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State Spotlight: Connecticut

Connecticut - State Spotlight: Connecticut
Get connected with an amazing travel nursing or other healthcare travel job in charming Connecticut!

This month’s State Spotlight takes us to charming Connecticut! The Constitution State is known for its quaint seaside villages and rural areas, rich history, easy access to NYC and other east coast hotspots, overall New England charm, and so much more. There are also tons of great travel nurse, allied, and other travel healthcare jobs in this cool state. Read on to learn more about why you should get connected with a great travel healthcare gig in Connecticut!  

Travel Nursing in Connecticut

Connecticut Stamp - State Spotlight: Connecticut

Connecticut is a lovely place for a travel nursing or other travel healthcare assignment. In The Constitution State you’ll have plenty to do and see on your days off while you simultaneously build your skills and resume at work.

Connecticut is home to about 42 hospitals — according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2019/2020 Best Hospitals list. That includes their #1-ranked Connecticut hospital, Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, which is nationally ranked in 12 adult specialties and nine pediatric specialties, in addition to being ranked “High Performing” in one additional adult specialty and nine procedures/conditions. Rounding out the top three overall best hospitals in Connecticut are Hartford Hospital in Hartford and St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.   

U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 “Best States” ranked Connecticut #21 overall, as well as #3 for health care and #6 for natural environment. According to Livability.com, some of the best places to live in Connecticut include Stamford, Weston, Westport, Bridgeport, New Haven, and Greenwich.

As for licensing, Connecticut is not currently a walk-through state or a compact state, but it is a NURSYS state. Click here for more, up to date info on licensing in Connecticut.

Connecticut Fast Facts

State Nickname: The Constitution State (or sometimes, The Nutmeg State)

Capital: Hartford

Largest City: Bridgeport

National Parks: 2

State Parks: 54

National Historic and Natural Landmarks: 68

State Motto: “Qui Transtulit Sustinet,” which means “He Who Transplanted Still Sustains”

State Flower: Mountain Laurel

State Tree: The Charter Oak

State Animal: Sperm Whale

State Song: Yankee Doodle

State Cantata: Nutmeg

Nevada was the fifth state and one of the original 13 colonies.

Famed businessman and circus visionary P.T. Barnum is one of the state’s most famous residents. Today you can visit the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport to learn his story.     

Native Americans who lived in what is now Connecticut were largely of the Algonquian Indian family.

The global sandwich shop chain Subway started humbly as Pete’s Subway in Bridgeport in 1965.

The first telephone book — which featured a scant 50 listings — was created in New Haven in 1878.

Connecticut’s Hartford Courant launched in 1764 and is the country’s oldest continuously published newspaper. For perspective on this, George Washington once placed ads in the paper to rent out part of Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson once sued them for libel! (Jefferson lost that suit, by the way.)

Connecticut was one of two states (the other being Rhode Island) that never ratified the 18th Amendment which outlined Prohibition. Party on, CT!

In 1809, South Killingly, Connecticut’s Mary Kies was the first woman to receive a U.S. patent.  

The nation’s first automobile law was passed at the state level in Connecticut in 1901 — it set the speed limit at 12 miles per hour.

The frisbee, cotton gin, Colt .45, can opener, portable typewriter, submarine, vulcanized rubber, ESPN, hamburger, Polaroid cameras, helicopter, lollipops, vacuum cleaner, anesthesia, speed limit laws, and color television were all invented in Connecticut.

The World Wrestling Federation is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut.

Connecticut was the first state to issue permanent license plates for cars in 1937. 

Famous folks from or who’ve lived in Connecticut include Katharine Hepburn, Christopher Lloyd, George W. Bush, Michael Bolton, Suzanne Collins, Justin Long, Annie Leibovitz, Meg Ryan, Glenn Close, John Mayer, Karen Carpenter, Ernest Borgnine, Ralph Nader, Paul Giamatti, Seth MacFarlane, P.T. Barnum, Mark McGrath, and Betsey Johnson.     

Noah Webster, author of the first American dictionary published in 1807, was born in West Hartford, Connecticut.

PEZ Candy is manufactured in Orange, Connecticut.

Yale University is ranked as one of the world’s greatest and wealthiest universities.

Cattle branding actually started in Connecticut when farmers were required by law to mark their pigs.

Famous traitor Benedict Arnold was born in Norwich, Connecticut.

To Do & See in Connecticut

The Constitution State may be small in size, but it offers travel nurses and other travel healthcare professionals a bounty of great places to live, work, and play! Connecticut offers seaside splendor, cool city centers, and beautiful countryside spaces, as well as historical attractions, outdoorsy opportunities, great cuisine, and cool culture — making it a lovely place to for your next travel healthcare adventure. 

For city lovers, The Constitution State’s largest cities include Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, and Stamford. But even as the state’s largest city, Bridgeport’s population hovers just under 150k, so it’s a great state for those who prefer small towns and humbly sized cities. (But don’t worry city mice — when you’re in Connecticut you’re never too far from a grand metropolis like NYC and Boston.)

Bridgeport is a historic seaport city where you can explore Seaside Park, Beardsley Zoo, The Barnum Museum, The Discovery Museum and Planetarium, and tons more. New Haven is another fun coastal city to explore and it’s famously the home of Ivy League Yale University. Yale, which was founded in 1701, is a really cool, historic campus to explore, and you’ll also want to check out the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Speaking of history, as the fifth state and one of the original 13 colonies, Connecticut has a ton of interesting historical sites to explore. There’s the Goodspeed Opera House, Mark Twain House and Museum, Gillette Castle State Park, Fort Trumbull State Park, Weir Farm National Historic Site, Olde Mistick Village, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Stonington Lighthouse Center, Castle Craig, and tons more throughout Connecticut’s urban and rural areas.

Connecticut was also heavily featured in two very seminal cultural artifacts: the movie Mystic Pizza and the TV show “Gilmore Girls.” Mystic Pizza, starring Julia Roberts, Lili Taylor, Matt Damon, Annabeth Gish, and Vincent D’Onofrio, was shot largely in Mystic, Stonington, and Groton Connecticut. While the movie came out in 1988, tourists continue to flock to Mystic, Connecticut and the real-life Mystic Pizza restaurant that inspired the movie for their very own “slice of heaven.” And for “Gilmore Girls” fans, while the idyllic Stars Hollow is sadly a fictional town, it was also heavily inspired by real-life Connecticut charm. Showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino was staying at the Mayflower Grace Inn in Washington, Connecticut when she was inspired to create Stars Hollow in its image. Of course, Lorelai and Rory could also often be found downing coffee and chatting feverishly in Hartford and New Haven.         

Hungry from all this history and pop culture? Connecticut’s cuisine will have you licking your chops. From tiny cafes and diners to fine dining foodie hotspots, Connecticut offers a little bit of everything. With its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Connecticut is definitely known for its seafood, including its iconic white clam pizza.While on assignment in Connecticut you can enjoy other iconic faves like steamed cheeseburgers, homemade ice cream and donuts, hot dogs, apple cider, hot lobster rolls, New Haven-style pizza, grinders and sub sandwiches, shad (the state fish) and shad bake, kettle chips, steamer clams, cod and clambakes, historic Yankee fare, and more.Wash it all down with a Foxon Park Soda and you’ll be living like a true Connecticuter!

Ready for your adventure to charming Connecticut?! Search jobs now to find your dream Travel Nurse job in Connecticut! Or, search all jobs here.

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Top Five Workforce Challenges Facing Healthcare Leaders

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Feeling frazzled? Overloaded by administrative paperwork? You’re not alone. In this era of clinician shortages and healthcare reform, healthcare leaders across the nation are all trying to do more with less. Here’s an overview of the top workforce challenges facing healthcare leaders in today’s ever-evolving landscape:

Rising costs:

Labor costs account for more than half of all hospital expenses, and they are expected to grow. In fact, 78% of healthcare executives predict their labor costs will increase in the next 12 months, according to a 2018 Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and Navigant survey. Consequently, healthcare leaders must determine how to control labor costs while also continuing to maintain or improve the quality of patient care.

Shortage of qualified candidates:

Experienced clinicians can be hard to find. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. will need 2.3 million new healthcare workers to help care for a rapidly aging population by 2025. However, due to a persistent shortage of skilled clinicians, hundreds of thousands of these positions will remain unfilled. The shortage is particularly acute in the nursing workforce. The American Nursing Association predicts that 700,000 nurses will leave or retire from the workforce by 2024. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough new nurse graduates to replenish the workforce. A recent American Association of Colleges of Nursing report discovered that more than 56,000 qualified applicants were turned away in 2017 due to a limited supply of nurse educators.

Retention:

Even when healthcare leaders find and hire the right person for the job, it can be difficult to keep them. Nurse turnover is on the rise, and research shows that staffing challenges are partially to blame. The turnover issue comes with a hefty price tag for hospitals already facing financial pressure. A recent study in the Journal of Nursing Administration found that it may cost anywhere from $97,216 to $104,440 to replace a nurse.

Regulatory requirements:

Managing strict guidelines for compliance can be a bit of a juggling act for many healthcare leaders. That’s because there’s a mountain of paperwork needed to ensure each contingent clinician is properly credentialed and has a clean background. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in poor patient care outcomes, fines, or even lawsuits.

Efficiency:

Meanwhile, most healthcare organizations rely on several staffing agencies to fill their open positions. However, this arrangement can become problematic if each agency has different protocols, bill rates, and procedures for invoicing, payroll, and credentialing. When that happens, healthcare leaders can turn to a managed service provider or MSP to help streamline various contingent workforce processes.

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Clinical Corner: Protect Yourself from HIPAA Violations

HIPAA - Clinical Corner: Protect Yourself from HIPAA Violations
Protect yourself — and your patients — from HIPAA violations!

By Laura Friend, Clinical Nurse Manager at Medical Solutions 

I remember a nurse practitioner coming up to me one evening while I was working and saying, “Hey, don’t discharge room 11 yet, I have to print the prescription for her antibiotic.” I replied that I had already sent her home with it. The NP corrected me, saying it was room 10 that I had already sent home. As it turns out, she put the discharge papers and prescription for the patient in room 10 outside of room 11, and the two patients had similar diagnoses both warranting antibiotics. In a hurry, I didn’t double-check the papers with the patient’s name; the discharge teaching and prescription made sense. My heart sunk: This was a HIPPA violation.

As nurses know, HIPAA is short for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a privacy law that protects patients’ medical records and health information. A HIPAA violation occurs when standards are not met and policy is not followed, and it can happen in many ways. It can result in fines, prison time, and/or loss of a health care provider’s license. Facilities offer their employees training opportunities regarding HIPAA in many different forms, multiple times per year. Health care professionals should know the basics of HIPAA — locking computer screens, not discussing health care information with others, and properly disposing of medical records. There are additional ways to protect yourself that may not be as widely known, such as:

  • Do not look up patient records unless you are directly involved in their care. It is a violation to look up a celebrity, VIP, or “unusual case” that may be at your facility. It doesn’t matter if you are curious, spiteful, or even trying to be helpful to a friend or family member — unless you are directly caring for that patient, stay out of their medical record. 
  • No social media posting! You may think that it’s okay to post a picture of an injury or wound if you don’t post the patient’s name. However, people may be able to identify the patient by tattoos or other markings. It’s also possible to violate HIPAA just by posting a vague status about someone for whom you cared. Maybe someone knows you work in trauma and later reads about a shooting that went to your facility. It wouldn’t be too hard to put two and two together. Finally, it is a HIPAA violation to post a selfie with patient, even if you are friends, have built a great rapport, or they give you permission. A good rule of thumb is to keep anything related to patient care off your social media accounts.
  • Be careful discussing medical information with a patient when they have visitors unless they give you permission. You should always ask the patient if they are comfortable discussing their health with others in the room. If they say no, politely escort the guests out before disclosing anything regarding their care.
  • Lastly, be careful when gossiping. We all know nursing is stressful and, at times, even humorous. But please remember that hospitals are busy places — there are always patients, family members, or other employees around. Be mindful of who may be within earshot when you’re talking about patients, no matter what you are saying.

It is crucial to keep patient information private and secure. Complete and stay up do date on annual training. Pay attention to who is around when you’re discussing a patient and do not post about patient care on social media. If you have any questions or concerns regarding HIPAA, please reach out to the Clinical Team at Medical Solutions and know that we are always here to help!

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3 Healthcare Candidate Screening Best Practices

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Finding the right healthcare professional takes time. Teaming up with a healthcare staffing partner can help shorten your time-to-hire without sacrificing quality.

It’s no secret that great patient care starts with excellent healthcare professionals. That’s why a thorough employment screening process is essential to your facility’s hiring success. Consider the following best practices in healthcare employment screening:

Verify employment history and credentials: Performing a background check on each healthcare candidate is a standard step in the hiring process. After all, hiring decisions in both the acute and post-acute care sector can have serious consequences. For example, a healthcare candidate who provides false credentials or has a past negative employment event can risk the safety of your staff and patients, damage your organization’s reputation, and expose your facility to legal complications. For this very reason, many healthcare employers consult with a third party, such as a staffing agency, to help them avoid such hiring mistakes. In fact, most healthcare staffing agencies run background checks on their contingent clinicians before sending a candidate’s profile for consideration. However, not all staffing agencies follow the same screening protocols. So, before you partner with a healthcare staffing agency, find out what their screening process entails.

Maintain compliance: Healthcare organizations must also navigate the maze of healthcare compliance management. Failure to comply with state and federal regulations can result in hefty legal fees and fines. That why it’s a good idea to partner with a staffing company that can conduct initial and ongoing compliance checks for your facility.

Keep the candidate experience in mind: If an HR professional at your facility is manually verifying a candidate’s job history, educational background, professional credentials, while also reviewing several state and federal regulations, it can take weeks to clear an individual for hire. In that time, the healthcare candidate could potentially find and accept a job from a competitor. With today’s tight labor market, the healthcare organization with the most efficient hiring process wins the best and brightest candidates. Fortunately, a healthcare staffing agency can help accelerate your time-to-fill rate by taking on these administrative duties for you.  

Did you know that Medical Solutions provides healthcare facilities and organizations with a comprehensive employment screening process? Contact us today to learn more!   

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Exhausted Nurse in Viral Picture is Celebrated

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Last July, labor and delivery nurse Caty Nixon had an emotional moment after working more than 50 hours in four days — during which she delivered a stillborn baby. She was eating dinner at her twin sister Laura McIntyre’s house when the weight and exhaustion of it all hit her like a ton of bricks.

On October 10, McIntyre posted a photo of that emotional July moment to Facebook with a tribute to her sister’s hard work and selfless nature. The post quickly went viral and to date has been shared more than 133,000 times. In her post McIntyre wrote:

“she’s gonna kill me for this pic, but can we just give it up for nurses for a minute?

caty just wrapped up her fourth shift in a row. that’s around 53+ hours in four days. that’s not including the 1.5 hours she’s in the car each day. she usually doesn’t get a chance to eat lunch or even drink much water. (& she has to dress like a blueberry.. i mean, come on). she is so good at what she does that she often forgets how to take care of herself while she’s taking care of her patients.

this pic is from a night back in july where she came to my house after a particularly hard day. she delivered a stillborn. have you guys ever really thought about what a labor & delivery nurse sees? they see great joy in smooth deliveries & healthy moms & babies. they see panic & anxiety when a new mom is scared. they see fear when a stat c-section is called. they see peace when the mom has support from her family – bc not all new moms do. they see teenagers giving birth. they see an addicted mom give birth to a baby who is withdrawing. they see cps come. they see funeral homes come. did you know that they have to make arrangements for the funeral home to come pick up the baby? i didn’t either.

caty (& all other nurses) – you are SPECIAL. you bless your patients & their families more than you will ever know. thank you for all that you do.” 

Wow, does that speak to the magic and importance of what nurses everywhere do! A lot of nurses saw themselves in this and so did many families whose lives have been deeply impacted by nurse service and excellence.    

“Any kind of fetal loss is hard, especially for the family, but also for the staff,” Nixon told TIME magazine in October 2019. “I think it’s the worst thing that a family could go through.”

However, Nixon was also quick to note that her job is usually quite happy despite the long hours, but that the moment her sister captured was just “after a long, heartbreaking day.”

Nixon and McIntyre were both surprised by the viral reaction that provoked such an outpouring of love and support from fellow nurses and other healthcare professionals, former patients, and even complete strangers. Nixon was even celebrated this week on “Good Morning America” — check out this video where her sister and husband help surprise her:

I feel like this honor is symbolically for every single RN, allied health professional, and long-term care health professional — because all of you work tirelessly with rare bathroom and hydration breaks, among other stresses, to provide incredible patient care.  

In fact, Nixon told TIME that’s she touched by the reaction and hopes her viral moment helps people realize that she’s not alone in her dedication.   

“There are caregivers everywhere. Not just nurses, but firefighters and first responders and parents,” Nixon told TIME. “There are people everywhere that give love.”

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Congrats to August 2019’s Traveler of the Month and Rising Star!

Janae C RS
Congrats to August 2019 Traveler of the Month, Susan D., and Rising Star, Janae C. (pictured)!

Many thanks and congrats to the August 2019 Traveler of the Month, Susan D., and also our Rising Star winner, Janae C.!

Traveler of the Month Susan is an OB Tech who’s currently on assignment in Flint, Michigan.

Since February 2019, Susan’s been working with Career Consultant Anna Howell, who had great things to say about her.

“I love Susan’s bubbly personality — she is always happy when I speak with her. She has a great work ethic, is a hard worker, and a team player,” says Anna.

Thank you for your great work, Susan, and congrats!

Rising Star Janae is a critical care ICU RN who’s currently assignment in Houston, Texas. She’s been in nursing for about six years, traveling for about six months, and she works with Career Consultant Billy Malcom.  

While her current assignment is her first outside of her home state, so she doesn’t have a favorite location yet, Janae says she is “enjoying a routine that is outside of my normality.”

One of Janae’s unique abilities is resilience, which she says has shaped her as person.

“My parents taught me to never give up and if I start something I have to see it through to the end,” she says. “This may not seem very unique, but because of this quality, I am who I am today and it’s what I attribute most of my blessings to.” 

Janae decided to try travel nursing to push herself and further develop her skill set.

“I find that the best thing about travel nursing is applying my skills that I’ve learned so far in new situations and proving myself competent,” she says. “I felt that I’d obtained fairly enough knowledge to be an efficient travel nurse and it was time to push and challenge myself!”

Janae shared some really great traveler tips — for new or aspiring traveling healthcare professionals.

“Be yourself! Don’t change how you nurse because you are somewhere new. If you’re a great nurse at one place, continue to be that same nurse someplace else. Your effort will speak for itself! Second, being able to adapt and being open to change is important. My desire for new challenges makes traveling exciting for me no matter the circumstances. Make sure you know exactly why you decided to travel and let that desire be your driving force to be the best travel nurse you can be.”

Thank you for your incredible dedication to patient care and awesome advice, Janae!

Congratulations again to the Medical Solutions August 2019 Traveler of the Month and Rising Star. Susan and Janae, we are so thankful to each of you for your incredible work!

Could you be the next Medical Solutions Traveler of the Month or Rising Star? Travelers who receive a perfect hospital evaluation are eligible to win these monthly awards — with Rising Star going to newer Medical Solutions Travelers. Click here to learn more and to see if you could be the next winner of a $100 Visa or Amazon gift card as recognition for a job well done!

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Top Tips for Hiring in Long-term Care

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Say hello to experienced candidates with these helpful hiring practices.

Thanks to the nationwide nursing shortage, it takes substantial time and effort to find, recruit, and hire the ideal healthcare professional, especially in the post-acute care sector. With that in mind, our team at Medical Solutions would like to offer the following advice for hiring in this special niche.

Interview with cultural fit in mind: It’s no secret that providing long-term care requires a certain temperament and skill set. These clinicians mostly care for an elderly population, so that means the job calls for individuals who are familiar with end of life care, have the ability to handle grief and loss, and can manage the job’s often demanding physical needs. To address this, you should have an extensive behavioral interview process that goes through certain scenarios. Additionally, it’s a good idea to ask the same questions multiple times throughout the interview to gauge how well they can handle repetition. Clearly, if the interviewee becomes easily frustrated answering the same questions, he or she might not be the right fit. After all, the individual may easily have to repeat instructions to an Alzheimer’s patient.

Set up a recruitment pipeline: Partner with a university or nursing school that can help you find and educate students and new grads on the benefits of working in the senior care space. If a local nursing school partnership isn’t an option, you can also enlist the services of a staffing agency. For example, Medical Solutions has recruiting experts on board who can help you quickly find the post-acute clinicians you need.

Don’t forget about employer branding and the candidate experience: In today’s digital world, it’s no longer enough to simply post a job and let the applications roll in. You need to find out what sets your healthcare organization apart and advertise that in the right spaces. For example, social media ads are one such way to attract and direct job seekers to your healthcare organization’s website. Then, make sure these candidates can easily and quickly apply for your open positions. If your online application process is too difficult, they’ll stop half-way through and leave your site.

Did we miss any other pro tips for hiring in long-term care? Let us know what works for you and your healthcare organization in the comments below!  

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4 Habits of a Successful Interim Nurse Leader

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Interim nurse leaders must act quickly and decisively, boost confidence among staff, and plan purposefully.

Your long-term care facility needs an interim nurse leader. Now what? As you begin your search, you should know that an interim nurse leader is not the same as a permanent nurse leader, even though they’ll have similar skills. An interim nurse leader must act quickly and decisively, boost confidence among staff, and plan purposefully. When they do, the permanent nurse leader can seamlessly step in with a strategy already in place. With that in mind, you should consider the following four habits all successful interim nurse leaders have in common:

Builds relationships: Whether permanent or temporary, great leaders know that connecting with people is at the heart of what they do. When you start looking for an interim nurse leader, keep in mind you need someone with great people skills. A temporary leader must be able to bring people together and move forward in times of uncertainty.

Understands context: A successful temporary nurse leader must also understand the nature of their role. Sometimes, an interim position can mean “hold-down-the-fort-until-we-find-the-right-person” while other times, the temporary role could become permanent. Either way, an interim leader must be able to read between the lines and adopt the right attitude for the job.   

Thinks strategically: Interim nurse leaders have the opportunity to improve an organization’s overall productivity, but they must be strategic. An experienced interim leader knows which changes need to happen today and which ones can wait. After all, it’s part of his or her job to establish short-term goals for the team and recommend a long-term strategy for the future, permanent nurse leader.

Acts decisively: Since their roles are only temporary, skilled interim nurse leaders must hit the ground running. And that’s because nothing stops productivity in its tracks like indecisiveness. A successful interim nurse leader will make decisions as if the job were already theirs, and then explain the rationale behind those decisions to their staff. In the process, they’ll bring stability to the team during a transitional time.

Are you looking for an interim nurse leader? Medical Solutions helps post-acute care facilities fill leadership vacancies with the right interim leaders. Contact us today to learn more!

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Clinical Corner: Working in Various Types of Long-term Care Nursing Facilities

Long-term care
It may take different levels of skills and experience to work in various types of long-term care nursing facilities — but it takes a big heart across the board to serve long-term care patients!

By Melissa Nguyen, Clinical Nurse Manager at Medical Solutions

While visiting my grandmother in a long-term care facility, I saw a handwritten sign on the employee lounge door that caught my attention. It read: “Our residents do not live in our workplace, we work in their home.”

This simple yet meaningful message really changed the way I looked at long-term care nursing — especially now that my grandmother was a resident. Most of her fellow residents were spending their final days, months, or years with healthcare professionals who were understaffed and underappreciated. Some residents never had visitors, some had family members regularly dissatisfied with their loved one’s care, and some wanted nothing more than for someone to just hold their hand. Each resident had a unique story and their nurses played an essential role in that story.   

Prior to working as a Clinical Nurse Manager at Medical Solutions, I did not realize there were differences in the types of long-term care facilities. Now I know there are skilled nursing facilities (SNF), long-term care (LTC), long-term acute care (LTAC), and assisted living facilities (ALF).

So, how are these various long-term care facilities different? And what type of experience should a travel nurse or allied health traveler have to successfully work in each specific type of long-term care facility? Read the following examples to learn more about the variety in long-term care facilities and what skills you’d need to succeed in each setting.

Mrs. Smith’s Case

Mrs. Smith is a 76-year-old recently diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s. Until recently, she’s been able to bathe and dress, make herself meals, and take all her prescribed medications as directed. Over the past few weeks, her daughter noticed Mrs. Smith forgetting to take her blood pressure medication and frequently skipping meals. 

Assisted living facility (ALF)

Mrs. Smith qualifies for assisted living because she is unable to safely live alone but does not require heavy nursing needs (such as wound care or IV medications). Assisted living will help Mrs. Smith stay on track with her medications and provide meal services every day.

Travelers — whether RNs or allied health professionals — interested in working in an assisted living facility would need basic knowledge of medication administration, the ability to obtain vital signs, and the ability to obtain labs. 

Skilled nursing facility (SNF)/long-term care (LTC)

Several months after moving to an assisted living facility, Mrs. Smith falls and breaks her leg. She goes to the hospital where she has surgery, however, she now needs assistance with dressing changes for her post-surgical site as well as rehabilitative services. She is discharged to a skilled nursing facility (SNF), where nursing staff will administer her medication and complete her dressing changes. She will also receive physical therapy and occupational therapy services. After several weeks, Mrs. Smith’s surgical wound has healed and she has completed her physical and occupational therapy, but she still requires assistance with mobility and taking medications. She is now transferred to the long-term care (LTC) side of the facility where nurses will help bathe and dress her, administer medications, and transfer her safely in and out of bed.

Travel nurses interested in working in SNF/LTC must have experience working in SNF/LTC with higher ratios than what is normally seen in acute care. It is not uncommon for an SNF/LTC RN to have a 1:20 ratio or higher. Nurses who have only worked acute care are generally not successful as they may struggle with higher ratios than what they are used to. 

Mr. Jones’ Case

Mr. Jones is a 50-year-old man who was admitted to the hospital after a 1,000-pound tree fell and crushed him. He suffered multiple broken bones, a collapsed lung, and a bruised heart. After several days, he stabilized, but required a tracheostomy and remained on the ventilator. 

Long-term acute care (LTAC) ICU

Mr. Jones’s injuries were healing, however, he needed to be weaned off the ventilator. He still needed intensive therapy to build strength and to learn how to breathe, talk, and walk again. He is transferred to a long-term acute care ICU where he begins the process of weaning off the ventilator.

Travel nurses interested in working in LTAC ICU must have experience working specifically in LTAC ICUs. Nurses who have only worked in an acute care hospital ICU are generally not successful as they struggle with the ratios in LTAC ICU (which often carry high acuity patient ratios of four or more). Nurses who have worked stepdown in an acute care facility may be considered if they have ventilator experience. Nurses who have only worked LTC would not be considered good candidates for this position as they do not have experience with acuity levels of LTAC patients. 

Long-term acute care (LTAC) med-surg

Mr. Jones has been successfully weaned off the ventilator and moved to the LTAC med-surg floor. He still requires IV antibiotics and frequent dressing changes for his wounds. In addition, he will continue intensive therapy learning how to walk, talk, and eat on his own. Travel nurses interested in working LTAC med-surg must have either worked in an LTAC med-surg unit in the past or have worked stepdown/tele, med-surg or float pool in an acute care facility and have experience taking ratios of at least 1:5. Nurses who have only worked LTC would not be considered good candidates for this position as they do not have experience with acuity levels of LTAC patients.

As the United States population ages, there will be a higher demand for long-term care and long-term acute care nurses. It is a specialty that comes with its set of challenges, but that equally has its rewards. For many residents, it is their final journey in life and as nurses, we can make a lasting impact on how their final chapter ends. As Maya Angelou famously said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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Save the Date for Open Enrollment 2019!

Open Enrollment
Save the Date for Medical Solutions open enrollment, October 27-November 9!

The fall season means that many beloved favorites come back around: boots and sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, football, TV premieres, and everybody’s favorite — open enrollment for benefits!

In that spirit, please save the date for Medical Solutions open enrollment, which will run October 27-November 9, 2019.

During this open enrollment, you can make any changes you’d like to your elections for the 2020 plan year.

You do not need to take any action right now — this is just a heads up that open enrollment is coming soon. Current Medical Travelers will receive email communications with more information about next steps closer to the beginning of open enrollment.

It really is a great time of year to empower yourself to make any necessary changes to your benefits elections. In the meantime, click here to explore Medical Solutions’ benefits, or, feel free to ask your Career Consultant any questions!