From the category archives:

Travel Nursing

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Chances are when you think of natural disasters, the first things that come to mind are hurricanes, notably Katrina and Sandy. And well they should; they’re huge, frightening, devastating, and affect large swaths of populated areas. But hurricanes are not the only catastrophes you might have to deal with during your career. During any kind of a disaster, from a snowstorm to a large-scale natural disaster on the level of a wildfire, tornado, flood, or hurricane, nurses are always in great demand. [continue reading…]

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Getting Back in the Game – The Retired Nurse

by Howard Gerber on January 24, 2013

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Getting Back in the Game – The Retired Nurse

What happens if you retire and find that you’re not ready for a rocking chair? Many nurses return to the workplace after choosing to leave, and plenty of positions are waiting for experienced nurses of any age. The key is to find something a bit less stressful than the full-time position you may have built your career on. Here are some ideas for nurses who want to get back in the game – gently.

Substitute School Nurse
School nurses, like teachers, need time off. They get sick, they have babies, and they take vacations. An RN with a current license can sign up to be a substitute nurse on call whenever necessary. It’s a low-stress job that can generate a little extra money and get you out of the house now and then.

Pharmacy Clinic
Major pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS often have low-cost walk-in clinics, where your job would be pretty routine. You’d administer shots, take blood pressure, give diabetes advice, maybe look at a rash or two. If anything serious comes up, your job is to refer the patient to a doctor. You could work full or part time, under much less stressful conditions than a traditional medical office.

Travel Nurse
Travel nursing is a demanding position, but you can limit it to short bursts of time. For example, you could choose to work 12 weeks and take six months off. What’s more, you could choose a contract in Hawaii in the dead of winter, or cool Colorado when the summer heat gets to be too much. You’re always in control. You can even travel internationally. It’s a great way to visit all those places on your bucket list.

Temp Agencies
You can also fill in for local medical facilities on a temporary basis when they need help; for a week, a month, even a day. There are many situations that might result in a shot staff (the flu can wipe out a whole office in no time) or situations where an emergency creates a short-term need for extra hands. Registering with a temp agency gives you the option of filling in when there’s a need, and the freedom to say no thanks. Because, let’s face it, some days that rocker is awfully appealing. Or you already have plans to go windsurfing.

Teaching or Training
Check out local facilities that are looking for staff trainers and share your expertise with new nurses or nursing students. Some hospitals hire RNs for training sessions or new nurse orientation. You may even find a consultation position.

Writing
Every savvy medical facility or service has a website that offers expert advice, professional blogs, and other opportunities for you to share your experience. Offering fresh content is more challenging than you might expect, and nurses with experience and writing skills can quickly find themselves in demand. If your grammar skills are honed and you have the patience to do the research, writing might be the perfect way to earn some extra money from home, by sharing what you already know.

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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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The Best Destinations for Travel Nurses: Denver, Colorado

by Howard Gerber on December 20, 2012

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The Best Destinations for Travel Nurses: Denver, Colorado

For some people winter evokes dreams of the tropics. Palm trees swaying in a warm gentle breeze, the sound of the ocean and the call of seabirds providing the background music during a relaxing nap in a hammock. For others, winter only means one thing; fresh powder, bracing air, and that long lift to the top of the slopes. If a ski trip is more appealing than a sunburn, consider taking an assignment in Denver. [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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Tax Tips for Travel Nurses

by Howard Gerber on November 22, 2012

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Tax Tips for Travel Nurses

Tax season is approaching like a freight train, and with it, that dreaded paperwork. Being a travel nurse complicates thing exponentially. Here are some things you need to know if you’re just starting out.

1. Every state has different rules, and you have to file in every state you work. Some states, like Florida, have no state income tax. Many others do, and you have to comply. You also have to pay taxes in your home state for all income earned in the US…but if you did pay income tax in another state, you can deduct it. Our best advice is to get a qualified accountant to keep track of it all.

2. Document everything. Every contract, every receipt, every expense. Since lugging around all that paper would be a recipe for disaster, track it online. There are a number of tax programs that help you organize receipts and keep track of expenses. Check out shoeboxed.com, Tax Central from H&R Block, and IRS2Go, to check on your filing status.

3. Understand that the perks may be taxable. Your living and travel expenses are extensions of your pay. Don’t be blindsided if the IRS wants a cut. [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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