The nursing industry has suffered an overwhelming staffing shortage in many areas across the country. In order to compensate for insufficient full-time staff, traveling nurses roam a variety of hospitals and service areas throughout their region. Traveling nurses are not attached to specific facilities. Instead, these nurses are connected to travel nursing agencies. These agencies provide services where and when they are needed. Most traveling nurses operate on call, ready to work a shift where needed at a moment’s notice.
In hospitals that suffer from a lack of staffing for nurses, patients are the ones who pay the ultimate price. The lack of personal attention and the chances of an overworked nurse making a mistake can be dangerous, for the patients and the facility. Travel nursing agencies can help ease that danger, taking some of the workload from the existing nurses. When your nursing staff is spread too thin and you do not have the budget to add positions, contact one of the many travel nursing agencies in your area to have a traveling nurse assigned.
When you establish a contract with one of the travel nursing agencies, you can work with the manager or account representative to be sure that you are assigned a nurse with the expertise that you need. When you are booking a traveling nurse for a specific unit, you need to make sure that you specify that in the initial request. An obstetrics nurse is highly qualified for the labor and delivery unit, but may not be as efficient or effective in an oncology wing. Consider your needs and the capabilities required so that you request a nurse who is comfortable in the environment you are working in.
Travel nursing agencies are a unique option to help relieve the stresses of a nursing floor with insufficient staff. By scheduling a traveling nurse, it helps reduce your overhead, your employer tax liabilities and the expectation or commitment to a long-term contract. You can schedule a nurse for as long as you need, or as short as a single shift. When your facility is short on nursing staff and you are lacking the budget to hire or the applicants to interview, travel nursing agencies can provide you with the options you need to stay in operation successfully. The priority is your patients, so you need to be sure that your staffing is adequate to provide the level of care that your patients deserve.
When you have traveling nurses come in, consider having one of your senior nurses show them around and help educate them about your company policies, expectations and limitations. You need to be sure that any traveling nurse you hire is thoroughly educated about everything that is expected on the job. Some facilities place different requests on their nurses, and if you deviate from the normal routine, that is important to cover right away as well. The more information you can provide up front, and the more stable the support system you have to offer, the more likely you are to have a successful transition to a traveling nurse within your department and on the nursing floor.
When you are preparing to sign a contract with one of the travel nursing agencies, you should talk with the company in depth about the cost of each nurse. You may be charged different rates for different nurses, depending on their experience and knowledge. If you hire a critical care nurse with several years of practical experience, you will pay significantly more than if you hire an entry level nurse for some of the other departments. Negotiate your rate carefully before you sign the contract so that you know exactly what you are paying.