BVHS Successful In Retaining Traveling Nurses

(From Blanchard Valley Health System)

Blanchard Valley Health System is successfully encouraging traveling nurses to sign on as associates for the long term.

The ranks of traveling nurses nationwide increased after the COVID-19 pandemic, with more nurses wanting to take these temporary roles for financial and scheduling reasons.

One of those was Christina Frymyer, RN, a registered nurse on the sixth floor of Blanchard Valley Hospital in the medical/surgical unit. She said she had originally become a traveler because at the time, logistical issues like childcare were easier that way.

But Frymyer decided to stay at BVH as an associate in March 2023, after about a year and a half of working there as a traveler. A primary reason was the bonds she formed with colleagues. Most of the other nurses on the floor are younger than Frymyer.

“I quickly became sort of a ‘mom’ to the younger nurses,” Frymyer said. “They are close in age to my oldest child, who is 24. We bonded quickly, and I made a point of being there for them. They, for their part, were so gracious about helping me learn my way around the hospital and answering all my questions.”

Staying at BVHS also offers her benefits such as sick time and retirement. It also means she knows she won’t be moving every so often to a new hospital to work, where she must learn new processes and procedures – and will have to wonder how she will be treated.

“At BVH it’s clear that they care about their travelers,” Frymyer said. “But at some hospitals, travelers can feel like they’re just someone filling a spot. In addition to wanting the job security of staying in one place, I like knowing that I am in an environment where I am respected and valued, and where I’ve formed such close friendships.”

Jessica Moore, BSN, RN, director of inpatient nursing, said nursing leadership consciously works to treat travelers like any other associates. They attend staff meetings and participate in all the same activities, including celebrations.

Moore said traveling nurses are valued and appreciated, and they provide excellent care. But she’s pleased when they choose to stay, and she has seen associates staying with the organization become more invested.

Katelyn Richard, MSN, RN, orthopedics/neurology/post-op surgery clinical manager on the sixth floor of BVH, said she makes sure all her traveling nurses know they will be treated well, even when they are first interviewing.

Moore said they also try to offer as much scheduling flexibility as possible. BVHS has part-time as well as full-time positions available.

Richard has found the traveling nurses also appreciate the camaraderie they may find at BVHS.

“Some traveling nurses find that they make lifelong friends on this unit,” Richard said. “This outweighs the benefits they see in traveling.”

She added that the nurses who are BVH associates treat their traveling coworkers well, as do healthcare providers.

“They form close friendships,” she said. “Some of our long-term nurses have even been in travel nurses’ weddings.”

“Some of our traveling nurses have found they have really enjoyed the culture here, and they love the Northwest Ohio community,” Moore said. We want them to feel like they are part of the BVHS family, and everyone does their part to ensure that comes through.”

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