As a travel nurse, why should you care about The Joint Commission? You could say, “I am not involved in preparing for a review. I am not one of the people involved in ‘showing’ reviewers around. I am, basically, not an employee of the hospital. So…why does it matter to me anyway?”
Well, I could say that caring about patient safety is a big part of the professional aspects of being a nurse. And, after all, that is what The Joint Commission focuses on—all the time. Every aspect The Joint Commission sets criteria for, reviews, inspects and investigates relate to making patients as safe as possible when receiving care from healthcare professionals in a healthcare setting.
On a more personal level, hospitals rarely do business with a travel company these days that is not certified by The Joint Commission. Which means, fewer jobs for you to choose from unless you work with a company that is certified.
It also means that the company has to ensure that all required documentation for licensure, BCLS/ACLS certification, drug tests, physical exams, etc, etc. are current and available for review. Since you are the only one who can supply these things, you will be asked to submit them in a timely manner and keep them up-to-date.
When The Joint Commission visits a company, the reviewer talks to nurses and facilities about the way in which that company provides service. Are the recruiters helpful? Does the nurse get paid on time? Does the company provide a client facility with “good” candidates for assignments?
Another reason to care is that The Joint Commission keeps track of a lot of data. One important one is Sentinel Events. It wants nurses to report incidents that involve patient harm and, yes, even potential patient harm. To do that, the hospital should have reporting mechanisms in place, report it to your travel company, or you can go on The Joint Commission website.
Ruth R. Stiehl, Ph.D., R.N.