complications. Here are five ways in which becoming a wound care specialist can help nurses.

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Meet Market Trends

According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) National Diabetes Statistics Report, 34.2 million, or 10.5% of the US population, have diabetes. Further, 88 million or 34.5 % of the US population 18 years or older have prediabetes. The CDC also notes that the cases of type 1 and type diabetes continue to rise. 

As more people become diabetic and possibly bedridden, they also become more at risk for pressure ulcers and diabetic amputations. While the National Institutes of Health describe chronic wounds as a significant and often underappreciated burden to the individual, they also impose a burden on the healthcare system and society. Nurses who are wound care specialists stay abreast of the evolving market trends and meet the demand for wound care specialists.

Advance Employment Outlook

Treating chronic wounds requires a variety of techniques, such as debridement, cleaning, bandaging. Moreover, effective wound management involves working with the doctor and care team to determine if other treatments like surgery or antibiotics are necessary. Because additional training and techniques are required to effectively treat chronic wounds and improve their outcome, nurses who specialize in wound care significantly improve their employment outlook.

wound care nursing

Wound care nursing: an alternative career path for nurses.

Improve Patient Outcomes

Complications of chronic wounds, such as cellulitis and infective venous eczema, gangrene, hemorrhage, and lower-extremity amputations, can worsen outcomes. In a sort of vicious cycle, chronic wounds can lead to disability, and disability worsens wound outcomes. In the case of amputation, the prognosis is also not positive. The CDC states that after an amputation, 13-40% of people will die within a year, and 39-80% within five years. For comparison, 5-year mortality for all cancers is 34.2%. Nurses who are educated in how to treat chronic wounds, therefore, can significantly improve patient outcomes.

Reduce Hospital Stay

The NCBI describes chronic wounds as those that, after eight weeks, do not show any signs of healing. This includes venous leg ulcers, pressure ulcers, and complex wounds. Chronic wounds are those that do not progress through normal, orderly, and timely healing. As such, according to American Family Physician, they are common and are often incorrectly treated. This leads to an increased hospital stay. By understanding how to treat chronic wounds correctly and effectively, nurses can significantly reduce patient hospital stays.

Prevent Rehospitalization

Because chronic wounds are inherently hard to manage and may require and coordinated effort by a multidisciplinary team, they pose a patient at a greater risk for rehospitalization. This may occur as the wound fails to heal correctly, or should the patient and caregiver lack the necessary education needed to improve wound healing. According to woundsound.com, patient education and caregiver involvement are critical components in wound healing and ultimately improving patient outcomes. When wounds heal correctly, rehospitalization rates are dramatically reduced. By becoming educated in wound care, nurses can help improve wound care management and reduce rehospitalization rates.

The rates of chronic wounds are increasing rapidly, as is the rate of people at risk of developing a chronic wound. Through becoming specialized in the care of wounds, nurses meet market trends, advance employment outlook, improve patient outcomes, reduce hospital stay, and prevent rehospitalization.

About The Author

Claire Nana, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in post-traumatic growth, optimal performance, and wellness. She has written over thirty continuing education courses on a variety of topics including nutrition, mental health, wound care, and post-traumatic stress.

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Diversity In Healthcare And The Nursing Profession

Diversity In Healthcare And The Nursing Profession

What is diversity in healthcare?

Healthcare providers with different cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, age ranges, and/or sexual identities — can have a significant impact on the availability and quality of care patients receive. 

Diversity Types 

  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Religious
  • Gender Identity
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Language
  • Age
  • Physical Handicapped
  • Mental/Emotional Handicapped

Why diversity in healthcare matters for patients

black male and asian female nurses at nursing station Patients from underrepresented, underserved, and at-risk communities benefit from having informed and diverse healthcare providers. It’s essential that patients feel respected and protected to break through resistance that might interfere with treatment. 

Educational efforts and inclusion practices are imperative in providing the very best care possible. 

The Treatment Gap

Currently, minority populations develop more chronic illnesses, both mentally and physically, because of decreased access to preventative care.  Socioeconomic factors that create barriers between minorities & wellness:

  • Education level
  • Proper housing
  • Adequate nutrition 

Patients are also more likely to seek preventative care from a medical professional of the same race that they trust. Research shows that members of underrepresented minorities are more likely to practice medicine in geographical areas where there are fewer practicing caucasian physicians, making care accessible to communities previously lacking in medical resources. An increase in preventative care means saving thousands of lives each year. 

Changes in ethnic & cultural diversity in healthcare:

the diversity of healthcare professionals: nurses of many different cultures

Diversity in healthcare & diversity in nursing

In the next thirty years, minorities will constitute 50% of the US population. However, as of 2017, only 19.2% of RNs come from minority backgrounds. Fortunately, this percentage is on the rise, which is good news for nurses and patients alike. 

Nurses are making a difference among diverse populations.

The field of public health & community health nursing concentrates on the health of entire populations. It compensates for part of this treatment gap by creating readily available programs for at-risk communities. For example, the North Carolina Minority Diabetes Prevention Program aims to help community members make sustainable lifestyle changes and provides support groups to lean on throughout the process.

According to the US Food & Drug Administration, “racial and ethnic minorities have a higher burden of diabetes, worse diabetes control, and are more likely to experience complications.” Public health nurses are working at the government-level to expand healthcare to the entire population. The field is increasing, and RNs interested in this career path should investigate higher education programs focused on public health to see if it’s the right choice for them. 

Why diversity in health care matters for nurses.

Nurses make up the largest portion of the United States’ healthcare system; there are nearly 4 million nurses in America, and we are still at a shortage of one million more. Nursing’s high turnover rate is due to baby boomers retiring, burnout, and subsequent job dissatisfaction, among other factors.   A more diverse health care workforce means more nurses to share the workload, a solution to the national nursing shortage, and the job satisfaction all nurses deserve to experience.

Nursing gender gap

Nursing has long been thought of as a career for women, creating a societal block for men to become nurses. 

  • Presently, just under 13% of nurses are male — a percentage that continues to grow slowly year over year!
  • There over 2 million female RNs compared with only 300,000 males. 

Recruiting more men into nursing could alleviate the burden of the national nursing shortage, creating a more balanced and homogenous workplace.  

Achieving a more diverse health care system

three female nurses of different cultural backgrounds The same socioeconomic factors keeping minorities from quality healthcare are keeping minorities from entering into the healthcare workforce. Thankfully, as society shifts to more diverse demography, efforts are being made across the country to level the playing field and create a more inclusive system for all.

With the expansion of inclusion and retention programs, both medical workers and their patients will benefit. Additional recommended reading:

Aspen Shield Guest author Pamela Mahler is a content specialist for Aspen University. She is passionate about learning and producing valuable resources that empower others to enhance their lives through education. Aspen University offers CCNE accredited programs at every degree level. Aspen created affordable degrees and 0%-interest payment plans with transparent pricing so that nurses can focus on courses, not the fine print. 

The 3 Biggest Challenges To Starting A Nursing Career (And How To Get Past Them)

The 3 Biggest Challenges To Starting A Nursing Career (And How To Get Past Them)

Nursing is an exciting and fulfilling profession – and recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the world just how valuable nurses are.

If you have been considering the idea of starting a career in nursing, you may have fears standing in your way.  Embarking on a new career can be overwhelming, but don’t let that stop you from pursuing your dream career as a nurse.

Here are 3 of the biggest challenges many prospective nursing students face when considering a career in nursing, and how you can get past them.

Nursing career challenge 1:  “I have a busy schedule.”

Nurses lead busy lives, and their careers can often become a central part of them. When you’re researching how to become a nurse, you need to think about ways to balance it with the rest of your life.

Here’s a solution:  Talk to your partner or family about ways you can work around each other’s schedules, and consider possible alternative schedules. 

One great aspect of having a nursing career is that nurses work many different kinds of shifts, at all times of the day and night.  Some possible schedules include eight or 12-hour shifts, day shift (7 am-7 pm), mid-shift (12 am-12 pm), and night shift (7 pm-7 am).  Also, many nurses only work on the weekends.  There are not many professions that offer that kind of work flexibility!

Also, many accredited nursing programs are almost entirely online, and you can fit your studies at any time that works for you.

Nursing career challenge 2: “School is expensive.”

Money is always going to be a factor when you’re trying to figure out precisely what kind of career you want to pursue, and nursing is no exception. Whether you will have to take a pay cut or you’re worried about the costs of getting your qualifications, there are always things that you can do to get a grip on your money concerns.

Here’s a solution:  There are plenty of grants and loans available for those studying, and there are plenty of adjustments you can make in your life to balance out a drop in your pay.  Also, you don’t need to worry about paying your student loans back until after you graduate from nursing school, and there are many low rates available.  

Here are four types of loans to help you pay for your nursing degree.

Nursing career challenge 3: “I’m afraid to make a big life change.”

The idea of changing your career can be scary, and getting a nursing education can seem intimidating. However, if you let fear dictate your career decisions, you are only holding yourself back. It might sound cliche, but keep in mind: fortune favors the bold. Don’t let fear hold you back from something so important to you.

Here’s a solution:  Think about everything you have to gain from achieving a nursing degree and entering the profession of your dreams.  Making a shift into a nursing career is much the same as any career change in a lot of ways. It’s a big step and one that you definitely shouldn’t take lightly.

Think it over carefully, but if fear is the only aspect that is holding you back, then maybe it is something that you really should consider.   After all, moving forward despite feeling afraid is when we have the opportunity to grow the most – both personally and professionally.

What is holding you back from your dream career?  How can you move through it?  Good luck!

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The Best Compression Socks For Nurses (2020)

The Best Compression Socks For Nurses (2020)

*This article about the best compression socks for nurses contains affiliate links. 

If there is one profession that needs to be wearing compression socks, its nurses (or anyone who is on their feet for 12+ hours a day). Compression socks are beneficial for leg health for the following reasons:

  • Preventing or reduce varicose veins
  • Improving blood flow and decrease the risk of blood clots
  • Decreasing swelling of the legs and ankles

Since I started wearing compression socks, my legs feel noticeably better and more energized at the end of a shift.  I started wearing them out of necessity when I was pregnant and was able to continue working as an ER nurse until I was almost eight and a half months pregnant.

I have always appreciated that my job is not sedentary.  But as it turns out, being on my feet for such long hours can be worse for your health than sitting all day. Wearing compression socks is the best way for busy healthcare professionals to prevent some of these insidious, chronic leag health issues.

Medical compression stockings for the treatment of varicose veins.

How do compression socks keep legs healthy?

Compression stockings help increase the circulation of blood flow and oxygen by helping increase the velocity or speed of blood flow. By squeezing on the legs, the veins carrying blood to the heart are compressed.

Think of how when you squeeze a hose; it squirts the water out faster. With compression stockings, the same volume of blood can move up the leg, but it has less area in which to move.

Understanding compression sock levels:

Choosing the right compression socks can be difficult if you do not understand what the levels of compression mean.  Compression socks have a range of numbers to indicate how much graduated compression the garment has. Here is a quick and dirty breakdown:

  • 15-20 mmHg
    • Suitable for everyday wear to help with welling and fatigued legs due to long periods of travel, sitting, or standing.
  • 20-30 mmHg
    • Medical grade compression. Useful for managing swelling, spider veins, travel, sports, and after some surgeries.  Also suitable for pregnant mothers to alleviate swelling and achy legs.
  • 30-40 mmHg
    • Recommended when you have a blood clot, deep vein thrombosis DVT, or lymphedema.
  • 40-50 mmHg
    • robust compression for severe venous stasis, wound management, and lymphedema.

(The unit of measurement (mmHg) is called “millimeters of mercury,” which is a measurement of pressure, also used in blood pressure.  It is a measurement for how tight the compression on your legs is.)

The sweet spot for medical professionals on their feet all day usually falls in the 20-30 mmHg range depending on how much compression you are looking for.  You should discuss compression stockings with your doctor, especially if you have any medical issues.

Keep in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to good compression stocks.  Generally speaking, with all products, if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is.  Trust me when I say I learned this the hard way.

Sacrificing your leg health is just not worth it.

Nurses experience enough occupational hazards during a nursing shift as it is.  Make sure you wear compression socks or stockings during every single shift.  You can help to prevent future circulation and venous issues and still have a long, rewarding career as a nurse.

Check out this list of best compression socks for nurses:

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

 

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Charge Nurse Role: What You Need To Know

Charge Nurse Role: What You Need To Know

Hospitals and other medical institutions depend on great leadership to work effectively – and with nearly 4 million working nurses in the United States, having a great charge nurse in no exception.

The functionality of the nursing unit depends on having a charge nurse with the skills to lead, ensure that the unit is meeting its goals, giving excellent patient care, and ensuring that staff gets their work done. Great charge nurses are known for keeping the department organized and running efficiently while encouraging great teamwork and inspiring a team of nurses to perform at their best.

“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.”
-John Maxwell

*Article contains affiliate links*

What is a charge nurse?

A charge nurse is a nurse who oversees an entire team of nurses in a particular hospital unit or department. They serve as a liaison between staff nurses, upper administration, nurse educator, and other hospital clinicians.

Charge nurses are needed to manage hospitals, residential care facilities, nursing homes, surgery centers, and outpatient units. Although they can give direct patient care- and often do if the unit is short-staffed – they mostly work peripherally to bedside nurses and within a more administrative role.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities usually have several charge nurses who are responsible for different departments and specialty units.

Charge nurse duties and responsibilities

Charge nurse duties include:

  • Managing nurses
  • Supervising and assisting nursing staff when needed
  • Providing administrative support
  • Assigning nurses to patients
  • Creating nurse schedules
  • Managing the in and outflow of patients to a unit
  • Being flexible and responsive to nurses needs on the unit
  • Prioritize patient care needs, especially during urgent or emergent situations
  • Document nurse performance
  • Work with upper administration to address any hospital issues or issues with staff

Other ancillary charge nurse roles might include:

  • Checking the crash carts daily in the unit
  • Counting medications in the Pyxis or other automated drug dispenser once a shift
  • Work with the facility’s patient placement
  • Attend a daily staff meeting with social work, physical therapy, nurse practitioners, doctors to make sure patients get what they need for discharge and ensure a timely discharge

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan

How to become a charge nurse?

To become a charge nurse, you must already have several years of nursing experience and deep understanding of the workflow and patient population where you work. You need to master your nursing skills, and if possible, become as involved as possible with team building activities in your workplace.

It is also imperative that you express your desire to be promoted to management and ask them precisely what you need to do to earn the position.  Each facility is different.

Note:  It is more challenging to start a charge nurse role on a unit where a nurse has never worked before, even if they have many years of practice under their belt. It helps to know many of the nurses already personally, as it helps to build trust as a leader. Knowing other ancillary staff, such as respiratory therapists, social workers, case managers, nurse practitioners, and doctors on the unit, will also help you get started on the right foot.

Other tips to prepare yourself for a charge nurse role:

  • Become certified in your nursing specialty
  • Master your workflow as a nurse
  • Become an expert on nursing skills needed on your unit
  • Offer help to other nurses whenever you can
  • Become a preceptor for new nurse graduates on the unit
  • Express your desire to be promoted into a charge nurse role to administration
  • Take leadership classes, either online or through your facility if they have them
  • Join the Unit Practice Counsel UPC – if your unit has one
  • Offer to help in all team building projects on your unit

The difference between a charge nurse and a unit manager

A unit manager is sometimes referred to as a unit director. And while both charge nurses and unit managers are leadership positions, they are still very different positions and require different levels of education.

A unit manager oversees the entire nursing unit, including all of the charge nurses. Unit managers also handle more of the business management of the unit than charge nurses do. Also, unit managers work more closely with the upper hospital administration to keep the unit aligned with the goals of the entire organization.

Charge nurses must have an ADN or BSN to hold the position.  A unit manager often holds a master’s degree (MSN) or higher, usually with an emphasis on leadership and hospital management.

What is a charge nurse’s salary?

Charge nurses often make a few dollars an hour more than floor nurses.  However, it varies depending on your location and facility.

According to the U.S. Beurua of Labor Statistics, the median pay for nurses in the United States is $71,730 per year or $34.48 per hour. It is essential to keep in mind that many states pay much higher, or much lower, depending on local nursing rates and cost of living.

For example, nurses in California or New York make a higher hourly wage, while other states, such as Illinois or Iowa might make less than the median U.S. pay.

Excellent qualities of a charge nurse

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”  -John Maxwell

There is no question that a charge nurse role is extremely challenging at times. But a great charge nurse needs to be able to see through the stress and inspire nurses to rise above and perform at their best. Here are three qualities of a great charge nurse.

Resilience – When the work gets tough, great charge nurses get even tougher and push through.  Some days will seem impossible, but resilient leaders persevere.

Emotional Intelligence – The dictionary describes emotional intelligence as: “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and sympathetically.” Many great leaders say emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.

Decision-making capabilities: Charge nurses need to be able to make quick decisions. The hospital setting moves quickly, and patient safety depends on taking action fast, especially in an emergency.

Certifications to be a charge nurse

To become a charge nurse, you must first be a registered nurse who has graduated from an accredited program. There are several ways to do this – including achieving an associate degree  (ADN), a 2-year degree) or Bachelors’s Degree In Nursing (BSN), which takes four years to complete.

While many of the same topics taught at the ADN level are covered in a BSN, a four-year program will provide a deeper set of skills and education. The field of nursing is becoming more competitive and more employers require newly appointed R.N.s to hold a BSN.

There are no national or state certifications to become a charge nurse. However, many charge nurses are certified in the specialty floor where they work. In most cases, the charge nurse worked as an R.N. on the floor for several years and has a clear understanding of how the unit functions.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Beurua of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession is expected to grow by 12% from 2018-2028, which is much faster than average. That means that there will also be plenty of opportunities for nurses to take on charge nurse roles.

Conclusion

Taking on higher leadership positions, such as charge nurse, can help you create a satisfying and long term healthcare career, earn a higher salary, and open up more opportunities away from the bedside. If you have any additional questions, please leave a comment below.

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Check out this video to learn more about nurses in leadership positions: