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.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Living the Dream

There used to be a time when you would ask someone in the OR how they were doing and they would respond, "living the dream". It was a sarcastic reply and was usually meant as a statement about the futility we often feel in medicine when we have to deal with hospital administrators and the regulatory agencies that govern our practise. Both are burdensome and often get in the way of us delivering the kind of care we know the patients require. That is after all who it is all about.

For me there was another dream that I was able to live out while I was still a nurse. I remember reading about agencies that would send Drs and Nurses to places around the world to give medical care to the third world countries and the disadvantaged people that did not get medical care except from the shaman. I was intrigued and would periodically look at those opportunities because I thought it would be a great way to do some public service. When I looked into it each time it seemed that I would have had to pay my way and I never was in a position to afford the plane ticket and be able to house myself so it always stayed on the back burner.
Then one day when Sandi and I (Sandi is my wife. We met in the OR and married 7 years ago.) were doing an assignment in Albuquerque, a hospital we had worked at full time and left to do the travel nursing. We knew most of the folks and it was good to be back amongst friends for a change. We always forged new friendships when we traveled but they were of the disposable kind and we lost track of those folks pretty quickly. Anyway one of the Pediatric Ortho Surgeons asked Sandi if she and I would like to go to Ecuador for a week and do a medical mission. B-D was paying for the plane and the hotel. I was scrubbed in another room doing Pediatric Orhto surgery with this other surgeon's partner. So Sandi waltzed in and asked if I would like to go to Ecuador and do this mission for a week. The plan was that we would do surgery on children with birth defects such as congenital hips and anything else. I didn't even think, I just agreed.

I knew then that I was getting toward the end of my career and it would be on a sweet note that I could depart the profession and feel as though I had a pretty fulfilling and rewarding life as a nurse. We had to apply for passports and that process was more complicated than it had to be. 9-11 changed alot of the ways things were done and it took a lot longer to get our passports. Long story short or maybe for another time we were on our way to Ecuador the latter part of the year. It was fall in New Mexico and Spring in Ecuador. The weather didn' matter that much because we never got outside except to go to and from work. We figured that we worked 130 hours in the 6 1/2 days we were there. We did two twelve hour days and two tens and on and on.

The surgeries we did were complicated and took a long time for each. About Wednesday we got word that there was a woman that had heard of the mission but could not get to the clinic to have her daughter seen so she could be put on the schedule. The little girl had been in a farming accident and had broken her wrist and she had a mal-union that made her right hand useless to her. When she extended her arms her right hand pointed toward the floor. The surgeon that recruited us was going to do the surgery if we agreed to stay over for the time it took to complete the surgery. The surgery lasted about four hours or more. The one thing I never did as a nurse was to turn my back on any child and it was a no brainer that we would do the surgery. Putting her hand back at an angel that would allow her to be productive meant the difference between her living or ... She came from a family of three sisters and the parents and an aunt all lived in the same house and their daily budget was $3.00. Hell that was less than my latte bill back home.

She was a very stoic little girl and kept a rigid face whenever we were caring for her in Recovery. We would see her looking at her hand and wiggling her fingers but would immediately stop when she saw us watching her. All of the kids came for a post-op clinic on Saturday before we left. When we saw her, I cannot begin to tell you how we all felt when we saw the smile on her face. It was a profound experience and even now this tough old bird cannot relate the story without goose-bumps and tears. We literally gave her a life with that surgery and the smile was better than any paycheck I have ever recieved. It dawned on Sandi and I that we had actually gone down there and worked for free. We were travelers and did not have vacation time like everybody else that went. I often said that I loved my job so much that I would do it for free. God called my hand and I was honored to play out my cards.

We did travel nursing for a couple more years, but that honestly has to be the highlight of my career and the vision of that smile will be with me always.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm baaaack!

Couldn't help but want to share with any of you reading out there of a product that Amazon will be launching soon. It is Kindle 2. From my own experience I know that when you are traveling from place to place and setting up shop in a new town, room in your vehicle is finite. Kindle 2 is very small and light weight with a long battery life. It has an excellent storage capacity for all of your favorite books as well as magazines and newspapers. It will even read to you. Now what more can you ask for? Keep your eye out it will be coming soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm Back

Been away for awhile and it is all because the new business that I am trying to learn has been taking sooo much of my time and then they say you need to blog. I think that if the OR nursing wasn't so hard on my body I would think about going back. I must keep those thoughts out of my head. Learning all about this Internet marketing and all is a lot like going to nursing school and getting an A.D. in Nursing in 12 weeks. And lucky me as one of the first to join the mentoring session I get an extra week.

Computers are for more than just email and solitaire. I think that I have gotten more thrown at me than I ever thought that I would be using a computer for. Copy and paste seem to be two of my biggest friends. I am doing PPC Search Marketing and putting ads on Google and trying to learn how to write copy that will compel someone to click on my ad and make me a little money.

I have had time to finish editing my ebook that will be a guide for travel nurses based on all of the experiences my wife and I had in the last four and one half years of our lives. The book is mixed with anecdotes of the things that happened out of the ordinary and how we took care of them and what to do to make sure they do not happen to the next person! Now I need a graphic artist to supply me with a cover. Anybody out there that has a friend of a friend would be a big help.

If you know someone email me at:jpbrady1@aol.com, I would appreciate it very much.