Want to Be a Travel Nurse?

Want to Be a Travel Nurse?

Have you ever wanted to explore the U.S. but felt tied down because of a nursing job? Then, travel nursing may be the right path for you.

With travel nursing, you can choose the length of your stay, take extended holidays and vacations when you don’t wish to work, and enjoy traveling to many different locations. Who knows? You might find somewhere so incredible you want to make it a permanent home.

Is Travel Nursing Right for You?

Here are our top 7 tips for BSN students and nurses interested in a travel nurse position.

1. Make Sure you are Certified in an NLC State

After earning your BSN, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and be licensed in the state where you work. The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows state-licensed nurses to work in any state that is an NLC member.

With nursing ranked #2 on the U.S. News & World Report’s 100 Best Jobs of 2022 and the overall need for nurses growing, having an NLC-state license gives you the freedom to take these increasing travel nurse job opportunities. Because of the coronavirus, hospitals are experiencing nursing shortages, so take advantage of this to help fill the gaps.

2. Get Some Experience Under Your Belt

Traveling nurse agencies like prospective employees to have at least two years of experience as an RN before applying. If you are a specialist nurse, expect to need two years in your specialty.

A great way to get paid experience is with a summer externship while in nursing school. You’ll get hands-on experience and a possible reference as well!

3. Use a nursing staffing agency

Finding the right job that fits your specialty and personality can be difficult. If you are looking for travel nursing assignments, an agency that maintains a list of excellent hospitals and other work environments can screen out unsuitable matches and ensure you have a fantastic time as a traveling nurse!

travel_nursing-meeting-new-people-by-networking

Meeting new people by networking to help your career

4. Network

You might not think networking is important in a nursing career, but it can help you find jobs, make friends who can refer you, and allow you to help people as well.

Use your time management skills to pinpoint the best networking opportunities, and participate in nursing organizations, groups, and committees to meet other skilled professionals. Networking has its rules, so practice as much as possible while still in school.

5. Learn to Ask for Help

If you are serious about travel nursing, you will be working in many situations where you don’t know the layout, policies and procedures, and unwritten rules. Therefore, it’s much better to ask for help if you are unsure than to spend time searching for something you could have known in a few minutes just with a question!

6. Specialize

Specialty nurses generally have higher salaries than RNs. Top-paying specialties include Labor & Delivery, Operating Room, ICU, and NICU nurses. Combine the aspect of nursing you love with a specialization in a higher-paying job.

7. Learn Organization and Time Management Skills 

An essential part of being a traveling nurse is flexibility. If you have children or pets, you’ll need to be organized in getting everyone and everything ready for travel.

If you’re preparing to go from one travel assignment to the next, you’ll need to make sure your first assignment is completed and you are organized for your next one.

What are you waiting for? Explore the benefits and get ready for a career in which something new is always happening!

Top 5 Tips for Negotiating the Best Nursing Salary

Top 5 Tips for Negotiating the Best Nursing Salary

Ever wonder how to negotiate for the best salary as a nurse?

If you’re just starting your nursing career, this can be tricky. Even well-seasoned nurses can struggle to find the right nurse lifestyle and salary to go along with it.

Not all nurse salaries are created equal due to certifications, degrees of education, and years of experience — this causes many nurses to feel that they do not have equal negotiating power.

Why does it seem so hard to find tips for nurses and resources to find the right nurse jobs, salary, and lifestyle as the perfect package? But it doesn’t have to be! Here are the top five tips from recruiters and nurses on negotiating the best salary (and lifestyle) you can get for your next nursing gig.

1. Do Your Homework

Know the salary range in the area before your interview. Timing and location can be everything when negotiating a salary or overall increase. There are excellent resources for salary trends that can be found on Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn and PayScale.

2. Know Your Worth

Use a personal story to demonstrate to hiring managers how you’ve added value in the past. Prepare to support your request with examples of how you will add value to their organization and emphasize your skills as a nurse who is worth more than the job pays.

3. The Job Search

The job market is tough for nurses, but it doesn’t have to be. When looking for your next employer, tap into your resources and connections. You can start your search on many websites, but you might have access to an untapped resource of past mentors, websites that provide resources for nurses, and much more!

4. Money Is Not Everything

Like many things in life, there is always room for negotiation. And that is especially important when considering your next place of employment. Sometimes you may be offered an excellent salary, but the compensation package is less desirable. Research your future employer’s compensation policies online to learn more about their company’s perks and benefits.

Significant benefits to keep in mind when negotiating your salary:

  • The total number of sick days.
  • The total number of vacation days.
  • Educational advancement and tuition reimbursement.
  • Remote or hybrid work options.
  • Family/parental leave.

5. Prepare To Sell Your Story

You’ve got high standards, and you don’t settle for less. But do you know the tricks of the trade when it comes to salary negotiations? After preparing for your interview from the steps above, you will need to prepare to sell (and tell) your story! Everyone has a story to tell, whether you are a nurse just out of training or a veteran. This is your time to shine and show how passionate you are about making a difference in the lives of others — and why you should be compensated appropriately for what you bring to the table.

We hope this gives you a better idea of what to ask for and how to get it. After all, you deserve to be compensated appropriately for your skills. You worked hard and took the required courses, so now you want to pursue a job field that you are passionate about. You deserve nothing less than the best compensation for it!

In short, what better time than now to explore your options as a nurse? Look into getting higher education for even greater career opportunities because many employers now prefer nurses with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree over those that don’t have any training outside of nursing school. Your salary will reflect this, so investing in your education is more than worth it if you want to make the most money possible.

Check out our Career Center to get jobs, scholarships, and nursing news delivered weekly to your inbox.

Transitioning from In-Person to a Remote Nursing Position

Transitioning from In-Person to a Remote Nursing Position

You can take two paths in nursing: attend hospitals and clinics as an in-person nurse or transition into a remote nursing position working remotely through telemedicine.

You may have recently made the plunge into a remote position — or maybe you’re thinking about it. Good for you! You’re about to experience new opportunities and adventures that will improve your life. But taking this leap might also make you anxious about what’s to come.

Here is a complete to help you navigate the remote nurse transition painlessly and answer all your questions for all nursing levels. Including what benefits you can expect, how much time you’ll need to set aside each week, and tips for nurses!

Benefits of Working Remotely

The rise of remote work has helped create flexibility and freedom throughout a nurse’s schedule, allowing for the perfect nurse lifestyle. With remote work, nurses can maintain their nurse salary while enjoying the comforts of home.

Less-than-obvious benefits of working remotely include:

  • Ability to start work right after your morning routine.
  • Being able to take a lunch break (without having to take your lunch in to-go containers).
  • Using your time before and after work for things that will create more life balance.
  • Ability to take extra coursework or earn certifications in your nursing career.
  • Enhancing your nurse lifestyle — being able to help others from the comforts of home.

Transitioning to Remote

For some nurses, transitioning from in-person nursing to a remote position can seem scary, but it doesn’t have to be! You may be used to working in the same physical space with coworkers and other nurses, but you can still communicate effectively, even when you aren’t face-to-face. Learning to adapt to this shift will only enhance your communication style and help you effectively communicate with your peers.

A few things we recommend for making your transition smooth include:

  • Upgrading your Wi-Fi/internet options.
  • Purchasing a microphone headset.
  • Buying a new computer (if it isn’t supplied for you).
  • Creating your perfect workstation.
  • Checking what is behind your workstation — Zoom calls highlight your background and setting.

A career in nursing can be rewarding on many levels.

Today, more and more people are working remotely, and nurses are no exception. But it may require a transition to make things run as smoothly as possible. So take the time to think about your nursing background, work experience, and what you’re looking for, and you’ll be well on your way to smoothly transitioning from in-person to remote. With your dedication and love for nursing, remote work is an excellent place where you can succeed, grow, and enjoy what you do every day!

Check out our Career Center to get jobs, scholarships, and nursing news delivered weekly to your inbox.

How to Avoid the Dangers of Being an ER Nurse

How to Avoid the Dangers of Being an ER Nurse

Working as an ER nurse can expose you to some of the most challenging and dangerous situations you’ll ever face in your career. However, if you remain vigilant and aware of potential hazards, you can stay safe while continuing to care for and protect your patients.

Here are dangers commonly faced by nurses in the ER and what you can do to reduce your risk and stay safe.

Back, Neck, and Shoulder Injuries

Nurses who transfer patients from gurneys to hospital beds are often at risk for back, neck, and shoulder injuries—especially if they attempt to lift patients by themselves or overestimate their strength.

Always ask for help from one or two other nurses or doctors when moving or lifting patients, even if you feel confident you can do it yourself. Use proper form and body mechanics when lifting to reduce the risk for injury, and use mechanical lifts and devices when necessary.

Bloodborne Diseases

ER nurses are frequently exposed to broken glass, blades, needles, and other sharp objects that can increase their risk for severe and potentially fatal bloodborne diseases. In addition, nurses in the ER also encounter broken skin and bodily fluids that can develop a bloodborne illness.

Follow best practices when handling sharp objects, such as avoiding bending or recapping used needles and safely disposing of sharp objects in appropriate leak- and puncture-proof containers.

Infectious Diseases

Patients in the ER who are extremely ill or have infectious diseases may cough, sneeze, or vomit to put those around them at risk—including nurses.

Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in the ER to avoid contracting infectious diseases, including hepatitis, influenza, and COVID-19. Gloves, goggles, face shields, face masks, and respirators are common forms of PPE that you should wear while working in the ER.

Slips and Falls

Bodily fluids like blood, vomit, and urine can often end up on the floors of ER departments and increase your risk for slips and falls that can easily lead to fractures or exposure to disease. Any standing water or cleaning solutions on the floor can also increase your risk for slips and falls.

Make sure the floors in your ER are always clean and dry, and erect warning signs in instances where the floors are still wet to prevent you and your coworkers from slipping and falling.

Workplace Violence

An estimated 70% of ER nurses report being hit or kicked on the job. Some patients may be aggressive or violent—especially those with unstable psychiatric symptoms or who have used illicit drugs. Patients who have been badly injured may even lash out and unintentionally hurt those trying to care for them.

Invest time into learning effective de-escalation techniques to help you calm patients who may be agitated, aggressive, or prone to attack. Your hospital or healthcare organization may even teach you how to recognize potentially dangerous situations and diffuse them before they become problematic or escalate to violence.

Burnout

ER nurses often suffer from stress, fatigue, and burnout. Burnout can seriously impact your career and livelihood, increasing your risk for anxiety and depression and making you more prone to making mistakes in the ER.

Put aside time for self-care outside the ER to maintain your health and overall well-being. Get plenty of rest, do fun activities, and spend time with your pets, family, and loved ones.

Also, seek support and resources for nurses when needed, and don’t be afraid to say no to commitments you feel you cannot handle or that may be too overwhelming. You could also connect with other nurses on social media to gain helpful tips and insight into a healthy nursing lifestyle.

Vanderbilt Launches Leadership Program for Diverse New Nurse Leaders and Faculty

Vanderbilt Launches Leadership Program for Diverse New Nurse Leaders and Faculty

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing created a new leadership development program for nurses new in health care leadership and academic positions who are from groups historically underrepresented in nursing and/or those who support them. The Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders will be held in Nashville from November 14-18. Applications for the inaugural class of fellows are now being accepted.

“The need for nursing faculty and nurse leaders from groups historically underrepresented in nursing is well established, but research shows a need for career development resources that address the specific needs and challenges of diverse nurse leaders,” says Pamela Jeffries, PhD., FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, dean of Vanderbilt School of Nursing. “We believe that the knowledge, mentorship, strategy, and skills that new leaders will attain via the Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders will empower them to continue to advance and lead.”

VUSN Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Rolanda Johnson and Vanderbilt University Medical Center Senior Director for Nurse Diversity and Inclusion Mamie Williams will co-direct the academy, designed for nurses who have been in academic or health care leadership roles for less than three years.

“What makes this fellows program different from other professional development opportunities is that it incorporates and builds on the lived experiences of diverse faculty and health care leaders who have navigated a similar leadership path,” says Johnson. “It explores the challenges of being a leader from an underrepresented group as well as the challenges of supporting and expanding diversity in nursing leadership.”

Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

The academy is taught by experienced faculty and health care leaders from diverse backgrounds and is specifically designed to serve the needs of new and emerging nurse leaders and faculty. In addition to the initial five-day, in-person meeting, fellows will also participate in virtual sessions, receive mentorship from an executive coach and institutional mentor and develop a leadership project.

Williams said that the idea for the academy resonated with her as she thought about her own nurse leadership journey of more than 25 years. “This leadership academy, based on specialized education, discussions, and interactions with peers and diverse nurse leaders, affords the emerging leader an opportunity to thoughtfully design their leadership journey,” she says.

She and Johnson said the academy was developed to help new nursing faculty and new nurse leaders build skills, gain knowledge, and build a network of colleagues and mentors to help them advance their careers and mentor other emerging nurse leaders.

Applications for the first cohort of the Academy for Emerging Diverse Nurse Leaders are now open and available at https://redcap.link/cwgjy0w2. For more information and details on the academy, visit nursing.vanderbilt.edu/academy.

With Nurses At The Frontline of Healthcare, It’s Time To Stop Putting Their Needs Last

With Nurses At The Frontline of Healthcare, It’s Time To Stop Putting Their Needs Last

Nursing for me is about making a difference — and every day I’m making a difference in the lives of the people I care for. Take a Monday earlier this month. A patient of mine living with cerebral palsy was struggling to complete her therapeutic exercises. Her mother, clearly frustrated, feared her daughter wasn’t making sufficient progress. Dedicated and caring, the mother also worried that she wasn’t doing enough to help her daughter improve and succeed.

But this young woman was improving — slowly, surely, in ways imperceptible to the untrained eye. “Your daughter can now open both of her hands; all of our hard work is clearly paying off,” I explained, as the mother’s face transformed from hopeless to full of hope. “Your daughter just wants to be independent,” I continued, “and she obviously gets this spirit from you.”

Independence – as much as making a difference – is becoming a bigger focus for me in my career.  The freedom to control my schedule. The freedom to control my income. The freedom to care for my three children. The freedom to care for me.

Until recently, I didn’t really have that choice.

For too long nurses have been treated like afterthoughts. We’re burned out and stressed out – from Covid, from our home lives, from feeling like our needs are always considered last. And this not only impacts our ability to perform, it threatens the effectiveness of the entire healthcare systems we’re so passionately committed to supporting. Yet, the working conditions and rigid schedules have not changed with the world around us.

Over my six-year career in nursing, I’ve witnessed both the indifference and abuse that has become too common in our industry. As a result, our community is suffering. Less than half of the 12,000 nurses recently polled by the American Nurses Association (ANA), for instance, believe that their employers care about them – a mere 19 percent for nurses 35 and under. More than 50 percent of all nurses are also thinking about leaving nursing; a figure that rises to 63 percent for nurses under 35. The latter numbers particularly worry me; with so many of my younger brothers and sisters ready to give up on nursing – and a national nursing shortage only expected to get worse – the future of the profession I love has never felt grimmer.

I know what it’s like to be undervalued in the workplace. I’ve been told by nursing agencies to wait in the cold if my patients are running late. Then when they finally do arrive, I’ve been expected to wash their clothes – even though I’m a nurse, not a housekeeper. I’ve been berated by patients for “moving too slowly” and battled with administrators for adequate PPE safety gear during the height of the pandemic. I’ve been made to feel like a number – a body – by nursing agencies just focused on profits and disrespected by patients and family members aggressively insistent I could just “do more.”

But more must be done to consider our needs, too – both by the nursing industry and the community of nurses to whom we all belong. What we seek is to be seen, valued, and supported in ways that matter.  To be listened to if we are struggling during a hard shift. To hear “thank you” instead of being ignored. To give us tools and resources to take care of our mental health because after the past two years, we need it.

I experienced this kind of support unexpectedly when I found connectRN,  a new platform that matches nurses with health care facilities that need our services. The ability to work when I want, where I want has given me the independence I was seeking, and an opportunity to step away if I need to recharge.  As a mother, this flexibility is more important than ever. I can take on shifts that work with my child-care needs, eliminating the stress that usually occurs when making money and being a Mom collide.  This should become an industry standard, rather than a perk from a digital start-up.

One of the things I value most about connectRN is that they are nurse-first and care as much about our community as the shifts they post. When I joined the platform, I was given access to The Beat, a private community of nurses who also work with connectRN.  It is a safe space to chat with your peers about the things only nurses can truly understand – without the fear of reprisal or retribution. We share stories about hard shifts, give each other support to keep going, and often find “work buddies” in the places we work often. As debates rage around the role of nursing unions, hospitals and agencies must understand that a united nursing community is a better nursing community – better equipped, better prepared, and far better focused on the needs of our patients. With my life far more than just nursing – kids (both teens and a toddler), my extended family, a bit of me time – I feel lucky to be part of this community

For me, personally, The Beat proved particularly helpful when dealing with mental health concerns. At the height of Covid, the community offered telehealth therapy sessions through a partnership to use at our discretion.  To be honest, I never considered I might need this kind of help — no one had ever asked me. But the death of a colleague — a young mother who passed away shortly after giving birth — hit me harder than I’d initially expected. I needed help to process how I was feeling and I took advantage of the offer. To have that support – for free –  made me feel worthy and valued.

Over the past two years, I’ve been struck by a newfound respect for nurses as the Covid crisis continues unabated. Patients and families recognize our role at the frontlines of the pandemic and understand the risks taken daily to help their loved ones survive. What’s needed now is a parallel boost in understanding and appreciation from the hospitals and nursing agencies that power our profession. Because fairer pay, added flexibility, stress reduction, and self-care won’t just improve the lives of nurses, they’ll help ensure the positive patient outcomes we all desire. As nurses, we intuitively understand the necessity of these demands; it’s time for staffing agencies and health facilities to embrace this mindset with equally open hearts and minds.

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