By November 16, 2011 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How do I know which travel nurse agency to use?


confused traveling nurseAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

Hello David. I am a staff oncology RN in CA with 3 years experience. I have never done travel nursing. I would love to go to Alaska as a travel nurse next year. I am thinking may-aug., but I can do colder months if the jobs are better. How do I know which travel agency to use? Is there a chance I could get an oncology assignment in Alaska, or should I be prepared for med-surg. Thank you very much. Looking forward to your response.

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

Please feel free to email me personally at and I can get you set up with a few recruiters at companies that I trust. I recommend that travelers start out by signing up with at least a few companies to give them more assignment options. You may also need several companies in your pocket as not all of them may have Alaska assignments. However, I’d like to get you talking with a few people because I’d also like you to ask them the questions you asked of me.

Since the recruiters are the ones who place people, they would have better answers for you in regard to availability of assignments and also how often they see Alaska assignments. They would also be a good resource for an assignment so specific because if they have sent travelers there before, they can help you with the licensure process (occasionally a little tricky with Alaska board I hear), and what feedback they have heard from other travelers that have worked in Alaska.

They would also be able to tell you which assignments they place more, oncology or med-surg. I would tend to think med-surg, but again, a better question for those people who place travelers on a day to day basis. I tend to use my recruiters for a lot of information and they appreciate travelers who research assignments.

I will tell you that you want to have enough experience in the specialty in which you wish to travel because you will have little to no chance to cross-train while on the road. Often, the specialty in which you start to travel will be the one you travel in throughout your career, so choose something you love.

Also, if you are well informed about what to expect, great. If you still need to learn more about what travel nursing entails, I’d recommend my book, Travel Nurse’s Bible. It will walk you through the entire process that you will encounter as a traveler. You can certainly learn a lot on your own via the net (like most of us who have been doing this for awhile had to do), but if you’d like a resource that puts everything in one place, take a peek at to see all the things the book covers.

Sorry I could not answer your questions more directly, but I’d just be turning around and picking up the phone to ask the experts I use for that type of info. But email me and I’ll get you to those people directly and you can start making contacts that you will use throughout your travel career.


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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.

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