Why We Need More Nurses


Why We Need More Nurses

Why We Need More Nurses: Most hospital teams need more staff to effectively meet patient care demands.

Last month Travel Nursing Blogs did a post about Alexandra Robbins’ new book The Nurses. Now Robbins is in the news again with an excellent op-ed in the New York Times that explains why we need more nurses.

She begins by sharing a story from a nurse she followed for a year for the book and whom she calls Molly. When Molly, new to her large metropolitan hospital, arrived one day the nurses ending their shifts were in a panic because of their unit was so horribly understaffed. The nurses feared for the safety of their patients and their nursing licenses!

Robbins also writes that while Molly called the nurse-patient ratio “insane” the nurses were all pretty resigned to the conditions, which are unfortunately all too common.

Despite the fact that many studies have cited the various patient risks associated with nurse understaffing nationwide, California is still the only state with a minimum standard set for nurse to patient ratios within hospitals.

The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with The Heroes Of The Hospital

Click here to read our post about Alexandra Robbins’ book The Nurses.

Robbins notes that nurses are fully aware of the issue, but are often intimidated, harassed, or otherwise limited from speaking out about it or trying to help make changes in the way things are done. Unfortunately, this can lead to nurses taking on assignments or workloads that they know to be unsafe. It’s a bad situation for patients and nurses.

So why is this major problem being swept under the rug? Often, it’s quite simply because of the chase for higher profits.

“The biggest change in the last five to 10 years is the unrelenting emphasis on boosting their profit margins at the expense of patient safety,” said

David Schildmeier, spokesman for the Massachusetts Nurses Association told Robbins that the issue is exacerbated by an “unrelenting emphasis” at hospitals to boost profit margins “at the expense of patient safety.

“Absolutely every decision is made on the basis of cost savings,” he says.

While Travel Nursing does not magically make more nurses appear, it does strategically place healthcare professionals in jobs at facilities where their expertise is most needed. It also helps hospitals save money in the long run by helping to prevent nurse burnout and control related other issues.

What disadvantages have you and/or your patients suffered as a result of improper staffing levels? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Ask a Travel Nurse: What do I do for health insurance between Travel Nursing assignments?


Ask a Travel Nurse: What do I do for health insurance between Travel Nursing assignments?

Ask a Travel Nurse: What do I do for health insurance between Travel Nursing assignments?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

It looks like most Travel Nursing companies’ insurance starts on day 1 of an assignment, so what do I do for health insurance between Travel Nursing assignments? Also, can you get health insurance for spouse, too? Thank you.

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

Many travel nursing companies offer insurance coverage for spouses or family. I covered my daughter on my last travel assignment with travel company provided insurance.

You also need to be careful to investigate a company’s insurance plan because NOT all of them start day one (some start at the beginning of the next month or after a certain number of days on assignment). You also need to investigate when the insurance ends. Coverage that ends at the end of the month in which your assignment ends, will give you more of an opportunity to have continuous coverage (even if starting your next assignment with another company). Some insurance ends the day your contract ends. Also, some companies will keep you covered for up to two weeks between assignments as long as you have already signed a new contract with them that begins within two weeks or less. Again, just make sure you are clear on when your company’s coverage starts and ends, and if there is any brief grace period in between assignments.

In between assignments, COBRA coverage is available for most insurance plans. However, I’ve found that this coverage is not always offered until at least a few weeks after your coverage has lapsed. I have never tried this (and any readers who have, please chime in with your experience), but I believe the last time I read a COBRA plan, it would have covered me after my insurance lapsed if I had a medical emergency and then elected the COBRA coverage. However, I would be required to pay the premiums starting the day my coverage had lapsed.

The way I interpreted this was that if I didn’t use the coverage, and was already on another assignment with insurance, great. But, if I did have a medical emergency (or any service that I wanted covered under COBRA), I could go back and pay the premiums and still be covered (as long as I was not past the date that I needed to declare my intent to have COBRA coverage).

Again, anyone who has tested this theory, or is more informed on COBRA coverages, please chime in.

If you are worried about too many possible lapses in coverage, I believe the only other way to go is a plan through the Affordable Care Act. I was recently told that “private insurance” is a thing of the past, but I have not personally applied for insurance outside my travel companies in many years. So I am not current on the mandates of that world.

I hope this helps.


The Human Connection to Patient Care Video


The Human Connection to Patient Care Video

A still from an amazing video that illustrates the human connection to patient care. Watch it below!

You’ll have to excuse me, there’s something in my eye … and it’s because of this amazingly moving video from the Cleveland Clinic titled, “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care.”

On the YouTube video page Cleveland Clinic writes, “Patient care is more than just healing — it’s building a connection that encompasses mind, body and soul. If you could stand in someone else’s shoes … hear what they hear. See what they see. Feel what they feel. Would you treat them differently?”

Nurses know this more than anyone, so I thought you might appreciate this poignant video and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy, and if you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them in the comments!

Ask a Travel Nurse: How has Travel Nursing changed in the past decade?


ask a travel nurse

Ask a Travel Nurse: How has Travel Nursing changed in the past decade?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

I am an RN with 23 years’ experience under my belt. I was Travel Nurse for five years about 11 years ago and I am looking to get back into it before I retire. Since I haven’t traveled for 11 years I’d like your advice regarding best travel companies and any changes that have occurred since I have traveled. Can you tell me, has Travel Nursing changed in the past decade?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

I have been traveling for about two decades and in that time, I would honestly say little has changed.

I wrote a “how to” book on travel nursing in 2009 and I’ve been trying to find enough free time to do a second edition. In rereading the book that is now six years old, the only major change is that many travel companies now require two years of recent hospital based experience to begin in travel. Something that with your experience, and prior travel, should not even be an issue.

You will likely find that travel nursing is not the “cash cow” it once was with every other assignment having a completion bonus. That mostly went away with the dip in the economy in 2009. These days, you will make about the same as a staff nurse on most assignments (more if taking a housing stipend).

As for companies, I do not endorse or recommend companies because of how important I believe the recruiter to be in the process of travel. I did my last assignment with one of the most vilified companies out there, but had no hesitation in doing so because I have a few great people I work with at that company. However, if you asked me if you should travel with them, just calling in “cold” and being placed with any recruiter they choose, I would advise against it.

If you would like some help in reestablishing some contacts, just email me at david@travelnursesbible.com and I will try to help. Many of the companies I use may not do seasonal, but I do have a great recruiter at a company located in Florida, so they might.

I hope this helps :-)



Thank You, Military Nurses!


Thank you military nurses

Thank you, military nurses! And Happy Memorial Day to all!

As we slide on into Memorial Day weekend, I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you, military nurses for everything you do for your patients and your country!

Nursing is commendable and not easy work in any realm, but military nurses deserve an extra special nod for the additional sacrifices made by them and their families.

In honor of all of the brave individuals who’ve served our country, as healthcare professionals or otherwise, I wanted to share a really cool initiative brought about by the American Academy of Nursing called “Have You Ever Served in the Military?”

At HaveYouEverServed.com you will find an awareness campaign that aims to improve veterans’ health and care by providing resources for both veterans and healthcare professionals. The idea behind it is that veteran may have additional healthcare concerns and that as a nurse it’s important to determine a patient’s veteran status if applicable.

In addition to the information provided for veterans, the site offers the following resources to help healthcare professionals provide optimum treatment:

  • Intake questions that can better help you treat a veteran patient
  • Information about areas of concern for vets, such as PTSD, military sexual trauma, and concussions/traumatic brain injuries
  • Info about common military health risks like radiation, Agent Orange exposure, infectious diseases, Gulf War syndrome, depleted uranium, and other concerns
  • Signs that may indicate a suicide risk

The site is a really important resource and we hope it helps both veterans and nurses and other healthcare providers offer the best patient care possible.

To learn more, visit HaveYouEverServed.com.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everyone — and again, we salute you and say thank you, military nurses!

Pet-friendly State Parks for Travel Nurses


Pet-friendly State Parks for Travel Nurses

Have an awesome adventure with your best friend at one of these pet-friendly state parks for Travel Nurses!

For many Travel Nurses, whether to bring your pet on assignment or not is not even a question. Of course you want to hit the road with your best pal(s)!

Studies have shown that pet owners often cope better with new or difficult situations, making traveling with your pet good for your spirit and performance.

So, luckily, there are pet-friendly Travel Nursing agencies that will make traveling with your pets easier for you. But even though a pet-friendly company can help you with housing and other resources to make you and your pet happy on the road, once you arrive at your new location it can be a challenge locating dog parks or other good spots to go play with your pet(s) when you don’t know .

So I totally thought of you pet-loving Travel Nurses, when I saw a recent Roadtrippers post that shares some really great information about pet-friendly state parks. For Travel Nurses, it offers lots of great opportunities for pet-friendly fun and sightseeing with your pet on the road in Texas, New York, South Carolina, Kentucky, Utah, Alabama, Arizona, California and other locations.

Click here to learn more about some of these great pet-friendly state parks for Travel Nurses. And, bonus, you’ll also find a discount code for Rover.com where you can get a free night of pet-sitting!

Do you know of any great pet-friendly state parks for Travel Nurses? Share your faves in the comments!


Ask a Travel Nurse: How can I find the perfect Travel Nursing job?


Ask a Travel Nurse: How can I find the perfect Travel Nursing job?

Ask a Travel Nurse: How can I find the perfect Travel Nursing job?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

As a first-time “wannabe Traveler,” where can I find a small, Traveler-friendly hospital, good pay and benefits, a beautiful location and surroundings, and nurses who will be helpful and give good orientation?

Don’t laugh, this must be possible somewhere!

I have 20-plus years in ER with all the certifications. I’ve always been afraid to travel by myself, but I would like to travel to see the country and make new friends. What do you think? How can I find the perfect Travel Nursing job?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

Please forgive me because I did crack a smile when reading this :-)

What you ask is not possible because I believe what you seek is the assurance that your first Travel Nursing assignment will be perfect in every expectation. While it could be, there is no person or company that can make this assurance. If you find one that does, I’m not actually sure I would travel with that company, as they would just be telling you what you want to hear.

You can certainly ask your recruiter to find you a facility that is around “x” number of beds, so that you are not taking your first assignment in a 1000-bed teaching hospital. Beyond that, how is one to say what is “good” as far as pay, benefits, orientation, beautiful surroundings, and nurse dispositions?

Honestly, Travel Nursing is about taking a risk. While there are things that you can do to minimize the risk, if you tend to fall on the “glass half empty” side of the fence, then you will likely find flaws in just about every contract. But, if you are happy to be afforded the chance to travel the country, staying for three months at a time in a location, and being able to make a living while doing so, then you will find many rewards in the world of Travel Nursing. In over 20 years of travel, there has only been one assignment that I felt was so bad to allow me to contemplate “walking.” But while it was not what I had signed up for (supposed to be in one “home” unit and it was instead more of a float position), it was something I only had to endure for three months … and even then, I did find a lot to do on my off days to make up for working so hard!

Forgive me for such a shameless plug, but I would like to recommend my book, Travel Nurse’s Bible, which you can download digitally from Amazon. I think you will find a lot of your questions and concerns answered within the book. Plus, because it was published in 2009, I have made it available for less than the price of your next meal at McDonald’s. I have been trying for some time to get out the second edition, but a rambunctious three-year-old seems to have thwarted my efforts. However, in rereading and restructuring the book, I have found little that I need to update to bring it current to the world of Travel Nursing today. The direct link to the book is here.

My hope is that the book may provide much of the information that will make you feel confident enough to accept your first travel assignment. I can’t guarantee that your first assignment will be flawless, that you will be the highest paid Traveler on the floor, or that the core staff will always carry the sunniest of dispositions, but what I can tell you is that in two decades of travel, I can honestly say that Travel Nursing has afforded me many wonderful opportunities that I would not have had, without this facet of nursing.

If you run into questions along the way, or do decide to take the plunge and would like some great contacts in the profession, please feel free to email me directly at david@travelnursesbible.com

I hope this helps.


2015 Travelers Conference


2015 Travelers Conference in Las Vegas

Registration is now open for the 2015 Travelers Conference in Las Vegas!

Registration is now open for the 2015 Travelers Conference!

The 8th annual Travelers Conference will be held September 14th and 15th at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas. A Newbie Boot Camp on September 13 will precede the big event.

The 2015 Travelers Conference is an annual event that presents professional, educational, and social opportunities for traveling healthcare professionals. So whether you’re looking for career opportunities, educational information, or simply some new friends, this is the place to be.

According the 2015 Travelers Conference site this event provides:

“ … Traveling Healthcare Professionals an opportunity to network with other travelers and top industry insiders. You will earn CEUs for classes specific to the industry, and meet agency representatives in a relaxed, low-pressure setting. This event has grown into the largest gathering of healthcare travelers in the United States. The Travelers Conference is organized by volunteers who are themselves current or former travelers and hosted in conjunction with Pan Travelers, the Traveler’s Association.”

This year’s keynote speaker is Jeff Solheim, MSN, RN-BC, CEN, CFRN, FAEN. Others speakers include Joseph Smith, RRT, EA, MTax; Tracy Singh, RN, JD; Landon Graham James, RN, BSN, MA, CEN, PCP; Tracy Long, RN, PhD, MS, MSN, CE, CNE, CHUC, CCRN; Cynthia Kinnas; Candy Treft, RN (The Gypsy Nurse), and several others. Click here for a full list of speakers.

Registration for both days is:

  • $89 for earlybird (before August 1, 2015)
  • $99 for standard (before September 1, 2015)
  • $125 for last minute (after September 1, 2015)

Pan Travelers association members get an extra $10 off the price of earylbird or standard admission.

The Newbie Boot Camp is free, but you must select it when your register for your Travelers Conference ticket.

When you register for the 2015 Travelers Conference you can also opt in or out for the Grand Prize drawings, which are included with your registration if you choose.

Click here to register or learn more.

Have you ever attended the Travelers Conference? Will you be attending in 2015?

Happy Nurses Week 2015!


Happy Nurses Week 2015!

Happy Nurses Week 2015! Click here to join in the fun at WeLoveOurNurses.com and read on for more Nurses Week fun and freebies.

Nurses don’t always get the appreciation they deserve, and that’s why Nurses Week, celebrated each year from May 6-12, is such a wonderful holiday.

It’s a great chance for all of us to say “Thank You” to the nurses in our lives for their amazing abilities and unflagging commitment to their patients.

So, Happy Nurses Week 2015 to you! And most importantly, THANK YOU. We gave a little Nurses Week 2015 preview a few week ago, but here’s a collection of more fun and freebies to help you celebrate this week in style:

  • Medical Solutions is celebrating “Your Nurses Week” with activities based upon Travel Nurse feedback. Visit WeLoveOurNurses.com to view and submit to The Real Nurses of Nurses Week photo gallery for the chance to win Amazon and Tafford Uniforms gift cards ranging from $25-$100. You can also download and share Nurses Week eCards, enter the Fourth Annual Nurses of Tomorrow Scholarship Contest (which awards three $2000 scholarships), and learn about and support Nurses House, a national fund for nurses in need.
  • Cinnabon is once again offering nurses who show their healthcare ID badge a free Cinnabon Classic Roll or MiniBon® roll May 6-12.
  • Amazon.com is offering free eBook downloads of The White Linen Nurse.
  • NurseEyeRoll.com is doing some fun giveaways for Nabee socks, Nurse Watches, and signed copies of The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital by Alexandra Robbins — which I wrote about recently here — as well as Becoming Nursey.
  • Johnson & Jonson’s Campaign for Nursing Future is celebrating with a special issue of its Nursing Notes as well as some free pins, magnets, and activity books you can find here.
  • Fazoli’s will surprise more than 1,000 nurses at select children’s hospitals with meals and will also offer an in-store deal. At participating locations, from May 6-12, nurses wearing scrubs can show their healthcare ID badge for a free Twisted Trio entrée with the purchase of a drink.
  • Lippincott Nursing Center will offer a variety of daily deals, giveaways, and discounts.

We hope you have a very happy Nurses Week 2015!

If you know of more Nurses Week events and freebies this year, please feel free to share them in the comments!

The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with The Heroes Of The Hospital


The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with The Heroes Of The Hospital

This new book is getting mixed reviews from nurses. Will you be reading it?

While many in the profession have opinions about how nurses are portrayed on TV, it’s less often that you hear a lot of folks chiming in about how nurses are portrayed in literature. But a new nonfiction book about nurses by award-winning author Alexandra Robbins has recently changed that.

In The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with The Heroes Of The Hospital Robbins follows four real life women in different hospitals. There’s a first-year nurse battling bullying (Sam), a “superstar” nurse battling a prescription drug addiction (Lara), a veteran nurse who leaves her longtime position when her hospital enacts anti-nurse policies (Molly), and a compassionate, fierce patient advocate (Juliette).

The book is described on the publisher’s website as follows:

“Nursing is more than a career; it is a calling, and one of the most important and fascinating professions in the world. Nurses are remarkable. Yet contemporary literature largely neglects them. In THE NURSES, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Alexandra Robbins celebrates these brave women and men — and provides them with a fast-paced read they can give to family and friends and say, ‘This is what it’s like to be me.’ THE NURSES is both a riveting work of investigative journalism and an inspirational rallying cry, reminding nurses that they should be deeply proud of what they do and motivating readers to fight for the appreciation that nurses deserve.”

Some feedback for the book has been great. For example, The Nurse Teacher reviewed the book, praising Robbins for showcasing the profession with honesty and “giving the reader real tangible things that can be done to support the profession.” However, others have criticized the book’s focus on negative aspects of nursing.

I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but I’m definitely intrigued.

Will you be picking up a copy of The Nurses?

Here are Robbins and a few nurses — though not the nurses featured in the book — in a 20/20 appearance:

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