Archive for the ‘Career Management’ Category

Considering International Travel Nursing

Saturday, March 13th, 2010
Whether you are looking to visit for a few months or a couple of years, you can find something that will suit you to a tee.  All specialties are needed, plus the benefits are wonderful – high pay, free housing, paid licensing fees, health insurance and travel expenses are generally covered.
Most hospitals and travel nurse recruiters want you to have at least one year of nursing in your specialty. They want you to be comfortable, not only with being a nurse but with the equipment, terminology and cares as well.
The Middle East
You will be required to work for 1-2 years and will be given the opportunity to fly home, free of charge, for a visit between the first and second year. Depending on your home country, your wages are also tax-free.
Australia
Most jobs require a two-year commitment and there are English language requirements that will need to be met. If your ultimate goal is to work in the US, this is a great interim step. You can apply for residency after a two-year assignment.
Canada
Canada has almost as many choices as the US. Canada can also be a great interim step to entering the US.
Europe
There are many opportunities for international travel nursing in England and Ireland. If Europe appeals to you, this may be a good option, though you may have some visa issues to deal with before starting an assignment.

Why Being Bilingual Can Increase Your Job Prospects

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

With increases in immigration increases and a full-on nursing shortage, the demand for bilingual healthcare workers is growing. The greatest need appears to be for Spanish-speaking nurses. Only 2 percent of all US registered nurses are Hispanic/Latino. While a higher percentage of nurses may be Spanish-speaking, non-Hispanics/Latinos may not be aware of cultural differences.

Bilingualism is critical throughout the healthcare system. Patients tend to be more comfortable working with someone who not only speak their language, but also understand their culture. Otherwise, the integrity of the patient’s care could be compromised.

Bilingual nurses are needed all over the United States, though the demand is most crucial in states bordering Mexico. And the variety of Hispanic/Latino cultures only increases the need for bilingual nurses.

If you are a bilingual job seeker, you should subscribe to professional journals (such as the AJN, or American Journal of Nursing), and join Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic/Latino professional organizations. Be sure to inquire about collaborative efforts among hospitals, medical and nursing schools, nonprofit foundations and government agencies.

Of course, bilingual and bicultural healthcare needs extend beyond Spanish. Immigration is increasing from countries like Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, which are places where medical care is vastly different from the United States. At the same time, immigration policy is staunching the flow of healthcare professionals from Asia. Since 9/11, there is much greater vigilance about who comes in. It’s harder for professionals, even folks with doctor’s and nurse’s degrees, to move there.

Starting a New Assignment Gracefully

Monday, February 15th, 2010

One of the most difficult things for travel nurses is starting a new assignment – it is a time filled with promise and expectations, but it’s also plagued with anxiety. With careful planning and forethought, you can transition smoothly into your new environment.

Take advantage of every learning opportunity. Even experienced travel nurses actively engage in new employee orientations. At the end of your orientation, if you don’t feel comfortable working without your mentor, ask to be reoriented .

Avoid the rumor mill. It’s tempting to get caught up in politics and gossip when you’re new and trying to fit in, but you should never give in. Instead, assess the situation and develop an appropriate professional response, such as, “Is there a better way we can handle this,” which is a positive way of getting people to reflect on what is happening.

Get to know your coworkers. Build a positive team environment by offering to help colleagues in a difficult situation. Hopefully, they’ll return the favor.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Keep your eyes open. Observe the experts on your unit or in your practice setting. You can learn a lot by watching how they come to an agreement, handle difficult patients and interact with physicians.

Setting priorities will keep you sane. Learn to evaluate which needs are most critical and look for ways to delegate tasks that someone else can handle.

Take time off. Healthcare is a stressful field taking time for you will make you a better nurse.


Give it some time. When you get frustrated or discouraged, don’t give up on yourself or the institution, regretting accepting this assignment. Every assignment is different and you need to give yourself time to adjust.

How to Communicate Your Way to a Better Work Environment

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

There comes a time in every healthcare professional’s career when things come to a stalemate – maybe a whiny colleague has pushed you past your boiling point, you have a difficult patient, or morale in your department has reached a new low. Something needs to change now. Your success in resolving the problem will largely depend on how skillfully you bring up difficult issues with your supervisor and how well you guide that conversation in a productive direction.

Nursing is a stressful occupation, whether you are a newly-minted STNA or a veteran travel nurse. Often, nurses find they have too much work, too little control over that work and not enough help from each other. Some things you can try include:

  • Brainstorming with peers to find solutions, creating a better working environment and then bringing issues to your supervisor as a group.
  • Designate a peer mediator within your unit or department. A mediator can control the process and ensure everyone involved behaves respectfully toward each other. Peer mediation is voluntary and confidential, which makes the approach successful.

Many times, organizational structure can be the problem. Being supportive of your colleagues is another way to ensure that everyone feels appreciated and “heard.”

  • Be a role model for others.
  • Support effort as well as success.
  • Give encouragement when someone tackles a difficult assignment.
  • Increase your own self-respect.
  • Foster a win-win attitude in your department.
  • Ask your supervisor if you can devote a portion of each staff meeting to talking about what is and is not working in your unit and what isn’t. Give people a chance to express their concerns and brainstorm solutions as a group.
  • Learn to negotiate.

The Benefits of Being a Travel Nurse

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Travel nursing is nothing new to the healthcare industry – in fact, it’s been around for quite some time now. The industry began as nurses who enjoyed a lifestyle of skiing the slopes in the winter and sunbathing on beaches in the summer found a way to make that lifestyle a possibility while being able to make a living at the same time.

While there is a critical need for nurses, travel nurses are in incredibly high demand. For hospitals that have had difficulty recruiting and hiring permanent staff, travel nurses have filled a gap that allows the hospitals to continue to fill beds, and in some cases, keep them open. The shortage of nurses in the United States has lead to increased patient death rates, patient safety concerns, and has affected hospital staff’s ability to detect complications in patients.  A study conducted in 2002 indicated that persons who have surgeries in hospitals with higher numbers of patients per nurse are 31% more likely to die, even after common surgical procedures.

Industry Analysts are reporting that 15,000 to 20,000 traveling nurses are used each week in U.S. hospitals. Travel nurses enjoy the opportunity to travel and earn higher salaries, in addition to housing and traveling expenses, health benefits, and a retirement program. Agencies report that many of their nurses make about twice as much as they would if they were staff at the same facility. Salaries vary by experience, location, and specialty, but generally run $22 to $35 an hour, translating to a salary of $44,000 to $70,000 for a nurse working 40 hours per week 50 weeks a year, plus rules about mandatory overtime, weekends, and holidays do not apply. Also, many hospitals offer bonuses to travel nurses who are willing to work during holiday shifts.

When you contract for an assignment (the typical length is 13 weeks), many agencies offer a sign-on bonus, and most offer completion bonuses when you finish each assignment, which may range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the length of your assignment. Usually, the longer you work, the more bonus money you can earn.

Other ways to earn a bonus include agreeing to take a hard-to-fill position or referring a qualified colleague who completes an assignment, earning you a referral fee. Types of bonuses and their amounts can be as variable as the assignment. Bonuses may be cash dollars or may include points for a travel award program, special incentive bonuses, completion bonuses, relocation bonuses, and performance bonuses. Bonuses are typically paid by the agency, but may be paid by the client health care organization.

Agencies usually have management staff available on call 24/7/365 to support you in case of emergencies. For more routine questions, some agencies also have 24-hour hot lines. One agency chief provides travel nurses with emergency pagers that connect to a vice-president who’s authorized to assist them.

As you can see, travel nursing agencies offer a lot of benefits to suit your professional and personal needs. Ask your recruiter to explain your agency’s unique benefits package to you in detail so you know what’s available. Then start packing!