Union: Healthy Environments, Better Orientation Can Solve Temp Nurse Issue

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , December 15, 2009

While acknowledging there are occasional nurses who do not belong in the profession, Burger says most of the problems associated with temporary nurses result from the fact they often do not receive adequate orientation or time with preceptors at the facility to which they are assigned.

"Even if they were good nurses, it's difficult to expect they will know the politics, policy, and procedures of a certain facility. Even though the practice is similar, it's usually the politics and policies and layout that get people into trouble," says Burger.

This is why NNU is supporting a bill currently in the California legislature that would require organizations provide ample orientation to temporary nurses and ensure their competency before they are allowed to practice at the facility.

For those so called "bad" nurses, Burger does not support the creation of a nursing registry that would track nurses nationally. She believes this is a function of the state Boards of Nursing that should receive appropriate funding to be able to fulfill their responsibilities.

"I'm all for that making sure patients are protected," says Burger. "That's why a third-party clearing house like the state Board of Registered Nursing should be the authority body. They are the ones who give the temporary nurse the license in the respective state."

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Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at rhendren@hcpro.com.

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