How to Research Travel Nurse Agencies

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By The Gypsy Nurse

August 8, 2018

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Step #7: Research Travel Nurse Agencies

How to Research Travel Nurse Agencies

There are several factors in determining what agencies to work with. As you learn how to research travel nurse agencies, keep in mind that you need an agency that you can trust, that has the benefits and services that you want and need and can accommodate your  deal breakers.

Get Travel Nurse Agency Referrals

Before you start Googling or calling random agencies, ask for recommendations from your travel nurse friends or on the Gypsy Nurse Facebook Network. Choosing a travel nurse agency is about more than what agency shows up on a search first, so be thoughtful about this step.

Read Travel Nurse Agency Reviews

When you are researching travel nurse agencies, start at our Review Page. If you have completed a contract, make sure to fill out an agency review to help the next travel nurse trying to research travel nurse agencies.

Check Our Yearly Rankings

Here at Gypsy Nurse, we have the most comprehensive agency review program in the industry.  We hired two top independent market research firms to create and conduct a yearly survey of our travel nurses to help with choosing a travel nurse agency. You can see all of our current and previous rankings here. 

Make Agency Contact

When you have a list of several companies that you want to pursue, then you can start making calls. If you have a specific recruiter that you want to contact make this clear on your initial contact with the agency. Make certain to note if someone directly referred you to the agency, because they might be eligible for a referral bonus.

It’s not recommend signing up with job boards when choosing a travel nurse agency as you will be bombarded with phone calls/emails from these sites. We recommend that you connect directly with the agencies that you are interested in after doing some individual research. The Gypsy Nurse Job Listings allow you to search and apply with ONLY the company that you are interested in!

Interviewing the Agency

When you interview travel nurse recruiters (yes, YOU will interview THEM), it’s important to address your questions in the order of importance to you. If a company isn’t able to meet your deal-breakers, it probably isn’t worth your time or theirs to continue. Make sure to find a recruiter who will be patient and in depth with explaining things like pay, especially for your first contract. Travel nurse pay can be very confusing. Make sure you understand your pay and then you can diagnose your pay package more effectively.

Keep in mind that not all recruiters have the same style or approach. If you have positive experiences with a company but are struggling to connect with your recruiter, don’t be afraid to ask for a different recruiter! Part of learning how to research travel nurse agencies is learning how to interview recruiters and find your best fit as well.

EXPERT TIP:

VET YOUR CHOSEN COMPANY/RECRUITER VIA THE GYPSY NURSE NETWORK BY ASKING FOR SPECIFIC FEEDBACK ON THE AGENCY OR USING THE SEARCH OPTION AT THE TOP OF THE GROUP.

How to Research Travel Nurse Agencies – Interview the Agency

Potential Questions for Choosing a Travel Nurse Agency

  • PAY
    • Ask the recruiter first and foremost to explain the company’s pay structure
    • What is the Average Pay? Low/high amount for specialty based on location.
    • Missed shift penalties and ability to make up shift
  • BENEFITS 
    • What benefits are offered? Health insurance, 401K, paid time off, holiday pay, overtime pay, bonus, sick time, travel reimbursement, license reimbursement, etc.
    • If they offer a 401k match, how long until the traveler is vested?
  • HOUSING
    • What options do you offer for Housing?
    • Does the agency offer furnished housing/stipend/both?
    • Here is where you will ask about any housing details or options that you want.
    • Do you pay for parking? This is especially important in a large city i.e. San Francisco
    • How early can I move into my housing? How long at end of contract do I have to move out?
    • Will you provide pet-friendly housing?
  • CONTRACTS
    • Do they contract in all states, one state or in a particular area of the country?
    • Do they have ‘exclusive’ contracts? Where?
    • Are there penalties for early termination of contract?  What are they?
    • What is the notice given if a hospital cancels a contract?
    • If you’re looking for a transitional contract that will turn into permanent, ask if there are penalties/or exclusion clauses for you or the hospital. Any non-compete clauses you should be aware of?
  • OTHER
    • What is the structure of the company? Does the recruiter do everything for you (housing, time sheets, contracts, etc) or are there separate people for these duties?
    • How often does the recruiter ‘check-in’ with you during contract?
    • Is there someone who will answer calls during off-hours if you find yourself in a bad situation at work during nights or weekends?
    • Last but not least….make sure to ask about your specific Deal-Breakers and anything that is on your want’s/needs list.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the questions to ask when choosing a travel nurse agency, but hopefully it will get you started!

Create Your Profile

It’s time now to narrow down your choices to about three companies that you want to fill out paperwork for and potentially work with. It is common in the travel nurse industry to have your profile with several companies. Once you have your choice of companies narrowed down, it’s time to submit your profile to them. If you find other companies you want to work with later on, you can always add more. Working with too many companies can get confusing and overwhelming, so it’s usually easier to pick a few recruiters and companies that you really like.

Make sure that you take notes on what each company offers (or have them email the information to you) to refer back to.  Choosing a travel nurse agency is a lot of work up front, but once you are set with your favorites, it gets much easier.


Are there other questions that are on your list when you research travel nurse agencies? Is there something that you want to ask but are not sure if it’s appropriate? Post your thoughts or questions in the comments below, and I will try to address them.


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