My Life as a Travel Nurse

“My name’s Steve; I’m the new guy.” That’s how I introduce myself every 13 weeks or so. My preceptor gets a light-duty shift or two–that’s roughly the orientation period for a traveler. I learn best by hearing and doing rather than just watching; plus, I really enjoy Emergency Department patient care.

How has traveling affected me? It’s been almost a year and a half already! Traveling DOES pay more than being a staff nurse, and the extra income has enabled my wife and I to eliminate some debt. I’ve also bought some tools. I tell my wife the boat and motorcycle are tools.

I’ve worked in a small town and a big city in Minnesota – had a fantastic experience. I had a momentous experience, in New Mexico (which is where they make motorcycle riding weather.) And now I’m privileged to spend most of Winter 2018 in Vermont, where one of my coworkers is a bona-fide Vermont Syrup maker!

Before accepting this current assignment, I was told repeatedly, “this is a very traveler-friendly facility.” I’ve really enjoyed my first taste of New England! My favorite hospitals are the ones where the staff makes me feel like a part of their team instead of just a pinch-hitter who’s there for a few weeks, and in my fairly new traveling stint I’ve been at some good ones.

How does a travel nurse broaden their experience instead of being pigeon-holed into one subset of nursing? In my case, it was by being willing. “Psych patients are my favorite flavor,” I’ve said often. For many of them the ED is their entry point into the world of mental health care; many others use us as their primary provider. ERs see a lot of psych patients. That doesn’t necessarily make an ER nurse cross-trained to psych, but I enjoy caring for and managing those patients.

At one assignment, the psych unit was short-staffed and I obtained permission to float there for my days off at the ER; that was my first in-patient psych experience and it came by being willing to expand my knowledge and skill set…quickly. As a side benefit I hadn’t anticipated, that float experience paved the way for what would be my next travel assignment: charge nurse at a geriatric in-patient psych unit. That assignment required some quick development also, but after a two-month extension I did miss the pace and thinking of the ED.

There is no end of travel companies, and you’ll find that many travelers are on the roster at more than one. Why do I go to PPR first when it’s time to shop for the next assignment? Their motto is, “We put you first,” and at one assignment early in my traveling foray, my recruiter demonstrated that the motto was much more than a catchy tag line.

I like the opportunity of traveling, the chance to have some more autonomy in my schedule than most staff nurses get, and the financial benefits for my family. I do not like the extended time away from home, but my wife and kids and I have become adept at creating time and experiences together which helps to offset the lengthy absences. I enjoy the nuances that each different facility puts on standard nursing care, and I get to meet people and make some friends in very diverse parts of the country.

Whether far away or close to home, hospitals need the help that we provide. The ability to adapt to their culture and their team, the ability to absorb a hyper-condensed orientation quickly, and the willingness to enthusiastically jump into new experiences to help them treat their waiting patients.

With (usually) a year of experience in your specialty, you can pack a bag and strike out on an uncharted adventure of your own.

Combine the Power of PRN and an MSP to Alleviate Staffing Pain Points

Think about your ideal one-stop shop. We’re not talking Walmart or Target, but a small curated shop of your favorite bread, cheeses, and meat, but also a place where you can mail a package, pick up a small gift for a friend, buy flowers for your home, and more. Maybe this shop can’t do it all, but you’d spend most of your time in this “dream shop” only exists in our dreams, however, when it comes to staffing this “dream shop” is not so different from having an MSP in the post-acute space.

As you may know there are many pain points in hospital staffing, and thus you’ve experienced how an MSP can address these issues in staffing a hospital setting. Moving on to the need for a more “curated shop” your facility may need to focus on PRN as a means of temporary staffing. When combined with an MSP, we can help alleviate some of the struggles your facility may face with PRN alone. Using both, your facility can secure nursing home healthcare professionals for a longer period of time rather than trying to staff day-to-day, which we know can be a hassle.

Just like with the “dream shop” we imagined, you can still maintain your local PRN relationships to supplement the MSP program that manages your long-term assignments (and go to the bigger store sometimes, too).

So, you have both your MSP through partnering with PPR VS and you have your PRN go-tos but what now. So, you have both an MSP, and you’ve been partnering with PPR Vendor Solutions, but what now?

First, our MSP partnership starts out by customizing the VMS process to meet the specifications of your vendor community (think: finding that perfect gift for a friend at the one-stop-shop). Because our process has customized solutions, we can create savings for you (just as you’d save on transportation costs of going store to store).

Next, candidates are sourced and screened for quality based solely on our client’s set requirements, providing another layer of quality control. It’s like having the perfect store employee help you select the correct amount of pasta for your dinner party!

Additional areas of results from this partnership may include being assignment heavy vs PRN heavy as more continuity of care for patients, ability to plan or forecast more effectively, soft cost of internal employee time savings and overall peace of mind of booking assignments you can ‘set it and forget it’ rather than day to day process of staffing PRN.

Going beyond our side of the partnership, PPR’s Vendor Solutions proprietary system, Beacon123, effectively manages the temporary placement of candidates in both acute and post-acute facilities through third party vendors. From sourcing to credentialing, Beacon carries the burden.

If using PRN for temporary staffing, seems too good to be true, like a boutique shopping experience, it’s not! Combined with an MSP, you’ve got the perfect shop and the employee to arrange your flowers, and hand over the freshest loaf of bread available.

Want to find out more how your facility can leverage the power of PRN with an MSP? Contact us today, we’re here to help!

Changing Travel Assignments with the Seasons

We want you to get the most out of your travel nursing experience. Most nurses who have been traveling for a while will agree that the best assignments change with the season.

During the summer months, more travel nursing jobs are available in the Northwest, Northeast, Northern California, and Texas. The reason? It’s the time when all of the southerners go north and northerners stay home! Thus creating a lower census in the southern states and increase our census in the northern states. However, Texas is the exception. I guess people just don’t want to leave the Lone Star State. Summer also makes it more difficult to find those great assignments in Florida, Southern California, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming.

This means your geographical flexibility is essential. This is a great time to start thinking out of the box with your assignment locations. There are great travel assignments available in some really intriguing locations. Locations like Vermont and Washington offer the most beautiful natural landscape and endless outdoor activities. While locations such as Northern California and Massachusetts offer a more fast-paced, upbeat atmosphere.

One of our team leaders, Stacy Pavish, says “Remember to be open minded and flexible over the summer to location and pay as these can vary nationwide!” Who knows, you may stumble upon your new favorite location.

Contact us at We would love to help you find that great travel nurse experience.

Achieving the Gold Standard in Clinical Quality

It may not come as a surprise that hospitals with better patient-reported experience perform better financially, according to a Deloitte report. As the market continues to shift toward value-based and patient-centered models, a high quality of care is going to be the gold standard which facilities must take notable actions to achieve.

Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) help track how well healthcare facilities are doing across many aspects of patient care, including:

  • Patient Safety
  • Patient and Family Engagement
  • Clinical Process/Effectiveness
  • Efficient Use of Healthcare Resources

A regular hurdle that facility leaders must overcome in order to achieve the high level of clinical quality is finding and retaining skilled clinicians with that same commitment to that gold standard for patient care.

A reputable Vendor Management System (VMS) can instill confidence in an organization’s clinical capabilities by providing a cost-effective solution for the following challenges:

1)      Finding, training and retaining quality clinicians

2)      Right-sizing staff ratios amidst demand fluctuations and cost pressures

3)      Training on CMS survey preparedness

4)      Implement systems to drive higher STAR ratings

A Managed Service Provider maintains broader access to qualified clinical staff than what a single facility can pull from. Coupled with a robust process for screening candidates, a partnership with an MSP can ensure the right clinicians are on your floors. They select based on compliance and clinical capabilities – for example, how well do they interact with patients and family members? How is their attention to detail impacted by stress or workload?

“PPR is responsive and fast-acting to any staffing requests. This has allowed my team to grow while maintaining quality team members as a whole,” said Peter Caudle Rehab Program Manager.

We’d love to share more about our custom approach to solving your staffing needs and why we are proud to have clients like Peter.

Learn what sets PPR apart. Contact us today.

SLPs: What You Want to Know About Calvert County Schools

Established in 1654, Calvert County is one of the oldest counties in the United States, so they have had time on their side in their quest to be one of the top school districts.

Calvert County Schools ranks among Maryland’s top districts with an AP enrollment rate of over 40 percent of high school students. The district also has a center dedicated to special education. With plenty of Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) openings for the 2018-2019 school year, this might be the call for your next adventure.

Prince Frederick, Maryland, is a charming town with beaches, state parks and a vineyard. Head over to where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay, and you’ll find Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center featuring a walking path amongst sculptures on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art. Charter boats are available if you’re interested in cruising down the Chesapeake Bay.

Washington, D.C., is just 35 miles northwest, so you will never run out of options whether you love cherry blossomswar museums or top headlining concerts. A little further is Baltimore, yet another great city rich in history with something to fit all taste buds and hobbies.

If you’re an SLP and looking to go back to school on a contract, it’s important you’re in the know about licensing requirements and what opportunities are out there. If exploring this part of our great nation piques your interest, head over to our listings for all the openings in Calvert County Schools. We’re eager to get you back to school in Fall 2018.