Your next assignment starts here. Search jobs now!
By July 14, 2018 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: What are the top 10 things to know when choosing an agency?

Woman with a number

Ask a Travel Nurse: What are the top 10 things to know when choosing an agency?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

Hi David, I have a few questions. First, what are the top 10 things I need to know when choosing a Travel Nurse agency? Which agencies provide top-notch pay and excellent service? Also, what are the top 10 hospitals and locations for Travel Nursing?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

Hello, let me navigate you through an answer that might not be quite the response you were expecting.

I cannot really give you a list of 10 things that are important to know when contacting a Travel Nurse company. It’s not as if there is a checklist on the correct way to choose a company.

First and foremost, try to get a referral to a specific recruiter. If you call a company cold and ask to speak with a recruiter, they will just assign you to the next person available. That person could have years of experience with the company or just be weeks off of orientation. In other words, it’s really a roll of the dice on whether or not you get an experienced recruiter.

The next thing you must do is thoroughly research the company. Find out what they offer in terms of healthcare insurance and other benefits — i.e. dental, travel and license reimbursement, 401k, referral and loyalty bonuses, etc. You really do need to find a travel company that suits your needs. Most companies receive the same dollar amount from the facilities for your assignment. The difference is in how they allocate that money. One company may have a higher pay rate, one better housing, another better benefits — it’s likely that no one company will have the best of all worlds.

In researching companies, it’s not unheard of to request information on the company’s healthcare plan or 401k offerings before even considering whether or not you wish to travel with the company.

As for which company will have the best “service,” that will be a matter of opinion and experience. Every single Travel Nursing company out there will have nurses who sing their praises and every company will also have nurses who vow, “never again.” I believe that once you find a company that allocates the contract monies the way that is most beneficial for you, it is ALL about finding a great recruiter with whom to work. A great recruiter will have worked with you and know you personally when issues do arise (which, in most cases, is the best time to find out how good the service is in your company). In these instances, your recruiter can be your advocate within the company. I cannot speak enough about how key it is to have a great recruiter.

The best hospital locations will also be mostly subjective with one person having a great experience and another, not so much. The biggest factor here would be: In which environment are you most comfortable? Do you prefer a large teaching facility with residents and interns running around all day and night, or do you prefer the autonomy of a small, rural facility where the only doctor in-house may be the ER physician.

While this email may not lead you directly to the answers you sought, hopefully it will allow you to reflect on what factors are important to you in a Travel Nursing company and make an informed decision on how to proceed.

I do always offer to assist new Travelers with getting set up with a few direct contacts in the industry. So, if you’d like some assistance with some great recruiters at solid companies, please feel free to email me at

I hope this helps.



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.

Post a Comment