Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
I’m new to the idea of Travel Nursing and want to give it a try. But, there are so many companies — it blows my mind! What’s the best Travel Nursing company? Can you recommend a few good Travel Nursing companies for me to research and/or a recruiter, to get me started in the right direction?
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
I don’t endorse or recommend “companies” per se, but rather, great people within those companies. I believe that having a great recruiter is a key element of having a good travel experience. I believe in this so much so, that one of the companies with which I travel, I would actually caution against, unless someone was working with the recruiter there with whom I have completed many an assignment and trust to take care of the issues that can arise, while on assignment.
If you call a company “cold” and ask to speak to someone, they will just pair you with the next available recruiter. It’s kind of “luck-of-the-draw” when you do that and you can work with the best travel company in the world, but if they pair you with a recruiter who only has a month on the job, how good an experience do you think you might have?
If you like, I can help get you paired up with the people I use and trust with my travels, but would need a bit more info from you. Can you tell me how many years nursing experience you have and how much of that experience is in the specialty in which you intend to travel?
After that, what works best for both my recruiters and I is to have you send me your best contact info (best email, if not this one, and best phone number where they might reach you). I’ll forward your info to my recruiters and then email you the name of the person who will be contacting you, the company for which they work, and a little bio on the company. These people are the ONLY people who will receive any of your information.
I would also need to know any companies where you have spoken with a recruiter or even just contacted them and given them your information. The reason for this is because of the way that I refer nurses to my recruiters and not wanting to submit your name to a company at which you are already working with, or have been assigned a recruiter. I have had one or two instances where my recruiter didn’t first find the nurse I submitted in their system and started working with them only to discover that they were essentially “poaching” a nurse from another recruiter. Obviously, not a great position in which to put my recruiters. Please understand, I am not admonishing you for other nurses’ non-disclosure. It’s just that it’s problematic for my recruiters when people have not disclosed the companies with which they have already spoken.
Presently, there are five companies where I have established great contacts for my own travels. These people have also helped me get quite a few new travelers started in their careers. Most are medium sized companies (that give better customer service, but may not have all of the assignments that the “giants” do). However, I also have a really great recruiter at one of…if not, THE, largest travel company out there. This is one instance in which having a great recruiter is KEY.
I ALWAYS advise travelers to be on file with at least a handful of companies (after a decade and a half, I am still on file with six or seven). So many of the nurses join all the companies I refer them to, but usually find a favorite and do most of their traveling with that company. I am no different, but when I want to get to a location and my preferred company does not have any assignments in the area, I can always call two or three others and find what I want.
It’s also important for new travelers to be on file with multiple companies because some hospitals will even specify, “no first-time travelers”. So obviously, the more companies you are on file with, the more assignment opportunities you will have (not all companies have the same assignment selection).
Don’t be afraid to have several companies looking for you at once, but be courteous to your recruiters and let them know if you do take an assignment with anyone else (so they do not continue to spend their time seeking an assignment for you).
I’ll also pass on some sites that are good resources for travel nurses. Some good travel nurse forums can be found at ultimatenurse.com, allnurses.com, and the Delphi forum for traveling professionals (go to delphiforums.com, look for the box on the right that says “Explore existing forums”, type in “travel nursing” and the top result is a group called Travel Nurses and Therapists).
Pan Travelers is also another good site with a forum. They have a free section and also a portion where there is a charge to access information.
Healthcare Traveler Magazine has moved entirely online, but can be found at http://healthcaretraveler.modernmedicine.com/ where you can read current or back issues (I’ve written articles for them as well as a monthly column that you can find in past issues). You can also join Healthcare Travelbook (healthcaretravelbook.com), which is a sort of Facebook style place for travelers, which also has a forum.
While most travelers start with the companies that I use, if in your travels, you ever hear of another company that interests you, always check them out on the forums and see what other travelers may have to say about them. The amount of time they have been in business can be a consideration (not all “young” companies are bad, just as not all companies that have been in the business awhile will be good). Longevity just says that they have been doing this awhile and should have most of their ducks in a row (and it also means you should be able to find out more about them on the forums).
Also look and see if they have a Better Business Bureau rating. Not all companies are accredited by the BBB (most might not be) but even if a company is not accredited by the BBB, they may have a rating and you can see if anyone has ever filed a complaint against them.
Finally, I recommend simply typing the company name into a search browser with the word “complaint” or “review”. This sometimes yields some pretty interesting results.
So, if you send me your contact info (best email and phone number) and all the companies with which you have had contact, I’ll be happy to pass along your info and help get you started with some great people in the travel industry 🙂
Hope this helps.
(And for those of you in a similar situation, who would like to be paired with some great people in the travel industry, please feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would need to know a bit about you first, if you are contacting me directly. So please let me know your full name, how many total years of experience you have, and how many years of experience you have in the specialty in which you wish to travel, and what that specialty might be. I’d also like to know your motivation for travel and the area(s) of the country you will be seeking at first. This may help me steer you in a certain direction regarding which recruiters are working at companies that may benefit you most.
As with any other person contacting me for a referral, PLEASE also let me know if there are any companies where you have spoken with a recruiter or submitted your info to a company. This prevents problems with emailing my recruiters your contact info only to have them tell me you are already in their system.)