One of the biggest perks to working per diem is the frequent change of scenery. No longer do you have to be tied down to the same location every day. However, any first day at a new facility can be nerve-wracking. Follow this guide before every assignment, and your shift will go as smoothly as possible.
Your ID Badge – When you begin working per diem with us, or with any staffing facility, a nurse ID badge is administered. This badge has all of the information that a facility will need to ensure that you have been correctly placed for work. Your badge will include your name, your nursing position, and the staffing agency that has sent you. Without your badge, you will not be able to work your shift.
Nurse Pro-Tip: Lay out your scrubs the night or day before. Tuck your ID badge into the scrub pocket on your shirt. This will ensure that your ID does not get left behind or misplaced right before you leave for your shift.
Time Cards – You want to get paid, don’t you? Of course, you do! The only way to ensure that you have worked the correct number of hours is to log them into your timecard. Remember to log when your shift began, when it has ended, and if you have taken a lunch break. Don’t forget to have your supervisor sign off on your hours worked before you leave!
Comfortable Shoes – This one is a given. Foot pain, leg pain, and back aches can all be caused by lack of shoe support. Working 12-hour shifts in inadequate footwear is not a pleasant experience. It is important that you remember to wear what works best for you.
*Nurse Pro-Tip: Break your shoes in BEFORE your shift. Wear them around the house, when you go food shopping, or anywhere that requires you to walk around. Wearing your shoes for short distances will help them mold to your feet better. For shoes that are very worn or old, invest in some insoles. You’ll feel like you’re walking in brand new shoes!
Food, Water, and Snacks – While many hospitals have cafeterias, some may not. If you’re assigned to a long-term care facility, chances are they will only have a vending machine and a water bubbler. In case the facility does not have a place to pick up a quick snack, bring your own. Keep extra water bottles in a cooler, bring small snacks to munch on throughout the day, and pack your own lunch. Not only will you save time by not waiting in line to purchase food, but you will be saving money! (Longer breaks and more spending money in your pocket for after work! Score!)
A Watch – A proper working watch is important. Watches help you keep track of your day. And more importantly, they will help you look after your patients.
Whatever you choose to bring with you for your next per diem shift, make sure to have a game plan. Pack your bag the night before, get your lunch ready, and make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork to start your shift. Working at a new facility can be stressful, but the preparation does not have to be!