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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Festive Shopping

Festive Shopping by Richard Collinson, on Flickr

Don’t hit the panic button just yet. There are still a few weeks to find presents for your loved ones. Thanks to online shopping, the process for healthcare travelers is so much easier than going to various stores, wrapping the items, sending them out to family and friends, and hoping they arrive in time for Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa.

However, anytime you buy something online, whether away on assignment or from the comfort of home, there are a few precautions to follow to protect your identity and hard-earned traveler’s salary. Here are a few tips from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (www.privacyrights.org).

1. Security Clearance: Before browsing through a site’s inventory, take a look at its Internet address. It should have “https://” at the beginning, a closed padlock, or an unbroken key, all of which signals a secured system. Sometimes, though, these indicators do not pop up until you on are the ordering page.

2. The Fine Print: How many times have you robotically clicked “agree” when prompted to read terms and conditions? No matter how laborious, it’s a good idea to read the privacy policy portion because it’s where you find out if the business shares your data with other organizations—not a good idea.

Also, see if the data, especially your credit card numbers, are stored as encrypted files. This means they are always scrambled and only authorized personnel can descramble them.

3. Contact Credentials: Look for the business’s physical mailing address and phone number, and give it a call to confirm everything’s legit.

4. Point of No Return? Check out how the retailer handles returns. Who pays for the shipping to send back the product? Do you get a refund on your credit card or only store credit?

5. Charge It: Never, ever—repeat: never, ever—give out checking account or debit card numbers. Also, never use a money transfer system like Western Union. These could give hackers direct access to your accounts, and most banks do not guarantee refunding unauthorized purchases. Credit card companies offer better protection.

Have you heard about single-use credit cards? Apparently they are virtual and generate a random account number in place of your actual number. One drawback is that they are store specific. Once you use it to buy from a website, that virtual card is forever linked to that merchant and cannot be used elsewhere. Inquire with your credit card company to see if it offers this service.

6. Hard Copies: Either save or print all receipts or email confirmations just in case.

Happy (Safe) Holiday Shopping!

 

Anne Baye Ericksen is a professional writer who has contributed to Healthcare Traveler since 1996. She resides with her family in Simi Valley, Calif.

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Photo: miniyo73 via Flickr.com

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather walk to the nearest Starbucks and buy a coffee than pay for Wi-Fi in my hotel room. I feel like most people would do the same before spending $15 to check their email, right?

Either way, it’s no surprise that customers are increasing their Internet usage while staying in hotels. As travelers carry more devices, free Internet ranks “toward the top of guests’ want lists from hotels,” according to USA Today. People have gone from text- and voice-oriented devices to data-guzzling tech tools like the iPad that are all about graphics, pictures, and movies. And those customers are using more data per session, too.

Photo: sucelloleiloes via Flickr.com

The same article said that some hotels currently offering free Wi-Fi might begin to charge or offer a tiered type of service. For example, the Radisson Martinique in New York City charges guests a fee for a faster connection but also offers a slower connection for free, which is a great compromise. Owned by Carlson Hotels, the Radisson and many other hotel brands are beginning to monitor customer expectations and pursue different usage options.

Hotel brands currently providing free Wi-Fi in guest rooms include the following:

  • Aloft
  • Baymont Inn & Suites
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Comfort Inn
  • Country Inns & Suites by Carlson (in the Americas)
  • Courtyard by Marriott (North and Central America only)
  • Days Inn
  • Element
  • Fairfield Inn & SuitesFour Points by Sheraton
  • Hampton
  • Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham
  • Holiday Inn
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • Howard Johnson
  • Hyatt Place
  • La Quinta Inns & Suites
  • Microtel Inn & Suites
  • Night
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott
  • Ramada
  • Residence Inn by Marriott
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Super 8
  • Travelodge
  • Wingate by Wyndham
  • Wyndham Garden Hotels

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For a limited time–June 21 through September 4, 2012–travelers can avoid Wi-Fi charges by booking a hotel stay through Room 77. The super fast hotel search engine allows consumers to compare hotel rates and select the amenities they value most, like complimentary Wi-Fi.

If the hotel you book doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi, Room 77 will reimburse you up to $15 per night to cover the expense.

For complete details, visit the Room 77 blog.

Jim Twardowski, BSN, RN, CMSRN, is a travel writer based in Louisiana. His work has been featured in AAA Home & AwayGlobal Traveler, and QUEST magazines.

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Technology is starting to catch up with travel nurses and providing more and more options for those that prefer to look for jobs via their smart phones or texting. Here are just some examples I have seen out there lately.

Smart Phone Apps for Travel Nurses

Opportunity Drive: This new iPhone and Blackberry app (and soon Android) lets travel nurses and allied health professionals search for jobs from multiple companies. In addition it offers features like:

  • Letting you set alerts to notify you when a job that meets your qualifications is posting
  • Making it easy to forward job openings to your friends and colleagues
  • Allowing you to easily save your favorite jobs to view later

Keep in mind not every company is posting jobs on it, but it’s just another tool to add to your travel nurse job search arsenal, especially because it’s free for travelers.

Learn more about Opportunity Drive at OpportunityDrive.com.

Cross Country’s Go CCTC Mobile App: This free app is a job search tool to make seeing all of Cross Country Trav Corps’ jobs easier.  It’s a good option if you already work with them or prefer to travel with larger companies.

You can learn more about it here.

Mobile Websites for Travel Nurses

Medical Solutions Mobile Website: Medical Solutions recently launched the travel nursing industry’s first and only mobile website. It works like a travel nursing job search app for smart phones, but is instead accessed through a smart phone’s web browser. This distinction makes it easily accessible from any smart phone or mobile device without having to download anything.

You can learn more about Medical Solutions’ mobile travel nursing website here.

Also, to encourage nurses to experience their mobile website, right now they’re hosting a sweepstakes for any travel nurse who use his or her smart phone to enter.

Learn more about the Room 2 Roam Sweepstakes at medicalsolutions.com/room2roam-sweepstakes

Text Alerts for Travel Nurses

Both American Mobile and Cross Country are now offering text alerts for jobs if you don’t have a smart phone yet and texting is more your speed.

Here are the links to each of their programs:

American Mobile Job Text Alerts

Cross Country Job Text Alerts

Conclusion

It’s nice to see that the mobile technology out there is starting to be applied to the traveling nurse. It should be interesting to see how this shift affects travelers looking for jobs and the industry in the future.

Jeff Long is the Marketing Manager at Medical Solutions, one of the leading travel nursing companies in the industry. He has never been a nurse and is not a recruiter; his goal is to help you meet your career goals by sharing information, advice, and the benefits of travel nursing with you. He also blogs regularly at TravelNursingBlogs.com.

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