This article was provided by TNAA.
Don’t get comfortable yet. As the country shifts into this new phase of the crisis, we must adapt to industry-standard changes and slightly more personal freedoms outside of work. Staying up-to-date with varying state regulations has always been a burden carried by travel nurses. Like the disease itself, our way of life — on and off the unit — changes by the minute. More than ever, it’s crucial that your agency remains vigilant by ensuring they’re protecting their nurses, reacting to market trends, and ensuring they’re available to support their nurses.
Industry Changes & What You Need to Know
Between the influx of crisis assignments and the numerous canceled contracts, it’s safe to say the healthcare industry is trying to find its footing. Many travel nurses find themselves wondering whether the facility will provide adequate PPE, or how state emergency declarations impact licensure. Keeping up with these changes can be overwhelming — hello, news overload — and nurses have enough on their plates. You need your agency to have your back. Check with your recruiter to see how your agency is protecting you during this time.
- Credentialing: Your agency should ensure the issuing of your emergency temp license before your start date. Plus, they should have a plan to follow up on permanent license status so you can continue working if/when the state of emergency lifts.
- Clinical Support: Your agency should focus on supporting you through the acute portion of this crisis. Do you have a team available to assist with concerns surrounding PPE and mental health resources?
Adapting to the New Job Market
Between limited surgeries and low hospital census, it seems that work is scarce if you’re not an ICU nurse. Yes, we’re talking to you OR, PACU, and even some NICU nurses. It’s a terrible time to start travel nursing because there are no jobs, or that’s what chatter across social media would have you believe. But that’s not the case. Jobs will return. As America adjusts to a new normal, so will hospitals. It’s crucial to prep your file now so that when positions open, you’re ready to be one of the first nurses to submit. Think about it; you can count on seeing an influx in elective surgeries, from knee replacements to trigger finger surgeries. Plus, with summer rolling in and states reopening, there’s sure to be a rise in emergency surgeries from accidents and injuries. Operating rooms will reopen, and when they do, every OR and PACU travel nurse will submit for the same jobs.
- Prep Your File: Focus on updating your skills checklist and references to reflect any recent travel experience. Your recruiter is your best ally, armed with market knowledge of what hiring managers want to see from travel nurse profiles.
- Remain Flexible: As jobs open, we expect a tidal wave of nurses applying to each job. Increase your chances of landing a job by remaining flexible on location, shift, and any day-off requests.
- Stay Available: Travel nursing is always about speed. When your recruiter submits your profile for a job, try to keep your phone available. Look up the area code and should you miss a call, call back as soon as possible.
Hiking, Exploring & Changes to Expect When You’re Off The Clock
While Texas beaches are open, lodging at Arkansas state parks remains reserved for in-state residents only. Confused? You’re not alone, and unfortunately, no one really knows what to expect in the coming days. So, what can you do on your day off? Here are a few tips.
- Outdoor Exploring: Before you pack up your gear, check to see what restrictions are in place. State tourism websites, nps.gov, and local government press releases keep updated restriction info listed. Be sure to pack any items you need to remain socially distant and ensure you can practice good hand hygiene.
- City Exploring: With social distancing guidelines in place, it can be difficult to get a feel for your new city. Expect some level of overcrowding at those must-see venues, so you may need to get creative. Try to go when they’re not typically busy, or see if you can reserve a more private experience — for instance, booking a private tour for you and your fellow nurses.
- Local Exploring: Travel nurses know, there’s a big difference between visiting those must-see attractions and really getting to know the local culture. A great way to do this, while self-isolating or remaining socially distant, is to create a local bucket-list. Ask around and visit local food blogs to find out what you need to experience, from notable take-out dining to a city’s staple local shops. Essentially, those local treasures that will help you remember the area.
Above all, the COVID-19 pandemic impact highlights a glaring need for travel nurses — real support. Over the years, the industry has shifted as agencies, and travel nurses alike trended toward do-it-yourself technology and minimized communication. As the coronavirus spread, all aspects of travel nursing changed by the minute. From contract cancellations to shifts in housing options, it’s more important than ever to have a team behind you as you navigate these unchartered waters. So, what is support? It’s knowing that you have people in your corner to find you clean, safe housing after hours. Feeling confident that you can communicate with your agency’s payroll team to fix any mistakes. It’s believing that your agency’s focus remains on connecting you to high-paying, quality travel nurse jobs while continuing to protect your interests along the way.