If you already have a traveler friendly hospital or unit and understand how important that is to offering great patient care then you don’t need to read this article. But if you are not sure where your culture falls on the traveler friendly scale then maybe the three minutes to read this may be worth your time.
How an anti-travel nurse culture starts
No hospital or unit within it would intentionally set out to have an anti-traveler culture, instead what happens more often is that efforts just are not made to build a traveler friendly culture and more ambivalent approach is taken in which travelers are seen as either a necessary evil or as just a temporary fix and not part of an overall personnel strategy. When this attitude is taken by the leadership it can also trickle down to the nurses on staff who either consciously or unconsciously pass it on during their interactions with the travel staff.
How word of an anti-travel nurse culture spreads
In travel nursing forums it is not uncommon to see discussions about hospitals that travelers had bad experiences at. This is an unfortunate thing to see. Not only for the traveler who rightly or wrongly felt they were treated in an anti-traveler manner during an assignment, but also for the hospital, because they may have just lowered their chances of getting the best travel nurses to come and work at their facility.
Travel nurses are often members of communities and participants in forums online such as:
It is in those environments where bad experiences are shared and bad reviews of their time at your hospital are discovered by other nurses who may be interested in working in there. So now even though a hospital may work with good travel nursing companies who recruit good nurses, offer a high rate that allows for a traveler to be paid well and is located in in a great area that nurses would love to live in for a few months, all of those benefits may be overshadowed by what is said about that hospital online.
How an anti-travel nurse culture gets worse
Once a culture that is unfriendly towards travelers has taken root in a hospital a viscous cycle can be created that just makes the culture less traveler friendly with every assignment. It goes something like this:
How an anti-travel nurse culture affects your hospital
As we just discussed, in the immediate, having a culture that is not traveler friendly is going to impact the quality of travelers you are able to attract to your hospital. It will also negatively impact the effectiveness of the travelers that work in your hospital by creating tense environments between travel staff and perm nurses where effective teamwork can be compromised. And of course poor teamwork can have a direct impact on the level of patient care you are able to provide, which is never a good thing for anyone involved.
How to fix it if your hospital has an anti-travel nurse culture
The first thing to do is to take a step back and look objectively at your own and your hospital or unit’s culture toward travelers. Ask any travelers you currently have working or contact previous ones to see what their experience at your facility is/was like. Once you know where you stand you will be able to go forward to make improvements.
Here are some previous Healthcare Staffing Blog posts that offer advice on creating a positive experience for travel nurses and the benefits of doing so.
- Travel nurses and hospital culture – Make sure they fit
- Makeover your unit by integrating travel nurses
- How do you orient travel nurses?
- Phone interview questions to make sure travel nurses will be a cultural fit
- How hospitals can make the most of travel nurses
- See the world through your travel nurse’s eyes
- 10 ideas to get travel nurses to buy into your culture