Recent Articles


Hey You, Show Us Your Scrubs!

scrubspresreleaseAs a nurse you spend a lot of time in your scrubs, and we think you ought to get something out of it … like more scrubs! Enter our latest contest and you could win one of four $100 gift cards to

Today, Medical Solutions is kicking off our “Show Us Your Scrubs” Instagram Contest. It’s fun and super easy to enter: Just take a picture of yourself wearing your favorite scrubs and post it to Instagram with the hashtags #medicalsolutions and #showusyourscrubs. That’s it, you’re entered! Now just sit back and enjoy the scrubalicious feed.

We’ll be judging entries in four categories: Best Themed Scrubs (holiday, sports, etc.), Craziest Print Scrubs, Most Creative Scrubs, and Best Character Scrubs. One winner in each category will win a $100 gift card to

If you aren’t on Instagram, you can still participate by sending your photo to and we’ll get it entered for you.

The contest runs today through Monday, September 9, 2013, at 12:01 a.m. CST, and winners will be announced by Friday, September 13. Click here for full “Show Us Your Scrubs” Instagram contest details and be sure to follow us at

We can’t wait to see all of your fly scrubs fashion and big, happy smiles. Say “cheese”!


Clinical Corner: Incident Reports

by Joe Bryowsky RN, CCRN – Clinical Manager

Incident reports play an integral part in preventing, detecting and investigating medical errors. They help to maintain a safe environment for patients, visitors and employees. An incident report should be filed whenever an unexpected event occurs. The rule of thumb is that any time a patient makes a complaint, a medication error occurs, a medical device malfunctions, or anyone—patient, visitor or staff member is injured or involved in a situation with the potential for injury, an incident report is required.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Needle sticks
  • Falls
  • Procedure errors
  • Misuse of, or faulty equipment
  • Other types of injuries or accidents
  • Property loss or damage
  • Theft
  • Fires

Most events or errors happen because of process issues:

  • Many “little” failures lead to a “bigger” failure
  • Rarely a “person” failure

The incident  report should be completed immediately (or as soon as possible) by the employee involved or the employee giving care at the time of the incident.

When filling out an incident report remember to include only the facts. Include the full names of anyone involved and of any witnesses, as well as how, or if they were affected. Describe what you saw or heard that led you to believe an incident had taken place. Be sure to use only nonjudgmental and non- criticizing statements when filling out an incident report.

***Remember to record all clinical observations in the chart, not in the incident report.

Most hospital policies dictate not to make any mention of the incident report in the patient record but this varies widely from hospital to hospital. Always make sure you familiarize yourself with the hospitals policy before having to file an incident report.

There is a lot of controversy as to whether a patient’s attorney can request and receive an incident report and use it in a malpractice lawsuit. The law varies from state to state but most hospitals label the incident report as an integral part of the quality assurance process, which usually suffices to keep the reports from being discoverable.



Medical Solutions Completes Integration with OA Nurse Travel

Scott and Dale

Medical Solutions co-founders Scott Anderson (left) and Dale Williams (right) celebrate the integration of OA Nurse Travel into Medical Solutions.

As of last weekend, OA Nurse Travel has officially become one with Medical Solutions.

Mazel tov, you two crazy kids!

We are super excited to move forward stronger than ever as a result of this union. With the combined forces of these two great organizations, Medical Solutions is bigger and better than ever, allowing us to provide our Travelers with even more jobs and locations to choose from.

Our high standard of service is one thing that won’t change. We look forward to continuing to deliver top-notch service to Travelers, working hard to advocate for their professional needs while also caring for every individual on a personal level.

After purchasing OA Nurse Travel in February 2013, our corporate team has been hard at work streamlining offices, technology, and procedures. Thanks so much everyone for the diligent efforts and rock-solid positivity throughout this process!

We are so excited to have retained amazing Travelers, Career Consultants, Client Managers, and other staff members from OA Nurse Travel. Bringing together people from the Omaha, San Diego, Cincinnati, and Tupelo offices has been a blast.

Thanks to all of our Travelers, Clients, and staff for taking this exciting leap forward with us. Here’s to the future!



Happy Medical Solutions Travelers

Lady LaughOne of our favorite things here at Medical Solutions is hearing from happy Travelers. Whether it’s that they love their unit and co-workers, or that they feel right at home in their new pad, that their pet is adjusting well to life on the road, or that they’ve just been on an awesome adventure nearby their latest assignment — we thrive on hearing stories and feedback from Travelers we are working with.

We consider our Travelers the heart of our organization and their satisfaction and, by extension, great patient care to be the endpoint of all we do. So when we see happy Medical Solutions travelers, we are happy.

Here’s what a few happy Medical Solutions travelers have to say about travel nursing and working with us:

Beth says that she’s been traveling for 3 years and absolutely loves it. She has gotten to see all kinds of places and had lots of adventures along the way. Beth’s a Traveler working in Interventional Radiology.

“From my first assignment in New York City, NY to San Francisco, CA, from Naples, FL to Fargo, ND and a lot of places in between… From repelling off Arches National Park, whitewater rafting down the Colorado River to Broadway Shows. This is the life.”

Tiffany, a Labor & Delivery Traveler, is having a great time getting to know her new co-workers and says she’s had “nothing but a positive experience with travel nursing.”

“I have been greatly welcomed by all staff members and my input means a great deal,” she continues. “I highly recommend travel nursing!!!!

Shawn, a Traveler in the Medical Intensive Care Unit, says, “I went to work for Medical Solutions through referral of a friend. I had been having [an] issue getting a company to really take me seriously. Sarah had me a job in 24 hours. It was great. I have been with them ever since.”

Want to join Beth, Tiffany, and Shawn, and get in on the fun? Then come on over and c’mon get happy. Get started with our fast app and check out some of our current jobs here.



Clinical Corner: HIPAA in a Nutshell

by Joe Bryowsky RN, CCRN – Clinical Manager

What is HIPAA?

In 1996 the U.S. government enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This law is meant to keep a patient’s medical information private.

What constitutes a HIPAA violation?

  • Showing or sharing the information to an unauthorized person: If any health-care provider shares medical information about a patient without the patient’s consent, that is a HIPAA violation. This includes telling people about the patient’s condition, discussing the patient’s condition in public, or using the patient’s information in a medical brief without the patient’s consent. This would also apply to today’s technology which includes cell phones that take pictures, Facebook, texting, etc.
  • Excessive Views: Too many looks at a medical record or more often than needed, can constitute a violation of the law. Sometimes this happens when a patient with an abnormal condition comes into the hospital or because people are simply curious.
  • Health discrimination: Sometimes employers violate HIPAA. If an official from the company you work for reads your medical information and uses it to make a decision about you, that is a violation.
  • Improper disposal: Hospitals, Medical offices and Clinics are required to shred, and dispose of, any medical records. The violation would be against any one of these entities due to neglect if records were disposed of improperly.

These are all important points for all healthcare workers to be knowledgeable in. One of these points however is the one most frequently overlooked and that is the first bullet point above:

Showing or sharing the information to an unauthorized person: Under the privacy rule, a healthcare provider may “disclose to a family member, other relative, or a close personal friend of the individual, or any other person identified by the individual,” the medical information directly relevant to such person’s involvement with the patient’s care or payment related to the patient’s care.

Uses and disclosures for involvement in the individual’s care and notification purposes are clearly permitted. Right?

Here’s the catch, and it’s the one that most healthcare workers fail to think about at one time or another. The rule states that if the patient is present, the healthcare provider may disclose medical information to such people if the patient does not object. If the patient is unable to agree or object to disclosure because of incapacity or an emergency circumstance, the covered entity may determine whether the disclosure is in the best interests of the patient.

How many times have we gone into a patients room, friends and/or family members are present, and the patient asks us a question about their care, treatment modalities, diagnosis, etc.? Just about every day, right? And how many times have we just answered their question and thought nothing about it? After all that’s just part of delivering excellent patient care, right?

Think again. HIPAA violation!! All healthcare workers must remember to always ask the patient if it is OK to share that information in front of anyone in the room that is not a healthcare worker who is directly involved in the patient’s care.


Always remember: “Protect the patient and protect yourself”!


For more information go to:



Let’s Get Festival!

iStock_000021014638XSmallOne advantage to being a travel nurse is being in new, fun locations and being able to enjoy festivals and celebrations different from those you’re used to back home. Wherever in the world you are this August, we thought we’d share some fun festivals for you to enjoy nationwide before summer draws to a close:

Iowa State Fair, August 8-18, Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines, Iowa

They say “nothing compares” to the Iowa State Fair! This famous fest attracts more than a million folks every year with its music and comedy offerings, agriculture and industry expos, great eats (with 600+ concessionaires including 50+ foods on a stick!), art, demolition derby, parade, thriving midway, displays, exhibitions, and more. Whether participating or spectating, you’ll love the competitions galore, in areas like arm-wrestling, whistling, yodeling, yo-yoing, duck calling, beard growing, and many more — including the “best mullet” contest! And who could forget, the world-famous butter cow sculpture!

Elvis Week 2013, August 10-17, at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee

Over the week surrounding Elvis’ death fans of The King gather at Graceland to enjoy loads of Elvis impersonators and tribute artists, an Elvis trivia treasure hunt, screenings of films like “Aloha From Hawaii” and “Viva Las Vegas,” and even day-trips to Tupelo, Mississippi, where the man himself was born and reared. Enjoy all that Graceland offers year-round, plus all the extra festivities and a 100-vendor memorabilia fair nearby at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

Outside Lands, Aug. 9-11, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

This fest celebrates music, food, wine, beer, and art. But in addition to that super fun spread, Outside Lands is known for being very eco-friendly in example and also through education. There is an entire “greening” section on the fest’s website featuring the Panhandle Solar Stage (completely powered by solar and alternative energy), a refillable water program, waste diversion, a farmers market by Full Belly Farm, urban gardening workshops, and more.

Burning Man, August 26-Sept. 2, near Gerlach in Black Rock Desert, Nevada

The idea of this festival is constructing a temporary city (dubbed Black Rock City) of tens of thousands of people all gathered together for a spontaneous celebration of “community, art self-expression, and self-reliance.” After one week everyone departs the desert leaving absolutely no physical trace. This year’s art theme for the atypical festival is “Cargo Cult.”

For more August festival fun across the U.S. consider some of these fun, festive affairs:

National Hot Air Balloon Classic, July 26-Aug. 3, Indianola, IA

Harlem Week, July 28-Aug. 24, Harlem, NY

North Carolina Watermelon Festival, July 30-Aug. 3, Murfreesboro, NC

Lollapalooza, Aug. 2-4, Chicago, IL

Virginia Highlands Festival, Aug. 2-11, Abingdon, VA

Rhode Island International Film Festival, Aug. 6-11, Newport, Rhode Island

Steamboat Wine Festival, Aug. 7-11, Steamboat Springs, CO

Tombstone Vigilante Days, Aug 9-10, Tombstone, AZ

Mount St. Helens Bluegrass Festival, Aug. 9-11, Toledo, Washington

DC Beer Week, Aug. 11-18, Washington, D.C.

Classic City BBQ Festival, Aug. 16-17, Athens, GA

Made in Hawaii Festival, Aug. 16-18, Honolulu, HI

Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, Omaha, NE

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival, Aug. 18, Kaneohe, HI

Washington State International Kite Festival, Aug. 19-25, Long Beach, WA

Minnesota State Fair, Aug. 22-Sept. 2, St. Paul, MN

New York State Fair, Aug. 22-Sept. 2, Syracuse, NY

Alaska State Fair, Aug. 22-Sept. 2, Palmer, AK

American Folk Festival, Aug. 23-25, Bangor, ME

Colorado State Fair, Aug. 23-Sept. 2, Pueblo, CO

Mason Dixon Frontier Festival, Aug. 24-25, Morris, PA

Ukrainian Festival, Aug. 28-31, McKees Rocks, PA

Southern Decadence Festival, Aug. 28-Sept. 2, New Orleans, LA

Electric Zoo Electronic Music Fest, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, New York, NY

North Carolina Apple Festival, Aug. 30-Sept. 2, Hendersonville, NC

Bumbershoot Music & Art Festival, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, Seattle, WA



Career Consultant Greg Allen in Healthcare Traveler Magazine

300x200Our very own Senior Career Consultant, Greg Allen, was an expert source for an article in the July 2013 issue of Healthcare Traveler magazine. Yay, Greg!

The piece was called “Choosing the Right Staffing Firm,” with a subhead reading “When travelers are scouting assignments, the best recruiting firm relationships begin with communication.” Greg was a fantastic source for the piece, as communication and relationship building are two areas that he is truly an expert in. In fact, these are two areas that all of our Career Consultants work to excel at.

In the article Greg stresses the importance of a timely response time from a Career Consultant, adding that even if he gets a question he doesn’t immediately know the answer to he will reply right away anyway, just to let his Traveler know that he got their message and is on the case. This approach has won him the favor of people like Susan Pruitt, RN, one of Greg’s Travelers who was also quoted in the piece. She has been with Greg for three years and commends him on his excellent service.

Greg talks service before, during, and after an assignment. If someone is new to traveling and unsure exactly how they’d like to proceed, Greg works with them to “help them weigh their pros and cons” and narrow down to the best experience for them. Concerns at this stage, he says, often include “finding new and interesting challenges, increasing earnings, and venturing into different parts of the country.”

Once an RN is on assignment, Greg can help troubleshoot any unexpected on-the-job issues, like incomplete orientation, unfamiliar computer systems, higher than expected nurse to patient ratios, and more. Bottom line: “We encourage our Travelers to call us any time for any reason,” he tells Healthcare Traveler.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working with Greg, who’s been with us since 2008, you already know that he is one of the best of the best here at Medical Solutions. He is extremely experienced and knowledgeable in the industry, which makes him a fantastic advocate for his Travelers. But even beyond all of his experience and industry savvy, Greg is a downright super nice guy! Always willing to chat and eager to help in any way he can, Greg is definition “Service That Inspires.”

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Greg! Read the full article featuring Greg here.



Ask a Recruiter: Travel Nurse Pay


We’re bringing back our Ask a Recruiter series! This installment features Medical Solutions’ Charity Crawford, a highly experienced career consultant and team lead, fielding a question on travel nurse pay. Take it away, Charity!

Question: What salary can I expect as a travel nurse? What factors determine this rate?

Answer: One of the perks of traveling is the potential for increased salary. Every assignment will have a different pay rate so it’s important to have an understanding how pay works when you are a traveler so you can make appropriate decisions when choosing companies and assignments.

There are multiple factors that determine how much an assignment will pay; here are a few of the big ones:

1) Location, location, location.

Sometimes, the assignments that pay the least are the ones that are the most attractive from a location standpoint. Take Hawaii for example – it’s a beautiful state with plenty to see and do. It’s usually in the top one or two slots on a traveler’s Top 10 Places to Visit list. I mean, come on, it’s Hawaii. However, because of this, the rates are not as high because there is a lot more competition.  It’s a location assignment and generally not a huge moneymaker. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t travel to Hawaii, but you should certainly plan, save, and budget accordingly and perhaps take assignments in higher paying, less desirable locations in the meantime so you have enough socked away.

2) Speaking of competition…

Many U.S. states are now part of the Compact (or Multistate) License. This means that many travelers now have compact licenses, so their preferences are typically to work in states that are part of the Compact/Multistate membership. This leaves our friends in places like New York, Washington, New Jersey, etc., struggling a bit more to find nurses. The states that are not part of the Compact membership will often have higher rates to attract nurses to those states. Yes, that could mean that you’d have to pick up a couple licenses. But, talk to your recruiter about reimbursement, and just think about how much less competition you’ll have for those positions.

3) Housing and Benefits

Most agencies have a “bucket” they work out of when it comes to structuring pay packages for travelers. Each traveler tends to have his or her own individual needs for housing, insurance, bonuses, etc. The bucket, then, is divided out to help compensate for those needs. You might be a traveler who needs a two-bedroom high-rise apartment, or you might be someone who is just fine with a Super 8. Either is totally fine, just keep in mind that the more your needs cost, more from the bucket will need to be applied toward those needs.

4) Hourly vs taxable

Many travel companies are able to offer non-taxable stipends for housing, meals & incidentals, and travel expenses. When these stipends are included in your pay package, your hourly (or base) taxable wage is often adjusted to allow “room” for these stipends. Depending on how much your hourly is adjusted, you could have less taxes deducted, which in turn means more going in your pocket. You’ll want to speak with your specific recruiter(s) to understand how each individual company structures this.

These are only a few of the factors that can determine your pay. It is difficult to pinpoint an “average” or specific number because every person has their own individual needs and expectations. The most important thing is to figure out your finances and determine what you need to make versus what you’d like to make, then have the conversation with your recruiter so you both have a clear understanding of the expectations before you get too far into the process. Understand that there will be assignments that pay more than others, but you should still come out ahead in the long run.




Best Travel Nursing Agency Blogs

Best Travel Nurse AgenciesWe’re #1, we’re #1!! At least, according to GuoTime, a website that’s “all about finding the best niche blogs and experts who can address people’s problems and needs.” The website looks for blogs with great, experience-specific content and matches them with their target audience. In a June 2013 post titled “Best travel nursing blogs for traveling nurses and (aspiring) R.N.” they’ve named Medical Solutions as the number one of the best travel nursing agency blogs.

Our blog is praised for its wealth of up-to-date information and they call Medical Solutions “the best in the business” and point out that it’s a company obviously run by passionate people. Man, they really have us pegged!

The post begins, “The subject of ‘travel nursing’ piqued my interest when my best friend’s wife took a series of travel nursing jobs as RN (registered nurse). It’s obviously one of the fastest growing job segments. However, many related websites come across a bit information-overloaded and too salesy. As an introduction to travel nursing, this article attempts to include key information, making it easier for job hunters, aspiring travel nurses to find relevant travel nursing information in one place.

There’s a lot of great other info on the page about some non-agency blogs related to travel nursing: Highway Hypodermics, The Gypsy Nurse, Travel Nursing Blogs, and The Nerdy Nurse. Also, the post has a really great introduction about what travel nursing is — good information for current or aspiring travel nurses. It also includes some travel nursing stats and demographics, as well as a handy infograph on “Top Travel-friendly Facilities for Nurses.”

Anyway, we’d like to thank the academy, and … thanks so much to all of YOU for reading. We really strive to provide quality info for our Travelers as well as those who are curious about travel nursing in general. We are proud to be recognized as number one of the best travel nursing agency blogs! Please let us know in the comments why you like this blog and/or anything we can do to make it better for our readers.



Fourth of July Safety Guide for Travel Nurses

beauty happy woman lie on grassThe Fourth of July is almost here, but the spirit is already upon us with smokebombs billowing from backyards and black cats cracking on street corners. If you’re working on and around the Fourth — especially in the ER — you’ll probably see increased traffic and some common injury trends. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s summer 2012 study of firework injuries, there were more than 5000 firework injuries in the month surrounding the Fourth (June 22-July 22) with an average of 200 people daily visiting the ER because of them. Check out CPSC’s great infograph here. Fingers and hands are the most vulnerable, accounting for 41% of firework injuries. Next are heads, faces and ears; torsos; legs; and eyes. More than half of 2012 firework injuries were burns. Men were three times as likely as women to be injured by fireworks and almost a quarter of injuries were in the 25-44 age range.

Whether you’ll be working or playing this upcoming 4th of July holiday we wish you all a safe, happy holiday. Here are some Fourth of July survival tips for you to share with friends, family, and patients — to help them keep all their digits and stay out of your unit!

Grill Safety

Appoint one person “The Grillmaster.” (Very often they will self-appoint!) That way someone is specifically responsible for minding the grill at all times and paying attention to avoid danger.

Use good common sense when positioning your grill and keep it away from other objects. A deck, garage, shed, or house aflame makes for a lousy firework! Consult your manual if you’re unsure.

Have a fire extinguisher on hand juuuust in case.

Firework Safety

Try to leave fireworks displays to the pros. Even the seemingly mild sparkler burns at more than 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cause third-degree burns. But if you must do them yourself …

Just say “no” to illegal or homemade fireworks. All 6 reported firework-related deaths in 2012 involved them. DIY is great for many projects, but it’s not a good approach when it comes to explosive materials.

Never pick up a firework after it’s been lit and never try to relight or even pick up a “dud,” it could still be active. Instead, wait 20 minutes and soak in water. Keep a few pails of water around.

Sun & Hydration

Always wear sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy, and make sure it’s full- or broad-spectrum so it protects from UVA and UVB light. Reapply often, especially if you are sweating a lot or swimming.

Be shady: Umbrellas, trees, hats, sunglasses, and other such shade-providers are your friends and keep you free from the awful possibility of sunstroke.

Hit the H2O hard! You’re out in the sun, you may be drinking alcohol; staying hydrated is super important to your health and you’ll feel better and have more fun when you drink plenty of water.

Remember, the red-white-&-blue celebration may be held on the fourth, but it’s important that safety comes first. Have a great holiday, everyone!