Floating Doctors

I feel like everyone remembers their first job with an appropriate mix of fondness and trauma. My first “real” job (in the sense that I had a W-2) was in a restaurant, a pretty famous one that has a big menu with about a million cheesecakes, and I remember proudly bringing my granddad a slice of cheesecake for his birthday. I also remember hating my manager and quitting after not working there too long, and of course, the discussion of good leadership saving a company money can wait for another day.

My first job out of nursing school, as a real nurse, was equally exhilarating and terrifying. I’ll always remember the first time I started an IV (and I work in a NICU, so we’re talking tiny veins here), the first time a baby tried to die, the first time one actually died. I also remember the first time one of the doctors took my concerns seriously, without looking around for a more experienced nurse to validate my statements, and he ordered an X-Ray to get a clearer picture of this sweet baby boy I was worried was getting sick.

My first job also brought with it some unique challenges that the other new hires didn’t have to face. I had gone to nursing school in Virginia, but moved down to Texas to start my first job because my husband was in graduate school, and that summer, Virginia’s Board of Nursing (BON) had some technical difficulties, so they were delayed transferring my credentials down to Texas’ BON. Even though to become an RN, everyone takes the exact same national test (called the NCLEX-RN), each state maintains their list of credentialed nurses separately.

Because my credentials were locked up in a computer 10 states away, the hospital I was working for could not verify my status as an official nurse, so they let me keep my job and go through my orientation, but they paid me at a tech hourly rate, which was almost one third of my hourly rate as a nurse. Since our financial plan was that I would essentially make the money while my husband finished school, this put us in a very difficult place, only intensified with our recent cross-country move. It took 6 weeks for Virginia to release my information, and when I went to my manager, she said she was unable to back pay me for those 6 weeks, and there was nothing I could do but be grateful for the fact that we had some savings built up.

Now, we’re gearing up for my husband’s graduation and getting ready to move back to Virginia. Remembering the stress of our move last time, I have been researching all of the things I have to do to transfer my license, and it’s complicated. Since the requirements for a nurse are the same in every state in this country, and since high quality, licensed professionals are needed in every state in this country, isn’t it time we figured out a better system for licensing them and then giving them the freedom to provide excellent care in the big cities and the mountain towns, regardless of state lines?

This is where I see Blockchain technology coming in to help. If my license is stored on a Blockchain, there is no person who can hold up the transfer of information. If offenses are stored on the Blockchain, any hospital can immediately see if a nurse has been charged before they hire him/her. Moving all of this to a Blockchain means easier movement for healthcare professionals, easier hiring for hospitals, and better care for patients.

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