Category: Travel Nurses

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Clinical Corner: Patient Satisfaction

There have been large amounts of media focus on patient satisfaction during medical procedures and/or hospital stays. A key topic of focus is on HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems). The goal of HCAHPS is to provide a standardized set of questions that can be used by all facilities to evaluate patient experiences. By utilizing a standardized set of questions, facilities can compare their scores to others and better compare.

The survey questions evaluate the following key eight areas:

Communication with physicians
Cleanliness of facility
Pain management
Communication regarding medications
Responsiveness of hospital employees
Dismissal information
Quietness of facility environment
Communication with nurses

The information gathered on the survey is publicly accessible and leads to greater transparency within the healthcare system.

How does this relate to you? We are receiving large amounts of communication from our partner hospitals regarding HCAHPS and patient perspective. Travel staff are held to the same standards for patient satisfaction and we are seeing evaluations at the end of assignments addressing these areas.

We are excited to continue to partner with facilities to improve the patient experience! If you would like additional information on HCAHPS the following links have additional info.

Hospital Compare.gov

HCAHPS Fact Sheet

 

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How Travel Nurses Can Lower Pneumonia Rates in Your Hospital

Under staffing of nurses is a major concern because of the effects it can have on patient safety and quality of care. According to a US Department of Health EPC report, five studies were conducted to examine the relationship between adverse patient outcomes and hospital nurse staffing.

All five studies found at least some association between lower nurse staffing levels and one or more types of adverse patient outcomes. Some of the adverse effects on patients under nursing care included: urinary tract infections, pneumonia, shock, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, longer hospital stays, failure to rescue, and 30-day mortality. However, the studies found a significant correlation between lower nurse staffing levels and higher rates of pneumonia.

This study also found that a 10-percent increase in RN proportion was associated with a 9.5-percent decrease in the odds of pneumonia. While increasing your current nurses’ workload seems as easy way to remedy this situation, most hospitals are already maxing out nurse hours which lead to fatigue and more patient errors.  Adding at least one travel nurse to your facility staff could remedy the situation, without accruing additional costs and often times saving money. In fact,  travelers cost about the same and even less than a permanent staff member due to no vacation or sick time-off.

 

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What to Look for When Working with a Travel Staffing Agency

iStock 000006207278XSmall What to Look for When Working with a Travel Staffing Agency

It can be often difficult finding a quality healthcare staffing agency to hire. You need to trust the company is sending you qualified healthcare staff that integrates well with your hospital. Here are some things to look for when working with a healthcare staffing agency:

Experience-One important factor to consider is how long the agency has been around and how long their recruiters have been recruiting. Knowing how to place qualified candidates and fill positions is something learned with experience. Having this experience gives them the know how to handle difficult situations and the foresight to know which type of candidates will be best for an assignment.

Candidates that Fit- They provide you with good matches for your available positions, not just candidates they need to assign. Where do they recruit their candidates? What is their screening process? Great agencies will screen their candidates thoroughly to make sure their resume matches their experience.

Organization- If paper work comes to you unorganized and incomplete, it could be a reflection of the recruiters work habits and also a possible indication they will not be providing you with the best candidate for your position.

Specialization-What does the staffing agency specialize in? Do they place travel nurses, allied professionals, therapists, techs? Your best chance for finding the ideal candidate is to go to an agency who concentrates on exactly the type of positions you are trying to fill. An agency will have an abundance of skilled candidates in their database and will know how to filter out and send you the superstar traveler you are looking for.

Benefits- They provide their travelers with great benefits. This ensures the happiness of the traveler, which means a better employee for you.

What do you look for in a travel staffing agency?


 

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Student’s Answer to Becoming a Travel Nurse

tng200x300 Students Answer to Becoming a Travel Nurse

Medical Solutions Student Guide to Travel Nursing

For all those aspiring travel nurses out there! We’ve designed a new easy-to-follow Student Guide to Travel Nursing for those students wanting to chose travel nursing as career. The student guide details information on the required education, experience and necessary skills to become a successful travel nurse. Please pass this on to any students interested in choosing travel nursing as a career path.

It is currently posted on the Medical Solutions website and is also available in a printable version.

 

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How Do You Create an Effective Hospital Culture?

iStock 000019180736XSmall How Do You Create an Effective Hospital Culture?It’s proven that hospitals with an effective culture provide better patient care and outperform competitors.  To achieve a desired hospital culture, you must identify what kind of culture you currently have, decide what you want your culture to be, and shift everyone toward the preferred culture.

The easiest way to assess current culture is to simply observe. How does your staffing act? Are they respectful toward higher authority? Do they have the patient’s best interest in mind? How is the temporary staff being treated? Look for common conduct and visible signs. Listen to what your nurses, doctors and patients are telling you. Read reviews of your hospitals. Surveys. And more surveys. Performing initial in-depth surveys for patients is the easiest way to evaluate your culture. Then, continue to conduct follow-up surveys to evaluate progress. These will all give you an idea of what your current hospital culture is like.

What did you learn from your observations? Did you find that your hospital values safely, effective care, respecting the dignity of all who come through your doors? If you said yes to all these, then your hospital is on the right track. If not, then you certainly have some work to do. From here, you can decide what you like about your current culture and, of course, what you need to change.

Things to strive for in a hospital culture:

  • Ensuring patient safety
  • Attitude of teamwork and open communication
  • Equality of staff
  • Comfortability in reporting potential hazards without fear of reprimanding

After you’ve decided on a solid hospital culture, it’s now time to move your staffing in that direction. This is definitely a difficult task in the healthcare staffing world with a plethora of temporary staffing and travel nurses coming and going.  These are some steps to start with:

  • Have a staff meeting. Clearly communicate the culture to your employees and the results you’d like to achieve, and then over communicate and remind them daily.
  • Have fun with it by providing incentives for complying with the hospital culture.
  • Make the staff feel like they are personally responsible for the successfulness of the hospital.
  • Be the leader! The culture will not survive if the authority is not setting the example

Keep it up. Your culture isn’t something you start and then ignore. A strong culture is a result of care and enforcement. How do you know that you are progressing in the right direction? Go back to step 1. Observe, listen and survey. Hopefully you will see the progression from where you started.

Remember you can create the idea of the culture you want, but only your staff can make it a reality.

 

 

 

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LinkedIn, are you using it to recruit?

LinkedIn has become the #1 social media network among recruiters, with over 120 million members. With it’s easy search of keywords, skills, specialties and recommendations, it alleviates a lot of the previous steps to finding the right candidate.

Are your recruiters using it to search for potential healthcare staff?

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What is your hospital doing to keep nurses happy?

With the current nurse shortage, it’s no surprise that hospitals should be doing all they can to keep their nurses happy.

Maintaining an environment where the nurse wants to work is critical for not only nurse retention, but also patient quality. The overall stress accompanied by an uncomfortable and disrespectful work environment can send nurses running for the door. The key is finding out what makes nurses happy enough to stay.

The Nursing Organizations Alliance developed a set of principles to help hospitals and other health care entities create positive work environments. More than 40 nurse organizations have endorsed these principles. So, what are you doing to keep your nurses happy?

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Our top 10 most popular healthcare staffing posts

top healthcare staffing articles Our top 10 most popular healthcare staffing posts

It’s years end coming up soon, so it seems like a good time to look at the most popular posts have been over the past year.

10. How are you dealing with a more diverse nurse population?

This article looked at the results of a nurse population study that had interesting results in relation to the amount of racial, gender and age diversity in the nurse population.

9. Easy ways for nurses to de-stress and avoid burnout

This post discusses an article that lists 22 ways for nurses to de-stress and prevent nurse burnout.

8. Full time nurse labor costs versus travel nurses

In this post we discussed the KPMG study that looked at the overall cost of full-time nurses and discussed their findings.

7. Overtime and hospital staff burnout

This post provides a list of resources to help Nurse Managers spot and respond to nurse staff burnout.

6. Mentoring Programs designed to keep nurses, young and old.

The subject of this post is about the value that putting a mentoring program in place can have on retaining nurses and improving patient care.

5. 14 questions to ask yourself about your nurse recruitment plan

This post lists 14 key questions that hospitals need to ask about their nurse recruitment plan in order to make improvements in their hiring.

4. Phone interview questions to make sure travel nurses will be a cultural fit

The purpose of this post is to list resources that Nurse Managers and Hospital Hiring Managers can use to ensure that the travel nurses they bring in are a good cultural fit at the hospital and in the unit.

3. Evaluating a Healthcare Staffing Company’s Cost

Here we explain the best way for hospitals to compare the costs of travel nursing companies they work with.

2. Build your best nursing unit

In this post we discuss things that Nurse Managers can do during tough economic times to get the most out of their units.

1. Improve your nursing staff morale

This post talks about our 7 Steps to Better Nursing Morale ebook, a poplar handbook we made on how Nurse Managers can improve the morale of nurses in their unit to prevent burnout.

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What hospital executives think of temporary nurse staffing

iStock 000005048392XSmall What hospital executives think of temporary nurse staffing
In a round up of a panel at this year’s recent Healthcare Staffing Summit three healthcare executives’ opinions on the use of temporary nurse staffing were discussed. Two of the three do use travel nurses and other temporary staffing while the third didn’t, but their concerns were interesting to hear.

From reading what they had to say it seems like there is still a sense of failure associated with being “forced” to rely on travel nursing companies to meet vacancies instead of seeing their use as part of an overall strategic staffing plan.

It was nice to see that the quality of travel nurses is n0t so much in question anymore, at least wth this group. Linda Aiken’s research into this pointed out that the quality of temporary nurses is not any less than permanent nurses at a facility and that is also what this group said they have seen.

They also discussed the KPMG study that looked at the perception that temporary nurses are more expensive than a staff nurse and how it opened their eyes to some cost factors they hadn’t considered. That is a good sign because the overall goal is having enough nurses to ensure patient care and having temporary nurses seen as an investement and not an expense is vital. Especially in light of the increased demand for nurses that healthcare reform is going to result in, which they also discussed.

To read the whole discussion click here: Healthcare Staffing Leaders Speak Out

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A good nurse job description is the main ingredient in finding the perfect match

iStock 000011241125XSmall A good nurse job description is the main ingredient in finding the perfect match

If you are using a Vendor Management System (VMS) to manage your nurse staffing needs don’t forget one of the main ingredients in hiring qualified nurses, finding the perfect (or as close as you can get) match. When working with a VMS this can be difficult because you are most likely dealing with the need to hire a lot of nurses and through most VMSs, travel nursing companies are not able to talk to you directly about your needs.

Without this kind of open communication with staffing agencies it is of utmost importance that you write thorough and detailed job descriptions. If this is overlooked and a bad match is made then the ramifications can be costly and time consuming. You may luck out and the nurse is a rock star, however you may find that she is just not a good fit, so much so that she has to be let go. I’m sure you already know or can imagine what kind of headache results from that scenario.

So the best way to get the most out of any VMS you work with is to take the time to create excellent job descriptions. Here are some resources to help you do that:

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