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Travel Series: Georgia, “The Peach State”

Welcome back to KPG Healthcare’s Travel Series! This week, we are taking a trip to Georgia, also known as “the Peach State”. Did you know Georgia is the country’s top producer of pecans, peanuts, Vidalia onions, and of course, the Georgia peach!

KPG Healthcare is proud to offer travel nursing assignments in Georgia. We staff facilities across the state including Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, Macon and more! Get in touch with one of our Travel Nursing Recruiters today or send your resume to travel@kpghealthcare.com!

Let’s take a (virtual) trip to Georgia, starting with Atlanta!

Atlanta

The ATL. Hotlanta. A-town. Otherwise known as the state capital of Georgia, Atlanta offers visitors a deep, rich history, creative minds, nonstop fun and plenty of Southern hospitality. Although coronavirus is still limiting the majority of the activities throughout the country, Atlanta has no shortage of fun things to do.

Interested in American history? You can visit the birthplace and home of the Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., visit a variety of history museums, and find other historic sites and landmarks. At the MLK Jr. National Historic Site, visitors can visit his home, enjoy the roses at the International World Peace Rose Garden, listen to sermons at Ebenezer Baptist Church, pay your respects to Dr. and Mrs. King’s Tomb and walk the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

A must-do while in Atlanta is to visit the iconic roller-skating rink Cascade. Roller skating is great for people of all ages to get exercise and have fun at the same time. At Cascade, the hours and rates change depending on the day, but you can also visit the rink during one of its weekly events for families, teens and adults. This iconic rink has also been featured in the 2006 hit film “ATL,” so it’s worth checking out!

It must be worth noting that the food scene in Atlanta is off the charts offering flavors for the familiar or the new, family-owned to dining districts, and some killer Southern cuisine. Atlanta was named one of Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Best Cities for Barbecue,” offering flavors coming from Texas to the Carolina’s and everything in between. Brunch continues to be one of the most popular meals for Atlantans, so it’s worth checking out some of the great spots in ATL. There’s so much food in Atlanta no matter what you choose you will find something to satisfy your taste buds.

As you can see, Atlanta has more than enough to do even with the pandemic happening, visitors can still find so many great things to do. Just remember to wear a mask!

Things to do in Atlanta: Thrillist’s COVID Things To Do20 Free Things To Do20 Best Things To DoTimeOut’s 21 Best Things To Do

Savannah

A coastal city straddling the South Carolina state line, Savannah is a Georgia city known for its beautiful coastline, horse-drawn carriages, architecture and a vibrant history.

Savannah is a history buffs dream come true with historic landmarks and sites waiting to be rediscovered. Did you know Savannah was a gift to President Lincoln in the Civil War? A gift from Union General Sherman after sparing the city from destruction during his infamous southbound march. Beyond that, the First African Baptist Church, history of emancipation, Old fort JacksonTricentennial Park and the Colonial Park Cemetery are just some of the other historic sites to visit while in Savannah.

A trip to Tybee Island, which is 20 minutes from downtown, is a must-do for any first-time or returning visitors. Here you can take a lovely walk along the sandy beaches, visit more historic sites like Fort Pulaskikayak in the Atlantic oceanchow down on some fresh seafood, or even set up a camp. Tybee Island is also extremely dog-friendly – so if you’re traveling with any fur babies then you’re good to go! If you come between May and October, you may be able to see sea turtle hatchlings for sea turtle season.

No trip to Savannah is complete without a visit to the Historic District. The Historic District is full of landmarks, museums22 park squares, 18th-century homes, ghost tours and over 100 restaurants. Also located in the Historic District is the City Market, a collection of bistros, shops, galleries and restaurants. By night, the market transforms into a party scene featuring local street musicians, bands and “to-go” cups.

It is safe to say that Savannah is a coastal city full of American history that likes to party.

Things to do in Savannah: 15 Free Things To DoUS News 15 Best Things To Do in Savannah15 Can’t-Miss in Savannah

Augusta

Nestled along the Savannah River, Augusta is perhaps best known as the home of the Masters Golf Tournament. Besides golf, the city is a wonderful mix of Southern charm and city fun that combines arts and culture, mouthwatering food and a dynamic outdoor recreation scene.

As a city that sits along a river, Augustans are well versed in outdoor recreation with nearby trailsswamps to explore, a river to enjoy and plenty of city parks for walks. Biking is another great option for exploration, exercise and enjoyment with some bike trails along the river. If exercise is not on the to-do list then head to the Augusta Riverwalk to enjoy outdoor concertsriver marketsmuseums and playgrounds for the little ones.

Downtown Augusta is another must do as it is where Augusta’s major attractions, restaurants and nightlife scene really take center stage. Broad Street runs right in the middle of downtown and boasts a unique, artistic and historical personality for the city. Start the evening off with one of the many restaurants lined on Broad Street, then make your way to some bars, clubs or even the James Brown Arena to see some of your favorite artists. Downtown Augusta is the place to be for a night on the town.

Regardless of what you do, Augusta has something for everyone to enjoy.

Things to do in Augusta: Free Things to Do15 Best Things to Do25 Best Things to Do

Macon

Located in central Georgia along the Ocmulgee River, Macon was once home to a variety of Native American tribes for a thousand years. Today, Macon has grown into an urban city with five universities with a thriving agriculture industry.

As we mentioned, Macon was home to four different Native American tribes dating back to the Paleo-Indians during the Ice Age. Those who are fascinated by history can visit the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, which has seen 17,000 years of continuous human habitation. At this national historical park, visitors can witness the great Earth Lodge, which has been reconstructed above the original flooring, and the constructed mounds that were built for the tribe elite. Visitors are also given the opportunity for a Lantern Light Tour of the ground over the weekend.

Did you know Macon is known as the “Festival Capital of Georgia”? Macon hosts over 20 annual festivals celebrating the arts and culture the city has to offer. Visitors have the opportunity to attend the largest exhibit of sculptural pottery in Georgia at Fired Works or witness over 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees at the annual International Cherry Blossom Festival. There are so many other cultural opportunities to partake in while visiting Macon.

We forgot to mention that Macon is cursed! According to Gateway Macon, legend has it that the banks of the Ocmulgee River are cursed by the elders of the Creek Nation. The curse is a bit odd as it states those who settled along the banks of the Ocmulgee River would “NEVER BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE”. As long as you reframe from camping along the river, you will be perfectly fine!

Things to do in Macon: 15 Best Things to Do

Athens

Just 60 miles east of Atlanta, the city of Athens, named after Athens, Greece, is also known as the “Classic City” and is best known for being the home to the University of Georgia.

While the University of Georgia (UGA) is an achievement alone, the city also prides itself on having an incredible, one of a kind live music scene. The city has produced internationally acclaimed artists like R.E.M., The B-52’s, Drive-By Tuckers and Widespread Panic – to name a few. Today, the music scene in Athens is thriving and more vibrant than ever with regular performances happening throughout the city and providing Athenians the chance to dance the night away.

Being a college town, UGA provides Athenians an opportunity to partake in the university’s collection of art, gardens and a special collections library. The Georgia Museum of Art at UGA houses a permanent collection of over 10,000 works of art and hosts over 20 temporary exhibits throughout the year. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is one of the town’s most popular attraction with over 313-acres of themed gardens to walk, smell and explore. Lastly, the UGA Special Collections Library is a must for history geeks looking to dive deeper into Georgia’s rich cultural history.

Athens is just another amazing reason to take a travel nursing assignment in Georgia offering visitors so much to do and see!

Things to do in Athens: Thrillist’s Things to Do During COVID-19Guide to AthensTop 10 Things to Do in AthensFree Things To Do

 

Although the pandemic has left many cities to close businesses, cancel events and limit the capacity of certain activities, there are still plenty of travel nursing opportunities to tackle! The cities above are just some of the great cities we staff in Georgia, so the next question is – what are you waiting for?

Get in contact with us on where we can get you a Travel Nursing assignment today! Email your resumes to travel@kpghealthcare.com or DM us on one of our social media accounts (FacebookInstagramLinkedIn).

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The behind-the-scenes team of problem solvers

Happy October! We are back with our Employee Spotlight series. Today, we are changing things up with a double feature featuring two incredible ladies from our Travel Nursing Compliance Team.

Please let us introduce Ruthie and Maribel!

Up first for our Compliance Specialists, we have Maribel! Maribel began her healthcare journey working in the human resources department at a local hospital with the goal to identify a niche she could excel at. She always knew she wanted a career in the healthcare industry as it classifies as an essential business. “Regardless of location or current economic environments, healthcare will always have job opportunities,” Maribel explained.

While at the hospital, she gained experience in the credentialing process and overall compliance for the clinical staff. “Once I gained this experience, I knew what I wanted to pursue,” said Maribel. From this point, Maribel began working at a healthcare agency as part of their compliance team, until she heard KPG Healthcare was hiring. From there, the rest is history or better yet, “herstory.”

As a compliance specialist, Maribel is communicating between multiple nurses and facilities to gather then submit required documents while simultaneously ordering health services, chasing down results and running background checks – to name a few. Maribel says she approaches “each day with the same goal and that is to get each nurse cleared by the facility to start their assignment.”

With such a fast-paced role, Maribel faces daily challenges like the lack of communication and urgency from some facilities when trying to submit nurse documents relating to assignment contracts. However, “to overcome this challenge, I try to be assertive with facilities to get clear responses in a timely manner,” Maribel said, “I try to learn from the past challenges by keeping notes on each facility.”

During the pandemic, Maribel’s routine has had to shift to adapt to working from home all of a sudden. Creating new habits and boundaries to separate herself from her work and personal life has helped even though her “office” is now in her living room. However, the beginning of the pandemic was particularly stressful to manage with weeks of nonstop work desperately trying to fill urgent hospital needs. While at the same time processing the new life which was thrust upon us.

What got her through these obstacles was reminding herself that she had to do her part so healthcare workers can treat patients across the country. “Suddenly, not taking a real lunch break or being tired just didn’t compare to the nurses we’re sending out to work the frontlines,” Maribel added.

There can be many moving parts that are in play for a single nurse to be cleared to start an assignment. This a very detailed oriented role with each nurse being different with a variety of specialties with specific documents or requirements. This role is not for the faint of heart.

On her downtime, Maribel has taken the opportunity to revisit some of her and her boyfriend’s love for old movies with the occasional karaoke night. She’s discovered a new love for old action movies and “all I have to say is… Charles Bronson.”

Keep up the fantastic work Maribel! We thank you for your hard work and for continuing to play an integral role in the growth of KPG Healthcare The Compliance Team is a force to be reckoned with but always make sure to find time for yourself!!

Maribel’s Top 3 Pre-pandemic Things She Misses:

  1. Hugging her parents
  2. Spending time with family
  3. Spending time with friends

Everyone, please say “hi” to Ruthie! Ruthie’s KPG Healthcare journey began when she ran into an old friend/coworker who was working here at the time and mentioned to Ruthie we were hiring. Now, Ruthie is coming up on her fifth anniversary with us as a compliance specialist and will hit her mark in November.

Working in healthcare has always been her chosen career field as it is a more reliable industry during both good and bad economic situations. As a compliance specialist, Ruthie’s day can be a bit hectic and describes some days “like I’m putting out fires. Not one day is the same and you never know what you’re going to get.”

Like every member of the compliance team, Ruthie juggles multiple tasks at once while staying in constant communication between facilities, nurses and recruiters. From gathering nurse documents to maneuvering facility changes at the drop of a dime, Ruthie tackles each task diligently.

However, Ruthie also faces challenges as a compliance specialist. “One thing that can make my job hard is quick starts,” Ruthie said, “because it means closer deadlines.” Quick starts are contract assignments from facilities that are looking for nurses to start as soon as possible. “You have to get it done no matter how busy you are, so working long hours into the night or weekends to get it done in time is how I overcome these challenges,” Ruthie explained.

Although quick starts can be Ruthie’s biggest challenge as a compliance specialist, she enjoys her role at KPG Healthcare. She finds the most rewarding aspect of her role is the feeling of making a positive difference for communities by filling hospitals with nurses. “If I can help make the compliance process a little easier for [nurses], then they’ll want to continue working with us,” Ruthie explained.

When the pandemic hit in March and the majority of the American workforce was forced to work at home, some people may have struggled. For Ruthie, her transition into working from home full-time was an easy one as she had already begun working from home two days a week. From time-to-time she will come into the office to get that sense of being back to pre-pandemic status, “during these times we are all seeking a little normalcy,” Ruthie said.

“We’re not just compliance, we are problem solvers.”

At the end of the workweek, you can typically find Ruthie unwinding by putting on one of her favorite shows or professional sports (Dodgers, Lakers, or 49ers). You can also catch her watching YouTube videos on Disney Cruises, Disneyland or Disney World as it “helps to escape being trapped at home during the pandemic.”

Ruthie, thank you for being an integral part of KPG Healthcare for (almost) five years! Truly is a milestone accomplishment and we are so excited to see what the future has in store for you. Keep up the great work and we look forward to your continued growth. Go Team Compliance!!

Ruthie’s Top 3 Pre-pandemic Things She Misses:

  1. Disneyland
  2. San Francisco
  3. Going out to eat without the fear of catching COVID-19.
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How to Prepare for Flu Season During COVID-19

Health professionals across the nation are urging Americans to get vaccinated against the influenza virus this year to avoid the possibility of the flu colliding with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Here are some recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to help prepare for the flu season and mitigate the strain hospitals may experience from the crossover.

When does flu season typically start and end?

Flu season starts as early as October and can last until January or February.

What’s the difference between the Flu and COVID-19?

“The similarities of the flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses,” according to the CDC. Both the flu and COVID-19 can have varying degrees of symptoms, but the common symptoms include:

  • Fever or feverish chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

The difference in the viruses include:

  • Mild to severe illnesses of the symptoms above (Flu)
  • Loss of taste or smell (COVID-19)

Developing symptoms also vary between the flu and COVID-19. Typically, a person can develop flu symptoms anywhere between 1 – 4 days after infections. For COVID-19, a person can develop symptoms and appear as early as 2 days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection. It varies by person.

When should I get vaccinated for the flu?

According to the CDC, the best time to get vaccinated will be in September or October. The CDC also recommends avoiding a vaccination in July or August as it can reduce the likelihood of protection against the flu infection later during the Fall and Winter months.

Can I have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

It is very possible for someone to have both the flu and COVID-19, as well as other respiratory illnesses. Although research is still being done about COVID-19, it is not impossible to have both at the same time.

The best way to see determine if you have the flu or COVID-19 is to take a test.

Is there a test for both the flu and COVID-19?

Yes. The CDC has developed a test that will check for A and B type seasonal flu viruses and SARS CoV-2, or COVID-19.

Initial test kits were sent out in early August, contact your healthcare provider for more information, or head to the CDC website.

Will the flu shot protect me from COVID-19?

No. The flu shot only provides immunization against influenza viruses. However, if you receive a flu shot and start developing COVID-19 symptoms, a flu shot will help your physician determine a correct diagnosis.

What should I do after getting a flu shot?

Continue practicing safe precautions put forth by the CDC, which includes wearing a face mask in public settings, keeping 6 feet distance between you and other people, frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and practice good hygiene. It is also wise to have some medicine stocked in your cabinet in the event you do develop any symptoms – fever-reducing pills (Tylenol), ibuprofen for muscle aches, cough syrup and thermometer.

Should you start developing any symptoms for COVID-19 after receiving a flu shot, you may also consider self-quarantining for two weeks – if able to.

To find where you can get a flu shot, check with your healthcare provider, Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart.  

If you would like more information on how to navigate through flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit these websites: FAQ Flu Season 2020-2021 (CDC), Washington Post COVID-19 Article

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