"gypsy" nurses - page 2

A Traveler's Tale: Nursing shortage boosts demand for "gypsy" nurses By Rebecca Vesely - STAFF WRITER Sunday, July 06, 2003 - It seems like a dream job. Free luxury housing. Guaranteed... Read More

  1. by   NICU_Nurse
    Quote: ...Regina Harrison, a nurse at Kaiser Permanente's Oakland Medical Center, echoing a common sentiment. ``More nurses are injured because they are lifting patients and moving them by themselves because travelers won't help.''

    Actually, I thought this was a very interesting article, and not all bad, but that statement above? COME ON!!! Could you MAKE a larger sweeping generalization?

    We have extremely high turnover on our units for a variety of reasons: administration and unit management could give a flying hoot if their nurses are satisfied, they refuse to allow self-scheduling, the schedules we ARE given never change and there are imposed limits such as not being able to work more than three days in a row unless you're doing only eight-hour shifts, requests for education days and vacation days are always turned down, low budgets within the hospital mean we have to get creative with our nursing care, outdated philosophies, etc. I could go on for hours!

    Because of these and many more reasons, we are constantly short due to high turnover and call-in's (the way the system is, in order to take one day off, people end up calling sick and bringing in a "bought" doctor's note; if you sprain your ankle, but don't go to the doctor and bring a note back, you don't get paid. Likewise if you have a cold or migraines or you name it- no note, no money.). We have new nurses who are trained then leave after one year to work in better conditions. Because they leave so quickly, managment has begun to scale back the training, basically because the time and effort ends up being for nil when they leave and you have to start all over with a new batch of new grads.

    Because of all of this, we finally got some travellers in recently. We have two on contract now, one is about to go staff (with the pool), and the other one we BEGGED personally to stay a while longer because we loved her so much.

    She was so tickled that we actually begged her to stay, and we went to our manager to sing her praises, because not only are we in desperate need, but we love her to death. She said that at her last facility, in California, she was treated quite badly by the staff who, when they found out what she was making, basically ostracized her and treated her horribly.

    IMO, I don't care how much money they're paying travellers- whatever it is, it probably isn't enough (there really IS no such thing as a free lunch- hospitals aren't going to actually pay ANYONE what they're worth, not even in a crunch). I admire the travellers, because I wouldn't deal with half of what they have to deal with, whether they chose it or not. Not a team member? No familiarity with the basic needs like where to find things and basic protocols? Jealousy from others who wish they were making more money? Having to be so supremely flexible all of the time? It must be exhausting!

    I am always surprised when people react to travellers like the ones in that article- to me, our contract nurses have been a blessing and a half and we would be up a creek without them.
  2. by   SmilingBluEyes
    AHHH....when an article generalizes like that , I stop reading right then and there, having seen it lose credibility in my eyes. My experiences w/travelers have been 90% positive. (in the many I come across, one was positively evil and dangerous and we told the agency NEVER to refer her back to us).

    I treat them like GOLD--never giving my crappiest assignments to them just cause they are "there".......I want them BACK. I use the Golden Rule with travelers/agency nurses cause to me, they are like GUESTS and their impression of us COUNTS to me. I am certainly not envious of their higher pay; they work for it in my eyes and I have never worked with a traveler who refused to pull his/her weight on my unit. They literally "hit the ground running" where I work (L and D) and with very little direction/guidance at times. I brook NO resentment of travelers/agency nurses. THEY work for their MONEY JUST LIKE WE DO but stay the HECK out of "office politics" ---

    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Jul 8, '03
  3. by   mailnurse
    I've worked as a "taveller" before,once doing an open ended gig which I was able to commute to from home(wonderful hours!) and then a 3 month gig.In both places I was used where needed(sometimes sent to another Unit halfway through the shift)-this I expected.
    I did not expect some of the responses I received from Nurses at the faclilities when asking locations of equipment or forms to fill out,for example.These unexpected responses ranged from lazy mumblings to downright ignoring my questions.
    I will,however,say that there also were some nurses who were kind and showed me the "ropes".They did not form the majority.
    After a while,I did earn the trust of most nurses and took a lot of good natured ribbing from them,like if something really got screwed up,these would say"Blame it on him(me),he's the agency guy."I often referred to myself as the rent-a -nurse or as my signature reads,the ice cream man(long story going back to when I did some local agency LTC staff relief and wore all white and an obviously confused sweet old lady wanted to know who I was and what I was giving her[meds]).
    I later was hired FT by this same facility I was doing the 3 month gig at and remained there 2 1/2 years.
    I believe as a "traveller" or in more derogatory terms,"gypsy",one has to expect some leeriness and a little guarding or even mistrust toward the travel nurse from facility nurses.It's our nature (this can be overcome)to be suspicious of newcomers to our little work circle.As one of the replies mentions,the enduring travel nurse will stand the test of time(unless he/she is a real f--- up)and through good nursing practice/performance win the trust of MOST nurses there.
  4. by   Brita01
    All this article does is show to others how nurses would rather bash eachother, than stand together and work as one. Shameful.
  5. by   powmol
    I have 2 children, one that is 19 and another that will be 15 soon. Personally I am looking forward to the day of being a "travel nurse!" I find this article not only bashing toward these travelers, but---the nurses that are doing the b------ about these travelers could have the same opportunities if they chose. are these complaints due to real problems, or complaints due to just plain jealousy???
  6. by   unbridled
    Before I got into nursing, I worked as a traveler processing medical health claims and doing customer service. We had a lot of the same problems with locals that traveling nurses have because we got better hourly wages, per diem, guarantees about work hours, lodging, etc. And we got a lot of the problem claims, problem callers, and general work problems pushed off on us as well. In fact, you could take the original post and substitute a few words and it could be about my travel experiences processing health insurance claims.
  7. by   live4today
    I think we should all quit our jobs and become traveling nurses. (hee-hee) Then, the hospitals won't have anyone to blame but themselves for the way nurses are treated by them. Just think....if every nurse did this and offered their services as independent contractors at the hospitals, nurses would no longer have to put up with crap that didn't pertain to them. Traveling nurses NEVER have to get caught up in the politics in a hospital. We show up, do our job and our time on our contracts, and move on elsewhere........sometimes we stay on if the place is decent enough to us. (speaking as a former traveling nurse........one day I may rejoin the ranks of traveling nurses for reasons such as I mentioned.)
  8. by   webbiedebbie
    Cheerfuldoer...I have thought the same thing!

    A misconception with travel nursing is that you "travel". Well, you can be a travel nurse and work in the hospital in your own town! That would show 'em!

    Just think! ALL nurses would have the benefits and flexibility that "traveling" offers. The hospitals would be left holding the bag.

    Personally, I think it is a wonderful idea! Not to mention the amount of extra bonus we would make referring another nurse to the agency that we contract with!

    I don't see travel nursing being phased out as long as hospitals play games with us. It's a shame that nurses leave nursing, when they could "travel" and reap the rewards we so justly deserve. Travel nursing offers this to us. We are fools not to take it!!!!!

    I have worked with many travel nurses and I would rather work with them than my own coworkers!
  9. by   caroladybelle
    A few for profits are trying to eliminate "local" travelers. Columbia HCA hospitals in FL caught on that they were "raiding their own supply of nurses, and supposedly will not take travelers that have a legal residence within 100 miles of the facility.

    But when they get desparate enough and you have the skills, they some how ignore that rule.....
  10. by   carcha
    its amazing isent it?. those nurses who decide to work on staff full time get crap wages, long hours, too many weekends, and generally treated like "your lucky to have a job". these same nurses are members of the same community which the hospital serves, as well as their family so staff nurses put that little bit extra into their rapport, and delivery of care, yet they get little in return from their bosses for their loyality. now we have travellers as u call them, where we come from their agency. while their skills and dedication may be exactly the same as those nurses on staff one cannot but agree that when u dont have roots in a community, u dont have the same loyality towards it. u know your going to move on so why bother. so my point is who gets the greater award from the adminstration?. who gets a higher hourly wage?, free accomodation?, travel expense?, less hassle because they dont work their all the time. the lesson my friends is, we the nurses are to blame, only until we get up off our fat asses and demand equal wages and conditions with the travellers will we get what we deserve, until then just suck it up
  11. by   fergus51
    I can't believe the way nurses complain about travellers' wages, benes, etc. If you aren't getting enough where you are then go elsewhere! Travel nurses have a lot of crap to deal with that staff nurses don't and they are paid accordingly. If staff nurses think travellers have it so easy, then why aren't they travel nurses too?
  12. by   bagladyrn
    At the hospital at which I just completed a contract, an interesting memo was posted to the staff. It stated that since the hospital was overbudget for their contract nurses, money for contracts would be taken from funding that would otherwise be alloted for staff raises!!! Talk about causing resentment and division. Being the outspoken sort that I am, I pointed this out to the higher ups, reminded them that THEY had contacted ME for this contract (had been there before) to ask if I would consider coming back, and let them know that with this sort of attitude it was unlikely I would say yes the next time.
  13. by   live4today
    Now that's calling the shots bagladyrn! (thumbs up for not being afraid to let your voice be heard as a nurse).

    Another thing, we can all move to a foreign country where we know our hospitals are recruiting and contracting nurses, and return to the USA as a contract nurse for the same hospitals in our home towns or wherever we want to travel to.

    Nurses........we must stand up and demand we be noticed if we are going to change things in nursing.