By March 21, 2011 7 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How do I find the best travel nursing companies to work for?

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confused travel nurseAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

A friend and I are looking to begin travel nursing. We each have 2 years of experience and are looking for the best companies to work with. Money is not the most important thing, but just the idea that they will be there for us and care, and housing is important. We are also wondering if jobs for each of us will always be provided. Any names of good companies that you could recommend?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

It is certainly not the first time someone has wondered where to start as far as travel companies. There is no “best company to work for”, only the company that best suits your needs.

As far as traveling philosophies, I think you are starting wise. So many travelers concentrate on making the most money they can and go with the company that looks most enticing monetary wise. However, many of these companies show their true nature with very poor customer service when anything goes awry.

Looking for a solid “all around” company is always your best bet. When I say “all around”, I mean one that offers a decent rate, comparable benefits, and will stand by you should anything occur while on assignment. To find out which companies fit this bill, you need to talk to other travelers or spend some time in any of the online forums devoted to travel nursing. So many people want a quick solution to the question of which company to select for travel, but again, one company will not suit the needs of every traveler.

However, I can give you a starting place for a few solid companies to check out. The first would be the one who runs the website to which you have posted your question. While I have never taken an assignment with Medical Solutions, I have read many positive things about them in the forums. They are also a privately owned company which I favor over the corporate giants. Another solid company, which I have worked with in the past, is RN Network. They have had my back on a few dicey situations while on assignment including two contract cancellations. I have also always been pleased with their housing arrangements.

A few other names also ring out including Trinity Healthcare and Cirrus Medical Staffing. I also have recruiters at these companies that have helped me get others started in travel nursing should you prefer a name to contact rather than just a company (can email me at david@travelnursesbible.com should you wish to go this route).

Finally, I would suggest signing up with at least a few of these companies. While they will do the best to always keep you working, no company out there can promise to keep you working 100% of the time. Once I find a good company, I am loyal to them up to a point. If they can get me to the location I want (the most important factor for me), them I give them every chance to find me an assignment. However, sometimes that is just not possible and where one company cannot place you, another company may have the perfect contract that suits your needs.

I would also be remiss if I did not at least mention my book since it was written for nurses like yourselves just starting out in travel. You can see what it covers at travelnursesbible.com. I hope this helps and feel free to email me should you have any other questions.

David Morrison
travelnursesbible.com
david@travelnursesbible.com

5 for $500 Bonus

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.

7 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: How do I find the best travel nursing companies to work for?"

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  1. mel says:

    I just want to know why it should cost the travel nurse so much money to get to one area and not have reimbursement of any kind when the company notifies that the contract is cancelled. I am out over 5,000.00 to date related to a cancellation with all incrued expenses just because “that’s Florida”. No way to recoup the money, I am done with the travel situation. Company basically said that they can’t help me. Nice, I may as well flip burgers. Now I am out a job 3 weeks no work, no income and large expenses related to a failed ontract on the company., not me and I am the only one suffering along with my family. Sincerely, Mel

  2. David says:

    Hey Mel. Sorry to hear about your experience. Although not what I would call common, unfortunately you are not the only one that has experienced this.

    The best way to combat this situation is to ask the travel company what type of experiences they have had with the facility in the past. If you have a good recruiter, they don’t mind giving you the dirt if a facility is known for canceling contracts. The travel company will also suffer from the way this hospital does business (although not as bad as the traveler does).

    So when you are considering an assignment, it’s always good to ask what type of history the company has with a facility or hospital system, especially in states with snowbirds that see drastic swings in hospital census numbers and cancel contracts when their numbers drop.

    David

  3. Hershel says:

    Hi im just adding my thoughts on this subject. Im a traveler also if your new to the travel nurse theme, my advise is to read some nurse reviews of the companies and pick one and watch the job board. If a spot is up for a while a pending on a contract fill ask your recruit basically if the completion rate at the hospital is good and if they have filled contracts there before. just fYI try local contracts before jumping state or ask to fill some federal institutes.

  4. rebecca says:

    Hi, I will start my travel experience in several months with my husband. Other than reading sites are there any other good tips to be a travel nurse when first starting out???? It all seems a little overwhelming. Would you say it has been worth it??? what do you like best about it???? Thanks

  5. David says:

    Hey Rebecca. To give you all the tips to starting out would require much more space than I am allotted here.

    I am currently working on a rewrite to my 2009 book, Travel Nurse’s Bible, but have had a rather hectic life as of late. However, due to multiple requests, I have made my out-of-print 2009 edition available on Amazon for less than the cost of your next lunch at McDonalds 🙂 It’s in the Kindle store, but if you do not have a Kindle, there are free programs and apps that allow you to read Kindle purchased items on your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

    Despite being five years old, as I reread the book for the rewrite, much of the information still holds true today. So I would recommend that to any nurse starting out in travel (and again, it’s only 5 bucks).

    As for travel itself, I would not have been afforded many of the wonderful opportunities of the last 19 years, were it not for travel nursing. I would honestly be hard pressed not to write an entire book chapter on the things that I enjoy about travel nursing.

    Starting out can be a bit of an overwhelming task and I always offer help to those embarking on a career in travel nursing by setting people up with some of the great recruiters I use and trust with my travels.

    I’m sorry if I haven’t really answered your questions directly, but I am a writer and could never summarize the 300 pages of my book in a paragraph or two. It’s been a great profession and I would recommend it to anyone with the ability to travel.

    If you’d like some help on getting started with some great recruiters in the business, feel free to email me at david@travelnursesbible.com

    David

  6. Kim says:

    I am a Hospice RN and I have been seeking a travel job in Hospice only. They are far and few, but they are now available through out the USA. You failed to even list this as a possibility.

  7. David says:

    I’m not sure if you posted on the correct thread Kim. This thread deals with travel companies and not any one specialty in particular.

    Almost EVERY specialty in nursing is available in travel. The question everyone should ask themselves is, “How many positions are posted in my specialty nationwide and would I be able to sustain travel in such a specialty?”

    David
    david@travelnursesbible.com

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