When you walk into a facility there are a number of things that need to happen. You need to ensure you have checked in, gotten your assignments, and are ready for your day. This article could be entirely dedicated to the technical nursing tips around nursing handoffs and how to care for patients, but the reality is the best workers have something else. Brianna Blackburn, a licensed practical nurse working for IntelyCare, lays out her advice on how to be successful working as a per diem nurse in long-term care.
Brianna Blackburn, LPN
1. Walk in With Confidence
It can be intimidating to enter a new facility. The landscape is unfamiliar and you don’t know the patients – but you do know nursing.
If you’re working as the Registered Nurse (RN), from the moment you enter the facility, you need to be able to delegate, take control of a situation, and lead by example. You can’t be afraid to lead the nursing team, and you need to have a clear and direct line of communication open with the facility administration.
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) need to be ready to step in and support the nursing care plans and execute on them. Showing that you can both lead and support the team as needed is essential.
Nursing Assistants must be ready to work with the nurse in charge, and together, provide the best care for patients.
2. Become One of the Staff
As per diem staff, you are by definition an outsider. However, to create a productive relationship with the staff you need to work with, you must become one of them. It is important to connect quickly and become part of the team.
By being a team player, you can reduce the tension that the full-time staff may feel about having someone outside of their organization coming in and working in their facility. A nurse’s main concern is for their patients. If you can remember that we all have a common goal, then working together comes easily.
3. Scope of Practice: Come in With the Right Attitude
The biggest nursing tip that I can provide would be coming in with a positive attitude. From nursing assistants to registered nurses, patient care is the core of our scope of practice, which means that nothing is beneath you when it comes to caring for your patients.
It is important to lead by example. If I am seen turning patients, or helping them with meals, then my nursing assistants understand and trust that I have their best interests and the patient’s best interests at heart. In the world of per diem, if you don’t want to do it, just know that there are a ton of people in line behind you who will.
4. Leave Yourself Time to Prepare for Your Shift
Coming in and giving yourself time to orient yourself before your shift goes a long way. I understand that no one wants to come in early when they aren’t being paid. However, an extra 10-15 minutes before your shift will help set you up for a successful shift.
If for any reason you are running behind, you should make sure to communicate it with the facility. When a nursing professional shows up at the last minute, or late, it puts everyone in a tough position. The facility may start to get concerned that the shift will go uncovered. The nurse you are relieving will have to stay late to cover you while you prep for the shift. Patient care will suffer because of limited or rushed hand offs. Don’t be the person who causes these inconveniences.
5. Learn Ahead of Your Shift Who to Report To
Before you walk into a new facility, you should know that your IntelyPro Success Manager is there for you. Are you uncertain of where to check in? Or do you just need a reminder that you’re going to do great? Your IntelyPro Success Manager is there for you.
It’s also important to know who at the facility you should connect with if there are issues. Knowing this ahead of time will give you peace of mind if something were to happen.
Bonus Tip: I love the IntelyCare App!
This isn’t really advice, but IntelyCare really does have a great app. There are always shifts available. It includes cool features like Block Booking, so I can create a longer calendar of shifts for myself if I want to. Or facilities can offer me shifts with the Book Me feature, after I have a great shift at their facility and they specifically want me to come back.
I want others to have the same great experiences that I do, so I hope that these nursing tips will serve as a great starting point for success in per diem nursing!