By June 14, 2010 1 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: What is NATHO?

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NATHORecently, another publication for which I write, partnered with a company called NATHO. Until that time, I had never heard of NATHO; however, when I read up on this new company, I became very interested in what they might be able to accomplish in the profession of travel nursing.

NATHO stands for the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations and was established in 2008 to promote ethical business practices in the travel healthcare industry. While NATHO was founded by various CEO’s in the healthcare industry, it is not-for-profit and managed by an independent third party. The reason for establishing the company in this way was to provide “an unbiased environment for all Travel Healthcare companies to participate in.”

So it sounds like it’s just for healthcare companies right? No. NATHO wants to encourage its member companies to establish a gold standard in the travel industry. One way it hopes to accomplish this is by holding those firms accountable for their actions with a formal dispute resolution process.

What this means is that if you have a dispute with a NATHO member company, you can now submit a complaint to NATHO regarding that particular company. If you’d like to see if your travel company is a member of NATHO, you can see a full list here.

Since the company is still in its infancy, I have yet to speak with any fellow travelers that have gone through NATHO’s dispute process or even submitted a complaint. However, as any travel nurse knows, anyone willing to help them through a difficult time while on the road, can be a blessing.

NATHO is also working with its member travel companies to help provide guidelines for tax advantage programs. Taxes and the travel nurse can always be a tricky subject to navigate. NATHO has provided a guide to travelers that can accessed directly here.

NATHO further requires all of its member companies to be JCAHO certified. While many companies already carry this designation, you could start seeing “NATHO member” designations on company websites right beside their JCAHO seals.

It is still too early to know what NATHO will mean for travel nurses. Certainly many of their goals seem to work toward making the industry better for all those involved. If you have had any involvement with NATHO, especially if you have filed a complaint with them or used their dispute process, I would enjoy hearing from you about your experience.

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About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

1 Comment on "Ask a Travel Nurse: What is NATHO?"

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  1. Jeff says:

    Thanks for the overview David, I just wanted to add a few things to the discussion. Although NATHO does have some positive things on its plate, it also has some things that make you pause.

    The organization was started to improve the ethics in the industry among travel nursing companies, which suggests that they think there must have been unethical behavior going on. In reality a small number of companies may have been the culprits in that regard. Nevertheless, their guidelines may have gone too far and moved beyond ensuring good ethics to imposing their own agenda (particularly since their Board members, as of March 2010, included executives at 6 of the top companies).

    For example there is language in their Code of Ethics that makes it more difficult for travelers to switch companies at the same hospital and in general just limits innovation in the industry and forces companies into cookie cutter business models, which eventually will give power to all the larger companies with more financial resources. And we all know that not every travel nurse wants to work with a large multi-brand company.

    I also believe that at one time they were trying to put together an industry wide blacklist so if you were terminated with one company they shared it with all the other companies in the organization, granted I think PAN Travelers spoke up and they backed away from this, but it shows that the traveler may not always be at the heart of their motives.

    Like I said though they do have some good ideas on their website, I just invite everyone to read through their materials fully before coming to a conclusion.

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