Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Choose Your Changes and Control What You Can

By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert

I’ve recently gone through some big changes in my life. These changes where not by choice but things that were out of my control. Any time things get “out of control” we tend to freak out, but I’m here to tell you there is a huge difference between “out of control” and “out of our control.”

Detaching ourselves from things that are out of our control is a great coping strategy used in many professions. Remember, you can’t control things like a co-worker’s attitude or actions, but you can control your response. You can’t control the ultimate outcome of a patient’s health, or make them take your advice—especially once they leave the hospital.

Patients have free will to make choices about what they will and will not do, and some health issues are out of their control, as well. So don’t take any nagging thoughts home with you; do your best every day and wash your hands of it when your shift is done.

Choose your workplaces and career path

My years of travel nursing included all types of change. Many were by choice: I mean when you change places of employment every 13 weeks or so, you have to expect a certain amount of change. In fact, I signed up for it! And while I was exploring different parts of the country, I was able to get experience that helped me work toward future goals.

The variety and flexibility is part of the beauty of travel nursing. If you don’t like something about an assignment, just remember you’ll be done in a few weeks and can move on. And don’t feel bad if you discover this career isn’t for you over the long-term. It is more than worth it to try it at least once.

Take control when necessary

Now there are those times when things can seem out of control. You may be on duty and see something that just doesn’t sit well with you. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Be a patient advocate and remember that no matter what, if you’re doing something out of care and not malice, you’re probably doing the right thing.

I always call my recruiter or clinical liaison prior to doing anything major. Remember, your recruiter is your lifeline to travel nursing, and before making any important decisions it’s a good idea to run it by another person. Especially if this person is experienced in what you are going through.

Nursing is a career full of changes and stressors. And travel nurses may face more change than most—but some of it we can control, like where and when we want to work. At those times when we can still feel stressed, however, I like to refer back to one of my favorite quotes: “Without risk there can be no adventure.”

Are you looking for adventure and a little more control over your career? Then take a calculated risk and try travel nursing!

Do You Have a Question About Travel Nursing?
Ask Aaron, our seasoned traveler, today!
Or apply now to get started on a travel nursing assignment.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Travel the USA to Experience History First-hand

By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert

Over the Presidents Day weekend, I was reminded about all of the amazing monuments I have seen throughout my travels. My travel nurse career opened up all kinds of opportunities: from restaurant exploration and “bizarre food” nights, to different sports viewing experiences, my wife and I saw and did all the things we loved. And this wonderful exploration led to new loves and hobbies like microbrew beer—and visiting national monuments.

Yes, visiting our national monuments became a favorite thing to do, and it all started with a travel nursing assignment in our nation’s capital. If you haven’t been to Washington, D.C., I whole-heartedly recommend it. We explored and explored, and before we knew it, 13 weeks were up. And a great perk of visiting the monuments and museums in D.C. is that almost everything is free!

Some insider secrets while you’re there:
1. Check out the Library of Congress tour; it’s amazing the things they can tell you.
2. The trolley tour is great, but at night it is that much better; there is nothing like seeing the Lincoln Memorial and the other monuments at night.
3. If you lock in an assignment here, contact your home state’s house and senate representatives for an insider tour of the Capitol building from a staffer.

After our time in D.C., my wife and I starting taking the time on each assignment to look up the history in the cities we visited, including nearby sites. Sometimes it took some extra driving to visit these historical sites, but it was always worth it. From spending a day at Gettysburg to walking the streets of Baltimore to find Edgar Alan Poe’s grave (and even the bar where he supposedly died), we enjoyed it all.

There is so much to find in every city you explore. Do your Google search, ask the locals or spend a day at the bookstore reading up on your upcoming assignment.

We live in such a diverse country with so much wonderful history. Having the opportunity of traveling the country on someone else’s dime can really allow you to see and experience it all. So why not dig a little deeper into history, all while building your nursing experience for the future? Both are possible in a travel nursing career.

Do You Have a Question About Travel Nursing?
Ask Aaron, our seasoned traveler, today!
Or apply now to get started on a travel nursing assignment.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Your ‘No Excuses’ Fitness Plan: Make It Simple & Fun

By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert

At the start of a new year, we often aspire for great new things. We want to improve ourselves in any number of ways: earning a promotion, eating better, advancing our education and the ever-so-popular “I’m going to work out more.”

The latter resolution is typically kept up for about a month or less before being dropped. It’s hard! But as nurses, we know how important it is, and travel nurses need to work even harder to establish a good routine As a veteran travel nurse who loves to work out (only so I can eat more), I’m here to tell you that it is totally possible to stay on track, as long as you’re open to modifying your workouts.

I keep a workout schedule that can be adapted no matter where I live, move or travel to, and it has helped keep me from becoming obese over the past 13 years of nursing. It is also simple enough to help you stay fit--on the road or off.

First, pick a non-gym-related exercise and stick to it. I prefer running; with nothing more than a pair of shoes, I can work out anywhere, anytime. Running may not be for you, though, so you may want to try walking or a daily home workout. You can walk anywhere, even in place while watching TV. A simple workout may include a combination of body squats, pushups, and planks. Start out with a few quick sets of 10, and your reps will quickly go up. Or you can find a wide selection of workouts on TV or video.

Next, discover your gym options. Normally I would promote home gyms or at least some free weights and kettle bells, but that’s not realistic for most travel nurses who have to fit everything for an assignment in their car. So here is my advice: prior to each assignment, remind your recruiter that a gym at your apartment is a priority to you. Larger complexes usually have them, but ask just in case. If an apartment workout facility is hard to come by, try joining a bigger chain; some will allow you to forward your membership or access all their gyms across the country.

Lastly, be creative. Working out has become such a staple in my life that I’ve learned to create workouts on the fly. For instance, I may run flights of stairs on the hour for a couple of hours while at work. I also have kids, and kids love parks, and luckily parks have equipment that can be used for many types of workouts. Pullups, monkey bars, and even just chasing the kiddos around provides a increased heart rate and boost in energy. Yoga has also become one of my favorites. Once you’ve taken a few classes and learned the basics, supplementing yoga in your weekly routine can really help on those stressful days when you just can’t make the gym.

So don’t make excuses this year as a travel nurse. Take care of yourself so you can enjoy many more healthy years doing what you do best. And that is caring for others while having the adventure of your life! Happy New Year!

Do You Have a Question About Travel Nursing?
Ask Aaron, our seasoned traveler, today!
Or apply now to get started on a travel nursing assignment.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Travel Nurse's Christmas Wish List for 2015

By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert

I read today that as we get older, our Christmas lists get smaller but the items get larger and more expensive. I would have to agree, wouldn’t you? But sometimes they are more practical, too. So, here I go with a list of this year’s top items for travel nurses. Feel free to share this list with your friends, parents, rich uncle Dean or any other folks who are feeling generous this season.

All I want for Christmas is:

1. A new stethoscope. After all the buzz about nurses and stethoscopes this year (thanks to “The View”), you should make an extra effort to have a nice stethoscope hanging from your neck at work. If you’re a seasoned nurse like me, your scope probably has a few dings and maybe a permanent curve to it. Littman and Adscope usually are the top makers of our fine tool. A quick search of the internet will find some good deals and comparisons. I’ve personally carried a Littman my whole career (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that), and it has always worked great for me. But each specialty and personality comes a different preference, so try a few then ask for the one you really like.

2. New tires. I don’t have a preference here, but I do know that with all the driving you’ll be doing over the next year, a good set of tires can be worth their weight in gold. Tires aren’t flashy, but they are practical and can bail you out in crazy weather. And trust me, when you’re carrying your life around in a car going over the Vail pass in the Colorado Rockies for the first time, you’ll thank me for my suggestion. Oh, and while you’re at auto shop, check the brakes!

3. A Bluetooth speaker. I’m hoping by this point you have upgraded that Motorola Razor of old to a smartphone--if not, that should be your first order of business. If you already have a smartphone, it’s time to amplify some tunes. From a travel nurse standpoint, you always have to worry about adding anything of size to your already over-packed car, but with these speakers getting smaller every day and the quality getting better, it’s time to invest. And get a good one; the cheap versions are a waste of money. Go big or go home.

4. Gift cards. Yes, really. I know they may sound lame, but wouldn’t you rather buy some stuff for yourself? The first place I generally went after settling into a new assignment location was the closest Walmart; this is the time to restock your pantry and kitchen with stuff, and don’t forget the TP. Gas cards are also a big help; unless you are in a big city using public transit exclusively, you know you’re going be driving. Most mileage is reimbursed well by your company when it comes to traveling between assignments. The key word here is “reimbursed,” so have cash or other payment on hand.

5. A new laptop. This is such a huge thing for travel nurses. A good laptop can carry information, substitute as a TV in a snap, store all your pictures and play your tunes. For these reasons I recommend something with plenty of memory, a larger-than-average screen and decent sound. (The last feature may not be as critical if one someone has already bought you that Bluetooth speaker!)

I’m sure you have plenty of other awesome stuff to add to this list. But no matter what you ask for, remember to enjoy your holiday. Travel nursing is a true adventure that offers plenty of gifts, in and of itself! Merry Christmas to you and enjoy your New Year of traveling!

Do You Have a Question About Travel Nursing?
Ask Aaron, our seasoned traveler, today!
Or apply now to get started on a travel nursing assignment.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Travel Nursing Over the Holidays Can Be Fun

By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert

I don’t know about you, but I could never get a travel nursing contract that would allow me to go home over the holidays. This challenged me in my first year, as I was away for the winter holiday months. But after spending my first Christmas on assignment, I realized that celebrating the holidays as a travel nurse can be just as fun as one at home.

Why working the holidays as a travel nurse can be enjoyable:

Reason No. 1:
Holiday pay differential! Working on the holidays does amount to a different pay scale and should be an important consideration for any travel nurse. I remember one assignment that offered a $1,000 bonus if you worked all the major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, and New Year’s Eve/Day). If you are ever offered this option, strongly consider it – at least once in your nursing career.

Since my wife was traveling with me, we decided to rearrange our schedules and both work nights, leaving our days available for celebration. Although it wasn’t a traditional holiday season for us that year, we made the most of it—and even had our very own Charlie Brown tree!

Reason No. 2:
Who says you can’t bring your family to you? One year, I had my parents come visit me on an assignment in San Diego. We had a great time outside on Christmas Day, walking the beach and enjoying a warm sunset. My dad later told me it was a great Christmas because where I’m from we usually have several inches of snow on the ground.

Another year, my family got together for the New Year’s holiday in Nashville. I did have to work, but I planned accordingly and was up spending the whole day enjoying college football and indoor fireworks at the Gaylord Hotel! So, plan wisely and bring your family out to visit you; trust me, it can be just as good as going home.

Reason No. 3:
If you travel to a larger area over the holidays, you may work with other travelers who are in the same boat as you. And that’s when travel nurses should unite. My first Thanksgiving as a traveler I spent on the beach with five other travel nurses, deep-frying a turkey and surfing. That same night, we all went in and worked our 12-hour night shifts and had a blast eating leftovers.

Then, when Christmas came, we all got together again and went out in the morning to a karaoke bar after our shift to celebrate the holiday together. I made some great friends that year; some that I still stay in touch with today.

When you have a group of people going through the same thing at the same time, you grow pretty close in a short amount of time. I always looked at my fellow travelers as my extended family and that made holidays less lonely. Plus, my traveler family understands what it’s like to work 12-hour nights and then go out for buffet-style breakfast on New Year’s morning!

Don’t let one holiday (or two) away from home stop you from being a traveling nurse. I spent many holiday seasons away from home traveling, and I enjoyed every one for different reasons. The memories I made traveling make for great stories today, when I’m sitting with my kids and parents on different holidays. In fact, a picture of that Charlie Brown tree still hangs proudly from our tree as an ornament memory of great Christmases long ago!

I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. They are the true reason travel nursing is so great – seeing how other people live, experiencing new things, and making new friends and extended family members.

Do You Have a Question About Travel Nursing?
Ask Aaron, our seasoned traveler, today!
Or apply now to get started on a travel nursing assignment.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Making Memories Out of History

By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert

With September 11th approaching, one can’t help but think about two things. First, where were you when the towers fell? And second, a look at what the day stands for—a day that is now formally called Patriot’s Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.

I remember I was in nursing school and they almost cancelled classes, but held them anyway. As we watched all the first responders go in, it made you proud of the nursing profession. I would later know exactly what the nurses went through that day.

A few years later, a travel nursing assignment brought me to New York University Hospital. From the windows of the ICU you could clearly see where the towers once stood – yes, they were that close. As I got to know the nurses on staff, they all had unique stories of seeing it firsthand or being called in to help with potential mass casualties. It was powerful and surreal to hear what they went through. It made me proud to be a part of their team and to work for this wonderful country. And I never would have met any of them if not for my recruiter and travel nursing company.

There are few careers that allow you the freedom that travel nursing does. In travel nursing, you get 13-week assignments, mostly, and there’s a lot of flexibility. You get the time to explore not only the touristy attractions but to meet the locals and feel what it’s like to live somewhere other than “home.” I’ve lived in all parts of the country and never felt like a tourist by the time I left an assignment.

In fact, I’m the go-to reference for friends and family who are going somewhere that I once lived on an assignment. I’m happy to give advice because that’s all part of the journey—sharing it with someone. But I have to say that living in the Northeast and South really were highlights for me. Not only was I in awe when I visited Ground Zero, but I’ve seen our country’s war-torn history at Gettysburg and visited museums that made me laugh and cry.

Travel nursing has not only given me the opportunity to visit historical sites and a variety of places, but I’ve met distant relatives and had dinner with people I didn’t even know existed until my parents said, “Hey, your Great Uncle Bob’s family lives in Oregon, you should look him up.” I’ve visited memories of my family’s past, and saw the places they laid others to rest.

That’s what travel nursing gives nurses—it allows you to move about freely and safely from state to state. You can turn every assignment into an opportunity to connect with the people, places and events that formed them.

So on this national day of remembrance, think about your past and our country’s past. How has your life changed since September 11, 2001, and what does your future hold?

Do You Have a Question About Travel Nursing?
Ask Aaron, our seasoned traveler, today!
Or apply now to get started on a travel nursing assignment.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Crossing State Lines as a Travel Nurse

It’s never been easier to work in multiple states than it is right now in travel nursing

By Aaron J. Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert

I get asked all the time about crossing state lines and I’m here to ease any trepidations about that process – it’s easy and extremely important for a travel nurse to factor into decision-making. If you are like me, you look back on your initial NCLEX exam and think, “I’m not going through that again!” Well, luckily there is no test required to move from state to state, but there is some legwork involved.

In my career in travel, I’ve held six different nursing licenses and I’ve only had to work with one amazing recruiter named Lance. Much like a guide on your first European vacation, recruiters can navigate you through the confusing and new spots of traveling until you get your bearings. Since my first assignment was in California, I learned a lot about temporary and permanent licenses – and that not all states have these. Nursing licenses take longer in some states than others, but recruiters can help you cut through the red tape, and give you an idea how long you can expect to wait for a new license.

Now, the news gets better if your initial nursing license is in one of the following states: Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, or Maine; you are able to work in any of these states without applying for separate licenses. That’s right, one license will let you work in 24 states—and Montana will make it 25 starting October 1--because they are all part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).

The number of compact states has expanded a lot over the years, and that is incredibly beneficial for any travel nurse. You can start assignments faster and expand your career options by region and setting. To learn more about the Nurse Licensure Compact, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website.

Another great resource to turn to is an organization and website called Nursys (www.nursys.com). This database provides licensure and disciplinary information of all licensed RNs and LPNs. The public can access this information for free, but if you want to upload your personal information (to keep your paperwork in one place), there is a small fee you can pay to do that.

Overall, getting a license in another state is not meant to be hard. Clean background checks, planning ahead (having the needed paperwork) and updated photos of yourself will help your licensing journey a lot. And, most importantly, talk to your travel nursing recruiter: they are experts and can get you going in the right direction.

Put all that hard work to use and explore the country in a way only travel nurses can!

Want to Learn More About Travel Nursing?
Ask Aaron -- our seasoned traveler! You can also find answers to frequently asked questions on our FAQ page, or request a call from a nurse recruiter with one of NurseZone’s staffing partners.