How to Avoid Loneliness on a Travel Nursing Assignment

There’s nothing quite like discovering a new place on your own. It is one of the most exhilarating parts of travel nursing: moving around the country completely untethered. However, many travel nurses report missing their friends and family back home, and suffer from feelings of loneliness. Humans are inherently social creatures, so it is completely normal to feel lonely in a new place. While there are endless activities to do and places to explore on your days off, it may seem daunting or awkward to do these things by yourself as a new traveler. Here are some ways to avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment and make the most out of your contract.

Check Out Social Media Groups and Apps

Many nurses on assignment use social media and apps to meet new, like-minded people. Bumble, the dating app, has a “BFF” function where you can meet potential new friends.  It’s simple: you create a profile, list things you enjoy doing and your personality type, and swipe until you match with a new friend to enjoy your new city with. A big plus is that if you meet someone who has been in that city for a while or grew up there, they can help show you around and get familiar with the town.

avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment

Bumble BFF makes it easy to connect with potential new friends.

Facebook groups are also great for meeting new people. There are tons of groups out there for people with specific interests that live in your new town. For example, when I moved from my hometown to New York City, I joined a Facebook group of NYC residents who were fellow listeners of my favorite podcast. After posting that I was looking for people to explore the local live music scene with, I found a couple new friends in that group who I started going to concerts with. It was such a great tool to find people with common interests as I adjusted to life in my new city.

Join a Local Recreational Sports Group

If you’re more of a “Sporty Spice,” rec leagues are amazing places to meet new people and avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment. Recreational sports leagues provide opportunities for adults to play at beginner, intermediate and competitive levels in many athletic games. Simply Google rec sporting leagues in your new town and take a look at the local offerings. Whether you’re into bowling, volleyball, baseball, or even kickball, there’s a league for you. Rec sports are great at bringing people together, and you’re bound to have a blast while bonding with your team.

The Bradford Beach rec volleyball league in Milwaukee.

Take a Class

Signing up for various classes is one of the best tips on how to make friends in a new city. The freedom you have when it comes to choosing what type of class or classes to attend is what makes this piece of advice great. Whether it’s painting, dancing, improv, or working out, classes naturally bring people together around whatever activity sparks your interest. Not only does it help bring you out of your shell, attending a class regularly will allow you to surround yourself with consistent group of people. This will usually help foster new friendships, or at the very least, help you gain proficiency at a new skill or introduce you to a new hobby.

Atlanta Clayworks offers pottery classes to the community.

Reach Out to Coworkers

Being sociable and accessible at work is one of the best ways to make friends in a new city and avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment. Think about it – you already have something in common with your co-workers: nursing! Not to mention that you already interact with them on a daily basis. In addition to having meals with them in the break room, you could always invite them to watch a sports game or go to that great local brewery after work. Nurses tend to have a special bond with one another that can only come from being on the job, so it’s often super easy to connect with colleagues if you reach out.

Volunteer

Without a doubt, the noblest way to avoid loneliness on a travel nursing assignment is to volunteer at charitable organizations in the area. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, and it’s one of the most rewarding things a person can do in life. There are many ways you can volunteer your time depending on your interests and beliefs. First, pick a cause you’re passionate about. For example, if you love animals, then you should consider becoming a volunteer at the local animal shelter or humane society. If you’re passionate about the environment, join a local trash pick-up effort. There are tons of ways to give back while also being part of a group and meeting new people. Check out VolunteerMatch.org to see volunteer opportunities with organizations near you.

A volunteer helps walk dogs at the Humane Society of Missouri.

Interested in traveling with Premier? Fill out an application today!


Debating a Travel Nursing Contract Extension: Factors to Consider

There’s a lot of fun to be had in the nomadic lifestyle of travel nursing. It can be exhilarating to pack your suitcases and head to a new destination every 13 weeks. But what if you’re loving your current facility, or just need extra time before jumping on the road again? Securing an extension for your current travel healthcare contract can keep you out and about while still giving you a breather, and it’s mutually beneficial for both you and your healthcare staffing agency. Check out some of the things you should consider when debating a travel nursing contract extension, and why it could be a good next move for you on your journey.

Benefits of a Travel Nursing Contract Extension:

Extending your contract is advantageous to you, your staffing agency, and the facility. There are a lot fewer unknowns when extending a travel contract. You can skip packing up the car and relocating because you are already established at your current destination. Less time and effort will be spent in all aspects of your traditional travel RN or LPN job search, as you will already be fully credentialed and fingerprinted, trained for the current position, and have housing. All that’s left for you to do is chat with your leadership and your recruiter, review the contract extension, and keep on working!

Your bank account will also benefit by not incurring the added expenses of moving to a new location. You will also avoid time off without pay like most travel nurses do between contracts. It is also quite common for travel nursing contract extensions to be more flexible regarding the length of the contract. There are several reasons for this. First, because you’re already oriented and acclimated to the unit, the hospital recognizes that 100% of your time will be productive. Moreover, they understand that bringing on new people is always more expensive, so they’d like to keep experienced people on the schedule for longer periods if they have the need.

When to Start Inquiring About a Travel Nursing Contract Extension:

Most agencies and recruiters will tell you that discussing extensions shouldn’t be done until 4 to 5 weeks before the contract is scheduled to come to an end. This advice is based on the widely held belief that hospitals won’t consider an extension until 4 to 5 weeks before the current contract ends. However, if you’re passionate about staying at that facility, it never hurts to inquire sooner. Letting your recruiter know your interest in staying on the staff will go a long way in getting the ball rolling for an extension.

travel nursing contract extension

Factors to Consider When Debating a Travel Nursing Contract Extension:

  • Do you like working at the facility?
  • Is the work-load manageable?
  • Do you like your coworkers?
  • Are there still things that you want to explore/do in the local area?
  • Do you have any family or other obligations that will require you to be in a different area?
  • Are there upcoming holidays that would affect a possible extension?

Negotiating the Contract Extension:

There are costs that occur at the start of a contract that aren’t valid on a travel nursing contract extension. These additional costs can add up to money in your pocket for an extension.  There are a few items that you can and should consider when negotiating an extension:

  • Bonuses
  • Flight home (travel stipends)
  • Housing changes
  • Length of extension

Keep in mind that it is most likely that the bill rate will be the same for the extension contract as it was for the original contract. This may not be true if the first contract was offered at a crisis rate and the extension is offered at the lower standard rate, but that is rarely the case.

Many amazing nursing journeys begin with a contract extension. Extending your contract is a great way to build your rapport with a facility and expand your skills. Considering starting your travel nursing career? Fill out an application below!


5 Qualities of a Great Travel Nurse Recruiter

In the world of travel nursing, there are few things more important than a strong recruiter–traveler relationship. Recruiters are the guiding light of any travel journey, whether it’s your first contract or your 50th. But how do you distinguish a top-tier travel nurse recruiter from all the rest? How can you be sure you are working with someone who has your best interests at heart? As it turns out, there are several qualities that set the best recruiters apart. Here are five characteristics to look for in a travel nurse recruiter.

1. Stellar Communication Skills

You travel nurse recruiter will be your first point of contact as you start your contract nursing journey and someone you will stay in close contact with throughout your traveling career. It can be an overwhelming experience deciding what city to move to and choosing your new place of work, which is why your recruiter should always be available to answer any and all of your questions.

Travel nurses will tell you that the importance of a recruiter’s communication skills cannot be stressed enough. Katie F., an RN who traveled with Premier, noted the importance of communication with her recruiter Sarah: “Sarah spent a considerable amount of time on the phone with me answering all of questions/concerns I had prior to taking the leap into travel nursing.” Not only is it essential for your travel nurse recruiter to be in touch and communicative during the submission, interviewing, and onboarding processes, but you should also expect them to stay in touch during your contract. RN Tatonesha remarks of her Premier recruiter Rebecca, “she always follows through and stays in contact with a weekly hello or ‘how is everything going’ which lets me know that she and the company care about their clients.” Continued, long-term communication is key when working with a recruiter, as they can help you work toward your goals as a travel nurse and walk you through changing or extending your contract.

travel nurse recruiter

2. Honesty

A good recruiter tells it like it is. Whether you are trying to decide if a travel nursing position might work for you or dealing with a situation while you are already on assignment, you want to work with someone who will relay the facts and portray all information as accurately as possible.

But that type of honesty should be two-way street. To build a successful working relationship, you as the nurse candidate should be open in communicating your wants and needs.  Recruiters are not mind readers, and it is essential that you are upfront and honest about your expectations from the very beginning.

3. Personal Attention

A travel nurse recruiter should always make you feel like a priority. Individualized attention is key to a great recruiter-nurse relationship and will put you at ease while transitioning into a new contract. Although I’m not new to travel nursing, I consistently feel on edge when trying to decide on my next assignment,” says Premier RN Richelle, “I can always count on my recruiter Nicole to find the right fit for me. Her one-on-one personal attention makes the whole process flawless.”

travel nurse recruiter

4. Well-Researched

One attribute that separates good travel nurse recruiters from great ones is that they will do their homework and research a wide variety of contract opportunities that will fit your needs. “She goes the extra mile by figuring out what my true needs and wants are,” says RN Katie of her Premier recruiter Lauren H. Top-notch travel nurse recruiters will always keep your preferences in mind while also presenting you with multiple options, some you may not have considered before. A travel nurse recruiter who digs deeper to present you with the most contract options is one that definitely wants to see you succeed.

Meet Premier’s team of travel nurse recruiters here!

5. Patience

Patience truly is a virtue, and in the fast-paced world of nursing, it is more important than ever. A patient recruiter takes the time to listen, answer questions and provide reassurance. Your travel nurse recruiter should never make you feel like a burden and should always be available for your needs. A good travel nurse recruiter will never rush you through any process and will meet you where you are.

Want to travel with Premier? Get matched with one of our experienced recruiters:



How to Manage Pre- And Post-Shift Anxiety

Whether you are fresh out of nursing school or a seasoned professional, you may struggle with anxious feelings and thoughts before or after your shift. It isn’t uncommon for nurses to deal with pre- and post-shift anxiety, which can contribute to compassion fatigue and burnout. You may harbor fears around making mistakes, rejection by a patient, and inadequacy. We’re here to tell you that you’re not alone in feeling this way. In fact, many nurses report anxiety connected to going to and from their facilities for work. Here are some techniques to help reduce anxiety levels before and after shifts.

1. Incorporate Regular Exercise into Your Routine

Exercise plays a significant role in stress reduction. In the nursing profession, it is inevitable and impossible to completely eliminate stress, however, you can learn to manage it. One of the best-known tools to cope with stress and anxiety is exercise.

Aside from the obvious physical benefits, the mental benefits of exercise include:

  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved concentration
  • More restful sleep
  • Increased mood

Exercising is a great way to show up for yourself, whether you find time for some 15-minute yoga on your lunch break or go for an outdoor jog before your shift. Even light exercise is reported to help lower feelings of anxiety. For some tips on how to incorporate exercise into your nursing routine, check out this blog article.

2. Create an Uplifting Commute to Work

The hours before work can sometimes be the toughest to navigate as a nurse. Those pre-shift jitters can lead to fear, and without proper care, they can lead to panic.

Consider keeping a list of inspiring and thought-provoking podcasts that you can listen to on your commute. You can also put together a playlist of your favorite mood-boosting tunes and play it on your way to work. Try making time on your commute to grab a special treat, like a fancy Frappuccino at the Starbucks drive-thru or a little bag of your favorite candy from the gas station. These small touches to care for and reward yourself can completely transform your pre-shift attitude.

shift anxiety

3. Keep a Journal

Many nurses recommend keeping a journal to jot down details of your workday when you get home from your shift. When you engage in journaling or other types of writing, it can help you process your emotions and allows you to put your anxious thoughts on paper instead of letting them swirl around in your head. Try to set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes to write, and then do a few breathing exercises when you’re finished. Putting your thoughts down and telling your story can lessen the stress you’ve accumulated during the day and give you a sense of clarity.

shift anxiety

4. Create a Calming Environment to Come Home to

Coming home from a stressful shift to a chaotic home environment only builds on anxiety you are trying to reduce. Maintaining an organized and clean home allows you to better relax after a long shift. If you are coming home to laundry on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink every night, try getting those chores done before your shift so you can come home to a nice, calming environment to unwind in after work.

Consider cultivating a calming atmosphere in your bedroom. This can help improve your mood and lower your anxiety. For example, using a sound machine or an essential oil diffuser after your shift can help your mind transition into a restful place instead of dwelling on the anxiety of work.

5. Try Mindfulness Meditation Exercises

Practicing mindfulness meditation can be an effective way to manage feelings of stress and anxiety. Mindfulness mediation combines traditional meditation with the practice of mindfulness, which can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. This meditation technique can help you slow down racing thoughts, decrease negativity, and calm both your mind and body. Try some of these mindfulness meditation exercises before and after work to keep pre- and post-shift anxiety at bay.

shift anxietyshift anxiety

The Travel Nurse Exercise Guide

Fitting in any kind of self-care on a travel nursing contract can seem challenging at times, especially when it comes to exercise. Moving your body can have wonderful benefits for your mental and physical health – which can be great in helping combat burnout. You’d be surprised how many options there are for incorporating exercise into your travel nurse routine, as long as you keep it simple and set attainable goals. Here are a few pro tips for staying on top of your fitness game while on a travel contract.

1. Pick up one (portable) piece of exercise equipment

If you do nothing else, consider bringing just one favorite piece of equipment with you on your travel assignment. It could be a set of dumbbells, a kettle bell, a pair of ankle/wrist weights, or a resistance band. You will be amazed at how effective a workout can be with just one piece of equipment. Take the trusty resistance band for example: from squats to leg raises to lunges-in-place, the possibilities are endless.

2. Rent a bike

Hopping on a bike is a great way to fit low-impact, high-reward exercise into your routine. Many local bike shops offer rentals by the month, and there are even pay-per-use bike stations if you’re working in a bigger city. Biking is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while seeing the sights of your new town.

3. See if your facility offers exercise resources

Did you know that some hospitals have an on-site gym for employees? This makes fitting in a workout easy for RNs to exercise on their lunch breaks, or before or after their shifts.

If your facility doesn’t have an on-site gym, check in with employee wellness or HR about what kind of fitness resources are offered–you may be able to snag a temporary free pass to a local gym or access some at-home fitness apps to help you stay on track. Your insurance company may have some fitness benefits you can tap into as well, so be sure to check what benefits they offer too.

4. Plan ahead

Most travel nurses want to make the most of each assignment by taking advantage of exploring each new area on their days off; and days off can fill up fast when you have a bucket list of things you want to see or do in thirteen weeks. If you know you have some travel or exploring planned on your days off, take some time to look ahead and figure out how to get a workout in around all your adventuring. This could mean getting up a little early and squeezing in a 15–25 minute workout or hitting the gym before or after a long shift on one of your workdays so you can enjoy the rest of the day. Regardless of how you make it happen, set a realistic goal of how many days you want to work out each week, so you have something to shoot for that allows for life to happen as well.

5. Don’t forget to have fun

One of the most common reasons people fail at changing their exercise routines is they take an all-or-nothing approach. They go all-in: eliminate anything “unhealthy”, make a plan to exercise six days a week, and refuse to make room for actually enjoying themselves.

Travel nurses choose their lifestyle because it is, at its core, fun. Adventuring across the country while working in a career you love opens you up to so many unique opportunities to explore. Approaching an exercise routine from an all-or-nothing perspective drastically limits your ability to go out and enjoy your time off. From sampling local fare to touring wineries and breweries, taking time on days off to get out and explore is imperative to getting the most out of your travel nursing career. Living a healthy lifestyle and getting to enjoy these experiences can go hand in hand, you just have to be a little more mindful of your choices when also working towards fitness goals.

A great tool for finding some places to get moving while also exploring is the AllTrails app. You can find anything from a rugged mountain trail to a historic walking route through town. You get to experience so much more of an area when you are walking through, and at the end of the day it’s crazy to see how far you can walk when you are out having fun.

Interested in traveling with Premier? Fill out an application!



Ways to Enrich Your Nursing Career

In the fast-paced world of medicine, it can be difficult to remain up-to-date with current trends in nursing. Between completing long shifts, combating burnout, and finding new professional opportunities, nurses can use all the resources they can get in order to enrich and grow their careers. Here is a short list of where to begin whether you’re rediscovering your passion for nursing, growing your professional network, or becoming an expert in your specialty.

Join a Professional Organization

Professional nursing organizations can be valuable resources for nurses in terms of networking and professional development. A professional organization exists to advance a particular profession, support the interests of people working in that profession and serve the public good. They can help nurses maintain practice proficiency and keep professional knowledge up-to-date. Professional nursing organizations can also present a united voice of advocacy in the community and represent the objectives of the members. The American Nursing Association, International Council of Nurses, and the National Black Nurses Association are some examples of professional nursing orgs.

Attend Conferences and Networking Events

Professional nursing conferences are where cutting-edge developments in the field are first showcased to the world. At these conferences, nurses can learn about the latest innovations as well as discuss new concepts and current events in nursing. With the opportunity to attend seminars by renowned speakers, exchange ideas with other medical professionals, and make introductions to potential new employers, conferences are invaluable resources to nurses, especially to enrich your nursing career. Healthcare Traveler’s Take is a conference that focuses on providing new opportunities to travel nurses, so if that’s up your alley, learn more about it here!

enrich your nursing career

Subscribe and Listen to Podcasts

Podcasting is one of the fastest growing media types in the world and provides easy access to new information for nurses. You can listen on-the-go; whether you’re commuting to work or on your lunch break, you can easily tune in and stay on top of industry trends. Check out our list of 5 favorite nursing podcasts for a few ideas of where to start!

enrich your nursing career

Dive Into Peer-Reviewed Journals

Peer-reviewed journals are how most medical research reaches professionals, and they’re available to nurses so they can stay abreast of the latest developments in the field. Nurses can choose from tax-deductible publications dedicated to a wide range of topics from cardiology to infectious disease. Available in print or online, these scholarly articles cover the latest technological and treatment advances and offer tips for integrating them into a nurse’s practice. A good place to start is the American Journal of Nursing, a free resource where you can start reading in-depth about whatever concepts pique your interest.

Tune Into a Webinar in Your Specialty

Professional development can easily be done from home with the help of webinars. Stay current on the latest evidence-based learning and clinical practices by simply logging on to a webinar in your specialty—there are plenty to choose from. These educational sessions offer knowledge and tools to enhance patient outcomes and are available live or on-demand. Check out a list of 2022 nursing webinars here.

enrich your nursing career

5 of Our Favorite Nursing Podcasts

Podcasts are fantastic tools for professional development and feeling connected in the healthcare community. Whether you’re on your commute to work, doing laundry or dishes, or cooking a meal, a podcast is the perfect accompaniment. Here are five of our favorite nursing podcasts.

  1. Good Nurse Bad Nurse

Good Nurse Bad Nurse is a podcast for RNs who love interesting and thought-provoking stories from the field. In each episode, the podcast hosts, nurses Tina and Sam, take turns telling true stories about life as an RN. One story, told by the “good nurse” will be uplifting and inspiring. The other story, told by the “bad nurse,” will typically explore the darker side of the healthcare field—such as complications, mistakes, and dangers on the job. This podcast discusses hot-button issues in the medical field, and sometimes even true crime. It also features special guests and interviews with medical personnel. If you’re looking for a gripping yet fun podcast, with just the right amount of light-heartedness, check out Good Nurse Bad Nurse.

nursing podcasts

  1. The Nurse Keith Show

For nurses who want a podcast that focuses mainly on career advice, check out The Nurse Keith Show. Nurse Keith is a registered nurse, board-certified nursing coach, and specialist in holistic healing. The Nurse Keith Show helps nurses make informed career choices and explores the ins and outs of achieving your goals as a healthcare professional. In addition to career coaching, the podcast also explores current events in the medical field and inspiring guest interviews.

nursing podcasts

 

  1. Nursing Uncensored

Nursing Uncensored is an edgier podcast for the RN who loves (sometimes dark) humor. The podcast is hosted by Adrienne Behning, a registered nurse and entertainer who believes in bringing a little levity into the conversation about healthcare. With everything nurses go through on a weekly basis, Adrienne believes you have to laugh sometimes to get through the difficult parts of the job. With interviews, relatable stories, and the occasional curse word, Nursing Uncensored is for healthcare professionals who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.

nursing podcasts

 

  1. Bad Decisions with Katie Duke

Motivational speaker and nurse practitioner Katie Duke hosts a podcast that shares stories of both struggle and success. In her show, Katie pushes boundaries to explore the life decisions that don’t always turn out like you expect. In a society that glorifies perfection, nobody wants to reveal their bad decisions. “Bad Decisions” shifts the conversation to prove the importance of owning your failures as a necessity to success, especially in the nursing world.

nursing podcasts

  1. Real Talk School of Nursing

The Real Talk School of Nursing podcast is a bit different from the other podcasts on this list. That’s because, instead of focusing on life on the job, it focuses on life around the job. This podcast is for nurses who want to hear relatable discussions about balancing their work as a nurse practitioner and personal life. Real Talk School of Nursing also interviews professionals in the medical field and discusses personal experiences in this line of work.

nursing podcasts

 

Looking to start a new chapter in your nursing career? Apply for a travel RN contract with Premier!


5 Night Shift Tips for Beginners

Switching to the overnight shift can be a difficult adjustment for many nurses, and without proper preparation, it can be damaging to one’s body and psyche. Shift work disorder (SWD) is a widely diagnosed issue for overnight shift workers and can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, making it crucial to have a game-plan when tackling the transition to the night shift. For night owls, the night shift may seem like a dream. For others, it may require a total lifestyle change and an active effort to maintain a healthy sleep schedule and diet.

So how can a nurse put their best foot forward when embarking on a new night shift schedule? Here are five of our favorite tips and tricks to tackle your first NOC contract with ease.

Pencil in Your Zzzs

There’s no denying that sleep plays an important role  in providing the best care to your patients, yourself, and your family. When transitioning to nights, it’s crucial to plan out when you will get your much-needed rest. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so find a schedule that works for you. Some nurses suggest taking a 15 minute ‘power nap’ at least 5 hours before going into work while transitioning to the night shift. It’s very important to discipline yourself to only sleep a few hours after working the night shift so you can sleep that night. A gradual change in your sleeping habits is key during this time, as a sudden change can disrupt your body, appetite, and energy.

Equip Yourself for More Restful Sleep

Planning on getting enough sleep after your shift isn’t enough. It’s also important to enhance your sleeping experience by investing in a quality night’s rest. Try out a set of blackout curtains to block out the sun during the daytime hours. Only allow phone calls from those you can’t miss (kids’ schools, doctors, etc.) and put the rest on ‘do not disturb’ mode. A white-noise app or sound machine can be a great tool if you live in a busy city or apartment complex. Uninterrupted sleep is the best kind of sleep for NOC nurses!

Nutrition & Hydration are Key

Keeping your diet balanced and healthy is important to avoid hitting that 3 am slump at work. Try packing some healthy, easy-to-eat snacks (like raisins, bananas, or granola bars) and remember to keep yourself hydrated! Staying hydrated during a long shift will help you feel more alert and energized. Some nurses suggest eating a full meal before work and then a light pick-me-up like a salad or a bowl of oatmeal while on shift to avoid fatigue. As for caffeine, many nurses swear by their coffee or energy drinks, but use them sparingly! The caffeine high will always come with a bit of a crash if you overdo it.

Establish a Routine

Routine is the most important element of mastering the NOC shift. Get yourself a nice daily planner and schedule out when you intend to do errands, chores, and exercise. Map out your sleep schedule and even pencil in a little time for yourself to just relax after your shift. Working nights is all about having a routine down…when you find it, stick with it!

Focus on the Positives of the Night Shift

A positive attitude can greatly improve your time working the night shift. Be thankful for the benefits you may receive from your new shift, like extra time with your family. Oftentimes, nurses report that they forged the strongest friendships with their colleagues while working nights together.

Whether you are new to the night shift or a NOC veteran, find your next nursing contract with Premier!



Black History Month Spotlight: Estelle Massey Osborne

Estelle Massey Osborne was a trailblazing healthcare hero who helped change the face of nursing as we knew it. As a nurse, educator, and leader, she worked tireless to open healthcare up to women of color at a time when racial lines prevented most Black women from holding top positions in their fields. To say that she deserves to be honored is an understatement, so let’s take some time to learn about her life and legacy this Black History Month.

To be the first at anything is an accomplishment. Estelle Osborne’s vision, fearlessness, and determination allowed her to be the first in many areas. At the time Osborne was applying to nursing school, only 14 of the nation’s 1,300 schools for nursing were open to Black applicants. Yet for Osborne, racial barriers were only meant to be broken. She received the first scholarship awarded to a Black nurse by the Julius Rosenwald Fund in 1928. She entered nursing school in St. Louis, where she developed a passion for bedside care, particularly obstetrics. She was then accepted to Columbia University in New York, where she became the first Black nurse to receive a master’s degree in nursing education in 1931, a significant milestone that would impact future generations of nurses.

In addition to earning her master’s, she was named as a consultant to the National Nursing Council for War Service during World War II. During this time, in an effort to further the progress of those seeking higher education in nursing, she worked with nursing schools to eliminate discriminatory policies.

Osborne defied a system built on racism to help provide quality healthcare for Black Americans. 

She went to work for the Rosenwald Fund as a researcher, studying rural life in the deep South and investigating ways to bring better health education and service to rural Black communities.

In 1934, she took on the presidency of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, which was headquartered in New York City. There, she forged strategic relations with White-exclusive nursing institutions like the American Nurses Association (ANA) and intensely lobbied them to accept Black nurses, particularly those in the South. She also fostered programs to develop post-nursing school opportunities for nurses of color. When she left the post in 1939, she had increased the association’s membership more than five-fold, from 175 to 947.

In 1940, Osborne became the first Black superintendent of nurses at the storied Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, the largest exclusively Black, city-operated general hospital in the world, which served over 70,000 people. She was also the first Black woman director of its nursing school.

In 1959 the NYU Department of Nursing named Osborne the “Nurse of the Year.” In 1984, three years after she died, Osborne was inducted into the ANA Hall of Fame, in recognition of her outstanding achievements. Both NYU Meyers and the Nurses Educational Fund have created and named scholarships in her honor.

Osborne’s legacy lives on in each and every nurse who has overcome limitations based on race or gender to further themselves in the pursuit of delivering quality patient care.

Honor and celebrate her work by sharing her story with a nurse close to you this Black History Month.