COVID-19 on the Rise in Rural Communities: PRN Jobs Can Help
Since the coronavirus first hit our shores, the big cities across the nation have been getting a lot of press about COVID. But as the year comes to a close and the numbers surge yet again, we’re seeing how rural communities lack the healthcare facilities and supports to effectively treat severe cases. The severely ill from rural communities are sent to the nearby urban hospitals, and in some cities putting a significant strain on the urban hospitals’ resources.
Unfortunately, wearing masks and social distancing has become a political issue, and therefore in many rural towns mask-wearing is seen as unnecessary, and social distancing deemed less important. The Midwest states of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri do not have statewide mask requirements, and typically rural populations tend to have more residents that fall into the high-risk category for COVID due to their age.
The American Hospital Association reports that nationwide, there are a little over 2,000 rural hospitals. Often these hospitals don’t have any ICU beds, requiring any rural patients that need intensive care to be sent to the nearest urban hospital with availability. Kaiser Health News created a data graph of the U.S. color-coding the counties in each state that don’t have hospitals, have hospitals but no ICU beds, and hospitals that do have ICU beds. A quick look at the data graph shows that many of the counties without hospitals at all or without ICU beds are located in the rural Midwest.
Moreover, when that information is combined with the recent release by the federal government of the hospitals nationwide facing critical nursing shortages, and the states most desperate are several in the Midwest; Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, (three of those four states do not have statewide mask requirements and Arkansas held out until mid-July to issue a mask mandate).
Healthcare in rural communities has struggled over the last few decades. As young people grow up and leave and clinicians find themselves preferring a city life or an interesting specialty position in a large urban hospital rural hospitals have faced challenges in both the economic aspect and staffing shortages to stay open.
Rural Healthcare Facilities Need Nurses and Nursing Assistants
While you can’t help rural hospitals and facilities with their financial problems, nor can you make rural community members wear masks; you can help with the staffing shortages problem. You can help by working per diem shifts, one at a time.
Working per diem shifts means that you’re a licensed registered or practical nurse or a certified nursing assistant and are willing to pick up shifts, as your schedule allows and when a facility has a staffing shortage. PRN shifts often offer a higher hourly compensation than a nurse or nursing assistant would earn when employed full-time. This works to the facility’s financial benefit because for PRN staff they don’t have to pay benefits packages, and it works to the nurse’s or nursing assistant’s benefit to earn more.
We have PRN shifts available at facilities nationwide in both rural and urban settings, but the cost of living is lower in rural communities, and therefore earning more in a rural community will have a bigger impact on how you can best use that money.
How to Work PRN
We have RNs, LPNs, and CNAs working per diem shifts in a variety of medical settings. Shifts are always available in hospitals, surgery centers, medical centers, home health, skilled nursing facilities, and long-term care centers. The availability is not in doubt, but perhaps what is in doubt is how to work PRN?
1. Work a Little PRN on the Side
Many of our clinicians are already full or part-time employees of a healthcare facility. Those that are, pick up a PRN shift a few times a month when their personal life and work schedule make availability to earn a little more on top of their regular income.
2. Work PRN to Keep Licenses and Certifications Current
Other nurses and CNAs who have retired or left the industry for any reason, will often work PRN shifts on a regular basis to keep their licenses and certifications current. Working PRN in this way allows you to keep your skills sharp, keep your credentials current, and work without making the long-term commitment that a regular full-time job would require.
3. Work PRN Full-Time
This group of our nurses and assistants work PRN as their full-time employment. Selecting when and where they want to work every week, and working as much or as little as they want.
How PRN Jobs Through NursaTM Can Help You
If you aren’t sure where you fit in on the scale of how to work PRN, then dip your toe in the PRN pool by picking up a few shifts here and there. Stretch your adaptability muscles by working in unfamiliar environments a shift at a time and grow your nursing career.
Download our smartphone app, create your digital professional portfolio, and browse the hundreds of PRN shifts available in real-time, near you. Our app allows you the access to see what is offered and allows you the control to select when you want to work a PRN shift, and where. Routine change in your work setting can push you to learn new skills, sharpen lesser-used skills, and even help you gain work experience hours towards a new specialty certification. Moreover, the opportunities to foster relationships with other experienced nurses can create valuable connections towards your future career.
If you’re ready to get started making a difference near you, download our app today and read our in-depth post, “Resume Tips for New Grads and Seasoned Nurses” to polish up your resume for your professional portfolio on NursaTM.