This article is provided by Travel Nurse Across America®
Ready to start your first travel nursing adventure and not sure where to start? There are a lot of travel nursing agencies and options available, and it can be confusing to know which one to pick. Here are the top five things you should consider when choosing a travel nursing agency to partner with.
1.) Agency Reputation
There are a lot of travel nursing agencies out there. Make sure to research the companies on industry-relevant sites such as The Gypsy Nurse Agency List. You can even get a good grasp on other sites such as Facebook or Google. Be sure to start a relationship that will benefit your career most by picking an established, experienced agency that will be around for the long run. The number of jobs an agency has listed can sometimes be deceiving, but you definitely want to make sure they offer wide availability within your specialty and desired travel destination(s).
2.) The Total Package
Travel agencies offer a myriad of benefit options that can be difficult to navigate. Look for agencies that offer transparent benefit information right on their website. Be careful not to pick the first agency that offers the highest pay rate or salary. There are so many other benefits to consider that could end up making the total package worth much more.
When beginning your assignment, will you have a gap in insurance coverage? Look for an agency that is also looking out for your best interests. Day one benefits and assistance to help you get to your assignment are game-changers when getting started. Once you’re on your assignment, what happens if you keep getting sent home due to low census? Most companies advertise guaranteed pay, but what does it really cover? Make sure you’re protected when sent home due to low census, so your paycheck doesn’t suffer from something you had no control over.
Other benefits to look for are weekly pay, medical, dental, and vision insurance, sick pay, free continuing education, and referral bonuses. You should also ask about other incentives and bonuses (such as extension bonuses or incentives for working extra shifts) that are offered and might be important to you – the best agencies will reward their loyal travelers. Some travel agencies even offer pet insurance, which can be a real advantage if you travel with your pets!
3.) Your Recruiter
Your recruiter is your advocate, and your relationship with your recruiter is crucial regardless of the agency you choose to travel with. Once you begin your travel assignment, your recruiter should be with you every step of the way. Sometimes, you’ll need to get additional certifications or licenses for a new assignment, and your recruiter should help you do get them, and the agency should be willing to pay for them. The best recruiters will provide a checklist, and call you to check-in after you start your assignment to make sure things are going smoothly. Be sure to tell your recruiter how you like to be contacted, and how often you prefer them to check-in.
4.) Housing Options
One of the top questions you might ask yourself before you consider a travel nursing job is, “Where will I live?!” The best agencies will make moving to your travel destination as easy as possible and offer multiple options. Great agencies have a housing department dedicated to helping you find housing and offer to find high-quality, fully furnished private housing with 100% utilities paid, which is one less thing for you to do. Additionally, some agencies also offer an “Easy Stay” program that allows you to choose your own housing with a housing subsidy.
5.) Expert Specialists
Many highly-rated agencies have specialized departments that will help you get ready for your assignment and support you while you are traveling. Your recruiter should be your main contact, though the best agencies will have various departments that provide specialists to guide you before and during your travel nursing journey. The support offered by your agency, as well as how much experience the person you’re speaking with has can be a factor in how smoothly your assignment goes. A travel nurse is expected to have a certain number of years’ experience before traveling, so wouldn’t you want your recruiter to be experienced as well? Look for an agency that invests in hiring recruiters with enough experience to answer any question you have, before you even have to ask.