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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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Texas, “The Lone Star State”

Happy September! A new month means another addition to our Travel Series and this week we are focusing on Texas! We will be changing up our Travel Series by highlighting two states per month, one being a blog post and the other a social media post. Make sure to head to our social media pages (IG, FB) to read up on our next addition to the series!

Texas is another great state where we staff facilities with Travel Nurses for specialties including ICU, OR, PICU, Med/Surg, and more! We staff metropolitan cities to smaller towns, so wherever you’re looking to go to Texas, KPG Healthcare can get you there.

Continue reading to learn more about some of the great Texas cities we staff!  

The state capital of Texas was voted No. 1 Place to Live in America since 2017 by Forbes Magazine.

Austin

Austin was voted the No. 1 Place to Live in America for three years straight since 2017 and has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the country with big tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook moving into its city limits. As the capital of Texas, Austin is a hub for entrepreneurship, with no shortage of outdoor/nature activities, so much amazing food and an incredible arts/music scene. Affordability is another great appeal to Austin with affordable housing and no personal income tax.

There’s no question the food in all of Texas is great, but Austin allows visitors to experience incredible and unique eateries from Tex-Mex to James Beard Award-winning chefs, Texas Barbecue to killer dives. Into food trucks? There’s no shortage of food trucks in Austin with a handful of food truck parks to choose from, but have you ever tried eating out of a trailer venue? Trailer venues are big in Austin – imagine a typical trailer you’d find attached to a U-Haul but a food stand!

With all the great food in Austin, you’re wondering how to burn it all off (or don’t – do you). The city sits along the Colorado River, which means you have access to so many great river/water activities including, paddle boardingkayakingboat rentals and riverboat tours. Another option for outdoor recreation that’s unique to Austin is the natural swimming holes located within minutes of the city center or a drive out to more reserved areas.

While eating and getting exercise are great, there are also over 100+ attractions and activities to choose from including, museums, theaters, art galleries, walking tours and the occasional festival. Whatever you decide to do or wherever you decide to go, Austin has something in store for people of all ages and all interests.

Things to do in Austin: 50 Free & CheapThrillist’s Things to Do during COVID-19US News Best ThingsTimeOut’s 27 Best Things to Do,

Birthplace to the international convenient store 7/11, Dallas has become a top destination to visit and to move.

Dallas

The birthplace of the convenient store we all know and love, 7/11, Dallas has become a top destination for travelers and those looking to move. The best way to tackle Dallas is to look at its five main districts: Central, North, East, South and West, each containing different aspects of what makes Dallas a top destination.

Central Dallas covers a lot of ground and is in the midst of a period of incredible growth with neighborhoods like the Design DistrictDeep EllumOak LawnUptown and Downtown. There’s so much to do in Central Dallas that anyone can find something to do from good food to unique attractionsunique shopping to rooftop bars. Downtown Dallas is lined with American history featuring a memorial for President John F. Kennedy, a Bonnie and Clyde Tour and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. There’s an endless supply of things to do in Central Dallas, depends on what you’re in the mood for.

North Dallas, and for this blog we will include Northwest and Far North Dallas as “North Dallas,” is the wealthier part of Dallas is where you’ll find the suburban homes. Being more residential areas, these parts of town visitors will find golf courses and parks. South Dallas is a growing section and features a National Historic Landmark, which contains the nation’s largest collections of art and Art Deco architecture, Fair Park. You can also find a handful of rooftop bars, a collection of local eateries and fun for all ages.

West Dallas is home to the iconic Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and Continental Avenue pedestrian bridge. You can head to the Trinity Groves for some good ole fashion outdoor shopping or dive into some delicious local eateriesEast Dallas is where you’ll find outdoor activities like Lake Highlands ParkRory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden and the Bath House Cultural Center. If you’re in the area, you should head over to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for beautiful garden walks that make for great Instagram photos.

Wherever you go in Dallas, there is always something to do and you’ll never be disappointed.

Things to do in Dallas: Thrillist’s Things to Do during COVID-1950 Free ThingsTimeOut’s Best Things to Do in Dallas,

The most visited city in Texas, San Antonio is a World Heritage Site containing five Spanish missions dating back to the 1700s.

San Antonio

San Antonio is the most visited city in Texas, and it comes to no surprise with all the great things this city has to offer. Being A World Heritage Site, San Antonio is a hub for multicultural experiences, a thriving culinary scene and never-ending fun.

In San Antonio, culture sings. Head to the Historic Market Square or El Mercado to enjoy the sights and flavors of Mexico with over 100 locally owned businesses. Here you can shop, watch live performances, eat and drink, and experience the beauty of Mexican culture that spans three blocks. If El Mercado isn’t enough, take a trip to one of five San Antonio Missions to get a glimpse of life for the people who lived in the Spanish missions in the 1700s. It’s where history meets national parks. Then make your way to one of the great museums the city has like the Witte MuseumSan Antonio Museum of Art or the San Antonio African American Community Archive & Museum.

Head to San Antonio’s #1 attraction, The River Walk, to experience live performances, eat more food, or take a nice boat ride down the river. You can start your River Walk journey at The Pearl, a brewery turned into a shopping area that also hosts an incredible farmers market, and hop on a boat to make your way south toward Downtown for more action.

Into outdoor recreation? You can make your way to the Government Canyon State Natural Area, the only known public land with known dinosaur footprints. Government Canyon is a 12,000-acre park with over 40 miles of hiking/biking trails, a campground and plenty of opportunities for photos. There are also plenty of parks within the city such as Confluence Park and San Pedro Springs Park, which is the second oldest park in the United States.

San Antonio is such a popular destination in Texas and with an abundance of things to do for visitors, it comes at no surprise.

Things to do in San Antonio: Thrillist’s Things to Do during COVID-19Free Things to DoTimeOut’s Best Things to Do in San AntonioUnusual and Cool Things,

Fort Worth, also known as “Cowtown,” has a rich history being home to cowboys, cattlemen and outlaws over 150 years ago.

Fort Worth

Dallas’ next-door neighbor, Fort Worth started as an Army outpost over 150 years ago and grew into the complex, cultural city it’s known for today. In that time, Fort Worth became known as “Cowtown” because it was king of the cattle industry thus earning the nickname.

Fort Worth is beaming with American history and one of the best districts to visit would be the Stockyard. The Stockyards National Historic District was home to cowboys, cattlemen and outlaws, but today it is considered one of the most popular attractions in all of Texas. Visitors can get a taste of the Wild Wild West with a twice-daily cattle drive, a selection of saloonshorseback ridingplenty of barbecues, and an abundance of curated shopping.

Since you’re in the Stockyard area, head a bit south to Panther Island Pavilion where you can find outdoor recreation and an outdoor venue along the Trinity River. The PIP hosts some events like Oktoberfest, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, local bands/artists and 4th of July Fireworks. If you’re into ale or distilleries, Fort Worth has its very own Ale Trail with 13 breweries from a local brewery to a nationally recognized brewery that produces over 20,000 barrels of beer a year. The Distillery Trail contains five distilleries that produce whiskey, vodka, gin and rum.

Fort Worth is a Texas treasure and is the cultivation where rich Texas and American history meets the modern era.

Things to do in Fort Worth: TimeOut’s 10 Best Thing To DoUS News 17 Best Things To Do22 Free Things to DoThrillist’s 28 Free Things To Do

Named after the St. Louis – San Francisco Railway, Frisco is home to the NFL Dallas Cowboys headquarters at The Ford Center at The Star.

Frisco

Once a small farm town, now a booming suburban city, Frisco has become another reason many are moving to Texas. Frisco was just another train stop along the St. Louis – San Francisco Railway until a community started to form resulting in the growth we see today.

Frisco boasts great outdoor recreation, a loud sporting community, a local culinary scene and a small art scene that gives visitors a taste of what makes this city so great. The city was also named a “Bicycle Friendly” Community in 2016, one of eight Texas cities to receive this honor, and provides citizens with over 90 miles of paved and natural trails. Take a stroll at Central Park, head to Harold Bacchus Community Park or take your bike to the Frisco Mountain Bike Trail – you have options!

Did you know Frisco is home to seven professional sports teams? That’s right, seven. The NFL Dallas Cowboys recently moved to their new headquarters at The Ford Center at The Star. The NHL’s Dallas StarsMLS’s FC Dallas, and the Frisco RoughRiders are just some of the other professional sports teams that call Frisco home. Sports are huge in this community, so prepare to be decked out in different gear!

As you can see, Frisco may be a small city but it sure does pack a punch with an abundance of activities and attractions for people of all ages with different interests.

Things to do in Frisco: VacationIdea’s 18 Best Things to DoCrazy Tourist’s 25 Best Things to Do20 Free Things to Do

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If any of these wonderful cities caught your eye, KPG Healthcare offers Travel Nursing assignments in the cities above and more! Email your resume to travel@kpghealthcare.com or you can DM us on our social media pages! Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn

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