Practicing in the US has been specifically developed by Conexus Medstaff to provide you with an introduction to the US healthcare industry and the expectations of the role of an RN in America.
Practicing in the US has been specifically developed by Conexus Medstaff to provide you with an introduction to the US healthcare industry and the expectations of the role of an RN in America.
We aim to familiarise you with some of the main regulations and practices that govern health care and nursing in the United States. Register today to take part.
For orientation, Conexus will guide you through the hospital interview process to make you American dream a reality. Register today to take part.
Nursing talent and graduates can live out a dream career in the US with Conexus. As a brand that partners with over 200 healthcare facilities across 30 American states, international nurses trust Conexus to find unique roles across the US.
Register to take part in US Ready.
We put you in a position to learn, but also to continue to learn. As nursing and healthcare evolve, so too will a Conexus Medstaff nurse.
Register to take part in US Ready.
In our previous blog, we explored how to effectively integrate international nurses into your US facility through a process of selecting the right staffing partner and building robust interview and onboarding processes. Once you have sourced the right international nursing talent, how can you ensure they remain at your facility in the long-term? Staff retention remains a challenge in both acute and long-term care facilities, mainly due to time and resource constraints, which can limit learning and development opportunities. In turn, a lack of career support for nurses can result in job dissatisfaction, reduced confidence, and can, in the worse cases, affect levels of patient care. Retention can become even more challenging when you introduce international nurses to your team. Foreign nurses not only have to acclimate to a new role but also, to a new country. Here, we look at some of the ways you can support nurses and how the right staffing partner can help throughout the process. Flexibility Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for all nurses, but especially for those experiencing such a life-changing event as moving to a new country. While a reputable staffing partner will help nurses source the right accommodation, transport, and schools for their children before they start their first shift with you, there is still a lot to do and explore. Whether you offer nurses the option to choose their shifts, the number of hours worked, or provide an opportunity for overtime, you will help them to feel more in control of their time both in and out of work. Career Development If you want nurses to remain working at your facility, you need to make it clear that they are part of your core staffing plan. Finding out your nurses’ educational and career goals from day one, and working closely with them to ensure they achieve these will not only deliver greater job satisfaction but will also develop your future senior staff. Of course, not every facility has the time or resources to deliver comprehensive education, training, and development programs, which is why selecting the right staffing partner is crucial. Ensure they remain committed to supporting nurses throughout their assignment (rather than just at the beginning) and find out what education and training support they will deliver. It’s also critical that the staffing partner is closely aligned to your facility to ensure all programs are in line with your culture, values, and long-term staffing needs. Keep Listening A nurse must feel valued in their role. Allowing every nurse to voice their concerns and share ideas with supervisors, unit managers, and administration reinforces the value of their opinions and input. Staffing partners will always be on-hand to offer guidance and support, but it’s also imperative that they can discuss issues inside the workplace and feel like they are being taken seriously. And, if such situations arise, make sure you communicate the outcome of a particular matter with the nurse who raised it. Remember, this is potentially valuable feedback that will help you improve standards in your facility. Appoint Brand Champions You can empower your nurses by asking for their input on hiring new colleagues. Including your international nurses in the interview and onboarding processes encourages them to reflect on your facility’s values and question whether a new person fits with them. This can be a highly effective way to reinforce a nurse’s responsibility for maintaining the team culture. Additionally, some facilities appoint more experienced nurses as mentors for juniors to accelerate knowledge transfer and help build management skills. There are, of course, time constraints placed on busy nurses, so consider offering incentives as a way of demonstrating how much you value their input. Looking To Find Out More? If you have questions or concerns about hiring and retaining international nurses or want to find out more about implementing a blended staffing approach, download our free guide - ‘Alternatives to the traditional 13-week assignment' today. Alternatively, connect with your local Conexus team today to find out more about how we can support your staffing needs.
As you know, the team at Conexus works hard to build lasting relationships with all of our nurses and healthcare facilities in the US. That’s why we want you to meet them! Each month, we’ll be introducing some of our superstars so that you can find out a bit more about where they’ve come from and the crucial role they play here. Previously, you got to know Cathy and Benjie, and now it’s the turn of Leanne Howell and Veronica Sanchez! Leanne Howell, Clinical Nurse Educator My Expertise After graduating in Nursing at Manchester University in 2003, I gained experience working in oncology, learning disability nursing, and surgical nursing. Additionally, I worked as a Nurse Advisor for two medical device companies. As a Clinical Nurse Educator with Conexus, I help prepare our nurses for their employment as an RN in the US. I created our Practicing in the US course, which educates international nurses on all of the regulatory and legal frameworks they need to know to practice. The course also covers the expectations for standards of practice, so that they can be confident of the best possible start to their career in the US. To ensure ongoing education and support, I set up our comprehensive training website, which I keep up-to-date with everything our nurses need to know. Why Conexus? I love the fact that Conexus is a family business. In my interview, I could clearly see how passionate the team was and I admired the vision for the company. Everyone was supportive from day one, and always willing to share their knowledge and experience to make sure we reach our goals and deliver a seamless journey for our nurses. Despite the growth of the company, our approach has remained personal. Every nurse has a unique path, and we go out of our way to help them feel supported at every step. My Favourite Conexus Value Is... It will come as no surprise that family is the Conexus value that resonates with me the most. We’re a close-knit team, and welcome everyone we work with to become part of the family. Outside Of Work, You’ll Find Me… Going to concerts! I also love spending time with my family and watching my daughters do the things they love - Sophie dances, and Ella plays drums and piano. We’ve got a husky too, who helps to keep us all active! Veronica Sanchez, Immigration Manager My Expertise I’m from Venezuela and moved to the US 20 years ago. I have more than 15 years of experience practicing immigration, and, before joining Conexus, I worked for the largest immigration law firm in the world. I gained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Banking and Finance, as well as a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Cleveland State University. As an immigrant myself, I can relate to the nurses at every single stage of their journey. At Conexus, I manage a growing legal team in the US and the Philippines, which requires me to stay abreast of significant developments in immigration law. I participate in office-wide projects, including training, recruiting, process improvements, and employee satisfaction initiatives. I also delegate, prioritize, and review the workflow of our Assistant Paralegals. Why Conexus? I love working at Conexus as I’ve been able to create a team that is willing to follow me, not because they have to, but because they genuinely want to. I’ve always worked at immigration law firms, but Conexus gave me the opportunity to work on the petitioner’s side. From day one, our CEO provided a platform and the tools I needed to perform my role efficiently. It’s fantastic doing what I love while, at the same time, helping our nurses to achieve their dreams. I know this is the right place for me as I still jump out of bed every morning, thankful to do my dream job alongside a team of amazing people. My Favourite Conexus Value Is... Integrity resonates with me the most. Like me, Conexus cares about doing things right and always doing the right thing. Outside Of Work, You’ll Find Me… Shopping, going to the movies, and traveling with my family. I also enjoy a spot of gardening too. Stay tuned to our Meet The Conexus Team blog series and get acquainted with the people who help to change lives every day.
According to Harvard, there are 3 million immigrants already in the US healthcare system, accounting for 1 in 4 workers in that field. This is, in part, due to US healthcare facilities going global in a quest to secure the right nursing talent to plug staffing gaps, reduce costs, and improve levels of patient care. Whether foreign nurses are used to bolster a current workforce, or as part of a blended approach, alongside travel and per diem nurses, the right planning is essential to ensure successful integration with your existing team and patients. The question is, how do you do this? 1. Select The Right Staffing Partner There are many international nurse staffing agencies to choose from, so you must find the right one to suit your needs. As foreign nurses are employees of the agency, they should receive a certain level of support throughout their assignment at your facility. Be wary of staffing agencies that don’t remain hands-on with their nurses as all support, education, and development needs will fall to you, which is not only unfair but could be impossible if your facility is already stretched. 2. Assess Your Interview Process Even when working with a staffing agency, you still need to interview international nurses before they join you. While this gives you an insight into whether they’ll be the right fit, it’s also their opportunity to decide whether they want to work with you. Remember that word-of-mouth, even about the interview process, can help to increase the number of candidates who want to work with you, as well as boost online reviews, and, ultimately, retention levels. It’s, therefore, crucial to review your interview process to make sure you’re providing the right information, communicating all of your benefits, and allowing nurses to ask any questions they might have. 3. Keep Communicating All too often, employers can lose great candidates due to a lack of communication, which can negatively affect time-to-hire, the timing of orientation, and the candidate’s perception of your organization. One of your main goals should be to make the hiring process seamless and fully transparent for the candidate. There should be immediate and ongoing communication between HR, hiring manager, staffing agency, and candidate, with clear touch points throughout the journey. 4. Tailor Your Orientation/Onboarding Process International nurses require a different approach when it comes to integration into your team. While they may have the same anxieties about starting a new role as US nurses, moving to a new country can compound these fears and require more hands-on support. Traditional concerns include: Not knowing where to go What’s expected of them Who their preceptor will be What to wear Navigating company culture Your onboarding process should proactively address such concerns, and offer the support to help them succeed in their role. Remember, a specialist staffing partner, like Conexus, will help you build and deliver an effective onboarding process, bridging gaps, and providing additional support and guidance before and during a nurse’s assignment with you. What’s The Right Option? If you have questions or concerns about hiring international nurses for your facility or want to find out more about implementing a blended staffing approach, download our free guide - ‘Alternatives to the traditional 13-week assignment' today. Alternatively, connect with your local Conexus team today to find out more about how we can support your staffing needs. Find out more about international nurses and other staffing alternatives in our free guide - 'Alternatives to the traditional 13-week assignment'. Click the image below to download:
Your nurses are the lifeline of your facility and provide all of the essential care and support your patients need. That’s why it’s integral to maintain the right nurse staffing levels for continuity of care and the smooth running of your facility. The question is, how do you know when it’s time to staff up? And what are the signs that you need to look out for in your team? Reliance On Overtime It’s no secret that excessive overtime takes a mental and physical toll on employees. While the hours need to be covered, and your nurses may be happy to do so, working too many hours can lead to a rise in depression levels and a dip in productivity, not to mention immune system compromises. Per diem nurses can help cover those additional hours as and when you need them to be, ensuring your current workforce remains happy and healthy. Crucially, rested nurses will deliver the highest quality and safest care possible for your patients. Burnout You should be acutely attuned to the productivity and mood of your nursing team at all times to avoid instances of burnout. Nursing is a demanding field, so taking action at the first signs of stress will help minimize medical errors and retain your core staff. If your nurses appear agitated, emotional, negative, or overly tired, it’s time to look at expanding your team to help manage their workload. High Turnover As you know, turnover is costly and means that you lose vital nurses who are familiar with your facility, patient demographics, and case-load. Plus, making frequent hires means added costs, including HR, onboarding, and training, which all need to be repeated regularly. Additionally, high staff turnover can negatively impact HCAHPS scores. If you’re continuously losing nursing staff, there’s likely to be a more significant issue in your organization that needs to be addressed, whether that’s your orientation process, workload, or the benefits provided for your nurses. Upcoming Staffing Gaps & Fresh Demands Usually, you’ll have plenty of warning of any impending gaps in your nurse staffing, whether that’s upcoming maternity leave, seasonal fluctuations such as flu season in the northern states or the influx of “snowbirds” to warmer states in the winter months. Additionally, if your facility is opening a new wing or is scheduled to complete a system conversion, you should have a project timeline stating commencement and target completion dates. To ensure a healthy nurse-to-patient ratio, staff planning is essential at the earliest opportunity to avoid the implications of staff being pulled away from day-to-day operations. What’s The Solution? Travel nurses can be the ideal option if you need immediate staffing assistance. Typically, travel nurse contracts range between 8 and 26 weeks, though the most common contracts last 13 weeks. What’s more, travel nurses are usually highly experienced and require minimal orientation, sometimes just 24-40 hours, compared to a minimum of 4 to 14 weeks for permanent staff. However, hiring nurses on shorter contracts can be more expensive and fail to offer patients continuity of care. It’s for these reasons that some facilities are exploring alternative options, including the recruitment of overseas nurses. Specialized staffing partners, like Conexus, recruit nurses from international markets, which opens up an otherwise inaccessible talent pool. These nurses have a reputation for making an immediate impact through increasing patient satisfaction and lowering costs through the mitigation of staff turnover and a reduction in reliance on temporary contracts. Both international nurses and travel nurses bring a plethora of benefits for US healthcare facilities, which is why an increasing number are starting to embrace a blended approach to staffing, to ensure they’re always staffing to appropriate demand and peaks. Could A Blended Approach Work In Your Facility? Find out more about international nurses and other staffing alternatives in our free guide - 'Alternatives to the traditional 13-week assignment'. Click the image below to download:
For several years, nurse shortages in the US have forced healthcare facilities to make some difficult decisions. Do they collectively pay billions of dollars to recruit and retain nurses, or risk patient safety by closing beds or entire departments to match staffing levels? Some hospitals are offering incentives to attract nursing talent, including higher salaries, retention and signing bonuses, student loan repayment, free housing, and career mentoring, while other facilities with limited nursing resources are making the tactical decision to close beds. What Are The Implications? While closing beds means nurses aren’t stretched beyond capacity, there are significant cost implications. Any fixed costs associated with empty beds, including heat, electric, or ancillary services, exist regardless of whether a bed is filled or empty. In fact, an empty bed costs approximately 70 percent (around $1-1,500 per day per bed) of what the full cost is when a bed is filled. The cost of empty beds is covered through cost-shifting when other patients in the hospital pay more for their care through either private pay or private insurance pay. For example, take a hospital with a 90 percent occupancy rate versus one with a 40 percent occupancy rate: If both are reimbursed for $10,000, the 40 percent occupancy rate hospital is at more of a disadvantage as it would need to use funds to pay for the empty beds. On the other hand, the 90 percent occupancy hospital has revenues from all of its filled beds. Put simply, it’s always better to have a higher occupancy rate due to the increased revenues the beds generate. However, this doesn’t help those hospitals where staffing resources are stretched. What Are The Alternatives? There has been a growing reliance on travel nurses to fill gaps in recent years. Although they provide hospitals with instant access to qualified nurses when required, these contracts are typically only 13-weeks in length, and cost a high hourly rate in comparison to permanent staff. In 2017, the Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) reported that the nationwide costs for travel nurses reached $4.8 billion, more than double what was spent three years earlier. On the other hand, some healthcare facilities are going global to recruit international nurses through specialist and reputable staffing agencies. There are 3 million immigrants already in the healthcare system, accounting for 1 in 4 workers in that field, according to Harvard Medical School (2019). International nurses can deliver significant monetary savings in comparison to travel nurses. While agencies that provide travel nurses offer housing stipends, per diem rates, and travel expenses, those that supply foreign nurses charge facilities a flat hourly rate with no extra costs. Additionally, the continuous turnover of travel nurses can have a negative effect on a wider RN team. A 2015 report that analyzed nursing staff turnover found it led to higher levels of absenteeism and lower morale. With international nurses committed to long contracts with facilities, it enables existing nursing teams to build strong bonds with one another, share experiences, and offer support. Working With Conexus Conexus has sourced exceptional nursing talent for US hospitals and long-term care facilities from across the globe since 2010. Our goal is to provide the right expertize at the right time to ensure facilities always meet the high standards in healthcare delivery, without the need to close beds. Find out more about international nurses and other staffing alternatives in our free guide - 'Alternatives to the traditional 13-week assignment'. Click the image below to download:
ASA-certified staffing professional and Registered Nurse (RN), Cathy Vollmer is Vice President of Operations at international healthcare staffing agency, Conexus Medstaff. Here, Cathy explores the role of technology in today’s staffing industry and questions whether it takes away more than it adds. Ever-changing and advancing technology is undoubtedly great news for the future of staffing in terms of streamlining processes, increasing efficiency, and gathering valuable data. However, in an industry defined by building meaningful connections and partnerships, there’s a concern that such technology ‘disruption’ will undermine the traditional staffing model by shifting the emphasis to speed and costs over quality of service. The staffing industry, in particular, has been highly receptive to technology innovation from the launch of the internet, through to the arrival of job boards and, critically, CRM systems. Today, developments in data analytics, AI, and machine learning continue to transform established staffing processes. One such technological development is automation. Technology platforms are taking over the management of essential but repetitive back-office tasks, enabling staff to focus on more valuable activities like finding candidates and building relationships. Additionally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving significant advances in the search for talent, helping recruiters to pair strong candidates with the right opportunities. AI has been particularly revolutionary in the staffing industry as a method to eliminate unconscious bias in the application selection process. It can search candidate CVs for keywords related to their skills and experience to generate a shortlist of the right people. One of the most groundbreaking aspects of AI in staffing is its learning capability. So, the more data that AI technology processes, the better it becomes at understanding its actions and, in turn, the better results it generates. This means that the more AI solutions are implemented, the more effective they will become at finding the right people for the right roles. Despite such advancements benefiting the day-to-day operations of businesses, many are concerned that the digitization of staffing could completely eradicate the personal touch, making it harder and even obstructive for candidates to find a role that suits their needs. In other words, a computer program is yet to be invented that can replace the human touch or gauge candidates from a cultural perspective. Conexus, for example, works with international nurses and graduates to help them to find work and start a new life in the US. As a former RN and member of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), I can appreciate the importance of regular human interaction and round-the-clock availability for vulnerable candidates who are about to make a life-changing career move. For us, technology is crucial at the beginning of the process to screen candidates who apply from countries across the globe, ensuring they have the right credentials, experience, and qualifications to start the process. Beyond this, technology’s primary role for us is immigration case management and as an added communication tool that complements face-to-face meetings, i.e., Skype, Facetime, online chat tools, etc. To me, this highlights the importance of assessing the value of technology implementation in the staffing industry on a case-by-case basis. The need for automation in the candidate journey will vary depending on the level of human interaction and support that’s required at each stage of the process for both candidates and clients. However, regardless of the level of digital adoption, it’s clear that technology will continue to play a crucial role within talent acquisition for all organizations and staffing businesses long into the future.