By September 12, 2017 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How can companies keep Travelers happy?

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Ask a Travel Nurse: How can companies keep Travelers happy?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

Hi David!

After reading multiple blog posts of yours, I have a few questions pertaining to recruiters and staffing companies. I work at a smaller, fairly new staffing company and I wanted to inquire about how we can retain our nurses and make them feel valued. In your view, how can companies keep Travelers happy?

Any tips are helpful and thank you in advance for your time!

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

While I cannot fully understand the issues you encounter in your position, I can hopefully give you some insight from the Traveler side.

Bottom line, Travel Nurses want the truth. Don’t tell them you’re sure you can get them to their desired destination or things should be “no problem,” when you honestly aren’t certain. Most seasoned Travelers work with several recruiters and if you don’t have what they want, they are simply going to go elsewhere. But if you lie or “over-exaggerate” the truth, they won’t only go elsewhere, they won’t be back.

If your company is strong (offers decent pay, good healthcare, etc.) and you are respectful, then most Travelers will come back, even if they take an assignment or two with another company. After all the time a nurse spends filling out the checklists and submitting the paperwork requirements (physical, immunizations, letters of recommendation, etc.), they will certainly consider you in the future unless you give them reason not to.

I’ve heard stories of Travelers being pressured to take assignments they don’t really want or even threatened that they will be “blacklisted” if they don’t take an assignment for which they may have interviewed. On the flipside, I’ve had a recruiter at a preferred company try to get me more of a housing stipend from the “higher ups,” (to match another company’s quote), and when she couldn’t, told me she’d go with the other company if the stipend was that good. While not matching the other company’s quote did cost them the contract, there wasn’t anything more the recruiter could have done and her honesty always made her my first call when seeking a contract.

Another top priority is to listen to what the Travel Nurse is seeking. If they want San Diego and you keep notifying them of the great positions you have in L.A., pretty soon they won’t be returning your call. Have a conversation with your Traveler and understand what they want out of the assignment. Are they fixed on a certain location? Do they simply want the highest paying gig? Do they want a warm spot in the winter to sit on the beach, or a cold spot to spend days off on the ski slopes? A top complaint of Travel Nurses is that they feel their recruiter is not listening to what they want.

As far as gifts or sending a Traveler items, we really don’t require much and there likely isn’t much we don’t already have as far as job or travel preparedness. Sometimes, a recruiter’s time is the biggest gift. It’s ALWAYS important to stay in contact with the Traveler when beginning an assignment as to where they need to be and what to expect on the first week of the assignment.

If any testing, like PBDS, is required, your Traveler will want to know this BEFORE showing up to orientation. If your company has a study or review guide to send out, even better. Strong communication is something a Traveler needs for the first week of their assignment. There is nothing so frustrating as showing up to your assigned facility only to learn that their orientation is held at corporate — in a different location!

For things like Nurses Week or the holidays, a small gift card to somewhere like Starbucks or Chipotle is always nice. You can never go wrong giving a nurse food items.

I hope this helps and gives a bit of perspective from the Traveler side.


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Posted in: Ask a Travel Nurse

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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