In my last post I talked about an article in The Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Dec. 6th called, Temp Firms a Magnet for Unfit Nurses, that discussed the quality, or lack of it, of nurses working through staffing firms. My point in my last post was that the article placed a lot of the blame on the staffing agencies and not the nurses themselves or hospitals that don’t check on the agencies they work with. I also talked about research that showed that temporary nurses are as, if not more, qualified than permanent nurses. But one area I did not fully address was what could be done about it.
Well in a recent article titled “Union: Healthy Environments, Better Orientation Can Solve Temp Nurse Issue” at HealthLeadersMedia, Media Rebecca Hendren discussed the article with some nurse executives from the new National Nurses United union who brought up some great points in response to the Los Angeles article including:
- Acknowledging that in some circumstances travel nurses can be a real blessing for hospitals, but focus should still be on building a stable long-term workforce
- Not supporting a national nurse registry and instead letting the state associations and licensing boards handle it
- Illustrates a need to focus on a healthy working environment to improve retention and recruitment of permanent nurses, which in turn will reduce the need for temporary and travel nurses
- Better orientation of travel nurses is important because even a good nurse who does not know the system and procedures of her new hospital will have a hard time with little orientation
- California’s nurse to patient ratio had little to do with the problem and in fact has brought more nurses back to work in the state
These points really make me think about travel nursing orientation, and the role it plays in the overall quality of healthcare provided by travel nurses and in the experience of the travel nurses themselves. Stay tuned for a post dedicated to it.