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Travel Nursing For nurses looking for adventure travel nursing offers a rewarding lifestyle.

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    Nurse Blog

    Living and Working as a Nurse in Orange County

    Posted in Nursing Jobs, Travel Nursing

    As one of the most populous counties in California and the United States, Orange County and its more than 45 hospitals provide many employment opportunities for nurses. Nurses seeing to further their education will find plenty of options at more than a dozen nursing schools in Orange County.

    Orange County Flag (Courtesy Orange County Archives)

    Nurse salaries in the Orange County area vary widely depending on expertise, experience and location. As of November 2013, the average annual salary for registered nurses in Orange County, California is $67000. The cost of living in Orange County is 22% higher than the national average.

    Orange County is a popular destination for travel nurses and in 2006 was the location of the first reality TV show (“13 Weeks”) about travel nurses.

    From spectacular beaches to nearby Hollywood, nurses living and working in Orange County can find plenty to do and places to go when off-duty.  The following video, courtesy of Aya Healthcare Reviews, provides an excellent overview of the area for nurses considering working and living in Orange County.

    Researching nurse agencies

    Posted in Nursing Jobs, Travel Nursing

    There are over a hundred nurse staffing agencies in the United States.   The key to finding a great travel, per diem or permanent nurse job is to do your homework and research nurse staffing agencies to find the best one that is a good fit for you.  Here are some ideas and tips to get you started.

    • Search for online reviews of the agencies you are considering.  Some of the best agencies make these very easy to find.
    • Ask for references.  Any good nurse staffing agency will make sure to check your references and you should also check theirs.  If they haven’t compiled an online list of reviews and references,  they should be happy to provide you with references in another format.
    • Check their certifications and credentials.  Many of the best nurse staffing agencies are certified by The Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations).    Joint Commission-accredited organizations often display the Gold Seal of Approval on their web sites.
    • Ask your fellow nurses for their opinions of the agencies you are considering.  It’s always helpful to get references from people you know well but you should also consider asking your fellow nurses for opinions on online forums and social networking sites.  Some popular online communities for nurses include the Ultimate Nurse forum, allnurses.com and the Nursing subreddit.
    • Ask recruiters questions.  The best recruiters will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about their firm or a specific assignment.

    America’s Safest City: Irving, California

    Posted in Nursing Jobs

    If you are looking for a great place to live and work as a nurse, look no further than Irvine, California. For the 9th year in a row, Irvine has been ranked the safest city in the United States based on the FBI’s Annual Uniform Crime Report. Located in Orange County, Irvine is home to a number of universities and colleges as well as top healthcare employers including Irvine Regional Hospital and Medical Center. Irvine is a rapidly growing city with a strong economy, an excellent school system and a very low unemployment rate.

    Health Care Costs in America

    Posted in Nursing, Nursing News

    October 23rd, 2012
    Jenna Fischer

    A PBS NewsHour report looks at how America stacks up against other countries in terms of healthcare.

    They interviewed Mark Pearson, who is the head of Division on Health Policy at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an organization with 34 member countries. NewsHour asked him questions like how US spending ranks compared to other OECD countries, how some other countries are keeping down their costs, and why some procedures cost so much more here than they do in other countries.

    First, and unsurprisingly, Pearson points out that the United States spends “by far” the most in the world on health care. While the U.S. spent $8,233 on health per person in 2010, the next-highest spenders (Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland) all spent at least $3,000 less per person. And the average for all of the other 33 OECD countries was $3,268 per person.

    Other countries keep their costs down in a number of ways, including a consistent fee schedule; government intervention in costs if they see something getting out of hand; keeping down administrative costs; and embracing technology (for example, in Sweden, all drugs are prescribed electronically, with a message sent directly from the doctor’s office to the pharmacy, which reduces medical errors as well as saving 1-2 hours of work by pharmacists per day).

    NewsHour: Are there particular areas the U.S. is doing poorly compared to other OECD countries?

    Overall, the life expectancy of a U.S. citizen, at 78.2 years, is shorter than the average among OECD countries of 79.5 years and there are a number of specific areas where U.S. health care is weak when compared with other countries.

    The U.S. needs stronger policies in tackling lifestyles that lead to poor health. While many states are making efforts to reduce smoking, there are fewer policies to tackle the harmful use of alcohol in the U.S. than you would find in other OECD countries, such as higher taxes on alcohol or minimum prices.

    The U.S. could certainly do a lot more on obesity. It’s a big risk factor for poor health in the U.S., more so than you find in other OECD countries. Adult overweight and obesity rates are the highest in the OECD, and have kept growing even in the last couple of years, while they have nearly stabilised in some other OECD countries, such as England, France and Italy. Child overweight and obesity rates are also very high, but they have been relatively stable over the past 10 years. The slides below show that the U.S. does poorly both in terms of diet and physical activity, even in comparison with other high-obesity countries, across all age groups.

    The first lady’s “Let’s move” campaign is great, but it cannot achieve a lot if it isn’t supported by other measures. Support for physician counseling and programs to help encourage healthier lifestyles vary widely with different insurance arrangements. The U.S. has a national program to cover breast and cervical cancer screening for low-income women, why not have one to cover lifestyle counseling for low-income people? Advertising regulation is left to the food and beverage industry (e.g. the IFBA “Pledges”) and this is not likely to have a major impact.

    In terms of health care services, the biggest areas of concern are the quality of primary care services and coordination of care for long-term conditions. Asthma, a condition readily managed by general practitioners in the community, should require hospital admission on very few occasions. In the U.S. however, hospital admission rates for asthma are more than double the OECD average (120.6 per 100,000 population compared to an OECD average of 51.8, 2009).

    A similar picture emerges for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (230 admissions per 100,000 population compared to an OECD average of 198, 2009). These outcomes can be improved through better health care. In a Commonwealth Fund survey of seven nations (Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States), 16 percent of American patients reported delays in being notified about an abnormal test result (the highest proportion reported) and only 75 percent of primary care physicians reported often or always receiving correspondence from specialists after referral, suggesting systemic problems with care coordination.

    Musculoskeletal Pain and Work/ Family Conflict

    Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing News

    October 16th, 2012
    Jennifer Bunn

    It would probably not be a surprise to nurses to learn that the stresses of juggling family and career can contribute to musculoskeletal complaints. Now, a study from the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services lends credence to the theory that there can be negative effects regarding work/family conflict on nurses and other healthcare employees.

    Numerous studies have pointed out that the combination of high job stress, heavy workloads and shift work can lead to health problems, including gastrointestinal disorders, cardiovascular disease and mental health issues, to name a few. But can the combination of work and family stress actually result in musculoskeletal pain? Researchers set out to determine if this is the case.

    The researchers surveyed approximately 1200 hospital workers who are responsible for providing direct patient care. They asked the workers several questions designed to assess for the presence of family and career conflict. In addition, study participants were asked to rate their experience with musculoskeletal pain during the preceding three months, taking into account the amount of lifting or pulling that the participants performed on the job.

    What were the results? Not surprisingly, participants who reported a high degree of conflict between their work and home life were twice as likely to experience musculoskeletal pain (neck, shoulder and arm pain). Also surprisingly, lower back pain was not heavily correlated with ongoing conflict, although many workers must lift heavy patients on a routine basis in the course of their work.

    Working all night, heavy patient loads, and the increasing acuity of patients can lead to pain, especially when combined with household and family responsibilities. Chronic pain can lead to other negative consequences, including increased sick time, absenteeism, burnout, early retirement or leaving the nursing profession altogether, which in turn could exacerbate nursing shortages. All of these can have a negative impact on healthcare as a whole.

    What can nurses do if they suspect that the musculoskeletal pain they are experiencing may be related to family/work conflict? Having a frank discussion with their supervisor may be a good place to start. Supervisors cannot help if they aren’t made aware that there is an issue. Explaining what aspects of the job are most problematic can lead to strategies to reduce work stress. Switching to a different shift or nursing area may be helpful. An ergonomic assessment may also be helpful to determine whether any routine practices can be improved upon in terms of body positioning and aids. Discussing the issue with a physician can also rule out a serious issue that can be treated or improved.

    Building awareness of workplace/family conflict is important, both for nurses who may be experiencing health concerns and for managers and supervisors whose job it is to monitor their employees’ job satisfaction and ability to perform their job. Without awareness of the negative implications of work and family stress on the health of nurses and other healthcare workers, change is less likely. To this end, more studies exploring this issue are needed.