Archive for April, 2009

The following article was reported today by the Associated Press (AP)

MADISON, Wis. – A nurse was called out of surgery so a manager could tell her she was being laid off. Dean Health said the surgery was minor and the patient wasn’t affected, but the manager who summoned the nurse from surgery violated medical protocol. Dean Health spokesman Paul Pitas said the incident happened at Dean’s West Clinic in Madison on Wednesday or Thursday.

Pitas said there was a period of time in which a nurse wasn’t present during the procedure. He said while there were other clinical staff present, the absence of a nurse is a violation of patient care procedures.

The Madison-based health care provider announced Wednesday that it planned to “immediately” lay off 90 employees.

Pitas declined to name the employees involved or what type of surgery the nurse was attending when she was called away.

In recent years, the need for traveling nursing has grown dramatically as a way to fill a nationwide shortage of nurses at hospitals. What started in the 1980s as a short-term solution to staffing problems has blossomed into an essential part of hospital operations.

“Travel nurses are people looking for some adventure in their lives,” says Marcia Faller, chief nursing officer and executive vice president of San Diego-based AMN Healthcare. “It’s a nice, easy way to experience different types of jobs without being tied down to one hospital.”

Most travel nursing companies act as your personal recruiter, helping you determine where in the United States you want to work and the type of facility that’s best for you.

Travel nursing jobs usually last about 13 weeks, Faller says, but some nurses choose to extend stays for up to a year or more. Many companies, including AMN, cover moving, housing and utility costs as well as offer a full benefits package in addition to a competitive salary.
Travel nursing also offers flexibility, as there are typically no annual contracts involved and you can work for as many assignments as you’d like.

“You can go anywhere you want in the country,” Faller says.

Gabe Westheimer who became a registered nurse in January, has been unable to find a nursing job in his preferred area, an emergency room nurse. Nursing jobs are not as abundant as they were before the economic downturn.

His wife, Kate, is a doctoral student with a National Institutes of Health fellowship has a limited income, and two more years of schooling left. Gabe abd his wife had budgeted for him to be without a job until April, but he’s up against the deadline.

“We budgeted for us to get that income now, but I’m still looking,” he said. “We sure would love not to draw on savings.”

More experienced nurses who might have chosen to retire are staying, and those who worked part time have moved to full time, squeezing out new graduates.

Gabe feels that like the country, he and his wife are building their foundation now, and although their finances, and the national economy, might be gloomy, things will improve soon.

“I have no worries about our long term prospects,” he said. “I trust that sooner rather than later I will land a job in the field I want to work in.”