Exploring Tampa as a Travel Nurse or Therapist

If you’re traveling to Tampa on your next travel nursing or therapist assignment, you’re in for an adventure! Regardless of how long you’re staying, you definitely won’t get bored exploring this charming city. Try taking out time from your busy schedule to check out these five favorite attractions you can’t miss in the Tampa, FL area.

Busch Gardens

This world-class amusement park spans almost 300 acres and features more than 12,000 attractions, rides, games, and live shows. From live animal exhibits to themed areas based on nations of the world, you’ll find that this park offers an ideal blend of education and entertainment for groups of all ages.

Tampa Theatre

Built in 1926, this historic structure is a gorgeous example of period architecture. You can stop by to catch a movie or a show in this iconic setting or opt for the 90-minute backstage tour where you can see the theater’s 900-pipe Wurlitzer organ. The Tampa Theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Florida Aquarium

Conveniently located in downtown Tampa, the Florida Aquarium features more than 20,000 aquatic animals and plants. Exhibits include polar bears, penguins, sharks, alligators, and otters. Kids will also enjoy the outdoor play zone that features a water slide and splash park.

Henry B. Plant Museum

This collection is located inside a historic hotel on the campus of the University of Tampa. Step into the gilded age of Florida’s history with art and artifacts that highlight this unique period. The hotel, once owned by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant, features rooms restored to their original Victorian splendor.

Ybor City

This neighborhood in Tampa gives you a chance to experience the area’s vibrant nightlife, with a mishmash of clubs, bars, and music venues. During the day, you can enjoy authentic Cuban delicacies as well as the hand-rolled cigars that once dominated neighborhood commerce.

When you’re not at work saving lives, take a bit to enjoy the livelihood that Tampa has to offer. Any of these five activities are great ways to de-stress and experience the culture surrounding you. If you’re a travel nurse or therapist looking to relocate to Tampa or wanting to start a new adventure in the U.S., contact Ardor Health Solutions today. We specialize in finding your perfect healthcare fit in a variety of places across the nation. Call us at (855) GO-ARDOR to learn more.

How to Eat Well When Traveling

If you’re a nurse, you know it can be tough to eat healthy meals during a busy shift. If you’re a travel nurse, those challenges multiply when you’re facing unknown locations, irregular kitchen facilities, and strict schedules. Keep in mind that caring for yourself is a crucial element of caring for others.

Try these nutrition tips to be your best self for your patients, your family, and of course, you!

Skip the Drive-Thru

While grabbing fast food on the go often seems like the easiest way to get a quick meal, it’s usually not the healthiest choice. Instead, see if you can find a local grocery store when you’re in a new area. You’ll be able to get fresh items like fruits and veggies, which are low cost and suitable to eat throughout the day, keeping you satisfied. Many supermarkets even have a deli with a salad bar and prepared foods like sushi and soups. If that isn’t within your budget, many websites have recipes for five or 10-minute meals that you can make with minimal ingredients.

Pump Up the Protein

Getting enough protein in your diet helps you concentrate and stabilize your blood sugar so that you feel full for an extended amount of time. When you only get a quick shift break, it’s important to make choices that will provide you with the energy you need until it’s time to clock out. Good options include hard-boiled eggs, trail mix and nuts, low-fat cottage cheese, and natural beef jerky.

Increase Hydration

Drinking enough water keeps you alert and helps remove toxins from your body. Try carrying a reusable water bottle and making a point to drink at least 64 ounces each day. Avoid too much caffeine and sugary drinks, which can provide a spike in blood sugar followed by a quick crash.

Get the Gear

A lunch bag you love will add some excitement to the sometimes drab task of packing a lunch for work. Bringing your meal will not only save you money, but it also gives you the opportunity to avoid grabbing unhealthy foods, processed items, sugary snacks, and sodas from the convenience store. Besides, bringing meals is much more environmentally friendly than relying on the waste-heavy fast food industry.

It’s no secret that being hungry affects mood and work capability. With a little preparation and some practice, you can create daily eating habits that fit your busy life and still provide you with enough nutrition to feel great. At Ardor Health Solutions, we recognize the importance of nutrition when you’re a busy nurse. Contact us today to join our fantastic team of nurses across the country.

Understanding GSA Per Diem Rates for Healthcare Travelers

For a travel nurse, it’s important to consider what kinds of pay and the type of salary you will receive. Typically, per diems are offered as part of the stipend package for travel nurses. Although each staffing agency sets these rates, there are federal guidelines for per diems. If you qualify, this is a daily amount added to your pay intended to provide for housing, meals, and other living expenses during your travel assignment.

How Much is Per Diem Stipend?

To calculate the per diem qualification, the agency will typically have you complete a form based on a formula established by the federal General Services Administration (GSA). They have developed standard travel rates for government as well as non-government employees, including travel nurses.

The current continental U.S. (CONUS) rate is $91 per day for housing and $51 per day for other expenses, including food. An agency may change these rates depending on the living costs of the area where they send you. The GSA website has a chart for users to play with – you can enter the zip code of a city and see what the average rates are.

The GSA has also established and publicly posted daily maximums for each region.

Each year, the GSA per diem rates increase at the beginning of October. Increases depend on the daily cost of living averages.

Safety Tips for Choosing an Agency

While receiving a per diem is an integral part of your compensation for a given assignment, the daily maximum is established to prevent agencies from avoiding taxation by paying nurses a meager hourly rate and a very high per diem. Avoid agencies that use this practice; although the rates sound advantageous, this pay structure exposes you to tax and legal risk. You will have to report any per diem amount above the daily maximum as income tax. Otherwise, these stipends are tax-free.

Instead of offering a per diem, some agencies require you to save receipts and submit them for direct reimbursement of your expenses. If you exceed the daily per diem and your agency does not offer to reimburse you, you may be able to write off the difference on your income tax return. This is a typical situation when a nurse is working in a major metropolitan area where meals are more costly than average.

Before coming to any final decisions, weigh out your options and do your research. Make sure that any agency you work with will pay you enough to live in your desired destination. At Ardor Health Solutions, we make sure that all of our travel nurses are placed in the best healthcare services around the U.S. Contact us today to join our network of nurses throughout the country.

Top 5 Things to do in Atlanta

Atlanta’s southern and cosmopolitan atmosphere attracts many who are looking to relocate. It boasts both exciting nightlife and family-oriented activities, making it an ideal location for any travel nurse. When you’re not at work saving lives, try to find the time to visit some of these iconic and beautiful places and fall in love with Atlanta.

Piedmont Park

If you’re looking for a place to spend a lazy afternoon, Piedmont Park is your place. Boasting over 200 acres, Piedmont Park offers visitors many different activities. There are paths for walking or jogging, playgrounds, dog parks, a swimming pool, and tennis courts – all available to the public. It’s also home to many events throughout the year such as Atlanta Pride and the Atlanta Jazz Festival.

Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta History Center gives visitors and locals the opportunity to learn more about Atlanta’s rich past. The history center is spread across 33 acres and includes exhibits, historic homes, and beautiful gardens and paths. Visitors can easily spend two hours exploring the vast property and taking pictures of the beautiful homes and gardens located inside.

World of Coca-Cola

The World of Coca-Cola is an ode to one of the most well-known soft drinks in the world. The two-level facility holds exhibits on Coca-Cola’s history, the bottling process, and its influence on pop culture. There’s even an area where visitors can taste more than 100 varieties of Coke from places like Africa, Asia, and Europe. The samples are free, so get ready for a pretty intense sugar high!

Fox Theatre

Inspired by Egyptian and Spanish architecture, the Fox Theatre is one of Atlanta’s most iconic landmarks. Even if you can’t catch a performance, you can still get a tour of the inside and see the ornate decorations of 10 of the theater’s locations.

Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon and get out of the Georgia heat. The aquarium has more than 100,000 animals from 700 different species, allowing visitors to learn about animals they never knew existed. If you’re lucky, you may also be able to catch the aquarium’s free dolphin show. The Georgia Aquarium is a sure-fire way to spend your day and make some memories along the way.

Atlanta is a cultural hub filled with many eclectic people and places. Doing any of these five things during your time off can help you de-stress and fall in love with your new city. Looking to work all over the U.S.? Contact us today to be placed in a healthcare facility perfectly suited for you.

Staying Healthy as a Travel Nurse

The life of a nurse can be strenuous and exhilarating. Nurses are often trained to prioritize making sure those around them are healthy and happy. While this is essential to being a top-notch nurse, it can also be exhausting. Staying healthy as a nurse is beneficial to everyone around them, including themselves. Follow these small steps to help maintain your health so you can maintain others’.

Pack Healthy Pre-made Snacks

When you’re running around all day taking care of patients, it can be hard to find the time to sit down for a healthy meal or snack. Often, it’s easier to turn to the vending machine or snag a piece of cake leftover from the breakroom than it is to eat a well-balanced snack. Pre-making a healthy snack can be a great way to get the nutrients your body needs when you’re on-the-go. Filling a mason jar or Tupperware container with different fruits and vegetables can give you the boost you need while maintaining a healthy diet.

Eat Lots of Protein

Protein is a building block for many aspects of our bodies and should be an essential part of your diet. For nurses who are consistently on the move, eating lots of protein can help keep energy levels consistent, blood sugar regulated, and immune system healthy. Incorporating foods like Greek yogurt, nuts, lean meats and fish into your diet is a great way to stay healthy.

Take a Multivitamin

Regardless of what you have on your plate for the day, taking a daily multivitamin can help fill the gaps you may be missing from your meals. There are many multivitamins out there, but it’s best to take one that uses real fruits and vegetables and isn’t synthetic. Taking a multivitamin in addition to your healthy eating habits will keep your body and mind in top shape for your busy day.

Stay Hydrated

Water is essential to keeping the body performing to its full potential, and drinking lots of it will help maintain the body’s health. Not only does drinking water quench your thirst, but it also improves cardiovascular health, keeps your body cool and helps joints and muscles work better. Keeping a reusable water bottle handy during your shift can help you stay hydrated.

Being a nurse can test you both mentally and physically, but following these tips can help you put your health first so you can continue to help others. We recognize the importance of nurses and want to make sure they are as healthy as possible. Contact us today to join our network of healthy and happy travel nurses throughout the country.