Coronavirus Best Practices: How nurses and nursing assistants can keep themselves and patients safe

Coronavirus Best Practices: How nurses and nursing assistants can keep themselves and patients safe

COVID-19 (commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus) has become a significant public health concern that is now impacting post-acute communities across the US. Thankfully, no known cases of COVID-19 have been found at any of our partnered facilities at this time.

We have been closely monitoring both the news and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA).

With those recommendations in mind, we are actively developing a dynamic COVID-19 Best Practices Training in our app to keep you up to date on safe COVID-19 prevention and treatment practices. We anticipate that this course will be available to IntelyPros as of Wednesday, March 11. This training will also be available to the general public later this month.

While we roll out this course, we will do our best to keep you updated on current best practices so that you can keep yourself and your patients safe.

We have outlined some key tips that you should keep in mind when working at any long-term care facility…

HOW COVID-19 SPREADS

 Based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and what is known about other coronaviruses, the spread is thought to occur mostly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts.

Close contact can occur while caring for a patient, including:

  • being within approximately 6 feet of a patient with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time.
  • having direct contact with infectious secretions from a patient with COVID-19. Infectious secretions may include sputum, serum, blood, and respiratory droplets.

If close contact occurs while not wearing all recommended Personal Protection Equipment (PPE,) healthcare personnel may be at risk of infection.

HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF

Stay informed.

Keep up to date with current guidelines. We will be sending out new information as we learn more about COVID-19, and will be launching our COVID-19 Best Practices Assessment to IntelyPros on March 11, 2020. But in the interim, we recommend the CDC as your go-to resource for all COVID-19 best practice information.

 

Practice and encourage proper hygiene and infection control.

The CDC recommends that you practice proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and encourage cough etiquette among residents, visitors, and colleagues. We also encourage looking into Infection Prevention Training, if you have not already done so.

 

Be prepared.

While no known cases of COVID-19 have been detected in any of our partnered facilities at this time, as a health care professional, you are on the front lines of caring for patients and have an increased risk for exposure. We recommend reading this article from the CDC in the event that COVID-19 does appear at your facility: What Healthcare Personnel Should Know About Caring for Patients with Confirmed or Possible COVID-19 Infection.

 

Be compliant.

While the above tips are commonly agreed-upon best practices, please be aware that each nursing facility may have its own COVID-19 contingent plans in place. Please be sure to comply with any facility-specific COVID-19 guidelines. You may also find that some facilities will monitor health care staff for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival. If a facility determines that you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, you may be sent home.

 

Don’t take a chance.

If you are currently experiencing or have experienced a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath in the last 14 days, we strongly encourage you to not report to work. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please let the IntelyCare team know and refrain from picking up future shifts. Safety is our chief priority. If you call us before a shift and let us know you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, we will release you from the shift without penalty.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we anticipate that the CDC and AMDA will continue to update their recommendations, so we will be sure to share COVID-19 best practices with you as new recommendations emerge.

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

IntelyCare was created by nurses, for nurses. We’re here to take care of those who take care of everyone else; our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule to help reduce nurse stress. Apply today to join the future of nursing.

IntelyPro Spotlight Series: Jermaine Martin, LPN

IntelyCare Spotlights Ohio Licensed Practical Nurse, Jermaine Martin

Jermaine enjoys traveling when he’s not working for IntelyCare

We have a great team of IntelyPros across the US, and we enjoy highlighting the incredible work that they do.

Jermaine Martin is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who is based out of Cleveland, Ohio. He has only been an IntelyPro for a few short weeks, but in his time working with us, Jermaine has demonstrated to us that he is not only a great IntelyPro because he works hard and shows up to shifts on time – he’s also a team player that cares deeply about the well-being of his patients.

An administrator at one of our partnered facilities reached out to us to specifically to sing Jermaine’s praises, and to tell us how thorough and compassionate he was with a patient. This is what nursing is all about. We enjoyed getting to know this incredible nurse in our brief conversation, and we think you will, too.

Hi Jermaine, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. To start, can you tell us what made you decide to become an LPN?

There were really two pivotal things that inspired me to become a nurse.

One was that it was pretty much preordained. My mother is a nurse, my grandmother is a nurse, and two of my sisters are nurses.

The other was when I was 14 years old. I was playing football and I fractured my leg. When I was in the hospital, my mother was the room with me, and she made me feel so much better. That’s when I knew I had what it took to be empathetic and to make a patient feel better. When you’re sick and hurting, you don’t want to talk to anyone – but nurses have the empathy to break down that wall.

That’s great! What do you love most about being a nurse?

I enjoy connecting with new people and helping them heal. I have a special affinity for geriatric patients in particular – they always have a story to tell, and they’re more than happy to share their wisdom with you.

How long have you been a nurse?

I have been a nurse for 8 years. Almost nine.

Congrats! That’s a long time. What do you love most about your nursing career?

What I love most about being a nurse is the patients and the confidence being a nurse gives me. I’m at peace when I’m at work caring for others. And I love to hear the stories of patients and the lives they’ve lived – there’s a lot of wisdom and stories worth hearing there.

What kind of work were you doing as a nurse before IntelyCare?

Most of my experience has been at long term care facilities. I also worked in quality assurance overseeing other STNAs and offering leadership and advice.

The only problem was that it was tough to balance work and my life outside of work. I felt like even on my day off, I never left. I was just constantly thinking about what I was going to go into the next day. There was one time that I was literally getting a massage on my day off and I couldn’t relax because I was so worried about work and what I’d be walking into the next day.

That’s tough. Work is hard enough – days off shouldn’t be hard, too. What do you like most about IntelyCare?

I love the flexibility. When I’m at home, I’m home, and I can enjoy my time with my wife. I also like that IntelyCare offers creative incentives – it shows me that you appreciate us and the work we’re doing.

I do like the rating system a lot. It’s motivating to climb the ranks, and I love it when I get to see I got a 5-star rating from a facility.

It’s also nice to walk into a facility and they see that I’m from IntelyCare, and just assume I am going to be a good nurse.

You’ve been a nurse for almost nine years now and must have some teachable moments. What advice do you have for someone just starting out as a nurse?

The best advice to give to a new nurse is to always ask questions. Always be ready to learn. Always volunteer for the toughest projects. And just get comfortable being uncomfortable.

You know you’re learning when you find yourself in those uncomfortable moments.

That’s great advice! Alright, one final question. At IntelyCare, we think it’s important to have a life outside of work. What do you like to do for fun?

My wife and I love to travel. We’re just recently married, so I like to take her on vacations, shopping, and short road trips. Our favorite recent vacation was to Montego Bay in Jamaica, where we got to ride horses, see waterfalls, everything. It was amazing.

Thanks, Jermaine!

IntelyCare provides you with the flexibility to choose when and where you work. Want to take control of your schedule? Apply today to start earning! 

Five Tips to Nail Your Nursing Interview

Five Tips to Nail Your Nursing Interview

By Melanie Mathews, Director of Market Development

 

Whether you are a seasoned nurse, or you have just completed your nurse aide training, preparing for a job interview can be nerve-wracking and intimidating for anyone. Here are five tips to help you boost your interviewing confidence and nail your nursing interview!

Tip #1: Be on Time

Whether your first interview is a phone screen or an on-site interview, make sure you are on time. For phone interviews, make sure you are waiting by the phone so you can answer promptly, and for on-site interviews, plan to the facility early to leave breathing room for traffic and other unknown variables. Reliability is essential in the healthcare industry, so it is critical that you set the right impression.

Tip #2: Do Your Research

Whether or not you applied through a job board or you were referred by a friend, you want to ensure that you have done some research about the employer’s background and be able to identify why you have chosen to interview at the organization. Understanding the mission and being aware of recent awards and recognitions can provide you with some easy talking points throughout the interview.

While every nursing role is different, most nursing interviews have some questions in common. Researching some common nursing interview questions and preparing answers is a great way to practice.

Tip #3: Be Honest

Your interviewer will likely ask you some challenging questions during your nursing interview that you should be prepared to answer honestly. Not knowing an answer to a question is completely acceptable and your potential employer will value your honesty.

You should also be ready to answer questions as it relates to your education, employment background, clinical nursing experience, and your future goals. There’s no one who knows you better than you, so this part should be easy!

Tip #4: Tell Your Story

Why did you get into nursing? We bet you have heard this before! Be prepared to answer this during any interview. Highlight your strengths and pull from any previous personal experiences that have molded you into the nursing professional that you are today. Everyone loves stories – so if you can tell a story about your journey to become a nursing professional, even better.

Tip #5: Ask Questions

We can’t stress this enough! Take time before your nursing interview to prepare some thoughtful questions. Without fail, interviewers will ask you if you have questions at the end of the interview – this is to gauge your level of interest in the role and your preparedness for the interview, so make sure to have a few questions ready.

This is potentially your new job – so show your interviewer that you want to know as much about the role as possible.

Bonus Tip: Breathe.

We know – you want to land this nursing job, and interviews can be nerve-wracking. At the end of the day, your experience and credentials matter, but so does your preparation, poise, and personality. Putting in the work to research and prepare for your nursing interview will boost your confidence and showcase to your interviewer that you are invested in this job. So, take a deep breath, follow these tips, and knock that interview out of the park!

Are you looking for a job in nursing? As the fastest growing nurse staffing agency in the country, we’re always looking for passionate nursing professionals to join our team! Plus, our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule, so you can achieve the work-life balance you deserve.

Want to learn more? Apply today.

IntelyPro Spotlight Series: Jenelle Nachtrab, RN

IntelyCare Spotlights Massachusetts Registered Nurse, Jenelle Nachtrab.

Jenelle Nachtrab, RN, enjoying skiing when shes not working for IntelyCare

We have a great team of IntelyPros across the US, and we enjoy highlighting the incredible work that they do.

Choosing Jenelle Nachtrab, a registered nurse from Massachusetts, for our next spotlight was a no-brainer.

Jenelle has demonstrated to us that she is not only a great IntelyPro because she works hard and shows up to shifts on time – she’s also an incredibly compassionate nurse. A few weeks ago, one of the supervisors at a facility we work with gave us a call just to tell us how impressed they were with the care and compassion Jenelle shows to her patients. We enjoyed getting to know her, and we think you will, too!

Thanks for agreeing to participate in our IntelyPro Spotlight series, Jenelle! To start, can you tell us what made you decide to become a Registered Nurse?

I’ve always wanted to be a nurse – it’s really all I’ve ever wanted to do. My mother and both of my grandmothers were nurses as well, so growing up with all of them being nurses had a tremendous influence on me.

That’s great! What do you love most about being a nurse?

I enjoy connecting with new people and helping them heal. I have a special affinity for geriatric patients in particular – they always have a story to tell, and they’re more than happy to share their wisdom with you.

How long have you been a nurse?

10 years.

What do you enjoy most about working at IntelyCare?

The freedom – I like that I can pick up shifts when I want and choose where I want to work. If I don’t want to work weekends, I don’t have to.
Part of what was difficult being a full-time staff member somewhere was having to work a lot of holidays and weekends. I transitioned away from my full-time job in January, and that’s when I started working for IntelyCare.

IntelyCare has also allowed me to travel – I make my own schedule, so I can travel to new places without having to worry about coverage.

We love to hear that. What advice would you give to someone just starting out as a nurse?

I have been able to train a lot of new grads, and they’re always so nervous starting out. It’s important to not let a hard shift get to you – thick skin just comes with time.
I also think it’s so important, for new nurses and experienced nurses alike, to not be afraid to ask questions. I still ask questions all the time – even after ten years, I’m always learning, too. At the end of the day, if you don’t ask questions, you leave room for error.

That’s fantastic advice! Last question: what do you like to do when you’re not working?

My husband and I really enjoy skiing – this past year we were able to travel to ski in Canada, and we also hit up mountains in Utah, Vermont, and New Hampshire!

IntelyCare provides you with the flexibility to choose when and where you work. Want to take control of your schedule? Apply today to start earning! 

Striving Toward Nurse Safety

Striving Toward Nurse Safety

How evolving the culture and fixing the superhuman mindset can improve the lives of nurses and their patients.

Nursing is consistently voted the nation’s most trusted profession – and yet, it can be one of the nation’s most ‘at-risk’ professions as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing has the highest rate of nonfatal occupational injuries.

Dr. Danielle Ofri, the author of a recent op-ed in the New York Times, blames the culture of self-sacrifice encouraged by the healthcare industry. She writes that despite the detrimental experiences thrown a healthcare provider’s way, “an overwhelming majority do the right thing for their patients, even at a high personal cost.” Ofri explains that the code of ethics healthcare workers keep drives them to out-stretch themselves, rather than to complain, or better yet, ask for help.

Chris Caulfield, our co-founder, and Chief Nursing Officer, weighed in on his time working bedside. “Unsafe environments tend to be the norm – they happen on every shift. It should be unacceptable – but that’s the culture nurses come to accept.”

In honor of National Safety Month, we’d like to shine a light on the dangers nursing professionals grapple with every shift – in the hopes that at most, the culture of self-sacrifice changes, and at the very least, nurses can be more mindful of their health as their care for the health of others.

Injury on the Job

Nurses who assist in lifting or re-positioning patients often endure repetitive back pain injuries. Caulfield noted that even when facilities have no-lift policies in place, nurses will be asked to forego policy in the interest of time. “As a male nurse, especially, I was asked to lift patients and heavy objects, even when it was unsafe to do so.”

Needle sticks also are a regular threat to nurses – according to the CDC, an average of 385,000 sharps-related injuries occurs among healthcare workers. This puts nurses at-risk of several diseases, namely Hepatitis B, C, and HIV.

Accidents do happen, but Chris posits that some of these injuries can be avoided. “In the past, I worked at facilities that had no-lift policies, and others that used safer, retractable needles. The only barrier for each of those is price. The price of time saved by rushing and lifting a patient, and the higher price of better, more-advanced needles.”

In cases where the administration doesn’t spring for safer policies and safer equipment, nurses pay the price.

Violence against nurses

While healthcare workers make up only 9% of the workforce, studies indicate that there are nearly as many violent injuries in the healthcare industry as there are in all other industries combined. And the number of violent injuries will only continue to skyrocket as time has gone on; over the past decade, there has been a 110% spike in the rate of violent incidents reported against healthcare workers.

Incidents are incredibly common for nurses who care for patients with dementia. 76% of nurses surveyed in one study noted that they had experienced physical or verbal abuse in the last 12 months. But it’s not something always reported, dealt with, or taken seriously.

Some measures are being taken by individual facilities; hospitals will host self-defense classes or training exercises that walk nurses through specific violent scenarios, which is a start, but until there are nationwide safety standards, violence against nurses will be an inevitable reality.

Burnout

Ask any nurse, and they will tell you that stress is par for the course, caused by a stressful work environment in general, and exacerbated by inadequate staffing levels.

In a 2016 study, 92% of nurses surveyed reported moderate to very high levels of stress. And that stress carries over into the rest of their lives. The same study also found that 78% of nurses reported sleeping less than 8 hours a night, 69% did not exercise regularly, and 22% of nurses’ relationship with alcohol would be characterized as binge drinking.

This chronic stress and lack of self-care all contribute to nurse burnout – an occupational phenomenon the World Health Organization characterizes as “feelings of energy depletion,” “increased mental distance from one’s job,” and “reduced professional efficacy.”

When nurses sacrifice their own well-being, it not only impacts their own health but their ability to provide the best care to the very patients they are aiming to protect. It can also be the catalyst for nurses leaving the field – which will only exacerbate the severe nurse staffing shortage.

So – what’s the solution to an environment where injury, abuse, and burnout are the norm?

For our part, IntelyCare is trying to improve the nursing experience. We allow nurses to choose their own schedule and take control of their lives. We offer a care team ready to advocate on their behalf, and we are a company co-founded by a nurse who understands what it’s like to be on the front lines of patient care. While we hope that our ability to fill the gaps in care will reduce stress on facility floors, we know that our efforts won’t even remotely come close to solving a pervasive, industry-wide issue.

Associate professor Linsey Steege, who studies the health and safety of nursing professionals, sums up the “supernurse” phenomenon perfectly: “That need and culture to be super creates a stigma around asking for help. It creates a stigma around showing signs of weakness and it creates, in some ways, some internal cultures within nursing that you’re not a real nurse if you haven’t worked 12 hours without peeing or taking a break, or if you haven’t worked five shifts in a row.”

Something has got to give – namely eradicating the mindset of self-sacrifice. This mindset that makes nurses so admirable is also the one that is their downfall. If nurses can start recognizing dangerous situations and abuse and advocate for themselves, that’s a great place to start. But ultimately, we also need a shift in the nursing culture.

As healthcare continues to evolve as a result of technological innovation and government policy, let’s hope that these shifts are made not only in the interest of saving money, simplifying and expediting administrative processes, or winning awards, but also a shift in culture in the interest of the people on the front lines taking care of us and the ones we love.

 

IntelyCare was created by nurses, for nurses. We’re here to take care of those who take care of everyone else; our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule to help reduce nurse stress. At IntelyCare, we’re driven to offer nurses and CNAs healthcare’s best working experience. Apply today.

Meet IntelyCare’s Nurses

IntelyCare was built by nurses, for nurses. We know, we say that a lot, but we think it’s an important distinction.

We care deeply about the happiness, safety, and overall well-being of our nursing professionals (IntelyPros), and the quality and level of training each of them. To achieve that, we believe it’s essential to have nurses on our team that both understand what it’s like to work in a skilled nursing facility, and more importantly, understand how hard it is to be a nurse. So, we wanted to introduce you to two of the most integral members of our team, Chris and Janiene, who check both of those boxes.

Chris, our Co-Founder and Chief Nursing Officer, brings a diverse nursing background and an extensive tenure educating his fellow nurses. He and our co-founder, Ike Nnah, were inspired to create IntelyCare after they witnessed unsafe, inefficient staffing practices that put both nurses and patients at risk.  From design and development of the app to the continued education and training of nurses, Chris has a hand in almost every facet of the business. He also works to build personal relationships and meaningful interactions with our IntelyPros.

Our Quality Assurance Education Nurse Manager, Janiene, is also a Registered Nurse. She works both with our partner facilities and with our nurses to uphold the quality of care and clinical competence of our team. As a nurse with agency experience, Janiene plays the vital role of both advocate and educator for our nursing professionals.

Our internal nursing team is vital to what we do – they are committed to establishing a culture of IntelyPro excellence, which includes making sure our IntelyPros are fully prepared to work when they step into their first facility, having their back if there’s ever an issue, and making sure they have all the tools necessary to deliver the best possible care to their patients.

We could not think of two better people to work with our nurses on a daily basis. So, we’d like you to get to know them as well as we do. Below are excerpts from our two spotlight blogs on Janiene and Chris.

An excerpt from Janiene’s spotlight:

“I’ve always loved being there for people, but what I really fell in love with was patient care. I saw how my presence and personal touch affected my patients. I found that I had a knack for bringing peace to my patients and I could easily put them at ease when they became anxious about a procedure or diagnosis. I made them feel comfortable and cared for and I advocated for their needs. I also had a way with ‘difficult’ patients’. I soon realized that it was my ‘way’ with my patients that made them feel cared for.

Nursing is so much more than ‘a good paying job’. You need to have compassion, empathy, and be willing to go the extra mile for your patient.

Those are the qualities of a truly good, dedicated nurse.”

Read the rest of Janiene’s spotlight here. 

An excerpt from Chris’s spotlight:

“I’m consistently amazed and proud of our IntelyCare Nurses & Nursing Assistants. Nursing is not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination, but our nursing professionals continue to complete shifts while providing amazing care to patients at our facilities. I really do love getting to come into work every day knowing that we are helping Schedulers safely staff their facilities, Directors of Nursing get the coverage they need on each floor, and Administrators meet their required staffing ratios.

As if that isn’t cool enough, we are helping nurses take charge of their lives. Now, nurses have the flexibility to be in complete control of their schedules. Ultimately, we are also helping patients receive better, more compassionate, quality care because our nurses don’t suffer from as much burn out.”

Read the rest of Chris’s spotlight here.

We have been celebrating nurses all week long! You can read our thank you to nurses here.

IntelyCare was created by nurses, for nurses. We’re here to take care of those who take care of everyone else; our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule to help reduce nurse stress. At IntelyCare, we’re driven to offer nurses and CNAs healthcare’s best working experience. Apply today.