Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back In the Saddle

It is with a heavy heart that I write today. After being a nurse for 35 years I thought that it would be great for a change if I tried to stay at home and try to get an Internet Business started. We found mentors and paid for classes and even got into the buying the latest whatever program to help us succeed. We have had a little success but nothing to compare to the amount we have paid out. The only sure thing it seems is to get back to work. We have waited as long as we could and now the money is near zero and it is time to put an infusion of cash back into our accounts.

The irony that we are dealing with right now is that we are ready to go back to traveling and there does not seem to be the jobs out there like there used to be. We have four of our best recruiters working for us and they have nothing. We have looked on sites that we go to for job listings and there seem to be all sorts of listings for OR nurses and then we call the agencies listing and there is nothing. The sites do not seem to be able to give out real time news. Maybe I am spoiled because of the Twitter, that gives real time information but the bottom line is that for the first time since I have been in the profession there is not the abundance of positions that we used to encounter.

The agencies seem to have Travel Assignments in California and so this morning we renewed our California licenses and now we have to call back all of the people and see if they have any contracts in CA like they did two weeks ago when we started to look. We were hoping to stay close to home. The cat hates to be on the road and there is nothing else that we can do but take him along.

So I guess that is it for my tale of woe and here is hoping that the economy starts to rebound so that the jobs come back and even better than that would be that my Travel Nurse Guide that I have been laboring over the last month will take off when it is launched.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Is Travel Nursing Recession Proof

Finished talking with our favorite recruiter today. We have been in touch with him all week. It seems that our venture into Internet Marketing is not taking off like the guru's said and believe me when I say that it is not for lack of trying.

We have decided that we need to get back on the road in order to stay solvent. The nice thing about our second career is that it can be done anywhere. That was one of the romantic sides to getting involved in the first place. We could be on the beach somewhere and just plug some wireless connect card into the lap top and we would have the world at our door step.

We are not on the beach yet and it looks like the best way to get there right now is to take an assignment and request one on the seashore. Well, we have been looking at our little black book where all of our vital information is and we are delinquent in a few things. So he is looking and we are booking physicals and BLS classes. We said when they expired that maybe we should renew the stuff but then we thought that we might be sabatoging a mind set we had started to develope that would keep us from success. I don't think that we are eating crow. I think that we were lulled into thinking that we would be able to ba a success with the mentoring that we were going to be getting.

Any way we said to our Travel Nurse recruiter that we were needing to get back to the work force before we went bust. He knew what we were tying to do and was sad to hear that we had not been successful yet. The problem that he presented to us was that he was not getting very many listings for travel nurses. Now, for one thing I find that a little hard to believe but he said that the hospitals were being very guarded about hiring temps. Part of the reason was, he thought, that some nurses that had left the work force had returned. It is a real fact that hospitals are having to cut their budgets for hiring temporary personnel.Frankly I never thought that would happen.

My wife and I have worked for over 30 years apiece and we never had to worry about getting work. Hospitals were always hiring and so we never went without. Now I guess that the times have changed. Travel Nurses are an expensive commodity and I can certainly understand why there would be cut backs in that type of hiring. We are hoping that something shakes loose soon. We need to start making arrangements for things and we have to get the cat geared up for another trip. Something, I can say with certainty, that he is not looking forward to and will voice his opinion on it for about 100 miles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Travel Job Offers

Just got an email offer from one of our old recruiter friends. Actually one of two that I am willing to recommend to anyone. They treated us more than friendly and it was an indication that we both knew what the relationship was all about.

He sent us an offer for a position in a hospital that we had already done an assignment at. We told him in an email that we had already been there and found the place a little distasteful. I think once you go to some of these places and put in some time you get to know why some places need to rely on travelers. We tried to get them to use our favorite recruiter so that we could be loyal to him and we knew that we would get better served and a few more dollars. (It is a business after all) They were absolutely against that, because our agency was not on their list of travel nurse suppliers. They would not budge and due to the nature of our personal lives we took the job because it was close to home. (125 miles) We were going home every weekend and so that was one of the deciding factors.

So it seemed as though they had a high standard for agencies but didn't put a lot of stock into what kind of management they were putting in place. So our recruiter friend said to us today that because the hospital is always recruiting for OR jobs it means that they are having a tough time staffing. There can only be a couple of answers to that question.

The surgeons at all of the hospitals we worked at had a pretty heavy say in what went on in the operating room. Up to a point I agree with that but when it comes to them complaining about not getting OR time and then being late for their cases I guess you know that they lose some of their bargaining power. On the other hand, at the place in question one of the Ortho guys had a bunch of "knee scopes" to do one day. There was a surplus of staff and another room available and he asked if he could have to crews. He was great to work with because he came to work and you get keep him happy if you could keep him going. He loved going from room to room and was in hog heaven when he could get that. The day he asked though the supervisor did not want to grant his request. We all knew that the main reason was that she didn't think of it herself and so it wasn't going to happen. Cutting off her nose to spite her face. She was insecure and so felt intimidated by anyone telling how she could and should run her Operating Room. She went off to an all day meeting and we did what the surgeon asked. He knocked out 10 hours of scheduled cases in six and was just loving every minute of it. He even bought us lunch.

We all got in trouble. There was not much she could do and nothing she could say. The first reason she gave when yelling at us was that he could not be trusted to stay in the OR. He did stay in the OR and was more than happy to do it.

It is not too hard to understand why there is a big demand and a little supply for nurses in this country. Good managers want equivalent pay and the health care industry does not give in to that point. Consequently, good management types go into other areas of the work force. I have always said to exemplify this point, "Nursing eats its Young"!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Time to Start Some Afilliate Marketing

Ever since I was a little boy I dreamt of being a millionaire. I went to school with a lot of kids that were heirs to the Dow Chemical fortunes and I was envious. I resigned myself to being a working stiff and actually worked at Dow for awhile.

Then I got the idea to get married and have a child while going to Nursing School. It wasn't bad. I was getting about 4 hours sleep a night. Fell asleep in my books more times than I wanted to count. Worked at Mickey D's to put myself through school.

Long story short I ended up 35 years later, worn down and tired out. Nursing didn't suck the life out of me, I just had a harder time keeping up. Not so much with the physical work as with all of the changes that have taken place over the last 35 years. Boy, have we come a long way and that is a long story for another time.

The travel nursing was great for me because at the stage of burnout I was at it was enough to work 13 weeks and then take some time off. I usually did pretty good for awhile but started to get a little out of hand my last couple of weeks. As a traveler it was sometimes difficult for me to remember to keep my mouth shut and just do my job. Especially as an OR Nurse. They all seem to be a pretty mouthy and opinionated group.

I just got an earning statement for Social Security that told me what I would have as an income if I took early retirement, on time retirement or work until I am 70. No way is the last one gonna happen if I stay in Nursing. I did do some math and discovered that over the years working in the medical that I had earned over a million dollars! But I am not a millionaire. I am a long way fromthat goal. I began to get a plan together last year that would keep me at home and work smarter not harder. If I could develope multiple streams of income from the Internet I could create some serious wealth.

I guess as a kid I just thought that the money would be dumped in my lap if I acted deserving enough. While I was an active nurse I never thought about the day when I could not do the job any longer and how I was to support myself . In other words I did not have a B plan. I am working on one now and believe me I do not want to have to go back to the travel nurse gig again. I am behind in so many things, BCLS and so on. I don't have a dress code today and I don't have the alarm clock anymore rudely waking me up when I did not want to get out of bed.

So affiliate marketing is the way I am going. Hence the reason for the banner here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where Have All The Travel Nurses Gone?

Got a call from one of the recruiters the other day that we had worked with in the past. She was getting ready to go on vacation and was hoping that she could place us in a hospital that we had already done a contract throught her agency. She said that she was having trouble finding travel nurses to fill positions she had openings for. First and foremost, I think that this brings to light a whole bigger problem in Health Care. There are no nurses to recruit, that is why there are travel positions around the country. AOL said two years ago that there would be more nurses leaving the profession than are going in. I think that it is happening on a much more accelerated rate. Maybe with the economy being the way it is that more students will steer themselves to the medical professions. I have not read of any lay-offs at any of the local hospitals or even any of those in Oklahoma.

Nursing was always a stable carreer for my wife and I. There were always jobs and we were able to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. We provided for our families and there never seemed to be any end in sight. We went through all sorts of reimbursement solutions and Doctors incomes were threatened and Hospitals would not be getting as much money for the cases they were handling, Nursing wasn't threatened but maybe the money wasn't always there to get the raises we thought we deserved. For a long time the raises that I got did not even help me keep up with the standard of living index that was being published.

Travel Nursing has always maintained its attraction because there has it seems always been a shortage of nurses. Nurses in my wife's and my age bracket with the years we have put in (30 and 35 years respectively. We are tired. That means a lot of things. Tired of under qualified managers and all of the polictical issues. Tired of the same old grumbling Docs wherever we went. Tired of the physical nature of the job when you work in the Operating Room. It was exhausting most of the time and especially so when you work in a Level One Trauma Center!I

I would not trade any of it as I look back and knowing what I know now I don't know if I would even enter the profession. I cannot go back, so it is what it is. If you are looking for a travel assignment though I would recommend the link attached above they will take good care of you and if you give them my name and finish a contract with them I would get a bit of a referral bonus. Just click on the title and off you go. I just think this internet stuff is cool as all get out.

Besides having all of this Internet Marketing business going we decided that we would never go back to a facility that we had already worked at. There were just too many places to go and we did not see the need to stay put. If you keep doing travel assignments at the same hospital then it is no longer traveling, it is permanent staffing.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Packing For The Trip

When Sandi and I first started to travel, we took an assignment that was only 90 miles away from our home. We had two young men that were going to be house sitting and we wanted to be at hand if anything went awry. Thankfully nothing untoward ever came up. Sandi's youngest son and his friend did a good job and even did some minor repairs on their own. It was a comfort to know that the home would be well tended to.

So with our first travel assignment so close we did not really pack the pick-up very well. We know that we would be going home and we could take stuff back that we didn't use and bring new things to try out. There was a lot of trial and error but we are quick learners and were making plans for an extended stay away from home.

First on the list of necessities was a topper for the truck. That was going to accomplish two things for us. Number one, our load would be secure. If we were on the road for more than one day the topper could be locked and we could feel confident that everything would be there in the morning. The second thing was our gear would be protected from the elements. The wind and the rain would have been devastating. The other thing was the sun would have played havoc with some of our containers. There was an added benefit to the topper that we never considered. Our gas mileage increased two to four miles to the gallon. We probably carried 400 to 500 pounds of gear. The topper had weight to it as well so 500 pounds is a realistic estimate.

The reason for mentioning all of this is to relate every one to the fact that we had a finite amount of room for all of the stuff we took with us and so every cubic foot of space we had was very well utilized. We had foot lockers and plastic tubs. We also had suitcases and garment bags. Our cleaning supply bucket was an old five gallon detergent tub, which doubled as a wastebasket once we were settled in. The golf bags were a little tricky but they were going with us so I found a way to fit them in. When we unpacked on our first arrival, I noticed that I had packed in layers or segments. It was like putting a puzzle together. The one difference was that it was the same puzzle and it got assembled differently each time we moved.

When we were in travel nurse mode, we had a mindset that helped us to determine what we really had to take. Would we want to haul the containers up three flights of stairs? The questions was endless. Our kitchen container was a foot locker with wheels on one end. That helped because it could get quite heavy. The planning was pretty detailed the first time we took off but after that we had it down to a science of sorts and everything went pretty well. Our overnight suitcase and toiletry bag were easily accessible and I didn't have to drop the tail gate to get those things out.

The funny thing was, when we got to our apartment, we always had a lot of room for what we brought. We knew that we would be buying souveniers but we limited them to t-shirts and coffee mugs. Then when the coffee mugs got out of control, we started to collect refrigerator magnets. Our fridge is pretty covered. The cool thing is it is a kind of itinerary of where we had been.

A Gypsy's life is what we led and we had to make a lot of decisions as to what we needed, what we wanted and what we would have room for. I would have killed to have an instrument like the Kindle that you see on this page. We took our share of books and learned to be careful. We had to get a newspaper wherever we went. All of those things could have been handled more effficiently if a Kindle had been available. Of course it is a plug but for a person that does a lot of traveling, whether as a nurse or just for fun, one of these would be very useful. We took golf calenders with us because there was never any art on the walls. It made the places we stayed in a little sterile. The calenders livened up a couple of walls and the scenes changed every 30 days.

We could have gotten our newspapers and magazines and get books to read. We may have not watched as much TV if we would have had books to read. Another advantage to this ingenious piece of electronics is that is small and fits in a briefcase or purse easily. Still another thing to consider is that it would help toward reducing our carbon foot prints by not using all of the paper that would have been involved with these things. Today we have to "think green" and these are the kinds of things that will help.

In closing I must tell you that we got a Van after awhile and it had more room than the truck. It got better gas mileage and it was more comfortable than driving cross country in a compact 4X4 pick-up truck. That would be without an extended cab.

So if anyone out there decides to purchase one of these marvelous little units through this site, email me at jpbrady1@aol.com and I will give you one $9.99 book download. So I must close and tell you thank you for visiting.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Travel Nurse-Why Not?

When it comes to the subject of Travel Nurse, there seems to be a few topics that you can explore. I think the first is, why? My wife and I got so tired of being in hospitals where the management was mediocre. The fact that nursing managers are not paid as well as other managers in the same tier means that there is little in the way of motivation for top quality managing types to be drawn to the profession. We have enough trouble recruiting students to even consider nursing as a career. AOL cited a study that stated by the year 2012 there would be more nurses leaving the profession than coming in. Scary wouldn't you say?

Travel nursing has gained in popularity because of the short handedness of all of the hospitals in the country. My wife and I could go anywhere to find an assignment. We were even able to have the same schedules and work the same shifts regardless of common sense rules for that type of hiring. There are a staggering number of nursing vacancies across the country.

Being a travel nurse was appealing to my wife and I because we both have a spirit of adventure that allows us to go somewhere and blend in to the staff and explore a new area. There are so many areas of the country that we have a curiosity about what is it like to live there. The decision to become contract nurses enabled us to go explore.

The road was not always an even one. There were roadblocks along the way. We worked in one hospital where the words "get the traveler to do it", had a very ugly connotation reminscient of the old south and the slave days. Some folks at some of the hospitals we worked wouldn't get too close because they didn't want to be hurt when we left. The issue of loyalty came up several times It was hard to explain to people that the choice to travel was, in part, a business decision. We were broke when we started and getting on the road and doing a few contracts was the quickest way for us to get back on our feet. We were getting dangerously behind on our mortgage and were able to pull that mess out of the tank in one assignment. It wasn't easy and we sacrificed in other areas but the point is it was possible to do that because we were travelers making better money than we were as staff.

Compact Licensure gave our Nursing License and us a portability to move around a lot and not have to constantly apply for new licenses. At the end of our traveling we had 22 states we could go and work and only have a New Mexico License. We declared residency in that state and that was all there was to it. Granted, there were some silly issues along the way pertaining to licensure. We were told, before we went to Virginia that it was a walk through state. It was not. We worked with temporary licenses while our applications were processed. I had to get an extension and was actually on my last day before the second one would expire when my license arrived. Ironically, Virginia joined the Compact Licensure in December of the year we were there. Our agent said it was a walk through and we took her at her word. She was wrong. Thankfully we had all of the paperwork required to get the process started.

Travel nursing had some pitfalls. Recruiters and their agencies was one area we had friction with until we finally settled with two companies. I guess to say much more would spill the beans on my ebook. There are several areas to consider before you decide to travel. It is a gypsy kind of life.