Having a completed portfolio is very important for the travel nurse. One of the most important pieces of your Portfolio are your Travel Nurse References.
You should make certain to obtain a reference (or two) somewhere around week 8 of EVERY contract. By this time, your manager and co-workers should have a good feel for the type of work you perform. If you have picked up an extra shift or went above and beyond in some way…this will only help your cause.
Many times, your agency will obtain a direct reference (that you never see) from the staffing manager or their contact at the hospital. I’ve requested copies of these in the past and they are impersonal and many times inaccurate. I feel that it’s very important to obtain direct references from those that you are actually working with. I normally attempt to obtain a reference from a direct co-worker or supervisor (someone that actually works with me) as well as from my manager.
I utilize a generic ‘reference’ form that I simply make copies of. It’s a 1-5 rating on items like attendance, attention to detail, professionalism, clinical knowledge, etc. At the bottom of the form, there is room for comments and I encourage this section to be filled out. Nothing is better than a personal statement about your work performance. The form also includes the Hospital Name, Address, contact info as well as the name and title of the person filling out the form. I inform the person filling it out that this is for ‘my personal records’ and that the Staffing agency will likely have them fill out an evaluation for the agency.
References are a valuable addition to your Travel Nurse Portfolio. Hold onto them and keep them up to date.
I recommend that you have at minimum the past 1-2 years references close at hand in your Portfolio. You can file away ones that are older than this if you like but keep them somewhere that they can still be accessed if a company requests them.