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Healthcare Workers

Working with a Nursing Recruiter

by Howard Gerber on January 17, 2013

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Working with a Nursing Recruiter

If you’re considering a traveling nurse job or simply looking for a change, you might find yourself working with a professional recruiter. Do you know what to expect? What to tell your recruiter…and what not to?

Who needs a recruiter?
If your plan is to apply to local facilities and stay within your current position, you probably don’t need a recruiter. On the other hand, if you want to apply for a different type of position, move into an administrative career, work as a temporary or travel nurse, then your best bet is to seek professional help. Recruiters bring a lot to the table – they’ll help your polish your resume to make the best possible impression and have established relationships with the right people to ensure your resume is noticed.

The recruiter’s agenda
Your agenda is simple, get a great job. The recruiter wants that for you as well, but in order to do that, she must match the right candidate with the right opportunity. A lot of factors are in play, and the most successful recruiters have an instinctive feel for sending well-qualified applicants.

Put your best foot forward
When you present yourself to the recruiter, treat the interview with the same care you would a coveted job interview. Dress for success, be on time, be prepared, and speak with confidence. The recruiter represents you, but their jobs depend on making the employer happy. If you want to land those plum interviews, you first have to convince the recruiter that you’re a suitable candidate. She won’t stick her neck out for you unless you can convince her you’re worth it.

Pay attention
Recruiters have a lot of expertise to offer. If she tells you that you can beef up your resume by joining a group, getting a certification, volunteering, or doing something else that sets you apart and appeals to employers, listen and respond. You may not know what might up your pay grade…but she does. The recruiter can also help you with answers to deceptively sticky interview questions. If you’re unprepared, some common questions can be a minefield.

Be honest and be flexible
Tell the recruiter what you’re looking for. Be specific, but understand that your dream job may not be out there right now, or you may not have the qualifications. So be prepared with a well-developed plan B. Don’t agree to take anything that comes your way, but have a list of positions you’d be happy—really happy—to accept.

What to approach carefully
Religious affiliation can be an issue, and is better left out of the conversation. If you feel strongly about religion, and want to work in, say, a Catholic hospital, it can be a selling point, but understand that it can also be severely limiting. If your objective is to get a job wherever you can, keep your private life private. The same can be said for atheists. If the best job out there is at a church-sponsored hospital, lack of religion need not stand in your way. Either way, you may limit your options by volunteering answers to questions they won’t ask.

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The Best Destinations for Travel Nurses: San Juan Puerto Rico

If you’re in the middle of cold, wet, and sloppy winter, I’ll bet you’re dreaming of a warm getaway. Picture yourself on a beautiful tropical beach in the dead of winter, sipping on a pina colada with your toes buried in warm sand. If you’re a traveling nurse and your idea of wintry paradise does not include scraping ice from your windshield before work, an assignment in Puerto Rico might be just the ticket.

San Juan
Located on the coast of a beautiful tropical island, San Juan is a modern city loaded with old-world charm. The history of the oldest U.S. city* is rooted in rich and colorful culture. On his second voyage in 1493, Christopher Columbus originally named the island “San Juan Bautista” to honor St. John the Baptist. Ponce de León came along and founded a city, which he named Puerto Rico (Rich Port) in 1521. Sometime later, the name of the city and the name of the island were exchanged. The long history creates an intriguing mix of old and new in the city. Modern office buildings give way unexpectedly to centuries-old dwellings, and throngs of tourists waving smartphones and digital cameras provide a startling contrast to colorfully painted ancient constructions.

*St. Augustine, FL, is the oldest city in continental United States.

Things to do
The city is dominated by a 16th-century fort, El Morro (Castillo de San Felipe del Morro) , a six story citadel filled with tunnels, dungeons, barracks, outposts and ramps. The imposing fortress was overcome only once, when the Earl of Cumberland attacked unexpectedly from the land side. The walk through history is well worth the $3 price of admission, and the ocean views from the fort are nothing short of spectacular.

To further explore Puerto Rican history, art, and culture, visit the San Juan Museum of Art and History. It began life as a market in 1855, and was rebuilt in 1979 as a cultural center, featuring native art and music. Concerts and festivals are held there throughout the year.

For a shopping experience, it’s hard to beat the 300 retailers located in the Plaza las Americas, a modern mall graced with elegant architecture and everything you’d expect to find at a mainland mall.

And then there are the beaches. Miles and miles of fine white sand, blue skies and bluer water, gentle waves and an endlessly breathtaking ocean view. It’s warm all year round, so taking a travel assignment in Puerto Rico from January – March gives a whole new meaning to the winter blues.

Area Hospitals
San Juan boasts many modern medical facilities, and one of the nicest is the Doctor’s Center Hospital, which has three area locations. With a diet center, a cancer center, a cardiovascular lab, a nuclear medicine facility and several other specialized care wings, the hospital provides the kind of quality care your patients expect and deserve.

The best thing about being a travel nurse is the opportunity to experience new things, and the wealth of culture and history, the delicious cuisine, and the tropical setting makes Puerto Rico a great choice…especially in the winter.

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Best Jobs in America: Nurse Anesthetist

by Howard Gerber on December 13, 2012

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Best Jobs in America: Nurse Anesthetist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MSNBC recently posted the results of their annual report of The Best and Worst Jobs in America.  Nurse anesthetist (CRNA) came in at number 15, a respectable position considering the number of jobs that were considered (7000). But what makes nurse anesthetist better than, say, ICU nurse or surgical nurse? [continue reading…]

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Why Are Nurses Unhappy?

by Howard Gerber on December 6, 2012

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Why Are Nurses Unhappy?

Several studies have shown that nurses have a low happiness quotient, but why? It’s an important job, it requires a great deal of skill, and it’s one of the few professions that offers directly expressed customer satisfaction. You make patients comfortable and happy, and they are quick to tell you how much they appreciate it. Not that every patient is grateful or that every one credits you with making them comfortable, we all know that’s a fantasy. But there are enough patients who appreciate what you do to make your job an overall satisfying experience. Right? Perhaps not.

In February, Monash University researchers released a study called What Nurses Want: Analysis of the First National Survey on Nurses’ Attitudes to Work and Work Conditions in Australia that shed light on some of the problems standing in the way of nursing happiness. Although the study dealt with nurses on another continent, I think you’ll find their answers surprisingly familiar. [continue reading…]

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Negotiating your Contract

by Howard Gerber on November 29, 2012

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Negotiating your Contract

An experienced travel nurse never assumes every contract is “standard.” Nothing could be further from the truth. A good contract lays it all out: Terms, bonuses, living arrangements, sick days…the things that will define your work and life for the next few months.

An experienced recruiter will help you hammer out the details, but never be afraid to speak up and try to amend the contract to get a better deal. Before you sign off on the changes, though, make sure the recruiter or company representative has the authority to make changes.  Some potential changes and amendments may be part of the original contract; adjustments the company allows without question. Other things may not be clear, and this is where you need to ask the right questions and advocate on your own behalf. [continue reading…]

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The Pros and Cons of Traveling Nursing

by Howard Gerber on November 15, 2012

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The Pros and Cons of Traveling Nursing

Thinking about a career as a traveling nurse, but aren’t sure it’s for you? There are a lot of perks, but there are some negatives as well….and some parts of the job belong on both lists, because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Confused? Don’t worry, you’ll see.

Pros of a Travel Nursing Career

1. The travel. Obvious? Maybe. But have you stopped to think about all that travel has to offer? You choose what assignments to accept and where to go. It’s a great way to try Boston clam chowder in Boston and visit all the historic sights…maybe ride that silly duck tour. Or accept an assignment in Cincinnati in the fall to catch a few Bengals games….or the Yankees in NY.

If sports aren’t your thing, maybe you’d like to dip into history and visit Washington D.C. and colonial Williamsburg. Or follow the warmth and hop from coast to coast for the beaches.

2. The money. Travel nursing nearly always pays more per assignment than a permanent position, but the money adds up in other ways as well. All your expenses are paid. So not only do you pocket a more than competitive salary and often an attractive bonus package, you aren’t paying all those bills that would normally come out of your salary.

3. The networking. Your average nurses in the trenches can’t meet and impress the sheer number of doctors, administrators, and other nurses. The advantage of networking is simple. Employability.  The more contacts you have, the more likely you are to get a job when you decide to settle down. Put your best foot forward and people will remember you.

4. The freedom. You’re in control of your own career. Once in a while, you’ll land a bad assignment. But it’s only for a few weeks…and then you move on. If it’s really bad, you never have to go back. Few people have that kind of career freedom. [continue reading…]

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Heroism in Crisis: Nurses Step Up

by Howard Gerber on November 8, 2012

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Heroism in Crisis: Nurses Step Up

It should come as no surprise that nurses are among the most selfless, heroic people on the planet, but they are so often overlooked that news stories are rare. Last month, though, When Hurricane Sandy tore a wide swath of destruction through NYC, no one could ignore the contribution made by nurses who risked their personal safety to put patients first.

The stories bring the effects of the storm home, put a face on the faceless victims, and show human nature at its finest (for the most part – excluding the guy that locked his door against a frantic woman and her two young children during the storm surge. He represents the exact opposite.). [continue reading…]

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