Happy National Nurse Week 2016

TravelMed USA would like to Thank every Nurse around the world for all your hard work and dedication.

5 Fun Facts About the National Nurses Week:

  • The National Nurses Week starts on May 6th (National Nurses Day) and ends on May 12th which is the birth date of Florence Nightingale. 
  • In the 1950’s, National Nurses Week was first observed from October 11 – 16.
  • It was President Nixon who proclaimed a “National Nurse Week” in 1974.
  • The idea of making May 6th as the “National Recognition Day for Nurses” was first proposed by a group of nurses from Mexico. The proposal was signed by President Ronald Reagan and was later expanded into a week-long celebration by the American Nurses Association’s Board of Directors in 1990.
  • The International Nurses Day is celebrated every May 12th of each year.

5 Funny Nursing Quotes for the Nursing Week

funny nursing quotes for the nursing week funny quotes for national nurses week

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nursing week quotes

Flu Shot: Should you be required to get the shot?

In the healthcare field our Nurses and Therapist are now being ask to get the flu shot every season. If you choose to decline the hospital may not hire you or require you to wear a mask the entire shift you work while employed at the hospital during the flu season.

Some healthcare workers refuse to get the flu shot and do not want to wear a mask either.

Do you agree? Do you get the flu shot?

“While the flu is generally an unpleasant experience for most healthy adults, it can be extremely serious and even fatal. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. “The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year,” the CDC says.”

Want To Be A Travel Nurse? Here’s Why You Should Give It A Try

Travel-Nursing

1. Less internal politics 

When you work for a company as a permanent employee, you have to deal with the ups and downs within your company, your specific unit, and even between yourself and other employees. It’s great to know your voice may be heard when you are in permanent status but sometimes, it’s also nice to know that you can walk away after 13 weeks without looking back if it’s just not a good fit. Being a traveler affords you the opportunity to test the waters  at multiple facilities and find a permanent home somewhere if you choose. Of course, you can continue on with travel nursing but it’s nice to know that you have the option to go perm if you decide it’s the right place for you.

2. More money

While traveling is not as lucrative as it was 10+ years ago, it is still leaps and bounds above what you’d be bringing home as a permanent employee. Travel nurses do have to pay for housing while they are on assignment but typically that can be had at a decent price depending on the location. However, if you’re looking to go to Cape Cod in the spring or summer, it will likely be more of an experience you’ll be getting than a lucrative paycheck.

3. See new things

One of the greatest benefits of traveling is that it affords you the ability to see places and things you wouldn’t normally see if you were permanently working in one area. After your 3+ shifts are over for the week when you’re a traveler, take time out to explore the local area or take day trips to see what else is out there. The important thing is to take advantage of the time that you’re there. Remember – take pictures of your adventures!

4. Learn new skills

Another value of travel nursing is being afforded the opportunity to learn new skills. Keep in mind you will be offered a position within the specialty you have the most recent experience in. However, you may be pulled to another unit for assistance when needed as well. While you won’t be performing duties outside your scope, performing in your capacity as a ‘helper’ on another unit gives you the opportunity to see how other areas of the hospital run and may even show you another area that you might want to gain experience in. Typically switching specialties cannot be done while traveling because the hospital needs someone who can hit the ground running without training them but you can always choose to take a permanent position in a hospital within a new field.

5. Meet new people

One of the most fun things about travel nursing is developing new relationships with people you wouldn’t have met otherwise. So many travel nurses maintain friendships with the people they’ve worked at in various hospitals throughout the country during their travels. You’re able to gain new perspectives and see things from a viewpoint outside your local lens. Additionally, you’ll have lots of fun vacation spots with the new people you meet!

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Travel nursing isn’t for everyone but it is well within possibility that many just don’t know if it’s the right choice and are afraid to take that next step for fear of the unknown. If you’re nervous about packing up and heading across the country for a temporary position, try taking a local contract at your hometown facility and see if you like the feeling of being a travel nurse without the commitment involved in picking up and leaving.

Want to discuss further? Leave comments below and we’d be happy to answer anything you have about the travel nurse industry.

The Best and Worst States to be an RN: 2015 Edition

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(Original article from scrubsmag.com – please see link at end of article)

If you’re an RN or thinking of becoming one, we have good news: The registered nurse is expected to be among the fastest growing professions in the United States in the coming years. The latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  (BLS) predict that employment of registered nurses will grow 19 percent between 2012 and 2022. This is compared to 11 percent growth expected across all occupations during the same time period.

As we’ve discussed in recent articles on nursing salary and the highest paying nurse specialties, RN salaries vary widely across the U.S., from state to state and city to city. Of course, the cost of living varies just as widely. With this in mind, check out the following data exploring what the nursing industry is like in different areas across the country, including states with the highest (and lowest) nurse salaries, cost of living and more.

We know that each nurse has his or her own definition of “best” and “worst” places to work; does this data impact your perceptions? Do the numbers reinforce that you are happy where you are working or make you want to explore possibilities in new areas? Let us know in the comments below!

Top Five RN Mean Hourly Wage by State

As it has for many years, California has the highest RN pay rate of any state, with an annual mean salary of $98,400, according to the BLS. The state also has the highest number of registered nurses in the U.S., with 253,310 RNs currently working.

California: $47.31
Hawaii: $42.42
Massachusetts: $41.23
Alaska: $41.22
Oregon: $39.87

Five States with Highest Cost of Living

Seeing the high salaries in the list above, it probably comes as no surprise that many of these states have among the highest costs of living in the country. USA Today released an informative list of the top seven most expensive states to live in, drawing data from a variety of sources.

Two states—Alaska and Hawaii—that are among the top five states for nursing salaries are also among the top five most expensive states to live in. California barely missed the cutoff, coming in at number six on the Cost of Living Index* list.

Hawaii: 162.9
Washington, D.C.: 139.6
New York: 132.2
Alaska: 131.8
New Jersey: 127.6

*Note: Cost of Living Index measures the cost of services and consumer goods in an area relative to the rest of the country. The average for the entire U.S. is 100 and the Cost of Living Index is read as a percentage of that average.

Five States with Highest Nursing Employment – (Rate of RNs per 1,000 Jobs)

While looking at nursing employment as a whole, the number of nurses working in each state is of course significantly affected by the total population in that state. To get a better idea of how common RN jobs are in a state’s workforce, here’s a look at the states with the highest quotient of registered nurses, measured in RN employment per 1,000 jobs.

South Dakota: 28.41
West Virginia: 27.01
Mississippi: 25.66
Rhode Island: 25.43
Missouri: 25.15

Lowest Five RN Mean Hourly Wage by State

Of course, it’s also important to see what states offer the lowest RN pay. Though these wages are relatively low, many of these states offer a very low cost of living.

South Dakota: $25.95
Iowa: $25.97
West Virginia: $27.11
Alabama: $27.15
Arkansas: $27.15

Five States with the Lowest Cost of Living

Two of the states with the lowest hourly wages also appear in the top five least expensive places to live. Two more—Alabama and Arkansas—appear in the top 10. Here’s a look at the five states with the lowest Cost of Living Index, according to USA Today.

Mississippi: 87.8
Tennessee: 89.7
Kentucky: 90.0
Oklahoma: 90.4
Indiana: 90.7

Five States with Lowest Nursing Employment – (Rate of RNs per 1,000 Jobs)

Even though California has the most RNs currently working, it also has among the lowest number of RNs relative to its overall workforce. Here are the five states with the lowest number of RNs in relation to the total number of jobs.

Utah: 15.26
Nevada: 15.49
Oklahoma: 16.73
California: 16.75
Texas: 16.94

Urban vs. Rural

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report with additional information on the current nurse workforce, including stats on the number of RNs who work in urban areas versus those who work in rural areas.

The report finds that 15.7 percent of RNs work in rural areas of the U.S. This is compared with 17 percent of the workforce as a whole that works in rural areas.

However, the report also finds that there are more RNs per capita in urban areas than in rural ones. There are 934.8 RNs per 100,000 residents in urban areas compared to 852.7 RNs per 100,000 people in rural areas.

Five Non-Metro Areas with Highest Nursing Employment – (Rate of RNs per 1,000 Jobs)

Speaking of urban versus rural, it’s also interesting to see where the nursing jobs are in non-metro areas. The following are the five non-metro areas (designated by the BLS) that have the highest rate of RNs per 1,000 jobs.

Western New Hampshire non-metropolitan area: 36.03
Hammond (LA) non-metropolitan area: 30.08
East Kentucky non-metropolitan area: 30.02
Southeast Mississippi non-metropolitan area:
28.47
Southern Ohio non-metropolitan area:
27.79

Nurse Legislation by State (in Brief)

Finally, many states have passed legislation affecting the careers of RNs and other nurses. Some of the more common and/or controversial are listed below.

  • 33: Number of states that have a legislative mandatory education requirement for license renewal/re-registration. See the entire list at the ANA website.
  • 3: Number of states (New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island) that have introduced legislation to require RNs to obtain a BSN within 10 years of initial licensure. To date, none of these measures have passed.
  • 14: Number of states that have addressed nurse staffing ratios through legislation.
  • 1: Number of states with minimum nurse-patient ratio requirement (California). Massachusetts has a law requiring a 1:1 or 1:2 nurse-patient ratio in the ICU, depending on the stability of the patient.

Link to original article: http://scrubsmag.com/the-best-and-worst-states-to-be-an-rn-2015-edition/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=funny

Healthcare Minute: Lacking Dental Care in Skilled Nursing Facilities

a nurse and an old woman in a wheelchair.

According to a New York Times article published in August 2013, nursing homes were shown to have a lack of appropriate dental care for their residents, even when including those with dental insurance. Besides already being a challenging environment to provide care, medical professionals in these facilities are simply overwhelmed. “Aides are swamped with other tasks, and when older charges must be helped to the toilet, fed or repositioned in bed, brushing their teeth often falls to the bottom of the to-do list.” (NYT.com) Residents may also be resistant to receiving care because they may lack the cognitive ability to understand why dental care is so important.

In addition to residents not getting their teeth brushed or mouths cleaned enough, there are other considerations that contribute to their overall health showing us why it is so important. “Many prescription drugs — including some antidepressants, medications for high blood pressure and anti-seizure medications — can reduce saliva and dry out the mouth. Without daily oral care, older people taking such drugs are especially prone to “a relatively rapid deterioration,” said Dr. Ira Lamster, a dentist and a professor of health policy at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia.” (NYT.com) However, it’s not just rotting teeth or teeth falling out that we should be concerned about. Pneumonia, one of the most common and deadly illnesses among the elderly, has been found to be linked to poor dental hygiene due to the bacteria building up in the mouth. The Mayo Clinic also identified other diseases linked to poor dental health including:

  • Cardiovascular disease: In a nutshell, this means heart disease. The bacteria from inflammation of the gums and periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart and cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis causes plaque to develop on the inner walls of arteries which thicken and this decreases or may block blood flow through the body. This can cause an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. The inner lining of the heart can also become infected and inflamed — a condition known as endocarditis.
  • Dementia: The bacteria from gingivitis may enter the brain through either nerve channels in the head or through the bloodstream, that might even lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Respiratory infections: The Journal of Periodontology warns that gum disease could cause you to get infections in your lungs, including pneumonia. While the connection might not be completely obvious at first, think of what might happen from breathing in bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a long period of time.
  • Diabetic complications: Inflammation of the gum tissue and periodontal disease can make it harder to control your blood sugar and make your diabetes symptoms worse. Diabetes sufferers are also more susceptible to periodontal disease, making proper dental care even more important for those with this disease.

(Excerpt from Colgate.com)

 “A study by Frenkel and colleagues found that 72% to 94% of LTC residents have difficulty providing their own oral hygiene care or cleaning their own dentures, yet residents often receive little or no help with these practices. In one study, only 5% of residents in LTC facilities who requested assistance with oral hygiene ever received help.” (annalsoflongtermcare.com) According to this same source, caregivers observed have challenges with time but also lack training and education to be able to provide the services needed. Investigators completing an observational study on the subject stated that “adherence to standards was low; teeth were brushed and rinsed with water in only 16% of resident observations, and when help was given, the staff brushed the teeth on average for 16.2 seconds, instead of the 2 minutes that is commonly recommended by dentists. Furthermore, the investigators cited a disturbing lack of appropriate infection control, with none of the CNAs wearing clean gloves to provide oral care and some not even changing gloves after cleaning the perineal area or changing soiled garments.” (annalsoflongtermcare.com)

While staff not having time to complete dental care is a reality and while you cannot make time, you can re-educate staff and re-prioritize to affect change. Some changes that can be made include:

  • Providing information to all staff and residents/families regarding the importance of dental health and how to complete basic dental care.
  • Creating a curriculum in conjunction with a dental professional for front line staff who primarily handle the dental care of residents.
  • After staff “graduate” from the educational program created, bring in a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) to show staff the proper way to use the basic dental tools on residents for optimal dental care.

With these changes in mind, the long-term care industry can begin to recover from a problem that has been in place for many years. Improving the care of residents in a way that directly effects their health will allow them to have a better quality of life. For more in depth information on the studies and information presented, please see the resources listed below.

Resources:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/in-nursing-homes-an-epidemic-of-poor-dental-hygiene/?_r=0

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/gum-disease/article/sw-281474979066921

http://www.annalsoflongtermcare.com/article/meeting-oral-health-challenges-long-term-care-facilities#sthash.Et9qAy4Y.dpuf

Remote I-9 Process for Travelers

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One of the biggest frustrations for most travel therapists and travel nurses is that there are sometimes different paperwork processes that we have to follow in order to legally get you working. Trust me when I say, I don’t enjoy adding more to your plate when it comes to paperwork or processes that I need you as a traveler to follow.  However, when the government needs something done a certain way in order to be legally acceptable, I’m not going to argue with them.

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What is the Form I-9?

According to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) website, the “Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States”. No employer is exempt from this requirement and both the employee and the employer are required to fill out their appropriate section. The employee is required to submit a form or forms of identification along with the Form I-9 that is used to verify you are who you say you are. The employer is not allowed to guide the employee in choosing which forms of identification should be used, however, many people typically choose to use their drivers’ license and social security card. To see all acceptable forms of identification, you should review the ‘List of Acceptable Documents’ which is included on the last page of the Form I-9 packet.

What About Remote Employees?

When you cannot physically come to our office and have one of our internal employees view and make copies of your identifying documents, you are considered a remote employee for Form I-9 purposes. “The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9.” (USCIS) Due to this, we need to have you go to a representative of the company in order to complete your Form I-9.  If a representative is not available, you are able to go to a Notary Public to act as a representative of the company and complete the Form I-9 verification. Once complete, you would mail the originals back to our corporate headquarters.

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It’s a fairly simple process but understandably, will require some time out of your day to complete. If you cannot locate a private Notary Public, check with your local bank office as they typically will have someone available to complete it for you. If you have any further questions about our remote I-9 process, please let me know. I’d be happy to answer any questions in the comments below!

-Ashley

 Resources:

 http://www.uscis.gov/i-9

Employee Onboarding: What You Need To Know

Onboarding-Sign

I get a lot of questions about what the process is to come aboard as an employee of TravelMed USA. Our primary business is staffing nurses and therapists in contract assignments throughout the United States. Although our employees work at facilities other than our internal offices, it is important to remember that these individuals remain our employees and are hired based on, at a minimum, our requirements.

THERAPISTS

When your recruiter is speaking to you about submitting you to a potential assignment, they will typically ask for 3 basic items from you in order to be considered.

  • Updated Resume
  • 2 Professional References
  • Skills Checklist

These items complete your candidate profile. Once your profile is submitted to the client, you will be interviewed over the phone by someone at the facility – typically a director or regional manager. If you are chosen for the position, the client will communicate that with us as well as an offer which will then be presented to you. Upon your acceptance, you will be fully credentialed. By “credentialed”, I am referring to the process of obtaining all of your new hire documents required by TravelMed USA and the client. This will typically include:

  • TravelMed USA Application (electronically completed)
  • HR Documents (electronically completed)
  • Testing completed through Prophecy Health (exams and skills checklist)
  • Copies of therapy license, BLS, and health records as required
  • NPI number
  • Completed copies of direct deposit and health insurance forms
  • Any forms related to the specific client you will be working for

NURSES

Travel positions for nurses are typically more in-depth with requirements and will depend on whether you are submitted as a travel contract nurse or in PRN status.

Travel Contract Nurse Process:

  • Resume & References
  • Skills Checklist completed through Prophecy Health
  • Copy of nursing license
  • Copy of social security card
  • Copy of BLS (through American Heart Association) and any other certifications pertaining to your specialty (ACLS, PALS, TNCC, etc.)

The above documents represent what we need to submit you to the typical nursing need, however, keep in mind there are facilities that will require more items than what is listed above – these are only the basics. All other documents needed to complete your file by either TravelMed USA or the client will be collected after you are interviewed and offered the contract but must be obtained and completed prior to your start date. The PRN process operates a little differently as the hospital will require every document up front before you are interviewed.

PRN Nurse Process:

  • Everything listed in the ‘Travel Contract Nurse Process’
  • TravelMed USA Application (electronically completed)
  • HR Documents (electronically completed)
  • Testing completed through Prophecy Health (exams and skills checklist)
  • Copies of required health records
  • Completed copies of direct deposit and health insurance forms
  • Any forms related to the specific client you will be working for

In addition to the document collecting process, we will also run a background check, education verification, and drug screening. Once these items are completed and all documents obtained, your file will be passed to our compliance department where it will be reviewed for quality assurance. All files should be in a complete status at least 3 days before your start date in order to give us time to review any issues. Anything that is not passable by Joint Commission standards will be addressed prior to your start date.

If you have any further questions about the onboarding process, please feel free to send me a message or comment below. I’d be happy to answer your questions!

-Ashley