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Debbi Laatz

Debbi Laatz
Health Carousel Travel Nursing
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Question 1:
In a large metropolitan area, Nurse Floating Flo contracts to float between three hospitals within a 10 mile radius of her housing. Starting in the 6th week, the company ask her to float to a hospital 15 miles away, the 7th week she goes to one on the other side of the city, that is 30 miles away, plus one that is 17 miles away. The nurse is willing to take the first few, but after the behavior continues, she has had enough and voices this to her recruiter.
Answer 1:

Before we sign the contract, I would make sure that my nurse understands that this contract requires them to float to the three hospitals and have them map the distances so that there are no surprises. My nurses know that they can call my cell anytime and that I will go to bat for them. As the floating requests start to push the boundaries, I would discuss this with my Account Manager and make sure that they knew my nurse was willing to help out and float the additional distances, within reason. If my nurse was feeling that it was getting out of hand, I would ask them to first discuss this with their Nurse Manager and see if they could get it could get resolved. Additionally, I would have my Account Manager discuss the contracted floating terms with the facility and we would work together to come up with a mutually beneficial agreement so that my nurse was happy and the client's needs were met.

Question 2:
Baby Nurse Betty is a skilled labor and delivery nurse, who also can float to post-pardum care after the delivery as well as the well-newborn nursery. At 7:30pm, the staffing company hotline gets a call stating that they want her to float to the NICU, which is beyond her competency level. What is your company’s response?
Answer 2:

Before any interviews, I remind my nurses to discuss the facility's floating policy with their potential Nurse Manager. I also make sure that they understand that, as a traveler, they will be the first to float. That being said, they are only required to float to units within their scope of practice and we, as a company, stand behind them. If they are being asked to float to a unit that they do not feel competent giving care, I would advise them to respectfully speak to their manager or the Charge on duty and express that they are not floating to the NICU as it is out of their scope. A professional discussion will usually resolve the issue. I would also make my Account Manager aware of the situation. If my nurse is repeatedly asked to float to a unit where they are not skilled, I would ask my Account Manager to reach out to the client and make them aware. I would also connect my nurse with one of our Corporate Quality Improvement Nurse Liaisons. My nurse would be supported by me, our Nurse Liaison and our Account Manager.

Question 3:
Nurse Roach is all excited about her first travel nursing assignment. She drives 750 miles to her new assignment housing. After getting the keys from management, she opens the door and three cockroaches scurry across the floor. After further investigation, she also finds a ring of mold in the shower. She can’t stand it and immediately texts you with pictures. How do you respond?
Answer 3:

Yuk. That has happened to me before with housing my nurse found on her own. I, along with my Housing Department, helped my nurse find a hotel for the weekend and then we helped her find alternative housing. Most of our nurses use our Housing Department to help them find a place but arrange the payment on their own so that they can collect stipends. We have a huge database of places where our nurses have stayed so they are vetted and come recommended and are safe and clean.

Question 4:
You have worked with Nurse Asthmatic for 3 years now and she has done a great job for you, when she takes an assignment in Southeast Colorado. She envisions magic mountains that reach to the sky, only to find that she has landed in wheat country. Not wanting to cause problems she continues to work and everything is fine, until harvest. She has an asthma attack, ends up in the hospital, and is told that she is going to miss at least 2 weeks of work related to asthma induced pneumonia. How do you work things out?
Answer 4:

First, I would make sure she was ok and ask what support she needed. Does she want me to contact family or friends or make arrangements for her to get home? Second, I would make sure that her Nurse Manager and her Unit were aware of what happened. Third, I would immediately notify my Account Manager so that they could communicate to the client so that my nurse was not DNR'd for a no show or potential early cancellation without notice. Depending on my nurse's health and her decision to stay after the 2 weeks or if she decided she needed a new location, I would make sure my Account Manager and the client were in the loop. In emergency situations like this, we need to first make sure that our nurse is safe and then do whatever we can to insure that there are no repercussions for her later down the road with this client or hospital system.

Question 5:
You have worked hard to find Nurse Roulette a job in Las Vegas. You send the nurse a contract that she readily accepts, signs, and sends back. The next morning the bags are packed and Nurse Roulette is on the way to the assignment of her dreams. At 0800 she is out the door and to the hospital. Checking in with HR, they inform her that there is no contract between the hospital and the company, related to the fact that it has not been approved by HR. About the same time, the recruiting manager comes to you and tells you not to send Nurse Roulette on the assignment. This shouldn’t have happened, but unfortunately it does happen. What do you do?
Answer 5:

We do our best to make sure all the I's are dotted and T's crossed but sometimes mistakes happen and someone drops the ball. I would be honest with my nurse and let them know what happened and that I was going to do everything in my power to remedy the situation as fast as possible. I would work with the Account Manager to see if we could rush HR to get my nurse approved. I would be in constant communication with my nurse. If there was going to be a delay, but the nurse could still start, I would communicate that and see if my nurse would agree to that. If the assignment was not going to happen at all, I would be reaching out to all of my Account Managers to find another assignment in the area as soon as possible. I would apologize to my nurse, be honest and figure out the best possible outcome. A similar situation happened to me where a contract was cancelled due to low census the day before my nurse was to report. I made the very uncomfortable call to my nurse and explained what had happened. I apologized profusely but we didn't dwell on it. Sometimes things happen out of our control. I hustled for the next 48 hours and found him another contract close by and he started later than he wanted to but he started. He knew that I took responsibility, I took action and although it was a really challenging time, we figured it out. 3 yrs later, he is still one of my favorite nurses and we continue to work together.

Question 6:
What would you like travel nurses to know about being a great traveling nurse and making your job easier?
Answer 6:

Know that we all pretty much have the same exact jobs and hospital bill rates. The difference comes when comparing the benefits the agency offers, and we have some of the best in the industry, and truthfully, the relationship you have with your recruiter. I love getting to know new nurses and connecting them with great jobs. To me, this job is all about building relationships and connecting people. I don't choose to represent every nurse that I speak with, sometimes it's just not a good fit, and that is totally ok! There are a ton of wonderful recruiters out there!! I want to be my nurses' favorite or at least one of their favorite recruiters. I work really hard for my people and they know they can count on me. There are nurses that I have met that take an assignment with another agency, but trust me, I don't give up! I will keep in touch if I have made a great connection with you. I will be patient and know that eventually, you will be on my team!! What would help you get a job quicker? Have your work history up to date to include the facility name, city, state, accurate employment dates, patient ratios, charting system, where you floated. Also, I ask all of my potential nurses why they became a nurse and why they chose their specialty. What makes them tick? What procedures do they love and excel at? I want to know! The better I know you and what your jam is, the better I can find assignments that will be meaningful to you professionally growth wise, monetarily and whatever else it is that makes you want to travel!!

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