5 Things You Need to Look for in Your Travel Nurse Contract
Being a travel nurse offers you new and exciting ventures as you get assigned to different locations. But before you get pumped for your assignment, it would help you read your contract first. Here are things you need to look for in your nurse travel contract.
The Travel Nurse Contract
Before we check the important contents of your contract, let us first know what a travel nurse contract is and make sure you understand every detail it entails .
By definition, this contract is an agreement between the professional (you), the agency, and the hospital. The agency employs travel healthcare workers like you through this contract. The agency then has an agreement with the vendor sourcing manager that makes contracts with the hospital. In some cases, smaller healthcare facilities can work directly with the agency, but it depends highly on the matter.
There are a few types of travel nursing contracts that you should know. Among these includes the standard and crisis, where extra nursing staff is needed immediately. The arrangement between the nurse and agency may also serve as the leading tax documentation. It also establishes the obligations and conditions for work and covers essential things like wages, benefits, and others.
Besides the initial arrangement written in the contract, travel nurses can also negotiate specific terms with the hospital during the interview. It could be something like the particular number of days off, night shift wages, floating rules, and so on. The agency will then send an updated supplement to the hospital regarding these specified agreements called confirmation, but only once the nurse accepts the offer for this assignment.
What to Look Into Your Contract
Before signing your contract, be sure to check that your responsibilities are clearly stated and the staffing responsibilities of the facility. The agency and healthcare facility must be transparent with you. Here’s what you need to look into:
Travel expenses and reimbursements
Take note that the agency almost always pays and reimburses your travel expenses. Many agencies are willing to cover the costs you make when traveling to your assignment, either by driving or traveling by plane. There are three ways that this can happen:
- You initially spend money on gas or airplane tickets, and the agency will repay you afterward.
- The agency will pay for the traveling expenses in advance; airplane tickets, train tickets, or gas for your car.
- The agency will pay out an amount over a set period.
Any reliable agency will lay out these terms to you and ensure that you are provided with what you need. In addition, you must also know how you will be reimbursed if there is a cancellation of the assignment.
In some cases, agencies will offer to arrange or provide travel nurses with housing. This is done through an internal system or several housing sites that cater to healthcare professionals on a temporary assignment. You also have the freedom to look for an apartment or housing. But why bother when there is someone who can do that for you?
So, before you sign a travel nurse contract, be sure to check what your agency is offering you in terms of housing. Make sure to take note of your responsibilities regarding this part too. See if you will pay for it and if yes, are they going to reimburse you after? If the agency is the one to set up the housing, ask what will happen in case your assignment is extended. Be sure to ask essential questions so you are not left with all the responsibilities.
Getting sick while on the job cannot be avoided, especially since there is a pandemic. No matter how much you take care of yourself, there will come a time when your immune system weakens and you need rest. In case this happens, see what your contract has to say about it.
Your agency must be able to state clearly what happens when you get sick while on duty. It should also include the coverage pay in case you are placed in quarantine.
Policies on Cancellation
Travel nurses are often overlooked by hospitals, and sometimes, their contracts get pulled at the last minute. In case this happens to you, be sure to know what your agency states in this matter. Are you going to get paid for it? Is the agency willing to find you another assignment? Are they going to reimburse your travel expenses just in case? – knowing all about these will help you get a better position and prepare you for the following steps.
Many nurses are covered with health insurance as full-time staff. However, if you work as a travel nurse, are you covered with the same insurance? Of course, being a travel nurse means you are more exposed to risky situations. Therefore agencies will provide you with the health insurance you need.
Keep in mind that the risk of getting sick on the job (even accidents) is pretty common for all nurses, and travel nurses are no exception. Finding a good agency that can provide you with health insurance is a must, so you don’t have to meet any medical expenses in the future.
Now that you know what things to look for in your travel nurse contract, be sure to note them. Working as a traveling healthcare professional has its perks, but knowing that your agency provides you with protection and security is always ideal. Finding one that can help you with everything you need is something you should always consider.
6 Travel Nursing Positions with the Highest Pay
Working as a travel nurse is one of the most liberating areas of nursing. You can choose the areas you want to work in and even enjoy the benefits of financially lucrative travel nursing positions. If you are interested in becoming a travel nurse, get to know which areas pay the most.
Nurses can choose almost any specialty area to work in, in the travel healthcare sector. As travel nurses, you will be making more than a staff position in a position or specialty, it is wise to select from some of the highest paying nursing specialties.
1. Intensive Unite Care Nurse or ICU Nurse
One of the most in-demand areas for travel nurses belongs to the ICU. If you have experience in this department, you are in luck as many hospitals use nurses in the ICU to float around other units because of their broadened skills and knowledge, making them valuable members of the team. ICU nurses are trained to care for the critically ill and have a broad array of skills. As a travel nurse, you too can work in this area as long as you have the skills or experience as an ICU nurse. Most facilities look for at least 1-2 years of experience.
2. Labor and Delivery Nurse
Nurses who specialize in obstetrics and women’s health, especially in antepartum and postpartum care, are constantly in-demand. L&D nurses are also among the highest-paid nurses in the country, and one of the travel nursing positions with the highest pay. However, before you sign the contract, consider a few things first. While you will be taking care of healthy patients in this area, you must be ready to handle any emergencies that could occur. These may include emergency c-sections and many others. If you are up for the challenge, then this could be a fantastic opportunity for you.
3. Emergency Room or ER Nurse
Do you enjoy a fast-paced environment while working as a nurse? If you do, then working as an ER nurse is the best place for you. Many travel nurses can work in this department and earn more pay than their staff job. Keep in mind that working in the ER means you have to constantly use your critical thinking skills, so if you love the idea of solving problems, this could be the right place for you. When looking for an ER position it is always good to look at the hospital trauma level, it may be more acute than your used to.
4. Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Nurse or PICU Nurse/ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU
As a travel nurse, you will have the chance to work with some of the latest technology used in childcare with plenty of nursing opportunities in states like Texas, New York, New Jersey, California, and many others.
5. Medical-Surgical/Telemetry Nurse
The need for nurses with exceptional skills and knowledge in medical-surgical nursing is in demand these days. Since the number of Covid patients is still elevated, there is always a need for nurses in this area. Travel nurses can apply for this position and earn up to $5,000/week. If you are a nurse who can handle several patients and can manage time effectively, this could be an excellent opportunity to take.
6. Operating Room Nurse or OR Nurse
One of the most interesting areas and travel nursing positions with the highest pay belongs to the Operating Room. You will be a valuable asset to many hospitals across the country for travel nurses with perioperative skills. If you are certified at a specific OR skill or have a wide range of operating room experience, t you can snag any OR position,
Consider also the location of the place for your travel nursing assignment. Some states pay higher than others. Now that you know which areas pay travel nurses the most, find a good agency that can get you a position in these areas. It is also an excellent option to do more research on travel nursing before asking for an assignment. That way, you know what to expect and still earn more than staff.
6 Stress Relieving Tips for Nurses
Being a nurse is a stressful job, and it’s not even a joke! Knowing different kinds of stress-relieving tips can help nurses from all walks of life.
Why are Nurses Stressed?
As a nurse, your life is extra busy most of the time. As a nurse, the most helpful way to combat stress is to understand what stresses you out. It is not always easy to identify stressors but we can help you narrow it down, here are the most common causes of stress for nurses:
Constant use of critical thinking skills
Being a nurse you are always critically thinking, either how medication can impact a patient or when a family member has a difficult question. it can be a mentally draining job. A nurse’s job is demanding, and you do not always have the time to check out even if you want to.
Work environment demands
There will be constant pacing while working with doctors and other healthcare providers when you are at work. It is common to clash with coworkers and patients at times or have miscommunication, leading to pressure and stress.
A 12+ hour job
Long shifts can be exhausting, and nurses often work insanely long shifts. Many nurses work 12+ hours a day any extra overtime leads to increased stress and a drain on energy. So it is prevalent among nurses to be a little cranky after each shift as it can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining, especially on the night shift.
An emotional job
When you look at it, a nurse’s job is to take care of the sick and dying. But while they are caring for sick people, they also take care of the families left worrying or grieving. It can put an emotional strain on nurses and also be stressful on their part. In addition to that, some families can be challenging to deal with. While nurses are empathetic, coping with demanding families adds pressure to their jobs.
We were not prepared for the pandemic, and among healthcare providers, nurses are the most affected. Their responsibilities did not only double but also folded twice. They deal with the increased workload a pandemic brings while also putting their health on the line. Some are even assigned to do a job they were not adequately trained for to meet the nursing demands. Because of this, saying a nurse is stressed is underrated.
Helpful and Stress Relieving Tips You Can Apply
So, what can you do to release the stress you feel each time you are under pressure at work? Knowing different stress-relieving techniques can help nurses big time. Here are a few:
Find a nursing path that you love
Are you stuck in a nursing job that you don’t like? Or are you looking for an option to do something else? If you answered yes to either, it’s time to move on to a different path in nursing. Keep in mind that nursing is an ever-dynamic field, so there is always something to do. If you love traveling, become a travel nurse, and if you enjoyed your time in the Operating Room as a student nurse, pursue a career in OR nursing. Maybe you are done with acute care and want to settle down in an outpatient clinic. The options are endless. Just make sure that the path you selected is something you would like to do for the long haul.
Remind yourself why you became a nurse
Earning a high salary is one of the benefits nursing brings, but is it all you want? When things get tough, ask yourself why you became a nurse. Is it because you love helping others? Was it a good route for financial security?? – Whatever your reasons are, going back to the reason why you became a nurse will shed light on your darkest hours. So, whenever you feel stressed, use that reason to get back on your feet!
Sweat it out!
Another good way to relieve stress is through exercise. Many nurses find themselves sweating their stress out in the gym more often these days, so why not do the same? If you don’t like the confines of the gym, you can always work out at home. You can follow exercise apps or YouTube videos and burn those calories of frustration! Not only will you feel good, but you will also feel energized again, improve your health, and be pumped for your next shift.
Since we are talking about exercise, you might as well include your diet. To stabilize your energy, pair your workout with a balanced meal. Your diet must consist of energy-giving foods to keep you on your feet all the time. Eating green leafy vegetables, fruits, juices, and superfoods like nuts, avocadoes, sardines, berries, etc., must be included in your daily meals. These will keep you healthy and help reduce the stress and anxiety that you may feel at work.
Practice meditation and breathing exercises.
Besides doing your workout routines, you must also practice breathing exercises and meditation. When things get crazy, pause, meditate and be mindful of your breathing. You don’t have to bring a yoga mat! Breathing techniques can be done anywhere, even at work. So, plan out your day, and take time to meditate, and refocus. It will help you get through even the most toxic shifts!
Don’t forget to take time off.
All work and no play make you a dull person. So, relax, take time off and socialize. As much as you want to sleep on your day-offs, set time to socialize with friends or family. It is always good to have an outlet and to be yourself without worrying about the next patient chart you need to update. You don’t have to work all the time, find balance, and learn to live a stress-free life as a nurse.
As a nurse, facing stressful situations at work is a given. It is part of the profession. It is why you must find ways to destress. Don’t let the daily chaos of nurse life ruin your determination to help others. Try and see how these stress-relieving tips for nurses can help you.
How Covid-19 Impacted Nurses at Work
Covid-19 impacted nurses in the most brutal ways. Many nurses are exhausted, depressed, and in some cases, dying. While the pandemic is still on the rise, nurses suffer more than ever. But how did the pandemic change nursing? How can nurses get help?
Covid-19 Impacted Nurses Psychologically and Physically
Caring for patients sick with Covid left many nurses not only exhausted physically but mentally as well. As a result of this, many nurses are no longer functioning well at work. And when nurses cannot function properly, the quality of care delivered also decreases. Here’s how Covid-19 impacted nurses:
Many nurses are facing pressure as they continue to care for sick patients. As the number of patients also increases, the levels of stress among nurses also rise. Because it’s not specific as to when the pandemic ends, many nurses anticipate the worse. That said, many of them have developed anxiety.
Taking care of sick patients along with the dying ones caused some nurses to develop depression. Added to the high stress that they face every day at work, it’s not surprising to see nurses develop feelings of depression and anxiety. This depression also caused nurses to be less adaptable to the changes in their environment. It also makes them less susceptible to the needs of their patients.
Burnout is the most common psychological phenomenon among nurses characterized by an emotional, mental and physical decline in energy. It is often caused by work-related stress, leading to cynicism towards colleagues and low self-efficacy. Many nurses feel the burnout of their job due to long hours of work and less time for rest.
Anxiety, depression, and burning out are not the only problems nurses face but the physical exhaustion from their day-to-day jobs. It’s a nurse’s job to check on patients and always be on their feet, moving. With longer working hours, nurses barely get the rest they need to de-stress.
Vacation days are also kept short because of the shortage of nursing staff and the new Covid variant that’s been on the rise. As a result, nurses are drained of energy, stressed, and physically exhausted as they care for Covid-19 patients.
How Covid-19 Impacted Nurses with Stress
Nurses deal with stress differently. Some can still function well at work while others can’t. In this pandemic, it’s hard to tell who is anxious and depressed among our nurses. However, while many nurses don’t verbalize how they feel, there are still signs that they are under extreme stress. 
- Nurses are slow to respond during crises or emergencies.
- They have difficulty concentrating and managing time.
- Nurses often make errors while charting or giving medications.
- They show signs of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and depersonalization.
- They have poor interpersonal skills and prefer working alone.
- Nurses who are anxious and stressed are known to have a short fuse.
- They are known to be quick to anger towards colleagues, their families, and even patients.
- Nurses perform poorly with simple tasks like calculating doses or care mapping.
How Can Nurses Deal with Anxiety?
The Covid-19 impacted nurses’ mental health in waves. As the pandemic continued, many nurses developed anxieties. Having anxiety can be crippling, and if you are a nurse, it’s a significant hindrance in your job. So, how can nurses like you deal with stress? Here’s what you can do:
1. Being aware of your condition
Identifying that you have anxiety is the first step in managing it. Understanding that having anxiety does not impact your value as a person and as a nurse helps encourage you to seek the support you need.
2. Ask for Help
When you have anxiety, asking for help seems like an impossible thing to do. In some cases, nurses will choose to ask for help in situations that are too stressful. Others will inform close people that they are dealing with anxiety and depression. Regardless of how you want to ask for help, reaching out to your peers or mentors will help you get the support you need.
3. Get enough rest
Nurses work long shifts every week. Dealing with different people, sick patients, and working with other healthcare professionals can be exhausting at the end of the day. Getting enough sleep, exercise, eating, and having space to de-stress is crucial for your well-being. It will also help you get back on your feet so you can help others again.
4. Seek professional help
If getting enough sleep, exercising, and relaxation doesn’t help ease your anxieties, it’s time to seek professional help. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health counselors can help manage your depression and anxiety. They will teach you coping techniques and help empower nurses like you to manage their mental health and minimize its effects on your work.
How Can Nurses Get Support from their Workplace
Nurses must get the support their needs regarding mental health at work. The nurse administrator’s job is to provide help, guidance and mentor nurses suffering from burnout during the pandemic . Other ways they can help nurses are as follows:
1. Educating staff/team
One of the best ways to support nurses suffering from anxiety and depression is by educating their team or staff. New and veteran nurses that are suffering from mental health issues may experience isolation among their peers. It is why it’s essential to help educate staff members about mental health and that talking about it is not a sign of weakness or insignificance.
2. Provide support systems
A reliable support system in terms of mental health is vital to nurses. Leaders at work should help motivate and encourage nurses. Providing space for them to talk about their feelings about mental health is also a good idea. It will help them realize that they are not alone and their feelings are valid.
3. Campaigning for self-care
As nurses, it’s easy to get lost in work and focus on the goals of taking care of people. However, when it comes to mental health, nurses are encouraged to take care of themselves first. Think about it, how can nurses take care of others if they don’t care for themselves? Nurse leaders must set an example on balancing work and personal care by allowing them to catch the much-needed breaks.
4. Give access to resources
One of the best ways to help nurses suffering from anxiety and depression is to access internal and external behavioral health resources. Crisis hotlines, mental health counselors, or mental health screening must be readily available for them. Nurse leaders should be alert on giving access to their staff so they can get help early on.
Nurses Are Still Going to Work, But They Need Help
The Covid-19 impacted nurses like an iceberg. No one knew how big and wide the pandemic was going to be until it reached countries around the world. Being a nurse during the Covid-19 pandemic is a challenging position to be.
There’s no denying that many nurses are tired, physically and mentally. But because they need to keep going, many nurses suppress their own emotions for fear of being stigmatized.
However, this is not going to benefit them at all. It is up to nurse leaders and managers to reduce this stigma surrounding mental health and make their nursing staff feel supported during these trying times.
Nursing Shortages During Covid-19
The pandemic has affected all of us; countries closed their borders, traveling is kept to a minimum, being in contact with people is limited, lockdowns, and most of all, the ever-increasing number of deaths. While the world struggles to hold on and survive, health care professionals and frontliners are situated in front, serving all of us.
Nurses, in particular, have been called to work, assigned to different places, worked tirelessly and diligently to give their best to patients suffering from Covid-19. But like their patients, the number of nurses dying from Covid and exhaustion has also become an alarming concern to the health care world. It is also among the reasons why there are nursing shortages in hospitals.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nurses represented the most significant number of healthcare workers involved in this pandemic. The year 2020 marks the 200th year since Florence Nightingale founded nursing, and it also became the year when nurses had to face the biggest challenge of their lives as the pandemic spread across the world.
What is Covid-19?
The World Health Organization defined Coronavirus (Covid-19) as an infectious disease where the infected people will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness. Older people and those with medical problems like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and others are more likely to develop serious infections. The transmission mode of Covid-19 is primarily through droplets of saliva or nose discharges of an infected person when they are coughing or sneezing.
To slow down the transmission of Covid-19, protect yourself and others by frequent handwashing, using an alcohol-based rub or sanitizers, and wearing facemasks. Practicing social distancing and getting vaccinated also helps in slowing down the spread of this disease.
9 Reasons for Nursing Shortages During Covid-19
Nursing shortages have always been an issue even before the pandemic set in. However, it’s been given more light during the pandemic. But what are the most common reasons why nurses are short-staffed these days? Here’s what we gathered .
1. Overworked and exhaustion
While nurses’ wages improved over the recent years, there are still nurses who struggle with lower pay. Add the long hours of work and dealing with covid cases, many nurses become burned out with work.
2. Older nurses are about to retire
As the years go by, more and more elderly nurses are retiring. Studies showed that about one-third of the nursing force ages 50 and above would quit in a couple of years.
3. Nurses are quitting their jobs
A study conducted in December 2020 by the NNA (National Nurses Association) showed that heavy workloads, stress, insufficient funds, and burnout are among the concerns of many nurses quitting and leaving their jobs. NNA also surveyed a 20% increase of nurses leaving their jobs because of the pandemic.
4. Nurses considering a career change
Many nurses considered working a different career besides nursing so as not to be involved with Covid patients. Others quit because handling Covid-19 cases has become too much for them.
5. The trauma of the pandemic
Another good reason why there are plenty of nursing shortages in hospitals these days is the trauma that the pandemic caused . In January 2020, ICN (International Council of Nurses) raised their concern about the mass trauma experienced by nurses during the surge of Covid-19.
They also took note of the medium to long-term effects of this trauma on the nursing workforce. The issues and risks combined with the stress and overworked nurses threaten the already vulnerable nursing community.
6. Burned-out nurses
As the pandemic continues, the number of nurses reaching their point of burnout increases as well. Because of this, many nurses are considering the idea of leaving their jobs. If this happens, nurses leaving their jobs because of burnout could potentially damage the health care system in the years to come.
7. Depression and anxiety
Besides being burned out at work and working long hours handling covid patients, many nurses reported experiencing depression and anxiety. Research conducted in the Philippines shows that prolonged distress from the pandemic has developed stress among nurses.
On the other hand, Egypt and Pakistan showed that the pandemic threat has prompted that 95% of their nurses had intentions to leave their present jobs involving Covid-19 Triage Hospitals, and 25% want to leave the profession for good because of the stress, anxiety, and depression that they’re experiencing.
8. A limited supply of new nurses
There are plenty of new nurses graduating each year, and it’s not enough to cover up for the deficit caused by those who will be retiring soon. New nurses are helpful, but not so they can fill in for those who are already experts in the field. In short, they need time and experience to become fully capable of handling difficult situations like Covid patients.
9. Not enough pay
Another reason nurses leave their current jobs is to search for better opportunities. Nurses who have been on the front lines working in nursing homes are not making livable wages. So if they can find another hospital that offers higher incentives and better compensation, they will leave.
How Can Hospitals Avoid a Shortage in Nurses During Pandemic?
There are millions of registered nurses in the United States, yet there are still shortages in the workforce . How can this be resolved?
Dr. Joanne Spetz, Ph.D., a professor at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and associate director for research at the Healthforce Center at the University of California, San Francisco, suggested these tips to help our nurses get back into work:
- Offer financial incentives. Higher salaries or student loan repayment programs will encourage nurses and future nurses to serve in different areas where the pandemic hit the hardest.
- Create quicker ways of speeding up the license application for nurses living in other states and authorization of immediate license reactivation.
- To expand their scope of practice and oversight rules. The best example of this is to loosen regulations that require physicians to oversee nurse practitioners. Allow nurses to do jobs that do not necessarily require the presence of a physician.
- Create a law or rule that nursing students and those scheduled to graduate soon to help and provide support in hospitals during the pandemic.
- Provide new child care options to nurses, especially pregnant or those who have small children.
- Provide nurses with their personal needs like lodging. This way, they don’t put their families at risk of being exposed to the virus. Supporting their mental and emotional health are also important. Providing them with activities to de-stress can help reduce their anxieties as well.
- Provide nurses with adequate access to personal protective equipment, especially those working in critical areas or handling Covid-19 patients.
How Can Hospitals Overcome Nursing Shortage?
In addition to that, hospitals can also overcome nursing shortages in hospitals by the following:
- Provide a flexible schedule for nurses so they can juggle their work and family life. Flexible schedules allow them to decompress between stressful and emotionally demanding shifts that can drain their energies. A flexible schedule keeps nurses happy and more positive in their working environment.
- A chance to develop their careers through promotion also helps in retaining nurses. Hospitals must help their nurses to obtain the highest education possible. It will encourage nurses to stay within the organization and feel more satisfied with their accomplishments professionally.
- Give your nurses a voice by listening to their concerns. Nurses who can voice their concerns to supervisors and managers are most likely to stay within the company. Implementing their suggestions and ideas also show nurses that the hospital managers are serious about their inputs and that they are also an essential part of the company.
Nurses Will Stay
Nurses are among the best workers globally, and they will stay working as long as they can handle the situation. However, the pandemic changed all that.
It’s not a secret that many of our nurses are exhausted these days, and there’s no certainty as to when this pandemic will end. The only certainty we can give is to protect our nurses by supporting them, providing them with their needs, and hearing them out.
If every nursing company provides their nurses with these, there will surely be no nursing shortages in hospitals. So support your nurses whenever you can; we still need them!