Travel Nurse vs Staff Nurse

Comparing a travel nurse to a staff nurse is really like comparing an apple to an orange. Both are fruit, both are good for your health, but each still has differences.

TRAVEL NURSES:

✔ Enjoy the change in environment (typical change in assignments every 13 weeks; you may be offered to extend, or you can move onto the next location)
✔ Experienced in their nursing skills (travel nurses are not new graduates)
✔Adaptable (outside of showing a travel nurse the charting system and the lay of the land, travel nurses receive little orientation)
✔Exceptional interpersonal skills
✔Above average attendance records
✔Financially savvy to save for their own PTO/Vacation time and live a more flexible lifestyle
✔Flexible (you can choose the shifts you wish to work and the time off you want to take off)
✔Enjoys the perks of travel pay (competitive wages, tax free allowances)

STAFF NURSES:

✔Prefer to see the same nurses, techs, and providers day in and day (the only change is the patient)
✔Enjoys team meetings, unit committees
✔Likes a short or familiar commute to work
✔Typically receive lower pay but earn paid time off
✔Seniority matters

It is important when determining what is right for you, to always ensure you are choosing the right travel nurse agency to support you and/or the hospital that aligns with your mission in healthcare. Both offer several opportunities! Just remember you are never locked into one or the other. You have a career that has flexibility and opportunities.

We Believe in You

When we say we’ve got your back… WE TRULY have got your back.

I think we can all agree, that shifting the blame happens in all lines of work.  A lot of people have a hard time taking responsibility for their own mistakes, errors, or shortcomings. It takes an emotionally intelligent person to be able to say, “Hey I was wrong. That was my error. Perhaps I am the problem in this situation.” When emotional intelligence is lacking, shifting the blame happens. This happens in travel nursing also. In these crazy times it does seem to occur a little more often than we have seen in the past, however we react the same as we always have.

For example, something is happening on the unit you are working on, and you are getting the blame.  When that complaint comes to the office, we have a process and we do not veer from that process.

Complaint>Investigation>Resolution

Please know that we pride ourselves in the time and effort spent in every employee we hire. Something you may not know is we do not hire everyone that applies. We are very selective in our hiring process to ensure we find the right quality candidates who will honor our mission.  We also want to be a good employer match for those we hire. We believe in you and that is why we make the offer of employment to you. With that said, sometimes there is a complaint or a concern.

If there is a clinical concern:

Any clinical concerns are immediately reported to our Nurse Manager. Whether there is a medication error, charting error etc. the nurse manager is going to ask questions and investigate the documentation that may be provided. The nurse manager will reach out to the team member and ask questions. After investigating all sides of the situation, a resolution is then determined.

If there is a professional/personal issue:

Any professional/personal issues will be reported to your recruiter. When this happens, the following is done:

The recruiter is going to ask questions from the client regarding the complaint. The recruiter is going to reach out to you to share the concern/complaint and hear what you have to say about it. That recruiter will reach out to others to ask questions, if need be, investigate and get all sides of the story. A resolution is then determined and made.

In short, we believe in you unless proven otherwise

The Lost Art of Customer Service

Have you ever had the experience of calling into a company, getting a robot and being asked what feels like a million questions to get to where you really want to go? Sometimes that robot gives you unsolicited information that is a total waste of time before you can even move forward.

Then, after all that, you get connected but it is to another robot that asks you some of the same questions. Push this # for such and such department, push that # for a different department.

Finally, you get to a human being and still have to answer more questions in order to get the information you need. Or, one of my very “favorites” is when you have answered all the questions and finally get a person who has NONE of the information you just gave out. A couple of times (oh maybe more, if I am being honest), I have yelled at that robot! A few minute phone call is now a 30 minute or longer ordeal. So frustrating to say the least!

This is such a common occurrence in every industry – medical included. When Fidelity On Call started in 1994 (well before all the modern technology), we were concerned with the personal aspect of the business. We made sure our phones were always answered by a person – no automated computer for us and we counted the number of times it rang before we picked the phone up. More than three – that was upsetting!

Even after hours, we had a service that answered our lines. Yes, I know now we are more automated, but we pride ourselves on the fact that you can still instantly get to someone in an emergency.

With the advent of social media, websites, cell phones and the messages we receive from that direction, we also set standards for ourselves when it came to response time. We want our customers and team members, plus applicants, to know that we value their time and our relationship with them.

New technology has made information sharing and networking so much quicker and easier. However, it has brought on some very unwanted changes and one of those is customer service.

Does that have to be sacrificed to go forward?

We say “NO!”

It is easy to hide behind e-mail, voice mail, text messages and every other way of contacting someone. It is especially interesting when someone you are trying to reach will not pick up the phone, but will only text you. No personal conversations for them.

Sometimes, people text you something that would have been better served by just picking up a phone and personally talking. Is it becoming a lost art to personally talk with friends and family? Or, to go out and network to meet people and form additional friendships (vs. finding them on social media)?

We work hard to make sure we don’t fall into the trap of hiding behind e-mail or text messages.

We value speaking with our team members and our customers personally.

It is always good to move forward and we truly love all the new technology we work with. However, we will work to continually insure that, as we move forward, we never leave our service standards behind.

Calling in… When, Why, and Why Not?

Attendance is a very critical component in any industry. Healthcare is no different. Although, let’s face it, hospital policies have been wild and all over the place due to Rona. Attendance in travel nursing has always been paramount due to the fact that our travel nurses are considered the backup team. Now comes the pandemic. As our travelers were not allowed to work in the early stages of this novel virus, our clients were willing to pay for their time off. After two years things have changed.

So when do you call off?

The good old -fashioned advice never fails to be correct. Are you sick, truly sick?

  • Are you running a fever greater than 99.9?
  • Are you vomiting?
  • Are you making repeated trips to the bathroom for less than pleasant reasons?
  • Did you have a medical emergency?

These are just a few sure-fire reasons you should reach out to your recruiter and manager to call off to work.

What are unacceptable call offs?

Some days we just do not feel our best. We forge on because we are the backup team. Here are some “not great” examples for calling off to work:

  • Winter weather – We all have access to winter weather reports and road conditions. You should PLAN ahead for such events Leave early! Depending on your distance, this may be 30 minutes early or more

✔Ensure your car is in winter driving condition
✔Have proper winter travel supplies in your car
✔Communicate with your recruiter about housing options

  • Lack of Childcare

✔You as a traveler are the backup team member. You should have a backup for your childcare.
✔We have some facilities that allow our travelers to use their childcare resources.
✔Instead of calling off inquire with your recruiter or hospital manager if you can switch shifts/days

  • No Call No Show

✔Proud to report that this is not happening with our Fidelity On Call travelers, but we are hearing this from our clients regarding other travelers doing it (and regularly)! We thought it would be worth mentioning so that we continue with that perfect record.

In closing, calling off makes it tough on everyone involved. Yes, emergencies happen to us all. True emergencies and illness are not every week. Please always keep in close communication with your

What’s Fair Got to Do With It?

I am willing to bet that you think like me on at least one thing. And, that thing is “life should be fair.” I remember being a child and thinking for the first time “that’s not fair.” For some reason, the idea that everything in life should be fair was planted in me at a very, very early age. What about you?

Fast forward to where we are today and there are still things that, we believe, can be determined in the spirit of fairness.

Major ones for our company are how we treat our customers and how we treat our team members. We want to treat everybody fairly; but, over the past two years, there are aspects of our business that have not been fair.

One very major area for our customers came with the advent of “crisis rates.” Many articles have been written about crisis rates. Recently, a group of U.S. Senators and Representatives asked for an investigation into allegations of overpricing by nurse staffing agencies during the pandemic. Hospitals nationwide have spoken out about the “unfairness” of the rates charged, the inability to compete with pay packages and the loss of their staff over the past two years.

Yet another example of what has happened involves a lawsuit between a hospital chain and a staffing agency as they sued one another over staffing issues. The hospital refused to pay their $40 million bill (wow!) because the rates were illegally inflated and asked the judge to keep the agency from pulling staff from its hospitals. The agency contended it couldn’t pay its bills until the hospital paid them.

As Fidelity On Call has watched what has happened with billing rates and pay rates, we have spoken many times about the word “fair.” We have counseled several of our customers to not increase their rates. They thought if they increased their rates, they would attract more nurses to work in their hospitals. But, when rates increase in one place, the next one just follows and we are on a wheel that never stops turning. Recently, while on a call with a vendor management company and their contracted hospital, we advised the same thing. The hospital thanked us.

We have been deeply concerned with what we have seen regarding rate increases in our industry. We have also alerted our nurses that what went up will come down. Or, at least, that is what we perceive will happen. And, we want our team members prepared.

Our recruiters are the best. They have never deviated from our mission for the best of patient care; however, hospitals are reporting that nurses (not from us – but other companies) don’t care about their patients. They are there only for the money. Once again, everybody needs to be fairly compensated, but when we reach a point where it is all about the money, something has gone terribly wrong.

As we move forward we will continue to work hard to make sure the scale of fairness is even on both sides. That means we will provide the best of care and be fair to both our hospitals and our great team of nurses.