With the fall surge of COVID-19 happening across the US, travel nurses are once again finding themselves in demand to assist in COVID-19 hot spots. Here are a few key tips to remember as you look at positions in these high-demand areas.
1. Licensure. While some states are relaxing their licensure laws, not all states are doing so during this time. Multi-state licenses are available for those nurses who meet the requirements. Additionally, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCBSN) has collected information on the nurse licensure compact and on emergency actions being taken by a number of states during the pandemic. Start your search here.
2. Patient Safety. Working during a pandemic, a facility may stretch you outside of your scope of practice. If you are faced with a situation outside your scope of practice, skill or knowledge, it’s imperative that you continue to advocate for the patient’s safety. If it is within your scope of practice, but you have little to no experience, let your supervisor know so they can assist you with the training you need to effectively and safely manage your patient’s care.
3. Your safety. It’s imperative that you protect yourself as well during the pandemic, especially when caring for COVID-19 patients. Adhere closely to the donning and doffing procedures for PPE. Make sure you wash your hands before donning your PPE and when doffing, prior to removing your goggles and facemask. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Disinfect your cell phone frequently or keep it in a clear plastic bag to protect it from the germs, then discard the bag before going home.
4. Liability immunity. Currently state and federal laws do exist to assist in extending liability immunity to nurses during the pandemic. However, it is unclear how far these laws extend to the different providers caring for patients. They also do not stop a patient from filing a lawsuit if they feel a nurse was negligent. The best case scenario is that the immunity laws will hold and the suit will be dropped/dismissed as baseless.
As the pandemic continues to evolve, so will information on the best ways to care for patients and yourself. Check back often to our COVID-19 update page for the latest information.
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