By December 14, 2009 4 Comments

Nursing liability: One size fits all?

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Maybe you’ve heard about the story the Los Angeles Times and the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica published last week, ‘Temp firms a magnet for unfit nurses.’ What was your immediate response to the story, did it make you upset and angry that they were badmouthing our industry or was there a little bit of truth to it?

The article depicts the healthcare staffing industry, more particular, the travel nursing sector as the “wild west.” With roughly 6000+ different agencies available to healthcare professionals, it may seem so. There are few governing bodies that watch over these businesses and only 2 come to mind, the Joint Commission and NATHO (National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations). Without any real standards set in place by the government or other entities, many of the 6000+ businesses out there are “fly by night” and are just created to make a quick buck. These types of agencies are more prone and likely to attract nurses who think and operate the same way. I’m not saying all traveling nurses who travel with these types of companies think that way, but those who take their professions seriously aren’t typically in it for the money and are looking for companies who are like-minded . They are nurses who are dedicated to the profession of healthcare and the quality of human life is what drives them, not a completion bonus.

It’s a shame that the nurses written about in the article are ruining it for everyone else. There’s no evidence by any means that proves that travel nurses are different (or worse) than a perm nurse. The only difference would be in the title, remove the word travel and they are still the same, a nurse. In fact, I would say that many of the traveling nurses out there are far more experienced and have a vast knowledge when it comes to patient care. Often, that is the one benefit that is overlooked when it comes to becoming a traveling nurse, but one that should be advertised far more than any referral bonuses. Experience alone though, doesn’t make the nurse. Yes, there are some bad apples who travel, but there are rotten ones too who are permanent.

So who’s to blame? The nurses who travel, or should I say, run from their pasts? Or are the staffing agencies and hospitals who hire them the ones who should be at fault? You could probably say, all of the above. It is the duty of the individual nurse to open and honest with their applications, licensures, certifications and so forth. It is the duty of the agencies who hire nurses to do a complete and thorough screening of each applicant and it is the duty of the hospital to ensure all that is reported is current and correct. Without these checks and balances it would be like the free for all and many unfortunate patients would suffer greater pain and unease due to the fact that those who are hired to take care of them don’t care at all.

There is no sign of the nursing shortage easing up and until there are some greater liability measures put in place, there will be issues with some “nurses” here and there. It’s too bad that the few that bring down the name of travel nursing is having such a negative impact on the industry. All it takes is for the rest of you to continue doing what you do by providing the best possible care, respecting the lives of others and taking to heart what it truly means to be a nurse in the world today.

Here’s a little tip sheet to remind you of some of the issues that many of the bad apples have overlooked and what you can do to avoid such pitfalls. Nurse liability: Keeping you and your staff educated and aware..

Please comment and share your thoughts about the article and the issue of liability, I’m sure you all have some great input into the matter.

Find yourself a career that fits
Posted in: Nursing, Travel Nursing

About the Author:

Patrick Fuerstenau here. Born in Kentucky, raised in Germany, landed in Nebraska and still here. I've been involved with Marketing and Advertising for over a decade. It all began with an internship at an ad agency in Omaha, followed by a 9 year stint as a graphic artist at the lone major newspaper in Omaha. A friend of mine told me about an opening at her company and said that it was the best gig she's ever had... So I decided to spread my proverbial wings and see what I could do for them and vice versa. So here I am at Medical Solutions and am going on my 3rd year as a Marketing Specialist for a great travel nursing company. This by far has been a major blessing in my life. I love the work I get to do just as much as I love the people who make up this fabulous company. I can see myself here for a long time... As long as they'll have me. Now that we've got the career timeline out of the way... Let me tell you a little about who I am. I am oh so passionate about the game of futbol! I've been playing soccer since the age of 8 and am still playing today. If I couldn't at least kick the ball around, I don't know what I would do with myself. I fear getting old. I also have a strong love for the arts... Music, Visual arts, Film, Design... pretty much anything and everything arty. I'm happy go lucky and am always looking to have a good time. Just ask my manager! And I love writing about travel nursing.

4 Comments on "Nursing liability: One size fits all?"

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  1. Sato Travel says:

    Sato Travel is full service travel management company specializing in cwt sato travel for active-duty and retired military, Civilian DoD and Federal Agency employees.

  2. Lora dockery says:

    Hey Patrick!!
    Is this you? Lol The same amazing nurse
    who captured the hearts of both my daughters
    in one trip to the ER?? I have been sent on a
    mission to find this nurse. We returned to the
    ER with youngest daughter (asthsma attack)
    where she got the same room her big sister
    had a few weeks before. All she kept wispering
    is where’s Patrick? I don’t want you, I want Patrick.
    She was told Patrick is a traveler nurse and he
    has moved on to his next place. You just missed
    him as he left a few days ago. At that point she said
    mommy take me to Patricks hospital. I don’t want
    to be here.

    I then promise her if she was a good girl and did what
    they needed her to do mommy would find Patrick, I swear I will!!
    So I am in search of Patrick, the traveling nurse.
    I never make a promise I don’t intend to keep. So If u are
    indeed our one and only Nurse Patrick/traveler please contact us.
    🙂

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