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A Travel Nurse with a Mr. Congeniality Mentality

It’s the first of the month, which means its Nurse Spotlight time!

In light of all the things happening in the world surrounding COVID-19, KPG Healthcare felt a change of pace would do some good even if it’s just for a moment. Without further ado, allow us to introduce one of our travel nurses currently on assignment in Los Angeles, Bailey!

Meet Bailey!

Baily is a travel nurse with KPG Healthcare with a Mr. Congeniality mindset.

Bailey has been a Step-Down travel nurse for about two years and has been a nurse for a total of 13 years this upcoming May. His nursing career began when he was required to do a project with a healthcare professional as a high school student in Portland, Oregon.

“I originally wanted to pursue a doctor’s career,” Bailey said, “but I was offered to interview a nurse instead.” Bailey was fortunate enough to meet with the assistant deans at the University of Portland for his project, which helped pave his way into a nursing career. The University of Portland is also where he attended nursing school.

“The rest is history.”

As a travel nurse, Bailey has found the best way to navigate through the trials and tribulations that come with the job is being able to adapt. You “must learn how to work with their [work] culture and organization even it may not align with your morals or beliefs,” Bailey explained. A travel nurse has the potential to hop from state-to-state or city-to-city and it can be taxing having to adjust and adapt to so many hospitals within a year.

When entering a new work environment, Bailey recommends being Ms./Mr. Congeniality with an “I know how to do this, but how do you do it here?” perspective. This will tell the other nurses you know how to do the particular task but you want to make sure you are doing to the facility’s standard. Bailey also recommends you make friends on the unit so they can vouch for you in certain situations.

Bailey has learned many skills and life lessons on and off the job throughout his nursing career. Besides learning how to travel light, respecting a work culture but still keeping in mind what is “safe” within your practice is one of the biggest lessons he’s learned, so far. Bailey mentioned, “Once you start travel nursing you see healthcare is even bigger than you realize, then you move to a completely different state and realize things are done so differently.”

Facilities vary from state-to-state, it can even vary from facility-to-facility, but in the end, a travel nurse must be able to switch gears and adjust to the different work environment at the drop of a dime. It’s a skill most travel nurses have developed and refined through their nursing careers.

One aspect of Bailey’s job that many people don’t realize is “nursing is a bizarre job.” “There is protocol in [nurses] brains that makes them tune into autopilot mode,” Bailey explained, “Most people aren’t dealing with life or death situations, but people need to realize we have a very special and unique job most people don’t realize is pretty traumatic.”

Nursing, but specifically travel nursing, can be a taxing job to have and like Bailey said most people don’t realize nursing is pretty traumatic. It’s important to practice self-care and to find time to unwind after long and stressful days. Some of the ways Bailey unwinds after a long shift is to make friends in the area or befriend his coworkers to go grab drinks or food with, solo hikes and to plan mini four- to five-day trips to Hawaii or the Grand Canyon.

Bailey is also a graduate student at Western Governors University where he’s getting his Master’s in Nursing. He’s got a lot on his plate from working 12-hour shifts, finishing up school work, finding time to unwind and planning trips.

KPG Healthcare wants to thank Bailey for his continued service in the healthcare field during this pandemic. Like all healthcare professionals on the frontlines, we see the sacrifice and dedication you have toward your craft and we commend you for that. We also want to congratulate you on your nursing career (so far) and for furthering your education, we continue to be impressed by your work ethic and we are blessed to have someone like you to be part of the KPG Family. Be safe out there!

Advice for New Travel Nurses:

  1. Always ask questions then compile what’s right for you. Have your top 3 that’s non-negotiable like shift preference.
  2. Know what you want first then lead with that.
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Healthy Work Snacks For Nutrition Month!
KPG Healthcare presents Healthy Snacks for Work during Nutrition Month!

March is Nutrition Month and KPG Healthcare wants to remind every about healthy snacking options!

March is Nutrition Month! It’s important to remember to eat a well-balanced diet that includes the major food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein. Our bodies are our temple and we should treat them right – we only get one!

KPG Healthcare knows the power of snacks – we love them. However, snacking can be dangerous when you have chips, salty foods or even fatty foods laying around the office. We decided to break down some healthy snack options by Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, and Alternatives.

Healthy snack option is Fruit!

Fruits

Fresh fruit is a great choice to have in-between meals or having some dried fruit can be a great substitution. If you choose to bring dried fruit, make sure that it’s not covered in a layer of sugar!

If eating fruit alone is not your vibe, you can also get creative with how you serve your fruit for lunch.

Apple Cookies are a great example of changing things up from normal whole fruit. Cut your apples into thin slices, layer it up with some peanut butter to keep you full until your next meal, and you have the choice of sprinkling some healthy toppings like coconut flakes, dark chocolate bits, nuts, and/or cinnamon! 

If apples aren’t your taste, you can substitute it with bananas too! Bananas are a wonderful addition in oatmeal, with peanut butter, in smoothies, or with more nuts! Bananas contain potassium and while it doesn’t contain as much potassium as leafy greens, its sure beats eating spinach by itself.  

Vegetables

Vegetables are another great snack choice for those who like to cut their sugar intake. Vegetables should be eaten every day for your daily nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, protein, and potassium.

We know vegetables may not be everyone’s favorite snack, but it can help with anyone looking to work on that summer body!

Celery Sticks with Peanut Butter is always a go-to snack that keeps you full and keeps your calorie intake low. Eating celery is close to eating zero calories plus with the added peanut butter, you’ll stay content until your next meal. Again, you can always spice up your celery sticks and peanut butter by adding some nuts, dried fruit, or spices on top. 

Celery may not be everyone’s #1 pick, so we also recommend Carrot Sticks with Hummus! Another easy snack that is both healthy and easy to prepare the night before. Hummus is great to ease your way into plant-based foods with chickpeas being the main ingredient. Chickpeas are another great source of protein packing in 10g of protein per cup AND 10g of dietary fiber. That’s a winner in our book!

Nuts

Nuts are a fantastic option for healthy snacks. Nuts come in all shapes in sizes from walnuts to peanuts, cashews to almonds. Nuts can provide a variety of nutrients like healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Nuts may also reduce the risk factors for metabolic syndromes, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Homemade Trail Mix is a great way of combining a variety of nuts with some added dried fruits and/or chocolate bits. Trail mix can be combined with a variety of other dried fruits, nuts, vegetable chips, and granola – to name a few.

Nuts such as almonds, pecans, cashews, and pistachios can also be used with some other foods like salads, yogurt, smoothies, or you can eat them alone! Just make sure there isn’t too much salt because that would defeat the purpose of healthy snacking.

Alternatives

When we say alternative snacks we actually mean snacks such as protein bars/shakes, yogurt, oatmeal, and anything else which isn’t listed above.

Alternative snacks are great for quick and on-the-go situations, but these types of snacks can also be very dangerous. It’s important to look at the nutrition labels when purchasing alternative/quick snacks.

For example, Protein Shakes from Odwalla or something similar contains an enormous amount of sugar and sodium. One of those Odwalla Protein Shakes contains 2 servings instead of one, and that can hurt you more than help.

Some great alternative snacks are Quest Nutrition Bars, Kind Bars, Nature’s Path Qi’a Bars, or you can even make your granola bars!

KPG Healthcare cares about your nutrition but we also care about what you put into your body. With these helpful snack ideas for your daily activities or workplace, you’ll be eating a balanced diet in no time!

If you’re interested in finding more delicious snack ideas, check out this link from SnackNation!

Happy Snacking!

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Prepare For a 12 Hour Work Shift

As if nurses aren’t already superheroes because of what they do, they definitely are because of how long they do it for. Most adults only work 8 hours a day, but most nurses work 12. Preparing for 12 hour shifts as a registered nurse is easier when you plan ahead and make smart choices throughout the day. Here are some tips to help make your shift better!

Pack Your Food & Eat Right

When you’re struggling through a long day, you might want to reward yourself with a sugary snack from the vending machine or a greasy burger from the cafeteria. These momentary pleasures ultimately lower your energy level and spell disaster for your day. If you want to know how to survive a 12-hour shift, the first thing you should address is your diet.

You should pack healthy meals to eat during your shift so you’re not tempted to indulge in unhealthy options. Include several small snacks as well. Package these conveniently so you can grab a bag of nuts and an apple, or a banana and peanut butter even when you don’t have much time to spare. You should focus on high-energy snacks and whole foods that will keep you going instead of drag you down.

Get Ample Rest

It’s important to get a full night’s sleep before a long shift. You shouldn’t drink alcohol or caffeine at night before bed so that you can enjoy a restful evening. If you have a break of 20 minutes or more during work, consider taking a quick nap. Data from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reveals that a 20-minute nap during a 10 hour shift can improve performance by 50 percent.

Use Your Breaks Wisely

A lengthy shift can put you under a lot of mental strain. You should make the most of all breaks allowed by employee scheduling. You can find a quiet spot to meditate and clear your mind, listen to a relaxing track of nature sounds on your phone or MP3 player, or read something you enjoy. You should avoid stressful activities, like watching crime drama snippets or reading intense thrillers, where you’ll have to stop in the middle of the action to return to work.

Wear compression socks

That’s right, compression socks aren’t just for your post-operative patients. Being on your feet for long periods of time puts you at a high risk for varicose veins, and wearing compression socks can help reduce that risk. Compression socks can also help reduce fatigue by improving blood flow and reducing lactic acid build up. If you find that your calves are sore and your ankles are swollen after working, you may want to try slipping on a pair of compression socks before your next shift. Your legs will thank you later!

Take Smart Supplements

The right supplements can make a big difference in how well you can handle a long shift. Low vitamin D levels can lead to fatigue. You can get vitamin D from salmon, tuna or fortified food products, but a supplement might be more effective if your levels are low. Vitamin B can decrease fatigue as well. Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to brain cell development and can help you stay on top of your game. A well-rounded multivitamin is always a smart choice. Speak to your doctor about the best supplements for your needs.

Surviving 12-hour shifts might be difficult, but you can make these long days easier on yourself by preparing for the challenge. Packing healthy foods, getting enough rest, partaking in relaxing entertainment for your breaks and taking a few smart supplements can make the shift go smoothly.

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