Travel Nurses: How to Prepare for the Road Ahead

Travel Nurses: How to Prepare for the Road Ahead

There’s no denying that being a nurse is difficult. Although similar phonetically, being a travel nurse is an entirely different challenge with its own set of difficulties.

As a travel nurse, you’ll be expected to meet and work with new people, travel to new locations and accept a variety of assignments. It’s a lot to handle, but there are great benefits and opportunities for growth that come along with the position.

We at Pro Med Healthcare observed that many travel nurses develop their own personalized modus operandi for assignment preparation, but everyone’s different. Following this guide will help you feel confident tackling whatever obstacles you may face in the infancy of your travel nurse career.

Be Prepared

Things move fast in the travel nurse position, and you’ve got to be able to handle the volley of challenges thrown your way at a breakneck pace.

At the start, recruiters will be looking to gather a lot of information from you, so having on hand the essentials, such as immunization records and certifications, will expedite the assignment process. The turnaround time on paperwork can be quite quick, so staying on top of your duties will be instrumental to your success.

It’s important to note that many companies have strict deadlines that you’ll need to abide by. Failure to meet these could cost you the assignment. Writing down important dates in a calendar is a safe way to keep yourself on track throughout the entirety of the assignment process.

Be Organized

Staying organized is no easy task, but it’s an essential one. By keeping all your licensing, health information and immunization records in one place, you’ll be saving yourself many a sleepless night rummaging through cardboard boxes full of every single paper but the one you need.

Equally important, you’ll want to keep handy an updated resume, complete with a list of references and current phone numbers for your future employers to reach. It’s important to note that you should ask for your references’ permission before providing them as a reference.

While seeking a new assignment, it’s essential to keep in daily contact with your recruiter and provide them with all the necessary information beforehand. By staying on top of this without having to be asked, you’ll show your initiative and excitement for the new opportunity.

Pack Lightly

With the majority of travel nurse assignments lasting a mere 13 weeks, it’s safe to say you’ll be traveling frequently.

Think critically about your assignment’s location and the time of year before packing anything. Is it really necessary to bring that bag of sweaters to Orlando in the summer?

Create a list of essential items that you can purchase once you arrive at your assignment’s location. You may get into a rhythm eventually, but forgetting your body wash for the third time this year can be pretty frustrating.

Ask Questions

At Pro Med Healthcare, we want to make sure you’re prepared for your travel nurse experience in every way imaginable.

Your recruiter is there to answer any questions you may have, as well as the ones you may have overlooked.

While on the road, you’ll need someone to keep an eye on your home for you. Who’s going to take care of the lawn? What’ll happen to your mail? You should address these questions and others before even stepping a foot out your front door.

Do you have pets? Are you planning on bringing them along with you? It’s important to make sure you stay at a pet-friendly location if so. If not, make sure you have a pet sitter for your furry friend.

Arrive Early

Your occupation is only half the job while employed as a travel nurse. You’ll be traveling to unique locations, making new friends and exploring unfamiliar areas. Who knows, you may end up calling one of your assignments home.

Arriving early at your assignment’s location will help you familiarize yourself with the area, as well as your duties and expectations. Ask to speak with your manager and you may be provided with a guided tour of the hospital that you’ll be working at. This way, you’ll be able to meet the team, ask questions and be fully prepared when it comes time for you to start.

With these tips, you’ll be ready to conquer any and every assignment put in front of you. After all, travel nursing is an adventure, and your journey is just beginning.

Interested in travel nursing or finding out more about the Pro Med job openings currently available? Learn more here, and complete the form to get started creating your account and finding your dream job!

Pro Med Through an Insider’s Eye: Q&A with VP Brandon Jones

Pro Med Through an Insider’s Eye: Q&A with VP Brandon Jones

Brandon Jones, VP of Staffing and Homecare with Pro Med Healthcare Services based out of Lakeland, FL, has been in the healthcare staffing and placement field since 2000. In that time, he has worked with Large Hospital Systems, Educational Organizations, Department of Corrections, VA and Government facilities, and numerous other healthcare providers throughout the country.  Brandon currently works hand in hand with the managers of the four divisions he directs.  He is extremely passionate about making sure that Pro Med provides a high standard of care to their clients and patients.     

Brandon is an alum of the University of Oklahoma and is married with one son.  He enjoys spending time participating in triathlons, playing golf and soccer with his son, and rooting for his beloved Sooners.

To start off, what is one thing that Pro Med does better than all the other nurse staffing agencies out there? What does Pro Med get right?

The biggest one I hear is the personalization touch and relationships we have with both our nurses and our clients.  Unlike a majority of our competitors, we do not treat our nurses like a number.  They are family and we would not be in business if it was not for the hard work that each team member puts in everyday while wearing a Pro Med badge.

How do nurses normally feel after working with a placement agency?  From a nurse’s or other medical professional’s perspective, what does Pro Med do differently?

The majority of the time when we hire a nurse that is coming from another staffing company, we hear that they never felt like their agency really cared and would go the extra mile for them.  Our goal is to find the right fit for each nurse and not just stick them in on any assignment.  That’s why we go the extra mile to get to know our nurses, so we place them where they want to go and they fit in the best.   

What kind of opportunities can you all provide for nurses?

The great thing about Pro Med is we are so diversified and have opportunities for just about any type of nurse.  We really do offer a full service of healthcare staffing with hospitals, nursing homes, corrections, hospice, homecare, Indian Reservations, doctors’ offices, utilization review, and many other areas.  And we are not handcuffed geographically either.  We have work throughout the entire state of Florida in all areas for all disciplines.

From an internal perspective, how is Pro Med different from another staffing firm you worked for?

Way too many to list!  But the first one that comes to mind is the fact that our owners are so hands on with the day to day activity.  Our owners are heavily entrenched with the teams and always have an open-door policy for all of our staff.  As we have talked about, we look at all of our nurses as family and the owners look at us the same way.  We are very fortunate to have owners that genuinely care for all of our internal and external employees.

What is your overall perspective on contracted/travel nursing?

It is continuing to grow more and more.  Especially in Florida, the work used to be very seasonal and you would encounter peaks and valleys throughout the year.  Over the last few years, “Season” is now just about year-round.  For instance, the same hospitals that might go the entire summer months without needing any agency help a few years back are now offering contracts, some even at a “Critical Rate.”  The need is only going to continue to grow.

Why would you encourage (or not encourage) nurses to consider contracted/travel nursing?

The great thing about agency nursing, you get to pick and choose what you want.  Being on a contract is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Some nurses come to work for Pro Med because they want to work strictly per diem and not be locked down to a long-term schedule.  On the other hand, we have nurses that want the continuity of being at the same facility with secured hours each week for a long-term period of time.  That’s what makes us a perfect fit; we are able to offer just about anything under the sun to any nurse.

Do you have a favorite job placement success story that stands out in your mind?

One that stands out to me is a nurse of ours that came to us a very young LPN.  She was hungry single mom and wanted to work where/whenever she could.  Once she was able to make a name for herself, where clients were booking her 40 hours a week and she was financially sound, she then decided to take the next step and go to RN school.  After graduation and receiving her RN license, we then ended up placing her on staff with one of the facilities that she worked at as an LPN.  Knowing that we could not work her till she had her year’s experience, we ended up giving her to this facility for free, because our only concern was she got a full time job, regardless if it was with us or not.  She continued to further herself professionally and after a few years, became the Director of Nursing of that facility. She went from scraping by to support her family to being financially sound, and bettered both her and her children’s lives.  True success stories like this make me want to get up every day and continue to work hard for our nurses.

Want to learn more about the Pro Med job opportunities available to nurses with more than one year of experience? Read more here, and apply today!

Night shift nurse's work life balance

The Night-shift Nurse’s Work-life Balance – Tips for Staying Happy and Healthy

The Night-shift Nurse’s Work-life Balance – Tips for Staying Happy and Healthy

By: Amanda May

Amanda May has been working 12 hour day and night shifts since she started working with Pro Med in 2007. Amanda lives in Sebring, FL and has worked at different hospitals for us throughout the state. In addition to working for Pro Med, Amanda is also a Flight Nurse providing critical care transport.

While the 12-hour night shift may feel daunting to some, I have been working this oft-dreaded shift for the last decade and couldn’t be happier. I have more time at home with my family, higher pay, and fewer management responsibilities at the hospital. Striking this valuable work-life balance can be challenging at first, but once you adapt to your schedule being flipped, and follow a few simple suggestions for staying happy and healthy as a night nurse, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Here are a few of my tips and tricks for keeping a healthy work-life balance when nighttime is your work time:

Focus on the pros. We all know that nights can be challenging, but keeping the advantages front of mind can make all the difference.  While nighttime staffing is significantly lighter than days, there is a close-knit feel to the team. The pace can be slower and there is more time to connect, both about patients and to support each other. You are rewarded financially for the perceived inconvenience of night work. If you have family at home, you are there to see your kids off to school every day, and still have time to rest and exercise in time to feel good going into work at night.

Decompress during time off; take care of YOU. For me, the key is exercise and eating well. I know I work hard, so I’m not afraid to pamper myself when needed. Reboot from a long, stressful week with some time at the beach. Treat yourself to a yoga class. Even simple things like going for a long walk, reading a book, or enjoying a movie can make a world of difference. You’ve earned it. Do whatever it is you need to do to take care of your body and mind, and the stress will start to slip away.

Create a weekly well-being checklist for yourself. Add this list to your weekly routine when you work long shifts. Mine is listed below. All of them are important to my personal well-being.

  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep each day
  • Fuel your body – eat well and enjoy it
  • Exercise
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
  • If you feel ill, see a doctor
  • Meditate
  • Live mindfully and focus on gratitude

For all of us, it is vital to have both a healthy mind and body to perform at our best. Keeping yourself happy and healthy is the most important part of being a successful night shift nurse.

Want to learn more about the Pro Med job opportunities available to nurses with more than one year of experience? Read more here, and apply today!

Tips for Recent Nursing School Grad

Tips for a Recent Nursing School Grad

Tips for a Recent Nursing School Grad

At Pro Med, we hire nurses from many different specialties and place them where they want to be and where they believe they can thrive. Most of these nurses have a few years experience under their belt though, and have some sort of inkling of where they want to end up. What do you do if you’re fresh out of nursing school, degree in hand, but you’re unsure of where to start?

Here are some tips for the recent grad looking for a little direction.

Once you find that first job, gain at least a year of experience there and learn as much as you can. For many, your very first job may not be the job you see yourself sticking with for the rest of your career. That’s 100% okay. In fact, that’s normal. What isn’t normal is not taking full advantage of this first year in the workforce. Learn everything you can from this first job. Work in as many units or areas that you are allowed to or are comfortable working in. Ask your supervisors and senior nurses questions. DON’T fly under the radar and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your goal in your first year out of school should be to be a sponge and absorb everything you hear and see.

Be confident. Easier said than done, we know. Even if you don’t feel confident, act confident. The more open you make yourself, the more you will learn from the people around you. Plus, it’s always beneficial to make friends with experienced nurses and have a couple of great mentors as your start your nursing journey.

Begin working towards certain certifications. For RN grads, getting your ACLS certification opens you up to higher acuity floors, which can turn into a higher rate of pay. At Pro Med, we also highly recommend getting your BSN. Achieving a BSN paves the way for better and higher paying job opportunities. Studies show that your annual income can increase by up to $22,000 after getting a BSN. For LPNs, IV Certification is becoming a must. At Pro Med, we are Joint Commission certified so we require all LPNs to be IV Certified.

Never stop learning! The more doors you open seeking knowledge, the better chance you will have finding your dream position.

Want to learn more about the Pro Med job opportunities available to nurses with more than one year of experience? Read more here, and apply today!