How To Choose a Travel Nurse Agency/Company
1. You need an experienced company and recruiter
2. Don’t pick the agency with the highest pay (contrary to your beliefs)
3. See if the company has a compliance team
4. Talk to their benefits team to see what they offer
5. Real time and reliable job search database
An experienced company will start you off on the right foot. Like the State Farm commercials “They’ve seen a thing or two”. Some time events outside of your control come up that smaller agencies have never seen before and logistics through a hierarchy can be time consuming and frustrating. I recommend choosing an agency with a long term track record over at least 5 years, 10 years even better. In addition, some hospitals will give focus to reliable companies they have worked with for long periods of time. Meaning, they have a reasonable amount of exclusivity i.e if your with a smaller company you might not even see the job posted for a specific hospital. Large agencies with good track records have rapport and are trusted sources of travel nurses for hospitals.
An experienced recruiter will give you a smooth transition into travel nursing. The recruiter is pivotal role in this job. When contacted, the expectation of a recruiter is that they should be timely, reliable, and knowledgeable. There are a lot of moving parts when getting hired for a position i.e. choosing the position, applying for the position, getting the interview, choosing vacation hours on your contract, start dates etc. The list goes on. They do this for a living and should be able to answer every question with clarity giving you piece of mind when transitioning into this new environment.
Don’t pick a Travel Agency based only on pay. Contrary to popular belief, don’t pick based on money. Yes, you will make more money and guess what… Yes, you will have less support. The money posted on some agencies look incredible, I mean ridiculously high. Especially during this time in our lives with the pandemic, many nurses have left the job market to find other means of living. It was tough for everyone. So there are high rates… those higher than average rates should be an indicator that money is not being used on or within the company for support. Support services can make or break an assignment. If you don’t have all your compliance information on point or your payroll information set up, you may not be showing up on day 1. Do yourself a favor and choose an agency that has a team based approach to their business. An agency with recruitment, compliance, and payroll teams will keep you on track. Compliance teams will even tell you when your certifications are due and schedule it, and… guess what… even pay for it. Saving you time and money in the long run.
Ok, everyone has different needs and time settings for travel nursing. Long term travel nurses and short term travel nurses may have different ideas on what kind of company they want to use. If you are thinking short term 3-6 months of travel nursing you may not be worrying about benefits i.e. health insurance or a strong 401k. However, I can assure you, a long term plan for travel nursing involves thinking about a company that has the proper benefits that suit you and your families needs. Health insurance is complicated if you choose to do what Sarah and I do, which is take more than 21 days off between assignments. So check with each agency and find out what their health insurance plan covers and if they cover you in between assignments. Long Term Nurses, do you want free money that’s tax free? Of course, look into an agency that has a good 401k matching plan. This is free money into your retirement every paycheck. Don’t miss out on free money, I don’t.
You need an agency with a reliable job search database. This is how you will be choosing your assignments with a particular agency. If a recruiter has to send you jobs every time you need one, don’t use that agency. Having the freedom to peruse through jobs in every state you have a license is very important and should not be taken lightly. All information for the job should be there i.e. location, hospital name, start date, pay rate, and qualification for the position. If they don’t have this information within a 1-2 minute search on their website, I wouldn’t use them.
So there ya go! That should get you started on some of my finer points of how to choose an agency. Of course, there may be more items that could be added to this list… But these are my Top 5 things I would be looking at. Happy Agency Shopping! If you are looking for the agency I utilize (Click Here) they send me pizza on my birthday and have sent me free scrubs in the mail, talk about being smoozed.