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Karen Flaster

Our healthcare system must constantly meet the need of filling personnel vacancies with qualified individuals — for ensure patient welfare, and for efficiency’s sake. Demand for travel nurses as a strategic part of an organization’s chart is as critical as ever.

So what can a traveler nurse do to ensure that next opportunity is within reach? Karen Flaster, chief operating officer of HRN Services, and Melanie Douglas Major, recruitment manager for NursesRX have some thoughts.

Both explain the need to be adaptable to an employers needs is important, especially if you can demonstrate that you can fit into more than a single situation when it comes to assignments.

“Be open to possibilities and different experiences,” says Douglas Major.

That applies to a lot, including being agreeable to shift work, open to floating, and being flexible when faced with unexpected work requests. Not soft , but not rigid.

Flaster stresses that the ability to be flexible allows a traveler to glean the upside of a given situation.

“As an example, a RN states: ‘I only want/will work the day shift.’ The hospital offers the night shift. The RN refuses the assignment rather than using critical thinking skills to deduce ‘if I take the night shift and demonstrate my skills, competency, team player ability, and good attendance, they will ask me to stay for another assignment AND confirm me for day shift.’”

That’s important when weighing assignments also. Flaster chooses Healthcare Traveler’s base of Cleveland as an example.

“The RN who wants Cleveland, but the assignment he or she is qualified for and can be confirmed for, now is in Toledo,” Flaster says. “Rather than accepting and requesting a Cleveland facility for the next assignment, he or she declines. If (you) stopped to consider that if you have an Ohio license and the likelihood of another assignment being available as well as a obtaining a reference from the Toledo facility, you might not be so quick to say no.”

When on site always have your credentials current and together in a folder. This allows hospital providers to quickly respond to calls for assignments that have a quick turnaround.

To help guide you to the next job, Douglas Major recommends finding a recruiter who is aware and supportive of your travel nursing goals. However, you have to do your due diligence in finding the right recruiter.

“Referrals are the best way to go,” she says. “Also, look at their title and tenure.”

Finally, the knack for putting the needs of the organization before your own may not satisfy your personal goals at the time, but can open the door to more career opportunities down the road.  Doing it with a good attitude is all the more important, says Flaster.

Nurses need to thoughtfully consider if they are helping to fulfill the responsibilities of the facility or taking away. Nurses also need to consider how important good manners, civility, and being  approachable is in today’s patient care setting.”

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