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- May 7, 2016: Registration for TravCon 2016 is now open! The Traveler's Conference is an annual event that provides Traveling Healthcare Professionals an opportunity to network with other travelers and top industry insiders. You will earn CEU's for classes specific to the industry, and meet agency representatives in a relaxed, low-pressure setting. This event has grown into the largest gathering of healthcare travelers in the United States. The Traveler's Conference is organized by volunteers who are themselves current or former travelers, and hosted in conjunction with PanTravelers. Contributing (paid) members qualify for a $10 Discount.
- April 7, 2016: As we prepare for the 2016 Travelers Conference, I'm tasked with wrangling the topics for continuing education, and choosing the speakers to deliver the presentations. This brings many topics to mind - many of which are important but insufficiently broad to merit one of the limited speaking slots at the conference. One such is maintaining your professional profile. In my current assignment as House Supervisor for a medium-sized California hospital, I review traveler profiles submitted by the Vendor Manager. I've noticed that incomplete profiles are the number one impediment to starting as scheduled. A word of advice: Take ownership of your profile documents. Don't rely on your agency to remind you when a license or certification renewal is due. Read this PanTravelers article on maintaining your professional profile.
- January 12, 2016: Planning is well under way for the 2016 Travelers Conference. Our keynote speaker this year will be Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio - well known nurse educator and notably, she was the organizer of the Nurses March on Washington DC, March 1995 and May 10, 1996. Her CCRN and CEN Prep courses are among the most well regarded for those prepping to obtain these critical care certifications.
- December 31, 2015: As 2015 comes to an end, it is clear that healthcare travel has rebounded completely from its historic lows following the 2008 recession. Job orders and pay are up in most parts of the country. Participation in online forums (including our own TNT ) by travelers and would-be travelers is up markedly, indicating renewed interest in following this career path. It will be fascinating to see where 2016 will take us. Happy New Year!
- Sept 12, 2015: We're in Vegas! Getting ready for the 2015 Travelers Conference. Newbie Boot Camp and other pre-conference events start tomorrow (Sunday) morning. The main conference kicks off at 8:00 am Monday morning. We have essentially doubled attendance from last year! Should be an amazing conference.
- June 26, 2015: Big News! PanTravelers is now the host of Delphi's Travel Nurses and Therapists (TNT), the Internet's oldest and largest travel nurse forum. Started in 1999, TNT has always been a great resource for travelers. In the coming weeks and months we aim to make it much better. It's sister forum - TNT Recruiting - is the best resource on the Internet for travelers to communicate directly with recruiters, view diverse facility needs, and find that perfect assignment. Join us on TNT and become part of a robust and historic online community of travelers.
June 2015: This is proving to be a great year for Travelers! The dynamics of an improving economy, declining unemployment, and benefits created by Obamacare have combined to increase demand for Travel Nurses and Allied Healthcare Travelers in 2015 with no sign of slowing in 2016. With increased demand comes higher wages. Now is a great time to be a Traveler. Your skills are in high demand!
The 2008 recession hit our industry hard, and the recovery from the 2009 and 2010 low points had been disappointingly sluggish. But according to Staffing Industry Analysts’ latest forecast report, healthcare staffing is projected to increase substantially in 2015 and 2016. This is especially true in States that expanded Medicaid or have their own robust healthcare exchanges. The ACA dramatically decreased the number of uninsured admissions to hospitals and increased total admissions. Hospital profit margins are increasing as are staffing burdens for administrators. Orders for travelers grew by 8% in 2014, 10% so far this year, and SIA projects an 8% growth for 2016. This is welcome news for travelers!
PanTravelers closely monitors industry trends and advises its members on the best strategies for maximizing the benefits of this great career path.
- April 2015: The target date for launch the new website is mid-July, 2015. We expect the transition to be seamless with current members being able to log in with their current credentials, but if a password reset is required members will be notified by email.
- February 2015: The 2015 Travelers Conference will be September 14 and 15, 2015 at the Rio in Las Vegas. This is a big upgrade in venues. More than 30 sessions will be offered over the course of two days with many of them qualifying for CEU credits. Newby Bootcamp was so popular last year that we will be repeating this pre-conference session with expanded content on Sunday September 13. The Traveler's Conference is hosted in conjunction with PanTravelers, and Contributing Members receive an additional $10 off the cost of conference registration. Members must register before September 1st to receive their discount.
- Sept 2014: The 2014 Travelers Conference is now history. We hosted over 400 travelers this year - a record attendance. New this year, day 1 was set aside for new travelers. Monday's Newbie Boot Camp provided a series of talks on basics designed to bring new travelers up to speed so they would feel comfortable with more advanced topics presented on days 2 and 3. This was well received and will be repeated in future conferences. Pictured below is a snapshot taken during one of the general sessions and another of PanTravelers president Phil Light lecturing on Contract Negotiation on day 3.
- June 2014: Old news that we missed when released in January: American Mobile's annual hospital survey (pdf) It shows a nurse vacancy rate (nurses needed to fill positions) of 17% in 2013. This compares to a reported vacancy rate of 5.5% in 2009. This correlates well with agency reports for the last 24 months of many more assignments available than nurses (and allied health providers as well). Travel nursing is strong with bill rates essentially similar or higher than 2008. The total number of travelers have not returned to peak early 2008 levels, but the increasing number of assignments is increasing confidence and the numbers of staff becoming travelers is accelerating.
The impact of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) on the demand for nurses is not clear yet but should be positive ultimately. There was a surprising drop in overall healthcare spending in the first quarter of 2014 of almost 2% versus a predicted 10% increase.
- March 2014: Reports of delays in licensure by endorsement (reciprocity) in the important traveler state of California have finally been explained. These were particularly perplexing as last year California significantly improved their processes resulting in issuing of temps in as little as 48 hours. The BON replaced two ancient databases with a single modern one, but are having trouble integrating them into the application system. As a result, they are having to manually enter applications by hand and this has resulted in an estimated backlog of over 3,000 applications. Right now, we suggest applying at least two months before looking for a California assignment.
- Nov 6, 2013: With well over 400 attendees, the 6th annual PanTravelers sponsored Travelers Conference was a great success. The 2013 Travelers Conference in Las Vegas, October 28 & 29, featured two exciting days of engaging and thought provoking content, productive and roundtable sessions, not to mention some very memorable professional and social events spanning 5 days. PanTravelers roundtable sessions on contract negotiation were very popular and a and will likely be expanded into a larger presentation for the full assembly next year. Feedback from attendees, speakers and exhibitors has been universally positive, with nearly all vowing to attend next year's conference. This event marked more travelers coming together in one place than ever before in history. It was an incredible experience.
We were able to meet the heads of a number of agencies and present our skills checklist project. Slam dunk! All of them are planning on replacing theirs with ours in the near future. Hard to argue with free and better. One agency head, Steven Swan of Valley Healthcare Systems (a PanTravelers fan and supporting member), has agreed to write a guide to other agencies about how to import PanTravelers skills checklists into popular agency support software. It looks like the project may soon reach critical mass and then this one small part of travel becomes easier and better for everyone involved.
PanTravelers also established an alliance with Candy of the popular traveler's site The Gypsy Nurse to contribute to a series of original articles. A full report and pictures from this year's conference will be posted soon.
Oct 18, 2013: PanTravelers skills checklist project has added five more nursing specialties to Resources > Downloads (log in first). This brings our total number of covered nursing and allied specialties to thirty-one! Still left are psych, nursing assistant, and respiratory tech. When these are finished, the collection should cover perhaps 98% of the travelers utilized by most of the agencies we work for. By the end of next year, we expect to cover the larger part of allied health not yet done, primarily physical and occupational therapy, and speech language pathology.
This latest skills checklist is in some ways the most ambitious one yet, combining the 5 related specialties of Rehab, LTC, Home Health, Hospice, and Case Management. That took a lot of volunteers and bothering managers with drafts. While several of our other checklists also combine related specialties, this is the broadest application yet of this practice.
You may well work in just one of these specialties and wonder why you are being asked about the others - we have certainly had that issue raised. The reality is that managers want to know about any related skills, potentially for floating, and potentially to give their unit more depth, or the ability to utilize a traveler as as resource for other staff. Sometimes they won't need other skills. Either way, on a single page, an interviewing manager will get a quick snapshot of what you are all about (along with your work history). This is invaluable, and saves them from rummaging through several narrow skills checklists (and saves you from doing several specialty skills checklists with many repetitive items).
- For example, in this particular collection of specialties, you might be a case manager who has to visit a rehab patient at home and help manage therapeutic interventions while there.
We think travel companies will be much better off adopting PanTravelers.org traveler written and manager approved skills checklists so that you have the optimum chance of being selected to your best fit assignment.
- Many agencies will accept our skills checklists if you want to use them instead of their (usually very bad) agency supplied lists. There is room for their agency logo. You like your agency? Suggest they use PanTravelers skills checklists. There is no copyright and they are free to use them as is, or adopt any part to improve their own skills checklists.
- As always, please send us your comments, and suggestions for improving these checklists to: email@example.com
- July 21, 2013: Blended rates California overtime rules often lead recruiters to quote so-called blended rates instead of the real base rate with the overtime rate after 8 to look more appealing to travelers. PanTravelers prides itself on its extensive knowledge base, but it was recently brought to our attention that there was no mention of blended rates on our site. Of course, this has been fixed. Since we already had an otherwise comprehensive article on California overtime rules (not as simple as you may have heard), we simply added a section about blended rates. This can be confusing, even for travelers who have worked several assignments in California. We give you the whole scoop here (log in first).
- July 20, 2013: Conference Update This year's Travelers Conference is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet! At more than 3 months out, we already have more than double the number of early registrations we had at this point last year. Our final count of travelers attending last year was 200.
- June 8, 2013: Registration for the 2013 Travelers Conference opened today. This year's conference will be held October 28 and 29 in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hotel. To register, or to read more about the conference, go to www.travelersconference.com. PanTravelers is a long time co-host of this annual event.
- May 29, 2013: Due to technical security changes in our host ISP, Google Checkout was deleted from the payment choices last month. While this update is a little late in coming, it was noted with interest that Google just announced they were discontinuing the service a few days ago. That currently leaves PayPal as the only way to join as a new contributing member or renew your membership (the free membership level is still available of course). PanTravelers will be moving to a service to accept credit card payment directly in the near future along with a new website to add much needed features (not advertising though, PanTravelers is a fully member supported non-profit Association). One benefit of direct payment will be the option to renew automatically.
- May 9, 2013: Dialysis RN/LPN and Dialysis Tech skills checklists uploaded today to Resources > Downloads. That brings the total up to 26 different nursing and allied specialties. If your agency allows it (many do), using one of PanTravelers skills checklists will improve your chances of getting the assignment you want. Sell it to your agency - agencies are free to adopt our lists as is (there is room for their logo), or just the parts they like (they can also contact us for the source documents for easier modification). PanTravelers one page checklists are much better than the average agency checklists, easier to fill out, a better snapshot of your skills, and easier for the manager to read and interpret.
- May 1, 2013: We had a secret shopper at the California Board of Nursing today (OK, it was Phil), who managed to infiltrate the board and obtain top secret info on the fastest way to endorse into California. Best case scenario is to visit Sacramento in person to do Livescan fingerprints. Visiting the board office afterward with a completed application and license verification can get a temp issued within 24 to 48 hours. Full information at the State Nursing Boards link above. Good going Phil!
April 25, 2013: Skills Checklist Initiative update: 7 new allied health imaging specialties, endoscopy RN, and endoscopy tech were uploaded today in Resources > Downloads ready for printing or download by travelers and agencies (for all members, log in first). This brings our total up to 24 different specialties! All checklists have been vetted by at least two hiring specialty department managers, and are all single page user friendly to travelers and interviewing managers (who matter the most of course). Thanks to everyone who contributed.
Every single skills checklist was updated today, and all received an improved rating scale. PanTravelers recommends to all members who saved a previous version on their computer to replace it with the latest. As always, we seek feedback and proofing of these checklists. Right now, we are particularly looking for dialysis, psych, and LTC nurses to help develop great skills checklists for those specialties. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- April 23, 2013: PanTravelers RN state board resource has been substantially updated today. Thanks to everyone who helped! As noted earlier, more and more states are requiring background checks with fingerprints. All compact states have committed to eventually requiring such checks. One state, Maryland, now requires new fingerprints every license renewal, which is likely to become more common in the next 10 years among other states. That might even be good for travelers, if hospitals stop requiring additional background checks. It is good for healthcare. In a conversation with the Maryland board, a significant number of renewing nurses undergoing background checks for the first time had undisclosed criminal convictions.
- April 5, 2013: We are plugging along on our comprehensive update of the Nursing Board resource. As usual, more states are requiring fingerprints with more and more use of LiveScan type devices instead of fingerprint cards. Some states such as Florida are now allowing nurses to do their LiveScan prints in other states. A great tip has come up for everyone who needs to send a fingerprint card to a state such as California (who routinely asks that they be redone causing long delays in licensure) and nurses with indistinct fingerprints:
- Find a LiveScan vendor nearby (a lot of police stations now have them), and take your prints with the LiveScan process. The operator can manually adjust contrast until the image is perfect. Now they can print to a standard card. This has the added bonus of not smudging the way manual ink prints will and is much less likely to be rejected for poor quality.
March 24, 2013: Our groundbreaking and definitive article the History of Travel Nursing has been massaged and some updates added. It was originally researched and written in 2010/2011 and the perspective today has changed from those dark years. It looks like our new site update should be ready this year, and with it the ability to post slide shows. There are some really fun marketing materials from the early days of travel nursing we have been waiting several years to post.
We are still plugging away at updating the State Nursing Board resource and that is going online as each state is updated. It takes some work to get the simple information from boards that travelers need. That is, if they even have a site! We had to have the Virgin Islands mail us their application for review as their site (which has always been bad at best) is now offline permanently.
- February 12, 2013: Medical Solutions of Omaha has purchased On Assignment of Cincinnati. On Assignment specialized in rapid response assignments and also owned the strike staffing company NurseBridge in Mississippi. While there has been considerable consolidation during the economic downturn, this one is notable in that it creates the third largest agency behind American Mobile and Cross Country with some 1,000 travelers. It is also notable that the founder of American Mobile, Steven Francis, is chairman of the board of Medical Solutions. You can read more about the role Steven Francis had on travel nursing in History of Travel Nursing.
January 22, 2013: It has been a while since we've updated this blog. We want you to know that despite PanTravelers board of directors being very busy professionally and personally, things are still happening behind the scenes nicely. No less than 14 new specialty skills checklists are finished, both nursing and allied, and are awaiting a final committee meeting to go over some global changes to the rating system.
The State Nursing Board resource is getting its annual overhaul. This is a big task, taking up some 60 hours of volunteer time on top of small ad lib revisions when travelers report issues throughout the year. It will still be some time until all the small details are updated, but volunteers have already updated all the links, phone numbers, and walk in addresses. It is surprising how often BONs move! It has been running about 4 boards a year since we first published this popular resource.
Also in the works is a major update to our popular PBDS resource. Times have changed, and so has PBDS. Travelers need to know how to handle the assignment that requires this unusual test.
- Nov 6, 2012: No matter which way you might lean politically, election night confirming Barack Obama for another four year term was a huge win for travelers. The reason? The Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. Obama's win today ensures full implementation of the ACA in 2014, which means that substantially more Americans will have health insurance. This means more healthcare providers will be needed, and more healthcare travelers.
- Exit interviews from voters today showed that the ACA is becoming increasingly popular: a plurality of Americans now support it fully despite the attempts during the electoral cycle to turn voters against it. We believe as more Americans have healthcare insurance and enjoy benefits from access to healthcare, it will become a baseline expectation. That is a good thing for the health of the country, and continued employment in healthcare.
- Oct 20, 2012: The 5th annual Travelers Conference is over. Highlights include over 200 attendees, with an estimated 30 plus potential travelers with the rest current travelers. Phil Light, RN, the current president of PanTravelers gave an informational speech on what PanTravelers brings to the traveler community. It must have been inspirational as 35 attendees joined PanTravelers as contributing members (paid supporters with full access) including 5 new lifetime members! Also heard there were many other speakers saying nice things about the Association. The skills checklists were also a hit, with several of the agencies in attendance planning on adopting them. Bit by bit, PanTravelers is improving things for all travelers and it is great that agencies are paying attention.
- On a sober footnote, Phil was involved in a serious car accident in California on the way back to his assignment. He is OK, with a cracked rib being the most serious injury. It will take a few days before he is able to post better details of the Conference happenings, and he apologizes in advance for any delays in getting the new members from the Conference up and running. Personal effects including the new member list went to the wrecking yard with his car while Phil had the interesting experience of a personal ambulance ride and four hour ER visit after 25 years as an EMT and then an ER nurse!