Author Archive for Elena Barker

Elena Barker is a professional writer for Medical Solutions, one of the nation's largest travel nurse staffing companies. Elena specializes in writing about the healthcare staffing industry.

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Medical Solutions Traveler Becomes a Published Author

Never underestimate the power of the pen and yourself. At least, that’s what Medical Solutions Traveler and author Rachel F. would tell you.

That’s because Rachel just recently published her first book. Part memoir and part self-help book, “The Power of Yourself” inspires others to live life to the fullest.

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Rachel’s book “The Power of Yourself” is now available online.

“I want others to know the great power that lies within themselves,” says Rachel.

Rachel, who is a traveling respiratory therapist by day, has always wanted to help people. Then, during a difficult time in her life, she began writing as a way to cope. Ultimately, this journey of self-discovery and faith led Rachel to write her book. 

“When I decided to let go of all that pain and hurt that I went through, with God, I became stronger and stronger every day,” recalls Rachel. “[I realized] I wanted to help encourage and motivate people to never give up no matter what.”

With 12 years of clinical experience under her belt, Rachel also knows first-hand how valuable each life is.

“Every day is a gift,” says Rachel. “In this profession, God allows me to see the beauty of things as well as the difficulty of things.”

And while “The Power of Yourself” is now available online, Rachel doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon. She is currently on assignment with Medical Solutions in California, works with Career Consultant Jennifer Stewart, and plans to write another book soon.

Congratulations, Rachel on this amazing achievement! We are so excited to see where your career — both as a writer and traveling healthcare professional — will take you!

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ACNL 2020 is Almost Here!

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Invest in yourself and your nursing career at the 42nd annual ACNL conference in Rancho Mirage, California.

2020 is officially the “Year of the Nurse.” As a nurse, there’s really no better way to jumpstart your year and your career than attending the Association of California Nurse Leaders 42nd annual conference! This year’s event — February 9th-12th — will take place in Rancho Mirage, California. Even better, Medical Solutions will be there, and we think you should join us. So, without further ado, here are three reasons why you should come to the ACNL conference:

Learn something new: From burnout prevention to succession planning, ACNL speakers will offer insight into today’s issues and challenges impacting nurse leaders. Who knows? You just might learn a few takeaways you can use at your own facility.

Network: The ACNL is also a great opportunity to connect with your peers, meet new contacts, and catch up with old friends. This year, on Saturday, February 8th, you can even participate in the ACNL’s golf tournament at the spectacular Pete Dye Course at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa.

Meet the experts: There will be several healthcare vendors at ACNL so you can learn about new healthcare staffing products or solutions. Don’t forget to stop by Booth 112/114 and visit with Medical Solutions! We’ll be offering fun giveaways and great conversation.

It’s not too late to register! Learn more here.

Are you going to ACNL 2020? What are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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

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Congrats to October 2019 Traveler of the Month Laura L., pictured here, getting ready to feast on a Maryland delicacy, crab.

Many thanks and congrats to the October 2019 Traveler of the Month, Laura L., and also our Rising Star winner, Justice O.!

Traveler of the Month Laura is an ER RN, BSN. Fun fact: Laura is no stranger to this award — she won Traveler of the Month for the first time in 2018. She has continued to provide outstanding patient care wherever she goes! Laura is currently on assignment in Nebraska, and she works with Career Consultant Jennifer Seay

Since we last checked in with Laura roughly two years ago, she’s been on a life-changing assignment in Maryland.

“I loved the East Coast and Maryland so much,” says Laura. “I ended up extending my contract to stay there for 8 months. I met a group of amazing people. They are my nearest and dearest friends, and I cannot wait to go back to Maryland for another assignment!”

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Laura travels with Oakley, her 9-year-old Collie/Shepard mix.

In the meantime, Laura continues to travel with Oakley, her furry partner-in-crime, a 9-year-old Collie/Shepard mix. And she’s looking forward to what the future has in store for her.

“I am so grateful that my life allows me to travel and gather all these new experiences!” says Laura. “I cannot wait to see where I go from here.”

Laura also shared this great advice for new travel nurses:

“Always remember: You’re there to help out because their current staffing is not ideal,” says Laura. “Be flexible, be positive, and willing to learn. Also, get to know the staff you work with. A lot of times, they are very willing to help travelers out by renting a room, and they get some extra cash in their pockets too!”

Laura, thank you for your dedication to your patients, and thanks also for the awesome advice and housing tip!

Rising Star Justice is a CRCST certified sterile processing tech currently on assignment in White Plains, New York. He works with Career Consultant Jake Zoucha.

Jake has been working with Justice for roughly a year now, and he says Justice deserves this incredible recognition and more.

“He’s a very hard worker, according to his on-site manager,” says Jake. “He’s someone you can count on and has taken on leadership responsibilities right off the bat!”

Thanks for being such a great traveler, Justice!

Congratulations again to the Medical Solutions October 2019 Traveler of the Month and Rising Star. Laura and Justice, 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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How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

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Try setting goals instead of resolutions this year.

Do you have a New Year’s resolution this year? If so, you aren’t alone. Research shows that roughly 60 percent of us do, but only 8 percent of us will accomplish them. In 2020, a year that just screams perfect vision, try setting SMART goals instead of resolutions. SMART goals can be used for either personal or professional objectives. Simply ask yourself the following questions to make a SMART goal: 

Is it Specific? Let’s say, your goal this year is “to grow in your career.” While it’s a nice sentiment, it’s too vague. Instead, you should flesh that sentence out to give it more meaning. For example, “I want to grow in my career by attending the AONL conference,” is a step in the right direction.

Is it Measurable? Now, while that above example is specific, it still doesn’t meet the requirements of a SMART goal yet. That’s because it isn’t measurable. Adding a metric to your goal will help you stay focused and motivated. Keeping in line with our example, you could write down, “I want to attend the AONL conference and participate in two nursing thought leader sessions this year.”

Is it Attainable? Whatever your goal is, it should be challenging, but not impossible to achieve. If your goal is too big, it’s easy to give up. Likewise, if it is too easy, you won’t necessarily be motivated to do it.

Is it Relevant? If your goal is important to you, you’ll be much more likely to make sure you achieve it.

Is it Timely? Remember to give yourself a timeline. If you don’t, the likelihood of you accomplishing your goal is slim. Deadlines make a goal seem more real and can give you the kick you need to start your project.

Ready, set, go achieve your SMART goals! And have a happy New Year!

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2019’s Best Healthcare Staffing Blog Posts

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Here’s the collection of blog posts that hit gold with our clients this year!

From a global measles outbreak to mental health awareness, 2019 turned out to be quite the year for the healthcare industry. As we take a moment to reflect, here are the top 2019 healthcare staffing blog posts we think deserve another look.

How Clinicians Can Combat the Measles Outbreak and the Anti-Vaccine Movement: In early 2019, a measles outbreak swept across parts of the nation—in fact, the epidemic in New York state became the largest and longest-lasting since measles elimination in 2000. In response, we put together a few tips on how all healthcare providers could talk to their vaccine-hesitant patients about the preventable disease.

Five Signs Your Hiring Process is Broken and How to Fix It: The war for the best clinical talent is here. If your facility wants to secure today’s top healthcare professionals, you might need to reexamine your hiring process. Read on to discover if your hiring process is the reason why you aren’t getting the candidates you want.

Building a Resilient Clinical Workforce: Mental health awareness continued to be a hot topic among healthcare professionals in 2019, and for good reason. Depression and burnout occur much more frequently in the medical profession than in other industries. Learn how you can protect yourself and your nursing staff by learning to build resiliency in this timely blog post.

How to Attract and Retain Quality Candidates: Great patient care begins and ends with the best healthcare professionals. That means your facility needs a strong acquisition strategy. Read on to learn how you can recruit and retain the best and brightest healthcare professionals in this blog post.

Tips on Choosing a Staffing Partner: Choosing the right healthcare staffing partner can be a daunting task. To help you find the ideal fit for your facility’s needs, we’ve compiled the following helpful tips!

How a Healthcare Staffing MSP Partner Can Help Boost Efficiency: With contingent labor programs on the rise, healthcare HR reps are turning to managed service providers to handle all temporary staffing chores. Read on to learn how an MSP can help your HR team reclaim hours of time.

How to Cultivate a Strong MSP Hospital Partnership: You’ve chosen an MSP to manage your contingent labor program. Now what? Learn what steps your facility’s team can take to create a strong partnership with your managed service provider.

Are you ready for 2020? Tell us in the comments below what you’d like to read about in the upcoming year!

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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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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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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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Four Practical Tips For Hiring Seasonal Healthcare Staff

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Flu season is upon us. For many healthcare leaders, this time of year can be unpredictable — patient volume can soar at a moment’s notice, and some of your perm staff may unexpectedly become sick. And while last year’s flu season was moderate in its severity, it lasted for a recording-breaking 21 weeks, according to the CDC.

To prepare for this year’s flu season, you’ll want to make strategic use of Travel Nurses and other temporary healthcare professionals. On that note, you should consider the following four practical tips for hiring seasonal healthcare staff:

Plan ahead: A last-minute approach to healthcare staffing can leave you short-staffed during the busiest time of the year, and that can be a costly mistake. To avoid these pitfalls, you should create your staffing strategy well ahead of the peak flu season. We recommend you start looking for temporary help in late September or early October. Hiring early also gives your temporary staff enough time to learn the ropes at your facility.

Team up with a staffing partner: A staffing firm, like Medical Solutions, can save you valuable time and resources by working on your behalf to pre-screen, interview, and recommend qualified candidates for your open positions. With their team of experts, you’ll be able to find the right healthcare professional who fits your organization’s culture. And when next year’s flu season rolls around, that same staffing partner can help you forecast your facility’s staffing needs using last year’s data.

Remember the candidate experience: Just like with permanent employees, competition is fierce when it comes to securing the best contingent clinical talent. If you make your candidates jump through hoops or complete several rounds of interviews, they’ll go elsewhere. A staffing partner can keep your hiring process short while simultaneously maintaining your high standards during a busy time.

Set expectations: This might seem obvious, but the Traveler should know how long the assignment will be. If there’s a chance for the temporary position to become a perm one, you should also let the candidate know ahead of time. Sometimes, a healthcare professional is merely traveling to test the waters at different facilities. If they know this temporary gig could become permanent, they might be more interested in applying in the first place.

For more information about how you can help prepare your facility for this year’s upcoming flu season, please contact Medical Solutions.