This article was provided by: Gifted Healthcare.
Nearly every person on the planet has been forced to adjust to the “new normal” of the coronavirus pandemic.
This is particularly true for nurses, who have been at the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, responding heroically to their call to duty. Nurses’ lives have changed dramatically, and continue to change, since the start of the pandemic.
These changes will affect healthcare and the work of the nurse for years to come, from nursing students to veteran RNs.
Read on for a list of ways COVID-19 has changed travel nursing.
Flexibility & Growth
Early on, the COVID-19 crisis created a major shortage of nurses and healthcare professionals as patient census rapidly increased due to spreading of the virus. Many states removed barriers to licensure and nursing exams were shortened to streamline the process of getting nurses into the facilities that desperately needed them.
These policies are still in place, giving some nurses increased flexibility to work in different healthcare settings and expand their skill sets. In addition to fewer barriers to licensure, the high patient ratios created by rapid increases in patient census forced facilities to give nurses more freedom and independence at the bedside within COVID-19 units.
Increased Demand for Travel Nurses
On the macroscopic level, the nursing profession has experienced significant growth. However, as different cities around the nation experience the peaks and valleys of COVID-19 outbreaks, nursing shortages continue to occur, creating high demand for travel nurses to meet staffing needs.
As current rates of COVID-19 continue to trend upward across the country, travel nursing continues to remain highly competitive, with an increase in pay rates in cities burdened by high numbers of COVID-19 patients.
New Demand for Testing
As more measures are taken across the nation to provide quick and easy COVID-19 testing, an entirely new line of employment has been created for nurses.
Many travel nursing agencies are offering the opportunity to provide safe COVID-19 testing services at locations across the country.
New Safety Standards
The safety of both nurses and patients has been an issue since the beginning of the pandemic. The CDC has issued a new set of information and guidance regarding infection control and personal protective equipment (PPE).
New Visitor Restrictions
New visitor restrictions for patients have been implemented by facilities, forcing most patients, especially those with COVID-19, to be completely isolated during their stay.
The result of these new restrictions has been twofold. On one hand, patients’ hospital stays can be more difficult without access and reassurance from friends and loved ones. On the other hand, reliance on nurses for close and compassionate care has never been higher.
Many nurses and nursing aides, especially those working in LTAC or assisted living facilities, report forming close bonds with their patients due to being their main connection to the outside world.
Increased Need for Nurse Self-Care
Many nurses are working longer hours or more shifts as a result of the heavy burden COVID-19 has placed on healthcare facilities. As a result, nurses must become more focused on practicing self-care to reduce the chance of “compassion fatigue” or burnout.
If you are a nurse working long or stressful shifts, here are some ways that you can decompress and improve your self-care routine:
- Spend time “off the grid” and reduce “technostress,” finding time every day to disconnect from social media, email, and television.
- Physical activity and exercise releases stress-relieving endorphins, leading to long-term feelings of well-being.
- If possible, improve your sleep health by sticking to a sleeping schedule and getting seven to nine hours of shuteye every night.
- Stay away from foods with lots of sugar and carbohydrates and eat snacks like dried fruit, almonds, or lean meats like turkey.
- Do your best to avoid taking the stress of your job home with you, enjoying your time off and maintaining a work-life balance (we know this isn’t easy!).
The world has changed rapidly in the past few months, but human beings are resilient. Healthcare heroes everywhere are working tirelessly to protect our nation from COVID-19, and we believe that they will continue to rise to the challenge, adapting to the new world of travel nursing in order to take care of those in need.