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.
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.
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?
A recent survey by the American Nurses Association looked at the physical toll that being a nurse can impose on a person. Some of the more alarming things it found were that 80% of nurses say therey continue to work frequently even though they had neck, back or shoulder pain caused on the job and that 74% of respondents are concerened with the acute or chronic effects of stess and overwork and 62% were concerened with disabling muscoskeletal injury.
Of course the effects that fatigue can have on patient care are well documented, but it is still a challenge for many hospitals to find ways to reduce it for their staff.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this and what you do about it in your unit? Take this poll to tell us what you think (pick all that apply).
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.
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.
This post discusses an article that lists 22 ways for nurses to de-stress and prevent nurse burnout.
In this post we discussed the KPMG study that looked at the overall cost of full-time nurses and discussed their findings.
This post provides a list of resources to help Nurse Managers spot and respond to nurse staff burnout.
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.
This post lists 14 key questions that hospitals need to ask about their nurse recruitment plan in order to make improvements in their hiring.
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.
Here we explain the best way for hospitals to compare the costs of travel nursing companies they work with.
In this post we discuss things that Nurse Managers can do during tough economic times to get the most out of their units.
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.
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
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:
It’s no secret or any great big surprise that nurses deal with a lot of stress on the job. And like in any job, a stressed worker is not a good worker. When the care of patients is involved it is even more critical for nurses and their managers to find ways to relieve that stress.
Here is a great article on 22 ways for nurses to de-stress with ideas like doing something you did all the time as a kid, visiting the shooting range or get a free or discounted massage.
There more are easy, fun ways and inexpensive ways to unwind that can help the nurses in your hospital to recharge in the article so give it a read if the stress level in your unit needs to come down.
When using temporary nursing agencies as part of your hospital’s staffing strategy it is important to know what you are looking for in a travel nurse. This may seem obvious, but the traits you are going to look for in a travel nurse are not necessarily going to be the same ones you look for when hiring a full-time, permanent nurse. Of course many things will overlap but some other areas you need to look for excellence for in a travel nurse include:
Your Hospital’s Travel Nurses Need to be Adaptable
When hiring a travel nurse it is extremely important to only select those that have shown they have an ability to go into new situations and acclimate themselves quickly. Orientation for travel nurses is historically and with understandable reason very short so getting up to speed quickly is a skill that all travel nurses have.
Your Hospital’s Travel Nurses Need to Have Organizational Skills
A travel nurse that is well organized is going to be an advantage to your hospital for two main reasons. First off travel nursing requires a lot of paperwork to get started with an agency and the better they are at taking care of this the more you can depend on the fact that there will not be any start issues. Second a nurse who is organized in their personal lives is not only going to be more focused at work, but is also much more likely to carry that organization over to their work.
Your Hospital’s Travel Nurses Need to Have Communication Skills
This one is fairly obvious, nurses have to be good communicators or else a patent’s safety can be at risk. However in the case of travel nurses this is even more critical as they will be coming into a new situation with new people and will need to quickly get over apprehension or awkwardness in dealing with new people, be it co-workers, doctors or managers.
Your Hospital’s Travel Nurses Need to be Eager
While it is expected that travel nurses have great clinical skills, travel nursing also presents a great learning opportunity for nurses to be exposed to new medical practices and ways of doing things. That is why it is important to hire travel nurses who are eager to embrace these learning opportunities.
Your Hospital’s Travel Nurses Need to Have Resiliency
Aside from the stress of simply being a nurse, there is a lot of stress that can occur when changing hospitals every 3 to 6 months so finding a nurse who lets that stress roll off her back is one of the best ways to find an awesome travel nurse.
Your Hospital’s Travel Nurses Need to be Hard Workers
Again this one may seem obvious, but it is important to find nurses who are not afraid to go the extra mile. Travel nurses need to be self-motivated individuals who put in the work, simply for the intrinsic rewards of doing it and the sake of the patient, not because they expect anything extra in return.
Your Hospital’s Travel Nurses Need to be Dependable
Although when you work with a top-rated travel nursing company it shouldn’t be, hiring a travel nurse can still be a little leap of faith. Will they show up the first day? On-time? Every day they are scheduled? So it is vitally important that you get a sense for how dependable the nurse is during the interview process so you can remove any doubt.
Finding these traits in travel nurses starts with working with a thorough travel nurisng comapny and interviewing well. Here are some tips to help you do both: