Med Surg Unit staffed with 70-90% Travelers

  1. Hi,
    I was wondering if anyone has experienced a situation where a med-surg unit is undergoing many changes and the need to use a high amount of traveling nurses??? I work at a teaching hospital where our surgery patients are very acute. Needless to say everyone is spread too thin and I think the travelers are shocked when they experience our unit and the level of choas.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Pete495
    About a year and a half ago, our hospital had a critical care tele floor that was staffed 50% by travelers. Now the hospital has eliminated travelers altogether. There is not one traveler in the hospital now, and it somewhat of a big hospital. The elimination of travelers was partly do to the high cost of paying them, and of course budget cutbacks. I can't wait until the hospital experiences a shortage again, just to see if they will resort back to travelers. Mark my words. it will happen, trust me. Anyway, the hospital has built up their float pool a little more, and has added a lot of staff through cooperative agreements with nursing schools and students. It has worked fairly well.
  4. by   Brownms46
    As a traveler I have worked on many units where travelers were the ONLY staff on duty at times! And if experienced travelers are shocked...it can only mean two things. One they haven't been traveliing long, or your units are pretty messed up!

    And as for that recycle thing, where hospitals get rid of travelers and then get them back. I have seen the turnaround time on that be as little as less than 24hrs..:chuckle I have also seen hospital who used some progressive ideas to forstall using travelers, but it rarely works for long. And new hospitals who have never used travelers before are rapidly joining the ranks of those who do...
  5. by   roxannekkb
    I have been in charge as a per diem nurse and a traveler. I have worked when I was the only staff person (and a per diem at that) and everyone else was registry. It's not an unusual situation. Considering that I worked only one year as a staff person, and over 10 as per diem/registry/traveler, and always had more work than I wanted or needed, I can well see how this is the case.
  6. by   ainz
    I have experienced both sides. I have been the ONLY regular staff member on a busy telemetry floor where I was the charge nurse and ALL others were agency. I have also been an agency nurse and travelled where I was the only agency nurse in charge of the entire small hospital.

    I think the success of using agency nurses depends on the individual nurse. I am very professional and conscientous about my work. I am internally motivated and do not rely on external "pats on the back" to know I am doing a good job or doing the right thing. Experienced agency nurses that have good work ethics and high ethical standards can walk into most any situation and perform very well. I was one of those kind of agency nurses.

    My time on that telemetry unit was tough. Not because of the agency use but because of the things the hospital did so that they needed agency nurses, they could not keep regular staff. It was a constant state of flux. Usually the doctors complain, the finance people complain about the cost, and finally the hospital admin will address the real issues and resolve them.
  7. by   sjoe
    It's NEVER a good sign.
  8. by   caroladybelle
    Originally posted by sjoe
    It's NEVER a good sign.
    AMEN to that!!!!!!!
  9. by   oramar
    Isn't it a shame that managment only gets the message that they have problems with retention when they look at the effect staffing exclusively with travels has on the bottom line. Oblivious to the coming and goings of their nurses, not really caring till the bill arrives, they could see the problems anytime they wanted to but they don't care to see. Sad to say this is the norm. It is not this way everywhere but it is more comman than not.
  10. by   Geeg
    It must be cost effective to have a revolving door of nurse employees, since it has been that way for years, and most hospitals have done nothing but increase their own profits, while crying poor in order to get nurses to do MORE with MUCH LESS!!!

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