About a month ago I became aware of a social networking site for travelers. If you have been a travel nurse for about a second, you are aware of many websites that are geared toward travel nurses. However, most of these sites are run by the travel companies. To my knowledge, Healthcare Travelbook is the first site of this kind, that is for travelers, and run by travelers.
Healthcare Travelbook uses a site layout similar to Facebook with the ability to upload photos and create profiles. It also features forums where travelers can communicate with each other and post information or ask questions of other travelers. While the site is still in its infancy, it is continually growing and working to introduce new areas and tools for travel professionals.
Healthcare Travelbook was created by Wes Herdlein, a traveler, who wanted to give other travelers a place to congregate and share information about everything from assignment locations, to pay rates, benefits, and opinions of travel companies and recruiters. I recently had an opportunity to correspond with Wes, and his wife Rebecca (who deals with the day to day operation of the site) on their plans for the website:
While I’ve touched a bit on the genesis of Healthcare Travelbook, what first led you to establish the website?
As a traveler I felt that with each new assignment I had to re-invent the wheel. I would get online and research the hospital, the town, state licensing and housing options. After struggling with each decision and accepting contracts, only then would I discover that other travelers had already paved the path before me. Also, it seemed that my decision was only being influenced by my recruiter and the hospitals. I realized that there was no central place for travelers to congregate and interact. There was no central resource for us to gather real information to make educated decisions about our career. Healthcare Travelbook was created to fill this need.
[pullquote]There was no central resource for us to gather real information to make educated decisions about our career. Healthcare Travelbook was created to fill this need.[/pullquote]
Is the site just for travel nurses or are allied professions included?
All travelers are included and here’s why: inviting everyone increases the chances of finding helpful information before signing a contract and moving to a new location. There are many common threads between ALL travelers. All travelers need good housing options and someone to connect with at a new location. Healthcare Travelbook can help make those connections with other travelers at other hospitals or clinics nearby. However, we also respect that nurses may have unique issues while traveling as well so we also have nurse specific areas of the site as well (i.e. forums and blogs).
What are some of the features on the website and what are some of the features that will be coming soon?
We currently have several features that are key for travelers. We have a traveler search feature, forums, expert blogs, reviews, jobs board, and the ability to share any content on Facebook and Twitter. Coming soon: Groups! The Groups feature, like Facebook, will allow any member to create any group. California Nurses could start a group, or the ER Traveler, or as you travel around the country, you can join different groups that are important to your current assignment. An Events feature will also be added soon so anyone can post an event for other members to attend (local or nationwide). We will also be providing video journals which will allow any traveler to post videos of their assignment, housing, or local attractions for other travelers to view!
What steps are you taking to help the website grow?
First of all, we have made it simple for members to “Invite a Friend” through the site. We also are creating partnerships that encourage companies in the travel healthcare industry to invite their travelers to join the site. We also advertise on Facebook, search engines, and we can’t leave out the most important way to grow the community: word of mouth!
What is your policy regarding the posting of a bad experience with a certain facility or travel company?
We practice free speech! We want to encourage free exchange of information. Companies and facilities that may feel slighted by traveler remarks are also welcome to join and respond in a professional manner if they wish. This creates a balanced exchange of information.
Are recruiters from the travel companies allowed on the website?
Absolutely and here’s why: Companies and recruiters are the middlemen in the industry and it would not exist without them. Their experience and input is a critical piece of the travel puzzle. We see them as valuable resources for travelers. With that said, our primary goal is to provide a safe environment for travelers to interact. We have strict guidelines for recruiters to interact in the community. The community provides a system of checks and balances to ensure that recruiters act in a professional manner. The community can “flag” blatant recruiting attempts to be removed.
What are your long term goals for the site?
Our vision is for HealthcareTravelbook to be THE central resource for the travel healthcare industry. We plan to accomplish this by continually building the community, providing unique and industry specific content, and ensuring that the site is easy to use and full of the latest social media tools!
I’d like to thank Wes and Rebecca for their time and I look forward to the many new facets of the website and watching how the site will grow in the coming years. If you’d like to check out or join the community over at Healthcare Travelbook, they can be found at HealthcareTravelbook.com.