A supplemental nurse is a nurse who operates as a freelancer filling in nursing positions when a hospital or healthcare center is low on staffing and needs temporary nursing assistance.
These nurses can be found in just about any area of nursing and operate in places such as doctor’s offices, physician’s offices, walk in clinics, intensive care units, specialty healthcare clinics, hospitals and other healthcare services that require the use of a nurse.
In some cases this type of nursing position may be considered similar to the type of work travel nurses perform, which involves traveling to different healthcare facilities and providing nursing assistance when a location is dealing with a nursing shortage.
Those who work as supplemental nurses must be highly educated, able to quickly adapt to varying situations and be open to meeting new groups of people as their services are often promptly needed in a healthcare facility that can only offer limited on the job training and expects the supplemental nurse they hire to be able to perform all of the duties of a regular nurse within a short amount of time.
Being able to adapt quickly and develop relationships is a vital component to supplemental nursing as the staff and supplemental nurse need to be comfortable working with one another and communication is one of the most important parts of nursing and providing excellent patient care.
The path to becoming a supplement nurse is fairly straight forward.
Individuals who would like to become nurses and start a career as a supplemental nurse must first apply for and take a qualified nursing program at a college or university that offers an associates of science in nursing (ASN) or bachelors of science in nursing (BSN) degree.
Upon successful completion of the coursework students must then pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to obtain their license so they can begin working as a registered nurse.
In order to get hired for a supplemental nursing position most healthcare facilities look for registered nurses who have acquired a fairly decent amount of training and work experience in the field.
In many cases this may mean working for 1 – 3 years as a registered nurse before starting a career as a supplemental nurse.
While it may not be necessary for landing a position as a supplemental nurse those who would like to have the best possibility of obtaining a position in supplemental nursing may want to go for their BSN degree since nurses who have an ASN are often limited in the amount of care they can provide to patients due to less training.
It may also be wise to take additional certification courses while working as a registered nurse as this can show an employer that the applicant is serious about their work and will be prepared to handle whatever situation comes their way.