The nursing Gig Economy is no longer about agencies. Now, you can gain a more flexible work-life balance by booking your nursing services a la Uber or Lyft! To learn more about the ways nurses can enter the gig economy, DailyNurse interviewed IntelyCare’s co-founder, RN Chris Caulfield.
What is the “gig economy” and how can it benefit nurses who are seeking a better work-life balance?
The gig economy is a labor market of
short, temporary jobs, or “gigs.” The unstructured nature of gigs allows
nursing professionals the independence and flexibility to build a schedule that
balances work and family commitments.
A 2013 report stated that half a million nurses left their profession, and a third of those nurses cited emotional exhaustion as a result. With burnout being such a prevalent concern in the nursing field, it is crucial to provide nurses with work-life-balance – for the good of their health, and the longevity of the profession. The gig economy enables nurses to earn an income while maintaining a better balance in their life, which will hopefully keep them in the profession they love.
What particular challenges are faced by nurses who are parents and spouses?
It is a challenge for any working
professional to balance both the responsibilities of work and being a parent or
spouse, but there are a few factors that make it even more difficult for
For nurses, shift start times are
rigid, shift end times are unpredictable, and working from home is not an
option. As a result, nurses cannot come in a little late if their child misses
the bus, nor can they be certain their shift will end on time to do school
pick-up. Additionally, if their child is sick, they cannot work from home to
take care of them.
Oftentimes, nurses are asked to stay late to cover care gaps. For a parent, this catches them between a rock and a hard place: what do you choose? Abandoning your patients or abandoning your child in the after school pick-up line?
How can nurses make their work lives more flexible in the gig economy?
can seek out facilities that utilize tech-enabled staffing solutions to build their
in-house schedules. These solutions let staff pick up shifts straight from
their app, making it incredibly easy to manage their schedule. However, while these
solutions are common in hospitals, they are almost nonexistent in most nursing
great option is per diem work found via tech-enabled apps which allow nurses to
browse and pick up shifts directly from the app, giving them flexibility to
choose to work when and where they want. If a nurse can only work weekdays
because they want to spend weekends with their family or friends, the gig
economy coupled with tech-driven staffing tools combine to support that
apps can nurses use to book nursing “gigs?”
NurseGrid is a real-time shift management
tool that allows in-house nursing professionals to manage their schedules and
easily pick up and swap shifts with co-workers. NurseGrid also syncs with
nurses’ personal calendars and is easily shareable with family and friends, so
nurses can better organize their lives.
are also mobile-based tech applications that give nurses the autonomy to work
in multiple facilities. Like our very own IntelyCare, Texas-based Sadiant Health lets nursing
professionals browse and choose from a variety of shift locations and times via
their app, so that they can build a schedule that works for them. All nursing
professionals need is a smartphone and the proper credentials to get started!
Chris Caulfield, RN, NP-C, is the Co-Founder and Chief Nursing Officer of IntelyCare
The Yale University School of Nursing recently celebrated the opening of a new simulation lab. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held last week, six months after the university broke ground on the project.
University President Peter Salovey and Dean of the School of Nursing Ann Kurth were present to cut the ribbon and invite students, faculty members, and guests to step foot into the new high-tech space. The new simulation lab was designed based on real-world healthcare settings where students can prepare themselves in simulated scenarios that they might encounter as nurse practitioners or midwives.
The $5 million project allowed for the building of an 8,000-square-foot space, a much larger space than the old simulation lab which was housed in the nursing building’s basement. The new space provides a safe learning environment for students to apply theory to practice, and it opened just in time to be used for the incoming fall class.
Salovey tells YaleDailyNews.com, “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see the opening of a wing I didn’t even know was here, that really allows for the education of students using patient actors and lets you practice disaster scenarios and conventional situations.”
Many of the simulations use standardized patients who are real people acting out situations and ailments. Others use mannequins which mimic anything from bleeding to delivering a baby. These improvements are designed to better align the school with the future of health care and the needs of a larger student population.
To learn more about Yale Nursing’s new simulation lab, visit here.
Sense.ly, a San Francisco startup that has created a virtual nursing app to help physicians stay in touch with their patients and prevent readmission to the hospital, has recently raised $8 million from investors in its most recent round of venture funding. The new funding from investors like the Mayo Clinic will be used to bring the virtual nurse technology to a wide array of clinics and patients.
Designed for both patients and healthcare professionals, the app asks patients to tell the nurse avatar how they are doing by simply talking through a 5-minute “check in.” Patient check-ins are then stored as medical records that only authorized physicians can view. The medical reports also include device data that the app pulls from medical devices and wearables (like Fitbits or Apple watches) that patients use day-to-day.
Using artificial intelligence, Sense.ly’s nurse avatar speaks to patients in empathetic tones about their healthcare concerns, and uses emotional analysis to alert a patient’s care provider when the app detects that a patient is in need of mental health counseling or feeling symptoms of depression or anxiety as a side effect of medications or lifestyle changes.
The Sense.ly app is designed around commonly accepted medical protocols for diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses. So far, the company has focused on patients 60 and older who are suffering from health problems like COPD, heart failure, diabetes, and other age-related issues. But ultimately they want the app to work for people from all age groups and populations dealing with a variety of health issues. They are improving their analysis capabilities by adding new protocols and content from partner hospitals and clinics.
Adam Odessky, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Sense.ly, believes in the platform’s potential help people live longer and healthier lives and make quality healthcare more affordable and available. When asked if virtual nurses might “steal” jobs from human nurses in a discussion with TechCrunch.com, Odessky says no: “There aren’t people doing this job already…This is a technology to help medical professionals do their jobs more effectively, and not one that threatens their livelihood.”
To learn more about this new virtual nurse platform, visit TechCrunch.com or Sense.ly.
In the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, the healthcare community is exploring and testing new technologies that can serve as alternatives to human contact to diminish the risk for providers to care for patients with infectious diseases. At Duke University, nursing and engineering students teamed up to collaborate on the building and refining of Trina, their first-generation Tele-Robotic Intelligent Nursing Assistant.
Duke’s robot project is funded by an $85,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The project began a year-and-a-half ago, not as an effort to replace nurses, but to create a safer environment for health care providers. When health care providers are faced with treating patients with infectious diseases, like Ebola, they must dress in multiple layers of protective clothing, wipe down their materials with bleach, and use multiple rooms. With the development of nurse-robots like Trina, healthcare providers and researchers hope to improve the process of treating patients with infectious diseases by allowing nurses and doctors to navigate a remote-controlled robot into another room, directing it to move the linens, take vital signs, and pass food and medications.
A few weeks ago, Duke students and staff tested Trina on a fake patient, Michele Kuszajewski, having Trina take the patient’s vital signs via a remote-control stethoscope. Michele recalls feeling scared when the robot-nurse was coming at her. The massive red mechanical robot resembles a science fiction character out of Transformers or The Jetsons with a gray wig and surgical cap on its head to give it some human-like elements. On the robot’s face is a tablet showing the human operator, similar to a Skype call. Robots are currently being used in hospitals to help doctors perform tasks with precision and flexibility during surgery, but the machines don’t move about a room or perform bedside tasks like preparing drinks and adjusting oxygen masks.
To improve the study, engineering students needed to understand the tasks that Trina needs to perform. Nursing students donned protective clothing in the nursing school’s simulation lab and simulated working with a patient with Ebola as engineering students watched and took notes through a glass window. After the nursing students were finished, an engineering student drove Trina into the lab to test her ability with tasks like delivering a red cup, a bowl, pills, and a stethoscope to Michele in a simulation setting.
Students conducting the study found Trina’s movements to be abrupt and clumsy. In the future, they hope to make Trina, or the next generation robot-nurse, more agile so that it can collect and test fluids and look more friendly and human-like. They also hope to create a better interface between the human and robot to make their work together more comfortable, especially for the patient.
Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring asserts that caring and love transcend distance, space, time, and physicality, and it’s true. Feelings of love, kinship, friendship, grief, and compassion across time and distance confirm our basic shared experience of caring, regardless of physical and temporal boundaries. The rise of the Internet invites us to examine how deeply we believe in this transcendence and challenges us to create new ways of caring in this increasingly digital world.
Understanding and explaining caring in the digital world—especially what it looks like, how to do it, and the day to day ordinary consistency of living it is key to supporting an ongoing intention to care whether we can (or ever will) see, touch, or hear the beings with whom we interact. My research, which is based in Watson’s Human Caring Science, has confirmed that there are specific things nurses can do to effectively care for others at a distance:
- Respond to communications within 12-24 hours.
- Use carefully worded kindness such as;
- “I appreciate hearing from you…”
- “If I can be of further assistance please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
- “Your concerns are important to me.”
- Your note brightened my day…”
- Employ simple courtesy that includes your name and the name of the person you are contacting;
- Start the communication with the name of the person you are trying to reach, for example, “Hello Mr. Santeria…” or “Hi Abby.”
- End the communication with your full name so that it is easy for the receiver to determine who sent the message.
- Refer to specific information that is unique to the individual you are contacting, for example;
- “I am interested in learning more about your concerns regarding your recent medication change…”
- “Thank-you for clarifying your needs related to scheduling…”
- “I really appreciate your words of acknowledgement and support…”
- Spell and grammar check each message before sending. A well-constructed and grammatically correct message communicates to the receiver that you value the exchange.
Establishing a firm intent to care, and then crafting messages carefully and with mindful attention to kindness will transform an impersonal communication into a collaborative caring opportunity. Understanding how to care in digital settings is critical to preserving the basic fabric of nursing we physically interact less while we electronically interact more with both patients and colleagues. We must all work together to envision and discover caring possibilities in the course of this inevitable change so that caring remains a core value in nursing and beyond. For more examples and ideas related to digital caring in nursing, read: Watson’s Caring in the Digital World: A Guide for Caring when Interacting, Teaching, and Learning in Cyberspace by Kathleen Sitzman and Jean Watson (2017), Springer Publishing.