Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Anne Baye Ericksen’

Bad weather can hit in time and travelers should prepare for the unexpected.

Bad weather can hit any time and travelers should prepare for the unexpected.

Have you been caught in turbulent weather: Possible tornadoes like the tragedy that happened in Moore Oklahoma; April blizzards in the Dakotas. So far it’s been anything but “spring-like.” To top it all off, experts are saying the upcoming hurricane season could be worse than last year. One scientist even said watch out for Super Storm Sandy 2.0!

As healthcare travelers, you very well could find yourself assigned to any of the states that repeatedly get battered by hurricanes. Or you could be on contract in one of the 45 states and U.S. territories labeled as “moderate to very high risk” of earthquakes. Remember the 5.8 quake that struck Washington, D.C. back in 2011?

So what if you happen to be assigned to an area that falls victim to Mother Nature’s whim; would you know how to react? Do you have the emergency supplies readied?

The following are a few essentials to keep on hand and advice on how to stay safe as recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready Campaign (ready.gov).

THE BASICS
• Extra prescription meds and eyeglasses along with first-aid supplies.
• Water, nonperishable food, and pet food for three days. Remember dietary requirements for both you and your animals. Tip: Avoid salty foods.
• Keep copies of pertinent documents—insurance policies, identification, medication list, allergy list, and bank accounts—in a waterproof container.
• Paper towels, plates, and plastic cups and utensils. Oh yeah, and a manual can opener so you can get to the food.
• Change of clothes, including cold/hot weather attire. Also, stash an extra blanket.
• Battery powered or hand-crank radio and cell phone charger. Don’t forget extra batteries.
• Refresh the kit every few months. Tip: When it’s time to change the clocks, it’s time to change supplies.

EARTHQUAKE EXPECTATIONS
• Keep a pair of durable shoes and a flashlight near your bed.
• Stay inside and find cover from falling objects.
• Ask the hospital where you are assigned about its earthquake response plan.
• If the shaking starts while you’re driving, park in a clear area. Avoid bridges, overpasses, ramps, and of course, power lines.
• Don’t expect to be one and done. Aftershocks can follow for days, even weeks, after the initial rattler. Make no mistake, aftershocks are still earthquakes and should be treated as such.

HURRICANE HOW-TOS
• Tune into a NOAA Weather Radio (noaawatch.gov) for real-time updates from the National Weather Service.
• Bring in outdoor plants or furniture that could be tossed around by winds.
• Turn the refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. In the case of power outages, your food will stay colder longer.
• Fill up your gas tank.

TORNADO THOUGHTS
• Find a safe location, like a basement, storm cellar, interior room, or hallway.
• If in a car, keep your seatbelt on, duck below the windows, and cover your head.

Predicting Mother Nature’s next move is a fool’s game, but it never hurts to be prepared wherever you are assigned.

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

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

In my last blog, I discussed some of the unique insurance needs mobile professionals should consider for protecting their homes, vehicles, and personal items while on the road.

This time, I asked insurance expert Valerie Vollmer to share some pointers on evaluating different carriers. Below are some key factors to consider when shopping for insurance.

Reputation counts

Learn about the company’s history and its financial standing. Vollmer says to check out its A.M. Best ratings, and look for at least an A grade. Also, research its fiscal health. You want a company to have the funds readied in case you need to register a claim.

Geographic coverage

It’s not just about what types of insurance a company sells, but where those policies are honored — especially for mobile professionals. If you’re crossing state lines for contracts, make sure your insurance will go with you. Inquire about where the policy is in effect.

Lapse allowance

Of course, the best way to avoid any loss of coverage is to pay the premiums on time. Still, be informed on what kind of “forgiveness” period is allowed. Vollmer says most companies offer a 10- to 30-day grace period to get your payment on the books. To avoid that situation altogether, set up an automatic withdrawal program; chances are, you already have one with some of your regular bills.

Align with an agent

Because travelers move around so much, Vollmer says developing a relationship with an agent who understands your unique circumstances is even more important than for “regular” customers. Your agent can act as a surrogate in your absence, or at least an informed resource if you have to file a claim while on assignment. A single point of contact helps alleviate some stress or frustration. And, let’s face it; if you’re filing a claim, you’re already in a stressful situation.

Look for loyalty perks

While not every carrier offers every type of insurance, many sell multiple plans and offer discount premiums if you purchase a grouping, like home and auto. Others may reward long-term customers with loyalty discounts.

Good to know

Insurance may not be a topic you think about frequently — that is, until you need it. Regardless, if you’re in the market for a new company or it’s been a while since you reviewed your policies, it pays (or saves) to know that you and your belongings are protected if something happens on an assignment or at home.

Special thanks to Valerie Vollmer of Vollmer Insurance Services in Agoura Hills, Calif.

Anne Baye Ericksen has written for Healthcare Traveler Magazine since 1996. She resides with her family in Simi Valley, Calif. 

Read Full Post »

Photo: dbking via Flickr.com

On Monday, March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments regarding the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that every American purchase health insurance. Luckily, most staffing companies offer travelers employer-sponsored medical insurance. Still, that’s only one kind of insurance policy.

With auto, home, and renter’s insurance policies available for purchase, there are many types to protect you and your belongings.

For some insight into the finer points of insurance, and how to cater certain policies to a mobile lifestyle, insurance expert Valerie Vollmer offers the following advice.

Automobile

Driving to assignments every few months means spending more time behind the wheel than the average car owner. Vollmer suggests carrying full, comprehensive theft and vandalism, as well as collision with a low deductible. The more time your auto is out and about, the greater risk something could happen — like dings or accidents.

However, don’t neglect bodily injury and property damage liability. This not only covers you, the person you hit, and his/her passengers if they are injured in an accident, but having higher limits also protects your assets in the event that the other driver files a lawsuit against you. The damage element also reimburses others for any destruction of their property you caused.

Vollmer recommends travelers look for policies that provide a temporary rental car so you won’t be out of commission even if your vehicle is. These policies often include roadside services, too.

Recreational Vehicles

If you travel in a recreational vehicle or motor home, then you’re talking about another type of insurance altogether. Vollmer says to ask your agent about certain specifics, like what personal items are and are not covered. Are there comprehensive limits? Does it include breakdown services? Also, find out if a loss-of-use clause compensates you for temporary living accommodations.

Homeowner’s & Renter’s

If you own a home, you’re in luck. Homeowner’s insurance policies protect your belongings even if you are thousands of miles away on assignment. A notable exception is if you’ve turned your home into a rental property. If that’s the case, or if you don’t own a permanent residence, Vollmer suggests taking out a renter’s insurance policy at each new location. Generally speaking, this will replace items damaged or destroyed by burglary, water, smoke, and loss of use.

Travelers may also want to consider a personal article policy insuring valuables such as jewelry, cameras, and computers. However, cell phones, tablets, and e-readers aren’t usually covered.

Did you know that some carriers are dropping dog bite liability from homeowner’s policies? Other companies will exclude that coverage after the first incident. So before taking Fido on assignments, it’s important to know what is and isn’t included in your policy.

Stay tuned

Watch for the second half of this post next month, including tips on how to shop for insurance companies. Special thanks to Valerie Vollmer of Vollmer Insurance Services in Agoura Hills, Calif.

Anne Baye Ericksen has written for Healthcare Traveler since 1996. She resides with her family in Simi Valley, Calif. 

Read Full Post »

Photo: New York Public Library via Flickr.com

There are some amazing perks to living in Southern California: proximity to the beach, mountains, and legendary tourist sites. There’s a lot of fun in the sun to be had, but getting to the beach, mountains, or attractions means driving and filling up at the pump. At $4.29 per gallon (the posted price today), that makes for a costly day trip.

According to GasBuddy.com, California claims the highest gas prices in the country right now and my wallet knows it all too well.

Californians are not alone in feeling pain at the pumps. Other regions have experienced sticker shock, too. Higher gas prices also tend to trickle down to other areas, like food prices going up or airfares taking off. It seems like the ripple effect impacts many areas of everyday life.

While there are certain financial advantages to working as a healthcare traveler—namely having your housing, as well as some utilities and travel expenses covered by your staffing company—it doesn’t mean you don’t incur certain costs while on assignment.

You still have to drive to work, right? You have to eat, too.

We want to know what YOU think are some of the more expensive aspects of life on the road. And, more importantly, how do you cut costs?

Do you ask for housing closer to the hospital?

Do you eat in more often?

What are some of your tricks for keeping cash in your wallet?

Drop us a comment below. Then, watch for a compilation of all the tricks and tips to saving cash while on the road in the next issue of Healthcare Traveler.

Anne Baye Ericksen is a freelance writer based in Simi Valley, Calif. 

Read Full Post »

If you haven’t heard of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, then chances are you don’t work in healthcare. U.S. News & World Report has named the renowned medical institution one of the country’s best hospitals 20 years running. The prestige intrigued Nancy Coney, RN, BSN, an emergency room nurse with experience in surgical recovery care.

“People from all over the world seek treatment there,” she says.

It was a prime opportunity to add the revered teaching hospital to her résumé.

Once in a Lifetime

Practicing in such a preeminent facility was not something to pass up. So last spring she agreed to a contract in the emergency department at The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, a 560-bed hospital within the larger Johns Hopkins Health System in Baltimore, Md. Both assignments were secured by Clinical One, a staffing firm located in Wakefield, Mass.

After 13 weeks, she moved onto the surgery recovery unit at the system’s main facility.

“They do a lot of research and are on the cutting-edge of medicine,” she says of her choice. “Plus, the two hospitals share some of the same programs, so I thought it would be an easy transition instead of starting a new contract somewhere else. And, I like the city.”

More than Medicine

Thanks to Baltimore’s convenient locale, Coney and her boyfriend — who flies in on his days off — have taken in the sights of surrounding cities. Some, of which, she has been eager to see.

“We have been to Washington, D.C., Mount Vernon, Annapolis, Md., and Ocean City, Del.”

Before the assignment wraps up in April, she has considered exploring areas of Pennsylvania and taking a day trip to New York City. But her most memorable experience to date was meeting her first grandchild, born last fall.

“My daughter had a scheduled caesarean section, so I requested some time off,” remembers Coney. “My managers worked with me so I could spend about a week with my grandbaby. Both mother and infant are doing well.”

As for future bucket list must-dos, Coney remains open to possibilities. She may go to another coastal community, or visit family in Texas. One thing is certain, there will be plenty more trips to see her grandbaby.

Check out more travelers’ bucket list stories online or in the March issue of Healthcare Traveler.

Anne Baye Ericksen is a freelance writer based in Simi Valley, Calif.

Read Full Post »

Every year, people of all ages join forces across the country to walk in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure fundraiser. For the past six years, Leah Palyu’s stepmother participated in the Seattle event, walking 60 miles in three days in support of breast cancer research. Palyu had always wanted to walk, too, but she was usually away on an assignment.

The September 2011 event was different. The medical/surgical and telemetry nurse found herself back in the Pacific Northwest, just in time lend her efforts.

“This was a dream of mine,” says the traveler with HRN Services Inc., a healthcare staffing company based in Beverly Hills, Calif. “I always wanted to participate in the 3-Day with my stepmom.”

Going Mobile

When she first set out on a mobile career, Palyu didn’t have a steadfast list of ultimate destinations or extreme adventures to mark off her bucket list. Palyu simply wanted to experience various communities.

“I wanted to see different subcultures in the Southwest, Northeast, and South because each has its own reputation. I thought there would be no better way to do that than by living there,” she explains.

Over time, however, she accumulated more dreams and wishes. For example, Boston held a fascination for her.

“I’m almost half Irish, so I wanted to check out Beantown. I had it all planned for when I was presented an assignment there: My family would come visit and, because my stepmother has always wanted to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, we would take a trip to New York City for the holiday.”

Indeed, it looked like that’s exactly what would happen. Except, Palyu had met someone special while on assignment in Texas. He was attending nursing school at the time, and couldn’t join her on the road, so Palyu faced the decision of whether to head north or pursue a relationship.

“I decided to live in Texas until Chris graduated from nursing school. I didn’t stop traveling because he wanted me to, but because living apart was not an option for me — I did tell him that he still owes me Boston, though,” she says.

So Palyu temporarily retired from the mobile lifestyle.

Back on the Road

About a year ago, she resumed life on the road — now married to Chris, who practices as an emergency room nurse. First, on her to-do list, was to enter the fundraiser. Next was to celebrate the holidays with her relatives.

“For the past six or seven years, I have not made it home for the holidays. Once we were up here, I made sure I could take time off from my travel contract so I could be with my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she comments.

Although happy to have reconnected with relatives and old friends, Palyu and her husband are anxious to chase their new bucket list dreams. For example, Chris has an interest in racing.

“He owns a few road race cars, so I’m sure we will make some stops in California, like to Laguna Seca Motorway near Monterrey,” she offers. “I would like to go back to Charleston, S.C., because we did a lot of our courting while I was on contract there, but I’d also like to see some of the national monuments,” she concludes.

Check out more travelers’ bucket list stories online or in the March issue of Healthcare Traveler.

Anne Baye Ericksen is a freelance writer based in Simi Valley, Calif.

Read Full Post »

Photo: Peggy Clark

I really admire my parents. Even in their 70s they are more active than many twenty-somethings I know.

They walk three miles together nearly every day, which means jumping on the treadmill during harsh Wisconsin winters.

My mother regularly attends exercise classes, and my dad is Mr. Outdoorsman regardless of the season.

I’m very thankful they are blessed with good health, but I often think about the day when they will require help attending to their healthcare.

For me, the hardest part of that scenario is living 2,000 miles away and being unable to be as hands-on as much as they may need. As mobile professionals, you too can understand the frustrations of being away from loved ones in need.

According to the American Society on Aging, approximately 100 million people deal with chronic conditions and nearly 25 percent of all households care for a family member age 50 or older. Now think about how those numbers will escalate as baby boomers age and require more services.

More and more of us will become caregivers for loved ones.

But you don’t have to permanently unpack in order to become involved. Of course, ideally, family members and trusted friends living close by could pitch in, but there are experts who can advocate in your place if that’s not a viable option.

A Geriatric Care Manager (GCM) is typically a nurse or social worker trained to address the multifaceted nature of elder care. They assess individuals’ physical and psychological well-being, address family dynamics, and connect people to local resources. In fact, GCMs are very well connected with senior centers, assisted living facilities, home care organizations, and other local experts including financial and legal advisors.

GCMs also stay current with clients’ lives, so they notice when subtle changes might indicate something larger at play, or when extra services or attention is required. They can be your eyes and ears on the scene.

So how do you find a Geriatric Care Manager? The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers has compiled a membership database. Just type your zip code, city, or state into its Find a Care Manager Search engine. The results supply you with names, contact information, and areas of expertise for local geriatric care managers.

For now, I value my parents’ vitality because it allows them to enjoy their hobbies and interests. At the same time, it’s reassuring to know that a trained advocate is available for us when needed.

Special thanks to Andrea Gallagher at Senior Concerns.

Anne Baye Ericksen is a freelance writer based in Simi Valley, Calif.

Read Full Post »