3 Steps for Choosing the Right Travel Nurse Agency for You

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
November 29, 2018
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Whether you’re completely new to travel nursing or a seasoned traveler needing a change, choosing the right travel nurse agency for you is a BIG deal. While there are many, many, many travel RN recruiting companies to pick from, not all are created equal. In fact, selecting a recruiter you can trust and a company that provides the benefits you need can help make your assignment go smoothly —on the flip side, settling for a recruiter that views you as a number rather than a person, or an agency that simply doesn’t have your back with life’s unexpected happens, can cause you extreme stress.

At Health Carousel Travel Nursing, our experienced team has assembled three important steps to follow when choosing a new travel nurse agency. While we certainly would love to have you on board the Next crew, we also want you to make the right choice for your circumstances. We understand that Next isn’t the right fit for every travel nurse, and hope you find a nurse-recruiter relationship that takes your RN career to the #nextlevel. To find that perfect fit, follow these three steps.

1. Compare benefits offered.

Step one in considering a travel nurse company should center around the benefits offered. While your relationship with your recruiter is extremely important (more on that soon), if your travel nurse company isn’t able to meet your medical insurance coverage needs, you’re taking a major gamble. Compare medical insurance plans of the companies you are considering. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What is the premium (cost to you out of each pay check)?
  • Can you add family members (spouse, children) to the plan?
  • Are there multiple plans to choose from, or is it one-size-fits-all?
  • Does coverage begin on the first day of your assignment?
  • Do they offer dental coverage?
  • Do they offer vision coverage?

An agency may seem like a perfect fit at first, but once you dive into the benefits they offer, the glamour can quickly fade away.

Beyond just medical insurance, research or ask about other benefits offered by travel companies.

  • Is a 401(k) offered? Any company match?
  • CEU reimbursement?
  • Can the company provide clinical support (access to an in-house CNO, for example) if you have questions?
  • Does the company have a dedicated travel and housing department?
  • How often will you be getting paid?
  • Are there referral bonuses offered?

The answers to these questions and more will quickly separate the “No”s from the “Maybe”s in your travel nurse agency search.

2. Talk with different recruiters at those agencies.

Once you’ve identified companies that can meet your needs benefits-wise, begin communicating with recruiters at those companies. Most companies will only allow you to speak with one recruiter at a time, but don’t feel like you have to commit to that recruiter right away. If you really like the benefits the agency offers but aren’t meshing well with the first recruiter you come in contact with, simply ask (politely) for another recruiter. It’s likely that the original recruiter could tell things weren’t clicking, too, and they’ll be happy to recommend a colleague.

The best way to get to know a recruiter is to get on the phone and begin asking questions. Here’s a few to get the conversation rolling:

  • How much nurse recruiting experience do you have?
  • How long have you been with [insert company]?
  • How do you like to communicate with nurses? (Phone, email, text, messenger pigeon?)
  • What is your availability? (Normal business hours, weekend hours, emergencies, time zone, etc.)
  • If I can’t get ahold of you, who do I contact?
  • What’s been you greatest travel nurse success story?
  • Can you explain more about [insert specific company benefit]?

The recruiter will likely ask you questions, as well, to get a feel for your nursing experience level and your desire to travel. This should be a light conversation with deeper follow-ups to come if you feel comfortable with the recruiter. This may seem like a lot of early legwork, but choosing the right recruiter for you will pay off in the future. Remember—your recruiter not only helps you find the perfect travel nurse job, but they will act as lifeline once you’re on assignment. You want someone who has experience, can make intelligent recommendations (but isn’t pushy), and is trustworthy. Do not settle!

3. Choose the recruiter you’re most compatible with and commit.

Benefits, check. ✅ Recruiter “interviews,” check. ✅ After the first two steps, you’ve found the right company and the right recruiter for you. Now what?

It’s time to commit!

Reach out to the recruiter with whom you plan to move forward with and tell him/her you’re ready to be submitted to jobs. They will then begin to help build your profile and submission packet (which includes things like your resume, skills checklist, RN license, etc.) and eventually (it can take awhile depending on a number of factors) start submitting you to the travel nurse job you desire. Committing to this process, which will require a lot of work from you and your recruiter, will help move things forward quickly and demonstrate your readiness to find the perfect assignment. A half-hearted effort (failure to return calls, unorganized email responses, etc.) could cause the process to drag out for far too long as the recruiter attempts to pull the necessary information out of you. (Again, this is yet another reason the nurse-recruiter relationship is so important!)

While it may be tempting to “commit” to a recruiter at more than one agency (more irons in the fire, right?!), this is not a recommended practice. Most recruiters operate under the impression that they are your sole partner in this mission at the moment. The problem? If you are submitted more than once—and by two different agencies—to a job, you will likely be tossed from consideration immediately, a frustrating reality for both you and all recruiters involved.

Learn More about Health Carousel Travel Nursing

Now that you’ve got the steps down for choosing an agency, it’s time to start the process! View our benefits overview page to see what we have to offer. We also encourage you to compare our benefits to those of other travel nursing agencies.

We wish you the best of luck in your search and do hope you choose Health Carousel Travel Nursing to help you find the perfect travel RN job!

Health Carousel Travel Nursing

Find the Travel Job that’s Right for You

Interested in how the pay stacks up in other states not on this list? Our trusty Super Nurse sidekicks are standing by to answer any questions you have. Click below to get information on opportunities in other states!

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