Category: Clinical Corner

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Clinical Corner: Workplace Injuries & Workers’ Comp Process

Careful! Understanding the workers’ compensation process will help protect you as a Medical Solutions Traveler!

By Kora Behrens, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions

Have you ever been injured on the job? Do you know about and understand workers’ compensation?

If you answered ‘no’ to either of these questions, consider yourself lucky. You never know how long it might be before you encounter a situation that requires you to know what to do in the event of a workplace injury. If you answered ‘yes’ you should still read this month’s Clinical Corner, so that you fully understand the workers’ comp process you’d need to follow if you’re injured on the job while working for Medical Solutions.

While we hope that you never experience any injury while taking care of your patients, if you do, here are some pointers to remember while traveling with us.

  1. The first step to remember when an injury occurs is to seek medical attention, if necessary. It is important to know where your hospital sends injured employees and travelers whether it be to the ER, urgent care, or employee health. For any needle sticks and/or blood or body fluid exposure, make sure you get blood drawn immediately from the patient you were exposed to and yourself if necessary. It will be your responsibility to be your own patient advocate in a situation as such, so make sure this blood drawn is done as soon as possible. It is also important that YOU are the one following up on the blood results with the hospital in case of a serious exposure.
  2. The next step in the process is to notify your career consultant (recruiter) and to have someone from Medical Solutions complete an incident report. If at any time, you are injured on the job you must report this to Medical Solutions and must be done within 24 hours of the injury or incident and Medical Solutions will need to know as much detail as possible to file the report and workers’ compensation claim. This step is important because billing will not be covered until the report is made with Medical Solutions.
  3. If you are off work for any amount of time due to the injury you must notify your career consultant. We will need copies of any restrictions you received because of the injury or treatment AS WELL AS a release saying that you are okay to return to work. This is required prior to returning to any work.
  4. Once you have spoken with someone from Medical Solutions about the details surrounding your injury, we will file the workers’ compensation claim with Sedgwick Claims Management Services. Once this is filed, you will receive an email that contains your claim number, contact information for Sedgwick, and instructions on how to register online to track your claim. Once you have received that claim number you should be able to view the status of your claim and any other information regarding the claim through Via One Express. You can register with Via One Express through claimlookup.com. Using this website and dashboard will allow you to upload any files associated with your claim or case, including bills which will allow for quicker payment. You can and should also communicate any billing items or questions about benefits to your claim adjuster through Sedgwick.

Please Note: If the injury occurs in Ohio, North Dakota, Washington, or Wyoming the injury still needs to be reported to Medical Solutions BUT you will need to follow hospital protocol for further information on the workers’ compensation process.

Knowing the proper process involved with workers’ compensation claims is very important to providing coverage to our Travelers as well as ensuring their health is managed and they are taken care of. The number one, most important important thing to remember if any workplace injury occurs is to communicate with Medical Solutions and your Career Consultant right away. No matter what the injury or the severity, Medical Solutions needs to be aware of what happened and that all starts with knowing the process and communicating overall!

 

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Clinical Corner: Hospital Safety

By Kora Behrens, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions

Did you know that hospitals are one of the most hazardous places to work? Every day nurses are exposed to many health risks which makes them prone to illnesses, infections, injuries, and diseases.

It’s especially timely to discuss safety in nursing because June is National Safety Month. The concept of safety in the workplace is an essential component to providing quality nursing care. Additionally, healthcare staff and nurses must be aware of safety practices outside of patient care as well. It’s imperative that all healthcare workers know how to limit their exposure and minimize any risks that may be involved with the job.

The wide range of hazards on the job include sharps injuries, exposure to chemicals and hazardous drugs, back injuries, latex allergies, violence, and stress.

Safety First

June is National Safety Month, but hospital safety has many benefits year-round!

Through numerous encounters with patients with varying conditions, nurses become more prone to infectious agents like bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. This type of exposure makes nurses and healthcare staff more prone to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Ebola, Influenza, MRSA, Tuberculosis, SARS, and MERS.

Healthcare workers and patients can sometimes be unprotected from chemical hazards as well. These hazards include several different anesthetic gases, aerosolized medications, chemotherapy medications, cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing agents, medical supplies and instruments, and fixative chemicals used for tissue specimens.

In addition to the infectious and chemical hazards, healthcare workers must also avoid damaging effects from the physical demands of the job. Injuries can occur frequently and they are often related to patient handling that involves heavy lifting and awkward body positions.

Lastly, the threat of violence and stress is equally as important to safety. Many healthcare workers experience physical and emotional stress which can contribute to health problems. This also has an impact on patient care and it can contribute to errors, patient falls, and other unfortunate outcomes.

The impact that these hazards can have on nurses and patients can be deadly and devastating, so it’s extremely important this month and every day of the year to improve safety and minimize any risks involved. The following suggestions will help nurses advocate for safety and make progress with their quality of work and patient care:

  • The first thing that every nurse and healthcare worker should do is to promote and support anyone and everyone who is an advocate for safety. A culture of this nature encourages everyone to be open and honest — plus it allows for learning from mistakes and transparency with any errors. Nurses that work in a safety-conscious culture will be more empowered to speak up when something is unsafe and they don’t have to fear any potential repercussions.
  • Another strategy for safety includes effective communication. By collaborating with each other and communicating appropriately, nurses will be able to provide better hand-offs and more detailed information on their patients. Implementing hourly rounding will help to communicate with patients on bathing, bathroom, or other health needs and this can eliminate fall risks and other health hazards for all parties.
  • Following protocol and policy as well as nursing standards of practice is essential to safety. Safety mechanisms are built into these policies and standards so it becomes extremely important to follow each step involved. Initiating fall precautions and turning patients should not be skipped or ignored and resources should be implemented for safe patient handling, transfer, etc. Harm and human error increase with each missed care for every patient. Time management and ancillary staff are important to executing all safety initiatives and protocols designed for risk depreciation.
  • Patient engagement is another factor that can contribute to maintaining safety. This includes active listening to the patient’s concerns and goals with their care. This will help everyone to stay informed about the needs and desires of the plan of care and it will help to communicate any risks for injury or threats to safety. Another added benefit to patient engagement and open communication is patient education. This provides an opportunity for the nurse to identify gaps in knowledge, but also for the patient to become educated on their health risks. For example, if a patient has a true understanding of their health and disease process they may be less likely to get out of bed without assistance as this would be a risk for injury from falling. The educated patient is a satisfied, protected, and confident patient.
  • The most important part of safety in nursing is learning from past incidents and other near misses. Many nurses will say that the mistakes they have made in the past were defining moments in their career that taught them great lessons. When an error occurs, it is important to review the events of the situation to understand why it happened. A root cause analysis is a strategy that is useful for identifying the cause of the problem in a safety situation. Some may refer to this as a debriefing of sorts as well which can be help immediately following a safety incident. This debriefing is done immediately following the incident so that details of what happened are not forgotten. Healthcare staff and nurses should be encouraged to immerse themselves in safety leader positions, officers, and management teams. Becoming an advocate for safety starts with taking on the role of someone who can hold others accountable.

Let us focus this month and beyond on minimizing risk and maximizing safety in all healthcare settings and segments!

 

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Clinical Corner: The Year of the Healthy Nurse

By Kora Behrens, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions

May is a wonderful time to celebrate. Trees are budding, flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining. Most importantly, each May we spend a whole week celebrating nurses and the impact they have on their patients and healthcare. Nurses Week, celebrated each year May 6-12, provides a great opportunity to honor all the nurses who advocate for their patients, speak up for safety, and give of themselves daily to the patients they care for.

With all the time and effort spent on patient care, it’s easy for nurses to ignore and neglect their own health and wellbeing because their patients will forever be their number one priority. This presents a huge challenge for nurses to overcome! Nurse health is significant not only for each individual nurse’s good, but also because a nurse’s health has a direct impact on patient outcomes and the overall quality of care.

The increasing emphasis on safeguarding the health of nurses was the American Nurses Association (ANA) Nurses Week focus this year. The ANA dedicated 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse” with the tagline “Balance Your Life for a Healthier You.”

In keeping with this theme is the launch of Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation (HNHN). This effort targets HNHN’s five fundamental indicators for wellness: rest, nutrition, physical activity, quality of life, and safety. Nurses are the face of our healthcare system, therefore focusing on their wellbeing has become important to delivering quality care to all patients and communities. To improve the wellbeing of our nurses we must first examine what their health struggles are.

Nurses are working longer hours and shifts, most often without breaks or moments to regroup. These long shifts make it difficult to get the adequate sleep and rest they need. Additionally, it becomes a challenge to eat healthy when nutritious foods are not easily accessible or cost effective. Lastly, working as a nurse is demanding on the mind and the body. It’s become increasingly difficult to avoid workplace violence and bodily injury while on the job. With such hurdles to navigate, it’s no wonder that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nurses have the fourth highest rate of injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, when compared to all other occupations.

So, how do we focus on helping nurses to get healthier? The first step is getting involved. For example, spread the word to others on how to become more active, hold educational lunch hours to talk about eating healthy, and cater in meals from healthy places to eat. It starts with one person putting in the effort and eventually it becomes an active lifestyle and part of the culture within your facility and/or department. Making the commitment is the first step.

Establishing relationships with community partners in an effort to initiate healthier lifestyles expands the movement even further. Nursing schools, state nursing associations, healthcare organizations, consumer organizations, local businesses, and other organizations can all get involved to make an impact and enhance the health of nurses in their area.

Even though Nurses Week 2017 has come and gone, it’s important that we remember this year’s focus on keeping nurses healthy. Step outside of your comfort zone and make a change to your lifestyle. Reach out to your colleagues and friends to lend a hand in taking that first step in making a change. Encourage each other and work together for an improved and healthier nurse force.

Click here to learn more about The Year of the Healthy Nurse.

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Clinical Corner: Handling Conflict in the Workplace

Two knight on a chessboard. Confrontation.

Face Off: Learn to keep your cool and handle conflict in the workplace!

By Kora Behrens, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions

Shellie clocks in for her shift. She gathers her things and heads out to the nurse’s station to find the nurse that she needs to get report from. Shellie gets report from the nurse and is then approached by the charge nurse about an admit that will be coming to the unit shortly. The charge nurse orders Shellie to take the new admit even though she already has a full patient load. The other nurses don’t have nearly as many patients to care for and Shellie feels like the patient assignment is unfair. She asks the charge nurse why she is getting this admit when everyone else clearly has a lighter patient load. The charge nurse proceeds to engage in an argument with Shellie and, rather than argue, she just accepts the assignment and carries on. Shellie can’t help but feel uneasy throughout the entire morning with the tension that is present between her and the charge nurse.

Has this ever happened to you? My guess is that you’re shaking your head yes! Scenarios that play out like this are very common in the workplace. Healthcare staff come in all shapes and sizes, and they each bring different attitudes, personalities, perspectives, beliefs, etc. to the workplace — which makes it difficult to avoid disagreements and struggles throughout the workday. Understanding why conflict occurs and how to resolve it will help you to maintain quality in the care that’s provided within your unit and facility. Furthermore, this will help to improve the morale of the staff and the overall work environment.

Here are some important steps you can take to handle conflict effectively in the work environment:MAKE UP

Talk with the person who is directly involved in the conflict.

The first step in eliminating any tension and conflict is to engage in open and honest communication. Arrange a time and place that is convenient and appropriate, preferably a quiet area that’s away from distractions, patients, and other staff. The conversation that you engage in doesn’t need to last long; it is purely an opportunity for each party to present their perspective and thoughts on the situation.

Focus on the specific behavior or event that was most bothersome and be clear about the details.

Present the problem to the other party to make sure they are aware of the focus of conversation. Be specific about what actions or words bothered you and why they bothered you. Allow the other party to present their point of view and actively listen to what their feelings and thoughts are.

Identify what you agree on and the issues that may be conflicting.

After each party has had a chance to present their perspective it is important to summarize the points of agreement and disagreement. Assess the situation to determine if the other person understands your point of view and then try to understand where they are coming from. Empathy is a huge factor within this step of dissolving conflict. If each party can see the perspective of the other, then common ground is easier to obtain.

Develop an action plan to work on reducing and avoiding any future conflicts.

The focus here should be obtaining harmony and minimizing any discord in the future. Striving for a better understanding of everyone in the unit will help to determine the course of action with any future conflicts. For Travelers specifically, this may be difficult because they do not have a lot of time to establish who they are to their peers and they have limited time to understand everyone around them. This is a challenge that can sometimes be difficult to achieve. To seek successful communication, Travelers should be open, honest, approachable, friendly, sociable, communicative, and warm to the others around them. In addition to these qualities, one should set the standard up front that they are open to discussing conflicts and clearing up any misunderstandings.

Follow through, model effective conflict management, and strive to build on successes.

Effective conflict management depends on continually striving to address conflicts quickly and appropriately. It becomes increasingly important for all nurses to engage in the correct conflict resolution techniques so that others can learn and model these behaviors. Establishing that standard right away will help to minimize future conflicts, thus future successes will be easier to achieve and celebrate.

Often in healthcare, there are many things that are out of our control. As nurses, we all care about our patients and their outcomes. If we let conflict progress it will affect our patients and the overall quality of care will suffer. As a result, the nursing field should maintain focus on controlling the issue of conflict when, most often, it is unnecessary and can be easily resolved.

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Clinical Corner: Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert 57 — Role of Leadership in Safety Culture

Safety First

The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Alert 57 concerns the importance of adequate leadership to safety in healthcare facilities.

Hospital leadership has the crucial responsibility of protecting the safety of patients, staff, and visitors. That’s the inspiration behind The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Alert 57, which aims to help establish and improve safety culture in health care.

The Joint Commission periodically — though somewhat rarely — releases Sentinel Event Alerts about issues they find to be of concern.

This recent alert was spurred by the finding that within The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Database that “leadership’s failure to create an effective safety culture is a contributing factor to many types of adverse events — from wrong site surgery to delays in treatment.”

Additionally, Sentinel Event Alert 57 gives a few examples of adverse events that can be caused by inadequate leadership, including:

  • Insufficient support of patient safety event reporting
  • Lack of feedback or response to staff and others who report safety vulnerabilities
  • Allowing intimidation of staff who report events
  • Refusing to consistently prioritize and implement safety recommendations
  • Not addressing staff burnout

Whew — that’s a lot to address! Thankfully, as far as staff burnout goes, Travel Nursing can be of help when it comes to that issue. So, if you’re a Travel Nurse: Thank you — you are part of the solution!

Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert 57The Joint Commission defines a “Safety Culture” as follows: “Safety culture is the sum of what an organization is and does in the pursuit of safety. The Patient Safety Systems (PS) chapter of The Joint Commission accreditation manuals defines safety culture as the product of individual and group beliefs, values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behavior that determine the organization’s commitment to quality and patient safety.”

The Sentinel Event Alert 57 details these 11 steps that health care leaders can implement in order to properly address safety culture:

  1. Transparent, non-punitive approaches to reporting and learning from adverse events, close calls and unsafe conditions.
  2. Clear, risk-based processes for recognizing and separating human error and error arising from poorly designed systems from unsafe or reckless actions.
  3. Adoption of appropriate behaviors and championing efforts to eradicate intimidating behaviors.
  4. Establishment, enforcement and communication of all policies that support safety culture and the reporting of adverse events, close calls and unsafe conditions.
  5. Recognition of care team members who report adverse events, close calls and unsafe conditions or who have suggestions for safety improvements.
  6. Establishment of an organizational baseline measure on safety culture performance.
  7. Assessment of safety culture survey results from across the organization to find opportunities for improvement.
  8. Development and implementation of unit-based quality and safety improvement initiatives in response to information gained from safety assessments and/or surveys.
  9. Implementation of safety culture team training into quality improvement projects.
  10. Proactive assessment of system (such as medication management and electronic health records) strengths and vulnerabilities, and prioritizing them for enhancement or improvement.
  11. Organizational reassessment of safety culture every 18 to 24 months to review progress and sustain improvement.

Click here to see The Joint Commission’s infographic on 11 Tenets of a Safety Culture.

You can view the entire publication here.

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Clinical Corner: Pain Assessment and Management

Pain Management

Pain assessment is crucial to providing quality patient care, but not every patient judges their pain equally!

By Chris Vinton, Medical Solutions Quality Assurance Specialist

Patient pain can be one of the more difficult aspects to manage when it comes to complete patient care. Pain can’t be measured or objectively found, and it is often reported by patients based on how they have experienced pain in the past. Other times, patients have no experiential basis for rating or conveying the pain they are experiencing.

As with just about everything in the nursing field, pain assessment and management will differ depending on the unit and the hospital. The most common way to assess pain is the numerical measurement scale. Patients rate on a scale from 1-10, but this does have its issues. Patients may come in for an ear ache and they may rate the pain as a 10. To the patient, this may be the worst pain he or she has ever been in, but their condition might not require some of the more serious pain meds. Hospitals do have their own protocol in place on what pain medicine to use and, as always, ask your supervisor if your patient’s pain has not been alleviated after administering medicine.

Pain rating scale chartThe 1-10 scale is just a baseline for a patient’s pain. To get a full view of the patient’s pain, there are several things nurses can do — such as observing the patient’s behavior. A patient’s facial expressions may be anything from clenching of teeth or a grimace. They could favor a certain body part or try to protect it with their arms. The pain could cause the patient to experience disorientation or withdraw socially. Use your best judgement when observing for pain and if you aren’t entirely sure, get some guidance from your supervisor.

Pain assessment skills are essential to nurses when it comes to providing quality patient care. Doctors may assist you in pain assessment and will provide the medication for pain management, but ultimately nurses know their patients the best. Your judgement on your patient’s pain is crucial to complete patient care. Your judgements can help alleviate a patient’s pain or even save a patient’s life.

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Clinical Corner: Travel Nurse Guide to CEU Sites

Nurse continuing education units

Don’t let CEUs give you the blues! Check out these five great CEU sites — including one that’s free for Medical Solutions Travelers

By Chris Vinton, Medical Solutions Quality Assurance Specialist

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) — you know them and you probably don’t love them. CEU requirements vary from state to state, though most states require nurses qualify a certain amount of CEU hours every year. Because this affects so many of our Travel Nurses, I tried to find the best CEU websites and the most up to date information for state CEU requirements.

There are literally hundreds of CEU websites that I found while researching this blog. Some of them are great and some of them are a little suspect, in my opinion. That’s why it’s so crucial to understand which CEU sites are legit and offer good information and solid CEUs. After my sleepless nights of thorough research and asking our internal Clinical Nurse Managers which websites they typically use for CEUs, I came up with this handy list featuring the five best websites with both free and paid CEUs.

Nurse.com

This website features a few free CEUs and a staggering amount of paid CEUs. They also have a subscription service where you pay $50 a year for unlimited access to all their nursing CEUs. The website also features up to date information on state requirements for CEUs.

ANA.org

When I asked our internal nurses for their preferences, the ANA was the most mentioned CEU website. The site has a handy feature where you can search all of their CEUs by subject, format, and price. It makes finding specific CEUs very easy!

CEUfast.com

CEUfast features quite a few free CEUS. It is also nice because it does not require you to sign up on the website, I accidently got into a course about ABG interpretation after clicking around a bit. They also offer a subscription service for only $30 a year.

WesternSchools.com

I particularly like this website. It organizes CEUs by state and shows you the most popular CEUs by state as well. I couldn’t find any free CEUs on this site, however. It also shows the state requirements for CEUs for each state, which is very helpful!

MyFreeCE.com

This is purely a subscription-based CEU website. For only $30 dollars you get access to a plethora of CEUs. The best thing about MyFreeCE.com is that Medical Solutions will pay for a whole year subscription while you’re working for us! So they are truly free CEUs!

CEUs are a great way to increase your knowledge base about the healthcare field. So don’t be afraid to take some courses that are outside your skillset! CEUs are just one of the many ways to improve yourself as a nurse.

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Clinical Corner: Cold Weather Injuries

Skier fell in snow

Wintery locations can mean patients with cold weather injuries. Being aware of this seasonal shift as a Traveler means being prepared!

By Chris Vinton, Medical Solutions Quality Assurance Specialist

Winter is a favorite season for many people. The holidays come around, families get together, snowmen are built, slopes are sledded, and snowballs are thrown. While people may love winter, winter does not always love people back! The season brings problems such as ice, subzero temperatures, excessive amounts of snow, and the fact some motorists get seasonal vehicular amnesia and completely forget how to drive in snow when it finally arrives. Because of this, many of you working in areas that will experience snowfall and/or icy conditions will encounter patients suffering injuries more likely to occur in the winter or even totally unique to the subzero season.

By far, the most common type of winter injuries are slips. Ice and snow are not known for having the best traction. Falls will be particularly harsh on elderly people and children. Snow and ice will also contribute to a higher level of motor vehicle accidents. Thankfully, motorcycle accidents are nowhere near as common as they are during the summer, but car accidents have a very high rate, around Christmas and New Year’s especially. Car accidents also increase significantly during the first snow of the season and the day after, as people do forget how to adjust for driving in the snow even though snow faithfully returns every year.

Winter sports can also be dangerous. More than 246,000 people were treated at hospitals, doctor’s offices, and emergency rooms for winter sports-related injuries in 2014. Much like slip and fall injuries, these can vary widely in degree but will affect the elderly and children more harshly. Injuries could range from a simple sprain to a dislocated shoulder to head lacerations to concussions. These injuries will typically happen at the end of the day, as people want to get that “one last run.” Frostbite is another danger in cold weather. It varies with conditions, but frostbite can happen in as little as a matter of minutes in ultra-harsh temps and it is much more likely to happen to people with poor circulation. Also, depending on the person, a patient may have either ignored frostbite or couldn’t get to care in time.

Lastly, flu season is in full swing. Always keep that in mind while you intake patients. Going with the theme of winter, children and the elderly respond much worse to the flu than other age groups.

As doom and gloom this article may appear, the good news is that injuries as a whole actually tend to decrease in the winter. So don’t let the stats on winter injuries scare you from skiing or enjoying the outdoors. Winter is a great time of year, but it also brings in new types of patients with season-specific injuries. Enjoy the holidays, stay warm, and be safe!

Sources:

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00062

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/809855   

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000057.htm

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Get Your BSN with Medical Solutions

Bachelor of Science in Nursing BSN theme

Get your BSN with Medical Solutions and you’ll be head of the class when it comes to career opportunities and skills!

By Chris Vinton, Medical Solutions Quality Assurance Specialist

If you already have your Associate’s in nursing, getting a Bachelor’s degree in nursing may seem unnecessary, or even daunting. Some of the classes needed for a BSN aren’t related to nursing, but more and more hospitals across the United States are pushing for all their nurses to have a BSN.

Having an ASN (or ADN) is perfectly fine, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to stick with that. However, if you ever plan on moving up to nurse management, away from the bedside, or to a higher acuity unit you have little to no experience in, you will need to have your BSN. The BSN degree will open up doors for you that an ASN or ADN degree do not. Having a BSN makes you incredibly more marketable to hospitals and, in fact, more and more hospitals are simply requiring BSN degrees now.

Additionally, earning your BSN will also help you refine and develop your nursing skills. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, patients who are taken care of by a BSN have more positive patient outcomes.

Medical Solutions wants to give all of our nurses the opportunity to attain their BSN, should they want to. That’s why we have a completely online RN to BSN program in partnership with Nebraska Methodist College, which ranked fifth on BestCollege.com’s list of “Best Online RN to BSN Program of 2015”!

The courses are built entirely into your pay package — so no need to worry about student loans — and Nebraska Methodist College gives Medical Solutions nurses in this program a pretty sweet discount on courses, too. Typically, the program lasts about 12-24 months and is very transfer-friendly. If you’ve already taken some steps toward your BSN, this can significantly cut down on the time it takes to earn your BSN. All in all, this program is a fantastic opportunity for any Medical Solutions RN looking to advance her or his career!

If you’re interested in Medical Solutions’ RN to BSN Program, simply get in touch with your Career Consultant. If you don’t already have a dedicated Career Consultant working to help you build the career you desire and deserve, contact us at 866.633.3548 and we will remedy that! Our Career Consultants can help you get the information you need to determine if this is the right step for you, and, once you’re ready, they’ll help you get started.

Click here to learn more about Medical Solutions’ RN to BSN Program.
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Clinical Corner: The Flu, the Flu Vaccine and You

Get Your Flu Shot

It’s that time of year again!

By Chris Vinton, Medical Solutions Quality Assurance Specialist

October is one of the best months of the year. Pumpkin Spice season is in full swing, haunted houses are up and running, the holidays are on the horizon, Halloween costumes are being bought for dogs, the weather is comfortable for the most part, and, for some reason, some stores are already playing “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

October also marks the beginning of flu season. Here is what you need to know about the flu, the flu vaccine, and Medical Solutions’ requirements regarding the flu vaccine.

Flu season starts in October and continues until April, though flu activity can last through May. Usually, flu season peaks from December through March. The CDC recommends flu vaccines for anyone over the age of six months — and if you’re reading this, you are either over six months or a very, very impressive baby.

This flu season, the CDC is not recommending the active virus nasal spray. Last season, the nasal spray was nowhere near as effective as the regular flu shot. The flu vaccine will not make you completely immune to the flu, it will help your body build up antibodies and severely reduce the chances of you getting the flu. The vaccine will also not make you sick, the virus will be completely dead by the time it reaches you. If you are allergic to eggs or have had a severe allergic reaction to flu vaccines, gelatin, antibiotics or other ingredients, talk to your primary care physician before considering a flu vaccine.

Woman sick with flu

Get your flu shot and avoid this sneezy, sniffly fate!

Medical Solutions requires a flu vaccination for every traveler in October or before starting a travel assignment during flu season. If you are allergic to the flu vaccine or cannot receive the flu vaccine due to religious reasons, we will require a declination form from your primary care physician or a clergy member. We require a flu vaccination for every Traveler because the flu virus effects the entire country and the flu vaccine should help defend you no matter where you travel to. The flu vaccine does take a few weeks to work, your body slowly builds up antibodies. That is why we require the flu vaccine in October or before starting any assignment during flu season. The better protected you are from the flu, the better protected your patients and coworkers will be!

There is a ton of really cool flu information on the CDC website. Everything from the effectiveness of flu vaccines, to the methodology for the flu information and even a Twitter campaign for flu awareness and vaccines.

For the general overview on the CDC’s flu page, click here.

You can get more info about the flu from the CDC’s flu FAQs and stay current on how the season is affecting the U.S. with their live map of flu activity by state.

Thanks for doing your part to keep the herd healthy! If you have any questions about Medical Solutions’ flu vaccine requirements, please feel free to contact your Career Consultant.

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