Making Travel Nursing “Sexy” To Attract New Nurses?
I really enjoy discovering new blogs whether or not they are authored by travel nurses. Productive and constructive insights about the nursing profession can come from many directions whether from the nurse, the patient or just an observer. Nurses have the inside perspective and others have an external perspective and it is interesting when observations by someone outside the profession intersect with the pervasive daily experiences of the nurse. Most observers don’t know whether a nurse is working a travel nursing job or are in a permanent position. There are many common challenges and the issue of staffing levels is way up on the list.
The latest blog I discovered is written by a cancer patient named Hillary and she has assumed the management of a blog by a former UK cancer patient. The blog’s title is Baldie’s Blog. This courageous young lady posts about her experiences as a cancer patient and one thing she stated in a post really got my attention. She wrote about one hospital experience:
“They have third world nursing care. Once you’re out of that office or out of that Operating Room you are in their overworked hands. Some barely speak English, but don’t judge that, the language they speak says nothing about their skills. Some of the smartest nurses I’ve seen are straight off a flight from the third world. They know how to work with what they have.
“No one has found the magical solution to recruit nurses, my quick thought, start in middle school, give guidance counseling to junior and seniors in high school showing how to go to college for little or nothing, advertise “Travel” nursing and the big pay checks. Make nursing more fashionable, sexier, or vogue. Nursing needs an image change. Running around in uniforms that look like PJ’s is not so “hot” in high school, but traveling and money is.”
It just struck me that this patient is fully aware that there is a shortage of nurses in the U.S. and that it affects the treatment of patients like her. She is not critical of the nurses that she seems to suspect have been recruited overseas but wonders what it will take to attract more young people to the profession. She specifically mentions travel nursing as an attraction along with compensation. But she also suggests that nursing may not be perceived as “cool” and that it may get more attention from younger people if it were “sexed up” a bit.
I make no judgements about these commenst at all. I just found them interesting. Young, bright cancer patient presents her frontline perspective of nursing and lays it out there. She sees travel nursing as an opportunity that can be leveraged and not necessarily as a band-aid for the nursing shortage.
I wish her well in her struggle. Any travel nursing assignment will likely put the nurse face-to-face with patients like Hillary. Nothing “sexy” about that. But she is why you do what you do.