Therapists Among the Top 10 Highest Paid Healthcare Pros

Ask most people what the highest paying career in healthcare is and the most likely response will be physician. That’s the right response. Physicians have traditionally been the highest paid in the healthcare industry. But in the most recent MedPage Today list of top ten highest paying healthcare gigs, there are some surprises. For instance, the last two positions on that list go to therapists.

Physical therapists come in at number ten while radiation therapists take the number nine position. Both types of therapy are widely utilized throughout American healthcare to help patients dealing with a variety of health problems. If you were looking to get into healthcare but didn’t want to go the doctor or nurse route, therapy would certainly be an option.

Physical Therapists

Getting back to the MedPage Today list, physical therapists round out the top ten list with an average salary of $91,000 annually. Based on a standard 40-hour work week, physical therapists make about $44 per hour. That’s not bad.

Physical therapists help patients improve their overall health and quality of life by improving mobility, managing pain, and strengthening muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They treat patients suffering from chronic conditions and illnesses. They also help patients recover from injuries and surgeries.

Radiation Therapists

The radiation therapy career is not as well-known. Radiation therapists work alongside oncologists and other members of a patient’s healthcare team to treat cancer. It is the radiation therapist who operates radiation treatment equipment.

This is a highly skilled position that demands appropriate education and training. Radiation therapists work at hospitals or independent cancer treatment clinics, earning a salary of $94,000 annually. They make about $45 per hour based on a 40-hour work week.

If you are in one of these positions, none of this information is new. You are well acquainted with physical and radiation therapists. You also know that the demand for their services is never-ending. The question is this where will you find your next opportunity?

It Starts with the Search

Whether you are looking to change employers or get an extra gig, it all starts with the job search. As we say time and again, our organization can help you find what you are looking for., presently, has 9k therapist jobs on the site.

Worth the Money

Physical and radiation therapists take the final two spots on the MedPage Today list of the top ten highest paid healthcare professions. They make good money, and they are worth every penny. The same goes for occupational therapists, speech therapists, and so forth.

The employers on our job board know the value of a highly skilled therapists. We know the value of quality jobs. We want to help. Check us out and see

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

8 Reasons for Pursuing a Radiation Therapist Career

By Jessica Donahue, R.T. (R) (T) (ARRT)

Radiation therapists play a critical role in cancer treatment by administering radiation to specific areas of a patient’s body. But more than that, they can enjoy an incredibly rewarding career in healthcare.

I’ve been in the radiation therapy community for more than 20 years and have had the privilege of teaching hundreds of students to become radiation therapists. I’m also chair of the Radiation Therapy Degree Program at Northwestern Health Sciences University. In the following, I’d like to share insights on why you should consider this profession.

1. Become a highly valued healthcare professional within a shorter amount of time

If you’re concerned about the amount of education (and money) it can take to become a healthcare professional, radiation therapy could be an excellent career choice. 

In fact, has radiation therapist on its list of the highest paying jobs not requiring a bachelor’s degree. (Also, U.S. News & World Report puts the profession on two of its Best Jobs lists.)

Depending on the education option you choose — and on your current education level — becoming a radiation therapist can take somewhere between one and four years. 

Here are four possible paths to becoming a radiation therapist:

  • If you’ve already graduated from an associate degree program in the related field of radiologic technology, you can complete a certificate program in radiation therapy in about a year.
  • If you already have a bachelor’s degree in any subject, you may be able to complete a certificate program in radiation therapy in about a year.
  • There are also bachelor degree programs specifically in radiation therapy, which will typically take at least four years to finish.

(See How to Become a Radiation Therapist for more information.)

2. Join a healthcare profession with a promising future

The need for radiation therapists won’t be disappearing anytime soon. For example, cancer risk generally goes up with age. And as the current Baby Boomer generation ages, there will likely be an increased demand for radiation therapists. 

Along with an aging population, this increased demand can also be attributed to improved cancer detection methods and evolving treatments that require a radiation therapist’s expertise.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a positive growth rate (6%) for the radiation therapist profession over the next decade.

3. Enjoy a great work schedule 

The typical work schedule for radiation therapists is an attractive feature of the profession. You usually work in healthcare facilities that operate during daytime hours, Monday through Friday. That also means you usually have weekends, evenings, and holidays off. 

This aspect of the profession makes it an especially good career choice for parents trying to accommodate the needs of their family.

Note that radiation therapists are often needed for full- and part-time positions as well as for traveling therapist positions.

4. Choose a professional path with lots of flexibility

Career flexibility is another appealing feature of this profession. Once you finish a radiation therapy program and take the steps to become registered as a radiation therapist, you’ve completed what the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) calls a “primary eligibility pathway.”

If you’d like, you can then expand your knowledge and credentials through the ARRT’s “postprimary pathways,” which allow you to gain additional certifications in medical imaging procedures like the following:

  • Bone densitometry
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Vascular sonography

And with more qualifications, you can become a more competitive job candidate, have more control over your career direction, and potentially earn more income. 

It’s also worth noting that a background in radiation therapy can also be a valuable foundation for pursuing options such as:

  • Medical device sales and training 
  • Healthcare management roles (which may require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree)
  • Other healthcare professions such as a physician assistant (which would require a professional degree)
  • Directly related professions such as a medical dosimetrist (which would require a professional degree)

6. Make a deeper connection with your patients

Depending on the treatment plan and the nature of the cancer, a patient typically receives radiation treatment five days a week for several weeks in a row. Because of this, radiation therapists are able to become much closer with patients compared to other healthcare professions, and even compared to other members of the cancer treatment team. 

The familiarity you can develop with patients involves more than just delivering treatment. You’re in a position to listen, show compassion, and offer emotional support. You’re often getting to know family members as well.

For many radiation therapists, the daily patient interaction is the single biggest reason why they love their work.

Then there’s the general rhythm of each day. You stay busy and focused with a steady stream of daily patients.

7. Be part of a multidisciplinary cancer treatment team

If you engage with individuals easily and enjoy the atmosphere of being part of a team, then you should definitely explore the field of radiation therapy. 

As a radiation therapist, you work with other team members, prepare patients for their treatments, practice safe protocols by working in pairs, and interact with additional department staff such as nurses, dosimetrists, nutritionists, and radiation oncologists.

Then, of course, there are the patients you have the privilege of helping every day.

8. Work with advanced technology in an environment that fits with your preferences

As a radiation therapist, you’ll be on the front lines of cancer treatment as you work daily with cutting-edge medical technology. And as that technology advances, it also creates opportunities for you to continually learn something new. 

In fact, you’ll have opportunities for life-long learning with continuing education courses through meetings, hands-on training, and directed readings provided through the American Society of Radiologic Technologists

Make the next move and start exploring programs

In a relatively short amount of time, you could be delivering potentially life-saving treatment and enjoying an extremely rewarding career. Could joining the profession of radiation therapy be right for you?  

If you’re intrigued by the information you’ve just read, I recommend that you take the next important step and start exploring radiation therapy programs today! 

Jessica Donahue, B.S. R.T. (R) (T) (ARRT) is an experienced radiation therapist and is also Program Chair for the Radiation Therapy Degree Program at Northwestern Health Sciences University. 

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

When Bureaucracy Prevents Nurses from Working – It’s Not Pretty

America’s nursing shortage is so profound that one would think recent graduates could start in their new registered nurse jobs the day after graduation. But that is not how it works. Thanks to bureaucracy, graduates in some states need to wait weeks – or even months – before they can start working.

Bureaucratic delays are both unnecessary and illogical. But they are commonplace in any industry that requires workers to be licensed. From nursing to cosmetology and selling real estate, bureaucracy fouls everything up. The strange thing when it comes to nursing is that bureaucrats have not learned their lesson. How much worse does the nursing shortage have to get before something changes?

Waiting Months for a Permit

The Erie Times-News recently told the story of a nursing school graduate who was already working for a local hospital at the time she finished her education. She was employed as a patient care technician. Ready to begin working as a registered nurse, she only needed a temporary state permit to get her through until she passed the nursing boards and got a permanent license.

Getting a permit should be simple enough, right? Not in Pennsylvania. This particular young lady waited for months and still didn’t get it. And she is not alone. Both Pennsylvania’s Department of State and nursing board are overwhelmed with permit and license applications. They have processed some 4,800 applications since April 2022. The Department of State operates on a staff of just twenty.

You cannot fault state workers themselves. The system is not designed for efficiency. Rather, it is designed to be slow and tedious. The fact that aspiring nurses even need to make application is proof of that.

Licensing Is Largely Meaningless

What is so frustrating about this sort of thing is that licensing is largely meaningless. While hospitals and clinics are desperate to fill growing numbers of open registered nurse jobs, permit and license applications languish on government desks. Yet a license is little more than a piece of paper a nurse needs to pay to get. It doesn’t do anything.

A licensed nurse has undergone years of education and training. They have put in clinical hours. By the time they have earned their degree and finished their clinical rotations, they are ready to begin caring for patients. Obtaining a state license doesn’t make them a better nurse. It does not improve the quality of care they provide.

The Bureaucracy Persists

One of the hospitals the Erie Times-News spoke to told them they had plans to start four dozen new nurses in mid-July. When the time came, they could only start twenty. The remaining eighteen were waiting on licenses or scores from the nursing board. The hospital is looking at some of them not being available for another month.

The bureaucracy persists even in the face of desperate need. Meanwhile, the bureaucrats and politicians continue to promote licensing and accreditation as a way to guarantee only properly trained people can enter the nursing profession. But isn’t that what a college education is for?

Incidentally, bureaucratic licensing and accreditation are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the American workplace. It is getting to be that some states will not allow people to do anything without being licensed. And why? Is it about money? Is it about control?

There are few answers to the question of why. There is also a very little hope that the bureaucracy will go away. The one thing we can say for sure is that registered nurse jobs are available in spades. If you are looking for a career with an insatiable demand for workers, try nursing.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

What Are Informatics Nurses & How Will They Shape the Future of Healthcare?

The healthcare system has access to more data than ever before. Thanks to wearable health technology and digital patient records, it is very easy to receive granular insights both into induvial patients’ health and wellness and the well-being of entire communities. 

Hospitals have the tech, but many lack the ability to process and interpret the information they are getting. Informatics nurses can change this. 

In this article, we look at how informatics nurses will shape the future of health care. 

What Are Informatics Nurses?

Informatics is the study of computational systems that are designed to store, manage and process data. It is a broad discipline used in industries across the business sector. In healthcare, informatics are used to observe trends and recognize patterns, both as they relate to individuals, and communities at large. 

In the world of healthcare, data has recently become more important than ever. The desire for data implementation is there, but the skill set to take advantage of it may not be in many places. Informatics nurses have been educated to handle data, AI, and other technologies that are key modern medicine. They are there to bridge the skill gap, allowing hospitals and healthcare systems to reap the full benefits of data processing and implementation.

Bridging disciplines

Historically, nurses have met their patient’s needs with a combination of compassion and medical understanding. These qualities still have their role in the healthcare system, but they don’t necessarily naturally include more modern healthcare skill sets such as technological fluency and data comprehension. 

Informatic nurses bridge the skill gap between healthcare practices of the past and future. Currently, many healthcare systems across the country are handicapped by staff that were educated well before modern data analysis principles even existed. They don’t have the background knowledge, nor the availability to learn new skills that would be required to take full advantage of healthcare data processing. 

By hiring informatics nurses, healthcare systems can provide their patients with the best of all worlds, giving them high-quality care that is backed up by sophisticated data sets. 

Better Patient Outcomes

Data improves patient outcomes by allowing physicians to take a granular look at the individual’s information, and then cross-reference it with information from people in their demographic. 

Instead of looking simply at a patient’s height, weight, and age, informatics nurses will be able to examine health trends based on more specific considerations, like heart rate, blood pressure, and more. 

Better intel breeds better outcomes. Data interpretation can help care providers select the course of treatment most likely to produce success for the individual being cared for. 

Treating Hard-to-Reach Patients

Data can also improve care for people who might otherwise find it difficult to access the healthcare system. Rural communities are often a good example of this. Several towns may share one hospital, putting some people many miles away from high-quality care. 

While these people may not be able to get to the doctor’s office routinely, they can still produce important health data through wearables. Infomatic nurses can then access this information remotely, monitoring patients’ health even from a great distance. 

This means patients’ can receive lifestyle recommendations without ever going to the doctor. They may even be able to catch health conditions early, despite their limited access to conventional medicine. 

With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Sarah has been a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Modern Medical Jobs: Trading Gig Work for Steady Employment?

Medical jobs come in all shapes and sizes. There are private practice doctors and therapists and those employed by hospital groups, clinics, etc. Nurses can choose to work for an employer or freelance as a temporary/per diem provider. At times, the options may seem limitless. But what are the differences between gig work and steady employment?

MarketWatch contributor Kelly James wrote a fascinating piece in late July 2022 about his transition from freelance writing to corporate work. While his experience isn’t identical to healthcare workers who trade self-employment for medical jobs, there are some similarities worth examining.

To set this up, the equivalent of gig work in the medical field is contract work. Medical professionals fill temporary needs on contracts, either arranged on their own or through a temporary/per diem provider. They are self-employed in every sense of the word.

Self-Employment Freedom

In Kelly’s case, he first gave up a lucrative career as a lawyer to become a freelance writer. It was something he had dreamed about for a long time. Going the freelance route afforded him the freedom to be his own boss. He was able to make his own schedule, do something he loved to do, and earn a very good living. It seemed perfect.

Likewise, there is no shortage of doctors, nurses and therapists who have traded in traditional medical employment for the temporary/per diem lifestyle. As prn providers, they are able to take contracts that suit them. They can work when they want to and take time off when necessary. They can even combine work and travel.

The Downsides

In Kelly’s cases, there were downsides. He went back to the corporate world almost out of necessity. He decided that life circumstances required him to have a traditional job with a steady paycheck and medical insurance and was willing to give up being his own boss to get those two things.

Temporary/per diem providers are in a slightly different position. Demand for their services is so high that they rarely need to actively drum up new business. As for health insurance, it is still expensive. But a practitioner who chooses to work through a temporary/per diem agency might get health insurance included as part of the package.

Traditional Employment Stability

Kelly’s return to the corporate world was easy, at first. He enjoyed the routine and He enjoyed getting to know his coworkers and being able to collaborate with them. He certainly enjoyed the stability that comes with working for someone else.

Doctors, nurses, and therapists are no different. More than one locum has returned to traditional employment for the same reasons that drove Kelly back to the corporate world. Self-employment has its perks, but traditional medical jobs offer the kind of stability that doesn’t come with freelancing.

Controlled by Someone Else

On the downside, traditional employment brings with it the burden of being controlled by someone else. Kelly left his first corporate job due to a micromanager who controlled his day so tightly that he felt he couldn’t breathe. Healthcare executives and managers can be equally controlling.

Kelly also had to give up the freedom of making his own schedule and the satisfaction that comes from building a business of his own. Likewise, transitioning from temporary work to a traditional medical job pretty much eliminates work freedom.

Both gig work and traditional employment have their positives and negatives. For most people, traditional employment is the preferred option. But there are some who taste the freedom of self-employment and never look back. That is the way it is in every industry. Medical jobs are no exception.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Introducing HS Students to Healthcare Careers

Saying that there is an abundance of open healthcare jobs right now is like saying the sky as blue. It is obvious. Healthcare is in a difficult position right now. The need for healthcare services only continues to rise, yet the number of people working in the field isn’t rising fast enough to keep up. So what do healthcare facilities do? Some are turning to a strategy of introducing high school students to healthcare careers.

It is important to talk about the number of healthcare jobs left vacant by people who are retiring or switching careers. It’s definitely a problem. But it is a problem in every industry. There is a certain amount of churn whether you’re talking healthcare or manufacturing. The other side of the equation is bringing in new people to replace those who are leaving.

Believe it or not, healthcare has struggled in that regard for decades. There simply haven’t been enough young people choosing healthcare as a career to continue producing a steady stream of workers ready to take healthcare jobs. Introducing high school students to the variety that is healthcare is one way to address that.

A Summer Program in Louisiana

A program designed to reach young people potentially interested in healthcare is being undertaken by the Central Louisiana Area Health Education Center (CLAHEC). Their program has recruited a dozen students to spend the summer working alongside healthcare professions at the Rapides Regional Medical Center.

Students will undoubtedly be exposed to plenty of doctors and nurses during the summer program. But that is not all they will get to experience. Students are expected to get exposure to virtually every clinical department at the hospital. They will spend time in radiology, rehab services, the NICU, and so forth.

Already, some of the students have remarked about being surprised by all the variety. Like so many other people, their impressions of healthcare revolve almost exclusively around doctors and nurses. It never occurs to them that there are literally hundreds of different healthcare jobs that have nothing to do with wearing a stethoscope and checking vital signs.

Too Much of a Clinical Focus

After hearing what students have to say about their summer program, perhaps it’s time for a bit of reflection. Maybe our culture has helped to create the shortage of healthcare workers by focusing too much on clinical positions. We have made doctors and nurses the face of healthcare despite the fact that, as a percentage, they make up only a fraction of the total number of healthcare jobs that make the industry work.

There are some young people who will set their minds on being doctors and nurses and nothing will sway them. They will be more than willing to put in the time to earn their degrees and get their state licenses. When all is said and done, they will populate the halls of hospitals, healthcare clinics, and private practices.

On the other hand, there are those young people who have no interest in becoming doctors and nurses. That does not mean that they aren’t a good fit for healthcare jobs. Some of them would be a perfect fit for therapy. Others are ideal candidates for lab jobs. Still others would make excellent patient advocates or healthcare IT workers.

It is clear that we need to find some better ways to get all the open healthcare jobs filled. There are no easy solutions to the problem. But one possible starting point is exposing more high school students to the variety that’s in healthcare. Knowing there is more to healthcare than being a doctor or nurse could change some minds.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Remote Nursing Jobs Gain Traction – Here’s What You Need to Know

It seems like the entire world went virtual at the height of the COVID pandemic. Even in the healthcare sector, the pandemic forced us to seek non-emergency medical care through virtual means. As a result, remote nursing has gained traction. Even now, healthcare job boards list thousands of remote registered nurse jobs.

It may seem like nursing and remote work are incompatible. Nursing is usually a profession requiring direct access to patients. It is a career that involves bedside care and constant monitoring. So how can it be performed remotely?

In fairness, the vast majority of registered nurse jobs still adhere to the traditional model. There are just some types of care that cannot be provided virtually. But the growing movement for telehealth is opening opportunities for nurses looking to gather the traditional clinical setting.

Telehealth Primary Care

One of the most lucrative fields for virtual nursing is primary care in a telehealth setting. You may have some experience with this yourself if you visited remotely with your doctor during the pandemic. Telehealth appointments are similar to in-person visits from a structural standpoint, even though they are conducted by way of video chat.

A registered nurse still greets the patient and collects preliminary information. They may consult with the patient and answer general questions. The nurse provides a vital service prior to the actual visit with the doctor.

Other Remote Opportunities

While telehealth and primary care are getting a lot of attention right now, they are not the only means by which registered nurse jobs can be performed remotely. There are a number of other remote opportunities nurses can look at. Here are just a few examples:

Healthcare Case Manager

Nurses who work as case managers are essentially go-betweens. They are intermediaries between patients and the facilities that provide their care. A case manager’s responsibilities include coordinating resources, evaluating options, monitoring patient progress, and keeping patients and their families in the loop. Helping patients manage costs can be part of the equation as well.

Fortunately, this type of work doesn’t always have to be done in person. Perhaps it should be most of the time, but there is a growing demand for remote access to caseworkers. Patients and their families would rather collaborate remotely than try to arrange personal visits.

Nurse Educator

Demand for nurse educators is growing right alongside the demand for nurses themselves. Practitioners looking to leave traditional registered nurse jobs in favor of remote work might consider becoming educators. A nurse educator combines clinical knowledge with practical experience to help train the next generation.

The beauty of this particular job is that it relies on an educational model that was in use long before the pandemic: remote learning. The only difference now is that technology plays a bigger part.

Nurse Recruiter

Recruiters are challenged to find the best nurses for open positions. But nursing is a complex job that requires the right combination of knowledge, skill, and practical experience. Recruiters who have never donned a nurse’s scrubs to step into a clinical setting don’t know what it takes to excel in a given job. Nurses do.

Nurse recruiting can be done remotely. In fact, it often is. Registered nurses leaving clinical work in favor of recruiting could work from home, utilizing technology to make contacts, conduct interviews, etc.

Remote nursing jobs are gaining traction. Nurses looking to get out of traditional clinical work are discovering that remote jobs are a better fit for them. It is really not surprising when you consider the state of the modern workforce.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

The Great Resignation Isn’t Sparing Healthcare

We have been hearing about the Great Resignation for about a year now. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, the Great Resignation is a phenomenon that has seen millions of people leave their jobs since the start of the COVID pandemic. Some are leaving to find employment elsewhere within the same industry. Others are retiring early. Still others are looking for a complete change, looking for work in an entirely different field or starting a new business.

Unfortunately for healthcare, the Great Resignation isn’t sparing it. Just look at nurse practitioner jobs. They are as plentiful now as they have ever been. The same goes for nursing jobs, physician jobs, therapist jobs, and on and on. It is not clear where all the disaffected workers are going, but it is clear that healthcare facilities are now having to work harder than they ever have in the past to fill open positions.

Looking for Something New

It is not surprising that job boards would have a lot more open doctor, nurse, and nurse practitioner jobs since the start of the pandemic. Healthcare delivery was obviously at the forefront of the pandemic. It still is. A lot of healthcare professionals just had their fill in the troubled year that was 2020. Many have decided it is time for a change.

Out in Idaho, the Idaho Press recently published an article about a group of healthcare professionals who had gotten together to discuss life after healthcare. Some of them were in the position of transitioning to new careers while others had already made the switch. The group represented everyone from nurse practitioners to therapists.

It is interesting that these professionals wanted to share their stories, not to encourage other healthcare workers to abandoned ship, but to let them know that other things were out there should they decide to try something new. That’s really what all of this is about. Whether it is healthcare or some other industry, the Great Resignation is about switching gears.

Those Who Stay Behind

Virtually every industry is reeling from the fallout of the Great Resignation. Those who stay behind have their own choices to make. Do they stay, or do they go? In healthcare, employers are doing everything they can to make sure their people stay. They have every reason to do so.

It goes without saying that healthcare workers are in the driver’s seat right now. They have a lot of leverage to ask for changes. Healthcare facilities have little choice but to comply with every reasonable request. Otherwise, they stand to continue losing workers to the Great Resignation.

From nurse practitioner jobs to allied health jobs, things in healthcare are changing rapidly. That is one of the things the group in Idaho mentioned. Many of the healthcare professionals who have decided to move on say that the modern work environment is nothing like what they knew when they first got started. Again, this is understandable. Nothing remains unchanged forever.

The Opportunities Are There

Even as the Great Resignation continues, opportunities for employment abound. If you are looking for nurse practitioner jobs, you will find plenty here on our jobs board. The same goes for therapist jobs, physician jobs, etc. Take the time to look around and maybe post your resume. There are employers out there very much interested in speaking with you.

In the meantime, the healthcare sector will have to continue changing in order to adapt to the modern workforce. The old ways of doing things are not going to work any longer. The faster healthcare adapts, the faster it will right the employment ship and start moving forward again.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Study: Unionization and Staffing Regs Could Improve Nurse Retention

Employment data makes it abundantly clear that nurses are leaving their jobs in ever increasing numbers. Just look at any healthcare jobs board and you will find a seemingly endless list of registered nurse jobs. It is a problem we have been talking about for many years, a problem that has only been amplified by the COVID pandemic. So, what’s the solution?

The results of a recently released study suggest two things: unionization and staffing regulations at the state level. The proposed changes answer the biggest problems driving nurses away from their chosen field. Those two things are moral distress and safety.

Nurses Are Overworked

A big part of the study, conducted by researchers at the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was an understanding that nurses are overworked. That much really isn’t a matter of debate. Being overworked leaves nurses feeling like they cannot provide the kind of care they are otherwise capable of. This leads to moral distress and, in some cases, unsafe conditions for both patients and nurses.

Researchers measured several metrics, including how and when nurses cared for six or more patients simultaneously. Six seems to be the threshold in terms of whether a nurse can provide safe and quality care. Ideally, registered nurse jobs would be designed to allow for the highest quality care by not giving nurses too many patients at once. But when nurses are in short supply, those on the front lines need to care for more patients.

The Staffing Regulation Proposal

Among the study’s proposals is one that suggests staffing regulations. Researchers pointed to a number of states that enacted such regulations in the wake of the pandemic. In each state where regulations limited the number of patients a nurse could care for, moral distress fell. So did the likelihood that nurses would leave their positions within the next year.

In simple terms, it would appear as though registered nurses do not want to leave their jobs. They love what they do. They have a sincere desire to take care of sick people. The problem is they feel as though they cannot give patients the kind of care they want to. Why?

Interestingly, 93% of the nurses surveyed for the study reported an inability to take the ethically right course of action on behalf of patients because of “organizational and institutional constraints.” In other words, their employers have rules and policies in place that prevent nurses from doing what they believe is ethically right. That is both amazing and unacceptable.

Unionizing Could Make a Difference

Researchers concluded that many of the issues related to moral distress could be solved through unionization. By unionizing registered nurse jobs, the industry would give nurses a real voice in how healthcare facilities are run. It would give them a voice in determining how patients are cared for.

Of course, addressing moral distress through unionization would require a union and leadership whose sole purpose for existing is not getting nurses more money. According to the research, it is not about the money anyway. Nurses certainly won’t balk at being paid more, but it’s clear they are already willing to walk away due to moral distress and safety issues. Money alone is not going to solve that problem.

No doubt that registered nurse jobs across the country are waiting to be filled. Meanwhile, untold numbers of nurses are considering leaving the profession. If staffing regulations and unionization can reverse that trend, both are worth looking into. Eventually, something will have to be done to answer legitimate nurse concerns.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

The Best Ways to Prepare for Your First Nursing Clinical

Few things are so dreaded in the life of a nursing student as the first clinical. Everything you’ve learned in class now has a practical application—on living, breathing humans. Humans you will be expected to care for. 

The prospect is daunting for many people. Perhaps it even should be. But there is an important distinction between being reasonably anxious, and overwhelmingly afraid. In this article, we explore how to get ready for your first clinical so that you can have a successful first day of nursing school clinicals.

Sleep Well

Nurses aren’t exactly known for their good sleeping habits. Twelve hours shifts, some of which happen at night tend to dampen one’s chances of getting the doctor-recommended eight hours. Elusive though good sleep may be to the working nurse, it remains an option to you, the student. 

Go to bed early the night before your first clinical, and try to factor in variables, like nerves. It can be difficult to fall asleep the night before a significant life event. Figure out a way to do it anyway. 

Eat Right

Good nutrition is also an important step in surviving your first clinical. Eat a healthy, filling dinner the night before. On the morning of your clinical, it is equally important to eat a well-balanced breakfast. Try to come up with a menu that focuses on providing a good energy boost. 

Fats are actually one of the most dependable sources of short-term energy. You can work them into your morning routine with healthy meals like yogurt and fruit. 

Come Correct with Supplies

Undoubtedly, your school has provided you with a list of supplies you will need for your first clinical. It’s a good idea to check off that list the night before, making sure you will know where to find everything when it comes time to head out the door the next morning. 

Many people make the choice to label their supplies. This may be a good idea—many of your peers will have virtually identical gear. 

Also consider the merits of additional items that, while not necessary, could make your job easier. For example, a high-quality, durable watch can help monitor a patient’s heart rate. Just make sure that you are aware of everything you ring to the hospital so you can return home with it at the end of the day. 

Be Prepared to Ask for Help

Do you want to hear a secret? You aren’t the first future nurse to do clinicals. You aren’t the second either. Everyone at the hospital will be well aware of why you are there and what you are doing. The nurses are likely to be particularly sympathetic, remembering their initial experiences with the profession. 

Questions and uncertainty are expected. And, when it comes to patient care, it’s always better to ask your question and do something right than it is to remain silent and make mistakes. Don’t be shy. No one there expects you to know everything. 

Review Your Coursework

The night before your first clinical is a good time to scan over your coursework. This isn’t a cram session. It’s a refresher. You know what you need to know. Doing a review cements it in your mind, and it can also help you build confidence. 

Doing a review of all that you’ve learned will remind you that you have the information you need to have a successful clinical already in your head. 

Take a Breath

Finally, take a moment to calm down. Clinicals are scary. For everyone. And yet, anxious or not, you are ready for the task ahead. The night before a clinical is a good time to take a quiet, peaceful moment and just reflect on the reality of what you are preparing to do. 

  • You are qualified to do this. You have completed the classwork up until this point. You know your stuff. 
  • You will have resources on hand to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. 
  • It’s normal to be afraid. All your classmates are too. 
  • Things will go wrong. You’re entering a situation filled with variables and uncertainty, and you’re doing it with no experience at all. Things will go wrong. When they do, you’ll receive help, and learn from your mistakes. 

Once you accept the challenges of your first nursing clinical, can begin to appreciate the beauty of it. This is your first concrete step into your desired line of work. All the studying you have done culminates in the moments ahead: taking care of people and making a significant difference in their lives. 

It will be hard. You can do it anyway. 

With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Sarah has been a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.