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Expect hardest assignment, no CNAs, no lunch break?

Travel   (596 Views 7 Comments)
by mtnNurse. mtnNurse., BSN (Member) Nurse

221 Likes; 386 Visitors; 147 Posts

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With three years of medsurg and exploring what's next, I have considered traveling. I have the feeling I'd need to adopt a gung-ho, go-with-the-flow attitude and be ready to take on the highest acuity patients, the most patients, not get any CNA help, and not be encouraged or helped in getting myself a break. I also imagine possibly scenarios where I'd be putting my license in jeopardy due to outrageous work loads. 

Experienced travel nurses, is that about right? Or can it be better than this? Do I need excellent IV skills (still miss most of mine because I worked where we had an IV Team)? 

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40 Likes; 2 Followers; 44,046 Visitors; 5,237 Posts

IV and tele experience is best, but you should be able to travel successfully. Most likely you will be able to pick up IV on the road.

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baschaff has 9 years experience as a RN.

1 Like; 2,302 Visitors; 26 Posts

Following this thread...I've been a nurse for 9 years and considering traveling as well, but I've always heard that you can expect the worst in terms of assignments, patient load, scheduling, etc. 

Is this true? The agency nurses I've worked with in the past always seemed to be treated pretty fairly.

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Gary Mendoza works as a Registered Nurse.

5 Likes; 1,002 Visitors; 76 Posts

mtnNurse, IV skills are always nice to have, but most places I've worked the Med/Surg nurses weren't very good with IV's nor were they expected to be. Most of them would call ICU or ER for hard sticks unless they had an IV team. I wouldn't fret if your IV skills aren't up to snuff. I've been traveling for many years and it's hit or miss with the CNAs / Techs. Some assignments you have no techs at all, some assignments you have one tech for the entire floor and a few assignments I had plenty of techs. That's always a good question to ask in your interview with the facility, but sometimes they aren't going to be honest with their answer so try to 'read between the lines'.

baschaff , I have to say that most places I've worked at were fair with patient assignments, but there have been a few where the travelers got the worse of the worst and those were usually the smaller rural hospitals. I think the reason is two-fold. 1. rural nurses and doctors aren't as experienced as a seasoned travel nurse (usually) so they give the "scary" patients to the travelers 2. small rural hospitals are very 'clicky' and they rather shit on you than their neighbor, you're leaving eventually so if they piss you off, no big deal really.

Overall, travel is very challenging, you have to be able to take some abuse (a lot in some rare cases) , but you also have to be able to put your foot down and say "NO" when things are dangerous and/or jeopardize your license. Only you know what you can handle and if it's getting to be too much you have to be comfortable speaking up because they don't know your limits.

 

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baschaff has 9 years experience as a RN.

1 Like; 2,302 Visitors; 26 Posts

Gary thank you for the honest assessment...that's about what I figured. I'm in Louisiana so I'm thinking that the work environment can't possibly be too much worse than here...🙄

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40 Likes; 2 Followers; 44,046 Visitors; 5,237 Posts

You might even find that travel assignments will be easier/better than your current staff job in many ways. Stay away from the South and HSA and Tenet hospitals (for-profit) hospitals for best results. California has the nation's only mandated staffing law, but many union hospitals in say the NE have similar rules (typically not as strictly followed as California's though as it is a contractual rule verses a legal rule with the force of law). Lots of travelers love California and they use a lot of travelers. If you are interested in travel assignments there at any point in the future, apply now for licensure, it can take a while.

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Swellz has 6 years experience and works as a RN.

70 Likes; 9,030 Visitors; 532 Posts

Most of the places I've traveled to have IV teams, so I wouldn't worry about that particular skill so much. You can always give it a try and ask for help if you can't get it.

I've worked in some terrible places and had terrible assignments and schedules, but I rarely have a significantly worse assignment or schedule than the staff nurses. It's usually more incompetence than malice, or at least that's been my experience. You just give the best care you can give, whatever the situation is. If every nurse on the floor is taking 8 patients, they aren't going to only give you 5 because that's what you're comfortable with. Ask about ratios when you speak to the manager and tell them ahead of time if you have a hard limit. If an assignment is not a good fit, it's not a good fit, regardless of the money or location.

I've also worked in some great hospitals, but if somewhere needs travelers, they need them for a reason. You just have to be prepared for that reason when you find out what it is, and work through it.

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