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Clinical Corner: Assignment Safety

Safety First - Clinical Corner: Assignment Safety
Keeping yourself, your patients, and your license safe while Travel Nursing is essential your success!

By Phil Niles, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions

The ratios are too high, the hospital is too busy, and there isn’t any help! What do I do?!

As a Traveler, you may have felt these sentiments or even voiced them. Feeling unsafe on assignment is a scary experience — and that can be especially true in a new hospital where you really don’t know anyone. Who do you turn to for support in that situation? Because every scenario is different, there are no black and white answers, but let’s look at some assignment safety concerns commonly reported by nurses and how you can best address them.

Ratios

Many nurses report being “out of ratio” or facing high ratios. What exactly is high?  Well, it really comes down to what the nurse’s experience is and what their expectations are of a hospital. California is the only state with nurse:patient ratio laws. Med-surg, for instance is a 1:5 ratio there, but this ratio could be much different elsewhere in the country. Some states see up to 1:7-8 ratios and more!

So, what is “unsafe”? Well, one common average is 1:6 on a med-surg floor. If a Traveler comes from California and starts an assignment on the east coast, they could suddenly see 1:7 ratios when they are used to seeing 1:5. This is a drastic difference.  The nurse could suddenly feel overwhelmed and unable to meet the needs of the patients. Their expectation of the position may have been unrealistic as well. 

Perpetually Short-staffed Units

Another common complaint is that a unit consistently does not have enough staff to care for the patients on the floor, causing higher ratios as well. Most Travel Nurse positions exist because a hospital recognizes that there’s a critical shortage of nurses on their floors. So, travel assignments will often be short-staffed due to the nature of the work. However, makes a big difference whether or not a hospital is actively seeking new permanent employees and/or Travelers to fill its gaps.

It’s important to do your research before accepting a position. Ask why they have a travel need when interviewing. This is a great way to get more information about this area. Even gauging how the interviewer answers the question will give you insight.

Being Asked to Take Patients Outside Your Skill Set and Comfort Level

This is a very serious situation. Travelers asked to take patients outside their skill set often feel like they have to — to keep their job and stay in good standing with their travel company. But hear this: No nurse should be forced into taking an assignment outside of their ability! Travelers must be vocal when this issue arises and calmly state the reasons they cannot accept a patient assignment. The worst thing you can do is blindly accept this kind of assignment and hope to “fake it, ’til you make it.” Be professional but be firm. Always know that anything that happens with the patient under your care will be your responsibility and under your license. Continue to take the issue up the chain of command if the hospital is adamant. Also, contact your recruiter! Many travel companies — including Medical Solutions — have in-house clinical staff that can be your advocate in the field. Find out if you have this resource when before you accept an assignment with a company.

Being Asked to Cut Corners Because “That’s How it’s Done Here”

There are no circumstances where it’s acceptable to do anything outside of the standards of practice set forth by Joint Commission standards and state laws. A commonly reported situation is perm staff telling a Traveler that a physician does not like to be called at night. So, they just order labs and the physician signs it the next day. This is never acceptable, unless there is a protocol order signed by the physician in the chart already. Always call the physician. Will they be upset? Probably. But this is better than ordering something without an official physician’s order and having a complaint sent to the BON on you practicing out of scope. The core staff will do what they do, but don’t assume that risk yourself just because everyone else is doing it!

There are several other issues that Travelers tend to report as unsafe, and many of them are valid. Overall, what can you do to protect yourself?

Ask more questions. If the manager says their ratio is 1:5, but sometimes can be 6-7, then ask how often someone on the floor carries more than six patients. If the manager says Travelers float, then ask if they float round-robin with the staff or if they float first. Ask if floating mid-shift or more than once per shift is common. Ask where they expect travelers to float. It is never out of line to ask questions during an interview. 

Also, take a personal inventory and know your expectations of each assignment. If your expectations don’t align with what the hospital expects, then it may not be a good fit. Trust your instincts! 

Lastly, talk to your travel company and have them work for you! Get enough information about an assignment from your recruiter before an interview so you can make an informed decision and be prepared to discuss any questions you have.

Traveling is an amazing experience, and you can make sure that it is just that and no less for you. Get answers to your questions, clarify your expectations, and find that perfect match!

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Experienced Nurses Needed for SeriousFun Camps!

Looking for something incredible to do with your nursing skills this summer? You’re in luck, because Medical Solutions is expanding our partnership with Roundup River Ranch to include two more incredible SeriousFun camps!

RRR logo[1]

In 2019, we are partnering with SeriousFun to help staff nurses for:

  • Roundup River Ranch, located in gorgeous Gypsum, Colorado, just 45 minutes west of Vail. 
  • Camp Boggy Creek, located in sunny Eustis, Florida, just 45 minutes north of Orlando. 
  • The Painted Turtle, located in beautiful Lake Hughes, California, just 45 minutes north of Los Angeles.

Each camp seeks three RNs for a paid assignment, including free food and housing, running from early May through the end of August. Ideal candidates for these positions are ER nurses with pediatric experience, PICU experience, or at least one year of recent pediatric experience.

rsz the painted turtle - Experienced Nurses Needed for SeriousFun Camps!

SeriousFun offers camps for children with serious illnesses that allow them a retreat from being a patient and an important chance to be a kid, have fun, enjoy new experiences, make friends, and benefit from the immeasurable healing power of happiness. Even better, SeriousFun provides this amazing experience free of charge — and they depend on excellent staff and volunteers to make that possible.

rsz camp boggy creek - Experienced Nurses Needed for SeriousFun Camps!

Click here to check out camp diaries from previous Medical Solutions Travelers who’ve gone back to camp. They’ve each had a life-changing experience!

If you’re an ER nurse with pediatric experience or a nurse with PICU experience or at least one year of recent pediatric experience who wants to be a part of this amazing effort — while also treating yourself to a sweet summer location and rewarding camp experience — please contact Kelly at kelly.grubb@medicalsolutions.com or 402.986.5124.

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7 Wonderful Winter Locations for Travel Nurse Jobs

Winter Fun Woman
Where do you want to land a Travel Nursing job this winter?

With winter’s chill settled in and a new year on the horizon, now is the perfect time to explore options for your next adventure in Travel Nursing. Whether you want to embrace the colder months in all their frosty glory or you prefer to hightail it somewhere warm until spring comes, there are lots of great locations for you to choose from. As your brainstorm your next move, we suggest these 7 wonderful winter locations for Travel Nurse jobs.

Hawaii

Hawaii

Spending time in The Aloha State is but a pipe dream to many — however, for Travelers, it’s not so hard to make it a dream come true! With balmy year-round temps and hundreds of miles of coastline, Hawaii is the perfect place for a winter assignment that lets you totally ignore the existence of snow and completely reject hats and gloves in favor of swimsuits and sandals. In otherworldly Hawaii, you can explore golden sands, clear waters, exciting volcanoes, rugged landscapes, gorgeous tropical foliage, island traditions, delicious seafood, and so much more.   

Click here to explore jobs in heavenly Hawaii!

Virginia

Virginia is for Lovers, state motto and welcome sign

Virginia is for lovers — and its winters are beloved by Travelers! Check into a cozy cabin, hit the slopes, or visit one of the state’s 230+ wineries to get that warm, fuzzy feeling. For some winter wildlife, check out the adorable harbor seals at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Explore Virginia’s rich history at First Landing State Park (where the Jamestown colonists landed in 1607) and historic Jamestown, Mount Vernon, Wilderness Road State Park, and Colonial Williamsburg. Warm up and chill out at the famous Jefferson Pools — naturally occurring hot springs famous for the fact that Thomas Jefferson visited in 1818 and loved them so much he didn’t leave for three weeks straight! Click here to learn more about The Old Dominion State in our Virginia State Spotlight.

Click here to find your dream Travel Nurse job in Virginia.

Texas

Texas Woman Paddleboard 1 - 7 Wonderful Winter Locations for Travel Nurse Jobs
A beautiful young adult woman enjoys a peaceful moment on the water with her paddle board and faithful pet dog. The sun illuminates the scene, casting a golden glow. Shot in Austin, Texas, USA.

They say “Don’t mess with Texas,” but many Travel Nurses have absolutely loved their dalliances with The Lone Star State! From its large selection of Travel Nursing job opportunities to its ample choices for activities on your days off, Texas is a great place to land for a travel job. The temps in winter stay pretty warm here, so if winter’s not your thing, Texas just might be! Don’t forget The Alamo — not to mention wonderfully weird Austin, the San Antonio boardwalk, Houston Space Center, Padre Island, and hoppin’ urban spots like Houston and Dallas. Shopping, pro sports, museums, history, and dining are all on point in this great state as well!   

Click here to mess with Texas and find your perfect Travel Nurse job there.

California

Couple with dog skating outdoors

When it comes to Travel Nursing jobs, Cali is the year-round king. The Golden State always has lots of great Travel Nurse opportunities due to its ahead-of-the-curve staffing laws. Plus, it’s a gorgeous, diverse place that many Travelers quite enjoy calling their home for 13 weeks at a time. California has a very wide range of options in everything from landscape to activities. From skiing, surfing, hiking, and climbing to shopping, spas, sightseeing, and wine tastings, this state is a true crowd-pleaser. Learn more about this fabulous state in our California State Spotlight.   

Click here to check out California Travel Nursing jobs.

Arizona

Horseshoe Bend (Arizona)

The Grand Canyon State is a super popular destination for wintertime Travel Nursing due to its abundant natural beauty and mild winters. It also helps that a shifting population of sunbirds, among other things, means a high inventory of awesome job opportunities. One of the nation’s most marvelous sights, The Grand Canyon, is a huge draw year-round, and there’s plenty more to see and do in this southwestern state. Explore Horseshoe Bend, Red Rock Scenic Canyon, and Desert Botanical Garden. Plus, even though it does remain mild in winter, Arizona offers skiers plenty to do in the snowy peaks of Flagstaff’s Snowbowl. Click here to learn more about The Grand Canyon State in our Arizona State Spotlight.    

Click here to explore Travel Nursing jobs in Arizona.

New York

Central Park ice rink

The colder months are a great time to take a bite out of the Big Apple. Exploring incredible art museums, taking in a Broadway show, and warming up with world-class cuisine, are just a few reasons why New York is a fabulous place to embrace the winter season. If you want to get outdoors, lace up for an adventure at one of the city’s seasonal ice-skating rinks, including those hosted in Bryant Park, Van Cortland Park, and Central Park — all of which are also great choices for grabbing a thermos full of warm drink and going on a winter wonderland walk. Want to escape the concrete jungle? Head to the Catskills for a ski getaway! Click here to learn more about The Empire State in our New York State Spotlight.

Click here to check out New York Travel Nursing jobs.

Colorado

Colorado Ski

If you love winter and want to indulge in all of its snowy glory, Colorado is a fabulous choice for a winter location. The state is well-known for some of the nation’s best skiing in spots like Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Telluride, and Steamboat Springs. You can also hit the slopes on a snowboard or tube, or — my personal favorite — stay in the lodge and sip spiked cocoa all day! Winter carnivals are a good way to heat things up, from Steamboat Springs’ 104-year-old Winter Carnival to Breckenridge’s Ullr Fest. Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and other city centers offer great art, exciting culture, delicious food, and more urban delights year-round. Click here to learn more about The Centennial State in our Colorado State Spotlight.

Click here to explore Colorado Travel Nursing jobs.

Did we miss your dream winter location? Click here to search Travel Nursing jobs by job title, specialty, and/or state!

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State Spotlight: Oregon

Oregon Columbia River Gorge
Outstanding Oregon is a gorgeous place for your next Travel Nurse adventure!

This month’s State Spotlight takes us to outstanding Oregon! The Beaver State is known for its breathtaking landscapes, unique creative culture, world-class wineries, and so much more. There’s also an abundance of lucrative, resume-building Travel Nurse jobs in this majestic state. Read on to learn more about why Travel Nursing in Oregon is A-OK in a magical way!

Travel Nursing in Oregon

Oregon Stamp

Oregon is a fantastic place for Travelers to take an assignment. In The Beaver State you will never be bored on your days off and you’ll enjoy access to lots of amazing career opportunities at top-notch Traveler-friendly hospitals.

Oregon is home to about 65 hospitals — 10 of which meet high enough standards to be ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s 2018/2019 Best Hospitals list. That includes their #1-ranked Oregon hospital, OHSU Hospital in Portland, which is nationally ranked in six specialties and seven children’s specialties, in addition to being ranked “High Performing” in five adult specialties and eight procedures/conditions. Rounding out the top five overall best hospitals in Oregon are: Portland’s Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Portland’s Providence Portland Medical Center, Salem’s Salem Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas.   

U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 “Best States” ranked Oregon #16 overall, as well as #6 for economy and #3 for infrastructure. The publication also named Portland, Oregon #6 on its 2018 list of “Best Places to Live.”

As for licensing, Oregon 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 Oregon.

Oregon Fast Facts

State Nickname: The Beaver State

Capital: Salem

Largest City: Portland

Oregon Lighthouse

National Parks: 5

State Parks: 255

National Historic and Natural Landmarks: 28

State Motto: “She flies with her own wings” 

State Flower: Oregon Grape

State Tree: Douglas Fir

State Fish: Chinook Salmon

State Animal: American Beaver

State Rock: Thunder-egg (geode)

State Gem: Oregon sunstone

Oregon was the 33rd state.

Oregon’s is the only U.S. state flag with different designs on each side.

Portland, Oregon has more breweries within its city limits than any other city in the world.    

Oregon’s Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the nation. It formed more than 6,500 years ago inside the remains of an ancient volcano!

Eugene, Oregon was the first city to have one-way streets.

Marionberries, the Nike swoosh, Pendleton blankets, the first Wiki site, American-style Maraschino cherries, the computer mouse, hacky sacks, erector sets, spikeless track shoes, the Leatherman, Rogue Ales (and SO many other beers), Tillamook Cheese, and the Coolest cooler (a tricked out cooler with a blender, stereo, USB charging port, and more!) were all invented in or originated in Oregon!

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Oregon is home to the most ghost towns in the United States.

Oregon’s Tillamook Cheese Factory is the largest cheese factory in the world, yielding delicious results for cheese-lovers.

The D River in Lincoln City, Oregon is one of the world’s shortest rivers at a mere 121 feet.

On the other hand, The Beaver State’s Hells Canyon clocks in as the deepest river gorge in North America at a whopping 8,000 feet deep.

Oregon is the only state with an official state nut. The nut in question? The humble hazelnut!

Nike, originally called Blue Ribbon Sports, was started in Oregon. PSU student Carolyn Davidson designed Nike’s iconic swoosh in 1971 and sold it to the company for just $35!

Until January 2018, Oregon was one of only two U.S. states without self-serve gas stations. While Oregon now allows patrons to pump their own gas only at stand-alone stations in counties with less 40,000 residents, New Jersey is still holding out!

Calling all winos! Oregon is home to more than 750 vineyards.  

Way back in 1973, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize marijuana. It followed up in 2014 by becoming one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana.  

Famous folks from or who’ve lived in Louisiana include Tonya Harding, Ty Burrell, Lisa Rinna, Kathleen Hanna, Howard Hesseman, Isaiah Mustafa, River Phoenix, Holly Madison, Steve Prefontaine, Beverly Clearly, Clark Gable, Matthew Fox, Ginger Rogers, Kim Novak, Courtney Love, Ken Kesey, Jon Heder, Phil Knight, Raymond Carver, Tommy Thayer, Dorothy McCullough, and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.     

When naming the city of Portland, the odds were 50-50 and decided by a coin toss. If the coin had landed the other way Portland would be called Boston!

The biggest mushroom on Earth — a honey fungus spanning more than two miles — resides in Oregon’s Blue Mountains. It’s believed to be thousands of years old.

If you didn’t know, the dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland! In addition to the popular TV show “Portlandia,” The Goonies and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest were set and filmed in Oregon.  

The world’s tallest barber pole stands 72-feet high and resides in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Oregon has nine beautiful lighthouses along its coastline.

Mount Hood, a dormant volcano, is Oregon’s highest peak at 11,239 feet tall.

Oregon’s largest state park, Silver Falls State Park, boasts 10 waterfalls.

To Do & See in Oregon

Iconic Portland, Oregon Old Town sign with an outline of Oregon and a stag

From breathtaking natural sights to quirky urban areas, The Beaver State is a magical playground for Travel Nurses! The state offers a diverse landscape of mountains, forest, and beaches, as well as world-class wine, craft beer, incredible dining, and stimulating culture — making Oregon a wonderful place to embark on your next Travel Nurse journey! 

For city lovers, The Beaver State’s largest cities include Portland, Salem, Eugene, Gresham, Beaverton, and Bend. As you have heard via TV’s “Portlandia,” the dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland — but that’s not all that make it a great place to take an assignment or a day trip. Where else can you visit Forest Park — the largest park in city limits in the U.S. and the world’s smallest park, Mill’s End Park, which is a wee spot on a median?! You will also definitely want to check out Powell’s Books, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, the Portland Mercado, Portland Art Museum, Portland Japanese Gardens, Multnomah Falls, Voodoo Doughnut, Washington Park, Pittock Mansion, Portland Saturday Market, Hoyt Arboretum, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, gigantic Paul Bunyan, and so many more incredible spots. Craft beer lovers and wine aficionados will feel pampered with the many offerings here as well!     

Oregon Crater Lake

Outside of the big city, adventurers will want to check out Cannon Beach — which many will recognize from The Goonies, The Oregon Vortex and House of Mystery in Gold Hill, The Enchanted Forest near Salem, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Astoria, the Willamette Valley, and so many more.

For those who love the great outdoors, get ready to fall hard for Oregon. The Beaver State is known for its almost otherworldly natural beauty. To experience this, check out places like Crater Lake National Park, Cascades Lake Scenic Byway, Mount Hood, Hells Canyon Recreational Area, Yachats, Wallowa Lake, Columbia River Gorge, Greenwood Poplar Tree Farm, Thor’s Well, The Painted Hills and the John Day Fossil Beds, Natural Bridges, Deschutes River, and Dee Wright Observatory, to name a few.

If you like to eat you will LOVE Oregon!The farm-to-table restaurant scene is a big deal here, resulting in incredible dining options, and the state is also known for its fresh seafood and unique regional favorites. While on assignment in Oregon enjoy iconic faves like marionberry pie, Dungeness crab, Moonstruck Chocolates, hazelnuts, Tillamook Cheese, Vietnamese chicken wings, Salt & Straw Ice Cream, Voodoo Doughnuts, tater tots, Tofurky, steamer clams, salmon, wild mushrooms, fish & chips, and oysters. Wash it all down with a piping-hot Stumptown Coffee, and ice-cold Rouge Ale, or a fine Oregon Pinot and you’ll be living like a true Oregonian!

Ready for your adventure to outstanding Oregon?!

Search jobs now to find your dream Travel Nurse job in Oregon!
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Clinical Corner: Viva La Resolution!

A cup of coffee and notepad on white wooden table.

By Phil Niles, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions

It’s nearly a new year and many of us will soon be seeking paths that lead to self-improvement through resolutions. Lose all the weight! Write a book! Learn to play the guitar and become a STAR!

A new year brings hope for positive change and the drive to get started. I feel this hope and drive at the end of each year, yet almost every new year I abandon my goal in the first month and don’t follow through — and I’m not alone. Statistically, one in two people will make a New Year’s resolution at the start of 2019, but only one in 10 will succeed at upholding their resolution for at least a year. 

My past resolutions have included learning to play the guitar, speaking fluent Spanish, getting out of debt, and, of course, the ol’ tried and true lose weight and get fit.  Unfortunately, I am not a world-famous guitarist (but I now own two cool guitars), I speak only broken, butchered Spanish — finding myself asking for a goat with fancy socks when I wanted a burger with fries, and I also continue to have a fan club of creditors that check in on me monthly.

However, in 2018 I did make a resolution to get to the gym on the regular. At the time, I was fairly active but only sporadically and it involved mountain biking chased by a couple beers afterwards. My initial goal in 2018 was to leave work at lunch, go to the gym, and walk on the treadmill every day. To my great surprise, I kept it up! I even started mixing in running intervals with the Couch To 10K app, and soon I was running more than walking.

Then I started talking to a trainer at the gym.  He asked me what my goals were, and I realistically replied, “To build enough strength to carry in groceries for my wife without groaning. She would be so impressed with my incredible ability!” We high-fived and came up with a plan to achieve this. At first, I thought he was trying to find ways to keep my body in a continual state of pain and suffering, but I stuck with it and slowly saw improvement and positive change. That was eight months ago. 

Now, I’m not the perfect example of how to create positive change, but as we’re all creating our 2019 resolutions, I want to share some tips with you on how I stuck with my resolution and met my goals — because I know you can do it too! 

Don’t try to climb the tallest mountain on day one. 

The most important advice I can give is to start with a goal that’s modest and attainable. Start by forming a habit that you can easily repeat week to week. I started by going to the gym and walking the treadmill at lunch four times a week. Some weeks I went all five workdays, some I only made it twice, and I was OK with that. The main thing was that I was going! It’s said that you need to continue a new activity for at least two weeks solid to make it a habit. I laid this groundwork and then when I felt ready built on that habit and set new goals. 

Turn frustration into motivation.

Everything did not go perfectly. I had setbacks, like pulled muscles, illness, and the unpredictability of life. But I made a point not to get discouraged or frustrated. I picked up where I left off and even took a step back to be sure I didn’t overdo anything. I also did not weigh myself often or diligently document weight training progress. I would hop on the scale every month or so, but I didn’t use this as the only measure of success or failure. Remember, this is about positive change, not just losing weight or getting stronger — it is about feeling better! Milestones are important to monitor, but they do not define your success. 

Be flexible. 

So, let’s say you didn’t get through your workout this week … END OF THE WORLD! WHY AM I EVEN TRYING? LIGHT ALL THE THINGS ON FIRE! Life is not always going to cooperate with your plans. Accept that this will happen and roll with the punches.  Incorporate whatever is blocking you into a challenge and make new goals. Always remember that YOU are in charge of what happens to you, not a hard workout, not discouraging remarks from others. Value yourself and be proud of what you have done to improve your life. To channel the wise, wonderful Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Make that change and have a great 2019!

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Congrats to October 2018’s Traveler of the Month and Rising Star!

Laura M TotM 2

Congrats to October Traveler of the Month, Laura M.!

Many thanks and congrats to the October 2018 Traveler of the Month, Laura M., and also our Rising Star winner, Elizabeth L.!

Traveler of the Month Laura is an RN, BSN specializing in neonatal ICU, currently on assignment in Boston, Massachusetts. She’s been in nursing for nearly seven years and works with Career Consultant Wade Tatem. Laura has also previously worked in med surg and labor & delivery. She traveled with Medical Solutions a few years back as an L&D nurse, went perm for a bit, switched to NICU, and returned to Travel Nursing in August 2018.

Laura M TotM

Laura travels with her cutie-pie pup, Hank.

Laura travels with her adorable one-year-old pup, Hank.

“It’s always nice to come home to him,” says Laura. “He makes sure that we get outside wherever we are and find new places to walk and hike.”

In addition to traveling, Laura loves to sew and knit.

“I don’t sew so much when I travel — too much stuff to drag around — but now that it’s winter, I can’t wait to knit some warm hats for Christmas and for the little babies at work!”

Laura loves Travel Nursing because of the potential to see so many different places while not having to “worry about the job part!”

“Traveling, even for this short time, has helped me develop so much as a person and a nurse. Being forced out of your comfort zone is how people grow,” she says. “I was just in Delaware and really enjoyed it. I was near Philly and Baltimore to go sight-see and not far from the beach, which I love. I made some really good friends there as well.”

Laura shared a few great tips for new and aspiring Travelers:

  1. “Be flexible! It’s actually something I have to remind myself of a lot — whether it’s with housing, learning the unit, or just figuring out your new routine in a new city.”
  2. “Leave lots of time to get where you need to go and do a test drive to the hospital. Figure out parking, coffee on the way, etc., before your first day.”
  3. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You don’t want to make a mistake because you made an assumption. Every place does things a little different.”

Thanks so much for your great work ethic and awesome advice, Laura!

ElizabethL2

Congrats to October Rising Star, Elizabeth!

Rising Star Elizabeth is a cardiac progressive care RN who’s been in nursing for three years and traveling since March 2018. She’s currently on assignment in Cookeville, Tennessee and works with Career Consultant Megan Gerwick.

Elizabeth L

Elizabeth travel with her husband and two-year-old daughter.

Nursing is Elizabeth’s second career. She has a degree in Athletic Training and worked in that field for about five years before going back to school for her BSN. She travels with her husband and two-year-old daughter.

“I wouldn’t be able to do this if they didn’t come with me — I don’t know how most Travelers are able to be away from family like they are,” says Elizabeth. “My husband is a stay-at-home dad, so he watches our daughter on the days I work and then we get to go explore and have adventures all together on my days off!”

Of the two locations she’s worked thus far, Elizabeth says both have been wonderful.

“My first assignment I ended up staying on there for seven months and really got to feel like I was a part of the team and was treated like one of the ‘regular’ employees,” she says. “It was a wonderful experience. I got to learn a lot and make so many new friends!”

Elizabeth’s favorite part about Travel Nursing is the experiences she has along the way.

“I have the opportunity to travel and see so many places that most people don’t,” she says. “Not only can I visit new places, but I get to step inside different hospitals and see how they work. I get to see the good and the bad, learn new ways of doing things, learn different steps and processes that can make things run more smoothly — or not, and learn so much from other nurses I meet!” 

She shared some wonderful Traveler tips:

  1. “Don’t get too hung up on what ‘you’ve always done.’ Every place is different, and I’ve seen Travelers come in and say they don’t like things or things aren’t done right there. Constructive criticism isn’t a bad thing, but we kind of have to consider ourselves guests inside someone else’s home.”
  2. “If you offer help when you can and do what you can to make your floor run smoothly, other nurses will help you. If you want to be island, they’ll let you be an island.”

Thank you for sharing your story and this great Travel Nursing advice, Elizabeth!

Congratulations again to the Medical Solutions October 2018 Traveler of the Month and Rising Star! Laura and Elizabeth, we are so grateful to each of you for your dedication to patient care and Travel Nursing!

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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State Spotlight: Louisiana

Fun-loving young woman at Mardi Gras in New Orleans Louisiana

This month’s State Spotlight takes us to lovely Louisiana!

This month’s State Spotlight takes us to lovely Louisiana! The Bayou State is known for its incredible culture and food, unique landscape, and wealth of great Travel Nursing jobs. Louisiana has a unique cultural footprint, fascinating history, exciting cities, and so much more for you to explore while on assignment. Read on to learn more about why Travel Nurse assignments in The Bayou State are a great way to let the good times roll — or, laissez les bon temps rouler, as the local say!

Travel Nursing in Louisiana

State of Louisiana

Louisiana is home to more than 200 hospitals that need great Travelers like YOU!

Louisiana is a fantastic playground for Travelers! In The Bayou State — or The Pelican State, as it’s alternately known — you have access to tons of great career opportunities at Traveler-friendly hospitals, as well as the chance to build your resume and your healthcare skill set.

Louisiana is home to more than 200 hospitals — 5 of which meet high enough standards to be ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s 2018/2019 Best Hospitals list. That includes their #1-ranked Louisiana hospital, New Orleans’ Ochsner Medical Center, which is nationally ranked in four specialties, in addition to being ranked “High Performing” in six adult specialties and four procedures/conditions. Rounding out the top five overall best hospitals in Louisiana are: Shreveport’s Willis-Knighton Medical Center, Baton Rouge’s Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Metairie’s East Jefferson General Hospital, and Lafayette’s Lafayette General Medical Center.

U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 “Best Places to Live” list includes both Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and Livability.com cites the state’s food, music, sports, culture, and more as top reasons to move to Louisiana. In fact, U.S. News & World Report also ranked New Orleans #2 among “Best Foodie Cities in the USA.”

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

Louisiana Fast Facts

State Nickname: The Bayou State or The Pelican State

Capital: Baton Rouge

Street Jazz Band Trumpet QuartetLargest City: New Orleans

National Parks: 5

State Parks: 20

National Historic Landmarks: 54

State Motto: “Union, Justice, and Confidence”

State Flower: Magnolia

State Tree: Bald Cypress

State Bird: Brown Pelican

State Symbol: Fleur-de-lis

State Crustacean: Crawfish

State Reptile: Alligator

Louisiana was the 18th state.

Canal Street 300x113 - State Spotlight: Louisiana

At eight feet below sea level, the city of New Orleans is home to Louisiana’s lowest point and the nation’s second-lowest point.

Because it is a word-for-word translation, the iconic phrase “Laissez les bons temps rouler” is not grammatically correct in French.

Louisiana’s state bird, the Brown Pelican, was endangered from 1970-1990.

The first ever operatic performance in the nation was in New Orleans in 1796.

The binocular microscope, craps, fried turkey, Smoothie King, poker, The Higgins Boat, Venetian blinds, zydeco music, dental floss, cotton candy, movie theaters, Tabasco, bananas foster, America’s first cocktail — the Sazerac, and, of course, jazz were all invented in or originated in Louisiana!

It’s estimated that Louisiana is home to two million wild alligators and another 300,000 on alligator farms.

At 450-feet tall with a whopping 34 floors, Louisiana has the nation’s tallest state capital.

Louisiana does not have counties like all the other states. Instead, they have parishes.

Canal Street was at one point meant to be an actual canal connecting Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River.

Every year approximately 1.4 million people go to Mardi Gras.

French Q 300x200 - State Spotlight: LouisianaThe Sazerac and the Hurricane are two popular cocktails invented in New Orleans.

New Orleans’ historic Treme neighborhood was one of the first places in the U.S. where free people of color were able to purchase and own their own property.

While New Orleans is famous for being the birthplace of jazz, no one knows exactly where and when the art form was invented. Many historians believe it originated in Congo Square — the first place in NOLA where African slaves could congregate — and later developed in the Treme and Storyville neighborhoods.

In addition to jazz, Cajun and zydeco music were also invented in Louisiana.

Famous folks from or who’ve lived in Louisiana include Ellen DeGeneres. Resse Witherspoon, Tyler Perry, Louis Armstrong, Harry Connick Jr., Tim McGraw, Fats Domino, Ali Landry, James Carville, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lil Wayne, Frank Ocean, Bryant Gumbel, Kevyn Aucoin, Donna Brazile, Branford Marsalis, Randy Jackson, DJ Khaled, Cokie Roberts, Anne Rice, Huey Long, Paul Prudhomme, Truman Capote, Mahalia Jackson, and Britney Spears.

LSU’s colors were originally blue and white but were changed to Mardi Gras’ purple, gold, and green color scheme to be more representative of Louisiana.

The Atchafalaya Basin is the nation’s largest river basin, stretching over more than one million acres and spanning about 140 miles.

Louisiana was named in honor of France’s King Louis XIV.

Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the world’s longest continuous bridge over water spanning nearly 24 miles.

Baton Rouge is the only place outside of the original 13 colonies where an American Revolution battle was fought.

Tabasco sauce made in Louisiana holds the second-oldest food trademark in the United States patent office.

To Do & See in Louisiana

LA Oak 300x188 - State Spotlight: LouisianaFrom unique geography to singular cities, The Bayou State has so much for Travelers to do and see — and eat and drink! The state presents oodles of opportunities to embrace culture, music, food, history, and so much more — making Louisiana an incredible spot for your next Travel Nurse adventure!

For city lovers, The Bayou State’s largest cities include New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Lafayette, and Lake Charles. New Orleans is considered the state’s crown jewel by many Travelers — after all, where else can you visit The Tree of Life and the Museum of Death?! Some of the iconic city’s must-sees include the French Quarter, Jackson Square, Garden District, Frenchman Street, Aquarium of the Americas, Lake Pontchartrain, Preservation Hall, Louis Armstrong Park, Napoleon House, St. Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, and so much more. Take a historic streetcar ride, sip coffee and nibble on beignets at Café Du Monde, enjoy some street jazz — iconic experiences are around every turn in this incredibly unique and vibrant city. Large events like Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival always bring the party as well.

Outside of the capital city, you’ll want to check out urban adventures and other attractions like the Louisiana State Capital (the tallest in the nation!), the original state capital (which looks like a castle!), Magnolia Mound Plantation, R.W. Norton Art Gallery, USS Kidd, the Sallier Oak tree, Fort Proctor, the Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum, Avery Island Tabasco Museum and Factory, Fort St. Phillips, Jungle Gardens, and so many more.

Beignets 300x200 - State Spotlight: LouisianaLouisiana has also been dubbed the Sportsman’s Paradise due to its many great activities in the great outdoors. Golfing is big here, as is hiking, kayaking, fishing, sailing, kayaking, and swamp basin tours. For natural beauty check out the Longleaf Scenic Byway, Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge, Creole Nature Trail, Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, Chicot State Park, Tammany Trace, Jean Lafitte National Historic Park, and Barataria Preserve Wetlands Trail, to name a few.

Famished after all that activity? Louisiana is one of the best foodie destinations in the nation! Louisiana has incredibly distinct cuisine due in large part to its various cultural influences. While on assignment in Louisiana enjoy iconic faves like beignets, po’boys, muffaletta, king cake, crawfish etouffee, gumbo, boudin, andouille, jambalaya, pralines, yakamein, blackened fish, cracklins, red beans & rice, turtle soup, shrimp & grits, bread pudding, bananas foster, maque choux, pain perdu, and chargrilled oysters. Wash it all down with an ice-cold Abita or Sazerac and you’ll be living like a true Louisianan!

Ready for your adventure to lovely Louisiana?!

Search jobs now to find your dream Travel Nurse job in Louisiana!

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11 Inspiring Quotes About Gratitude

Celebration of Life

Practice an attitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving season with these 11 inspiring quotes about gratitude!

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays at Medical Solutions. Not just because it means a license to eat all the yummy food and because gravy is usually involved, but also because we are true believers in the reason for the Thanksgiving season: Gratitude.

In this 11th month of the year, we offer you these 11 inspiring quotes about gratitude to encourage you to practice gratitude — throughout November and beyond. What are you grateful for today? What incredible goodness, kind gesture, beautiful sunset, delectable meal, fun road trip, perfect travel contract, roaring laugh with friends, or strategically unanswered prayer that leads you down an even better path will you be thankful for tomorrow?

Enjoy these 11 inspiring quotes about gratitude as you ponder all that you have to be thankful for!

“Be thankful for what you have and you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah 

“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” — Dalai Lama

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” — Tony Robbins

“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” — Rumi

“May the gratitude in my heart kiss all the universe.” — Hafiz

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” — William Arthur Ward

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness — it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” — Brene Brown

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” — Alphonse Karr

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson

Colorful Papers Hanging On Clothespin With Text Against Wooden Wall

Thank YOU for everything you do!

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2018 Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest Winners!

As I write this, we have a whopping 350 days to go until Halloween 2019 … but who’s counting, right? Yes, all the tricks have been performed and all the treats have been scarfed, but we still wanted to show off our amazing 2018 Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest winners.

This year we had well over 100 submissions that were by various measures adorable, scary, creative, and/or funny — basically what Halloween is all about!

We are so thankful to EVERYONE who shared pics of their furry friends this year. There were the usual suspects, as you guys made it rain pictures of cats and dogs in their Halloween best, but this year we also got submissions of more unique pets like a pig, donkey, and rabbit. As always, we love you all for entering and for sharing your stories and lives with Medical Solutions!

Now, without further ado, here are the 2018 Howl-O-Ween Pet Costume Contest winners:

Congrats, Kristen P.!

Kristen Penn-666-2Kristen Penn-666-1

Congrats, Ashley and James S.!

Ashley&James Strand-673-1Ashley&James Strand-673-2

Congrats, Holly J.!

Holly Jung-Stern-683

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Clinical Corner: Happy Movember!

Two Bearded Friends Drinking Coffee and Taking Selfie in Restaurant

Happy Movember!

By Phil Niles, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions

For those of you who can grow them, I hope those mustaches are coming in strong this Movember!

This month we’re celebrating Movember, an annual mustache-growing event that aims to raise awareness about men’s health. Of course, women’s health is of paramount importance, but let’s face it, guys: We stink at caring for ourselves. Statistics show that men take more physical risks and are 24 percent more likely to have not visited a doctor in the last year. Men also are reluctant to visit a doctor when facing mental or physical illness. For example, wrecking your mountain bike, breaking a couple of ribs, cracking your sternum, and then refusing to go to the ER because you’re “fine.” Oh … maybe that’s just me? Well, then I’m guilty, too.

There is also a general lack of public awareness of men’s health issues. Women being proactive and engaging in preventative activities is widely recognized and established as the norm.  Men on the other hand, who are equally at risk, are not as often actively encouraged to see their doctor on a regular basis. Movements like Movember and Men’s Health Month in June help bring the issue of men’s health to everyone’s attention. Movember also specifically brings attention to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. If you’re 40 or older, you need to start having conversations with your doctor about prostate cancer screenings. And make sure to regularly screen yourselves for testicular cancer, which can occur in young men as early as 15.

Fake mustache fun

Get your mustaches AND your healthly habits on this month!

The top three leading causes of death in men are heart disease, cancer, and accidents. Many of these ailments are preventable! According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 12.4 percent of all men age 18 and older rate themselves as having fair to poor health. Here are a few more enlightening statistics from the CDC:

  • 58 percent of men 18 and older report meeting the federal physical activity guidelines for leisure or other aerobic activity
  • 8 percent of men 18 and older report smoking regularly
  • 6 percent of men 20 and older are obese
  • 1 percent of men 20 and over have high blood pressure
  • 9 percent of men under the age of 65 do not have health insurance coverage

These are some of the problems, so what can you do about it?

First, get moving! Stand up and walk around. This is the simplest thing you can do for yourself to positively impact your health. Just this action alone can reduce risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, and even some cancers, according to the CDC. Obviously, quitting smoking, eating healthy, losing weight, and seeing your doctor regularly are also important. However, just getting up from your chair once a day and walking for 30 minutes can drastically improve your health. This can be as simple as walking around the block!

Be an advocate for your own health. See your doctor when you’re not sick! Crazy, right? A preventative doctor visit will cost you a co-pay and maybe a new prescription. An average hospital stay costs $10,000. The choice seems obvious, even just considering the financial impact. Another, powerful reason men do not go to the doctor is fear; fear of the unknown and fear of disease. A rational rebuttal to this is that if there is a disease lurking it will be there whether you know about it or not. Fear, however, is not rational. It can force a person to turn a blind eye to symptoms and minimalize them as just a passing thing. Seeing your doctor regularly is not only cost-effective, but it can also catch health risks and help prevent chronic health problems. According to the CDC, up to 40 percent of deaths from common health issues could have been prevented.

Bottom line? Get off your butt, make healthy choices, and go see your doctor. Do it for your family. Do it for yourself. Make the proactive choice to improve your health by taking one step (literally, sometimes!) or several steps as needed. And keep rocking those incredible mustaches!