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How To Pick A Travel Nurse Agency

Posted by travel | October 10, 2012 | Travel Nursing Jobs

A travel nurse agency can sound so appealing with those awesome travel work assignments that you have heard of or perhaps have had a friend work on. Before you are able to pick which travel nursing agency is going to be right for you, you have to understand how they work, what each one can offer you, and how you are going to fit into the big picture. The whole idea of a travel nurse is to fill a demand that many health care facilities have for nurses around the country. Therefore they contract with travel nurse agencies to get qualified nurses to work short-term assignments, usually a 3-4 month period, and then the travel nurse will move on to another assignment.

Since the demand and pressure is being put on these travel agencies to deliver qualified nurses time after time, the nursing agencies are starting to amp up the perks and benefits that you would get as a travel nurse if you consistently stay with their travel agency. The travel nurses are 100% aware of the fact that they need to have not only qualified nurses, but nurses that are willing to really step up to the mark and provide outstanding patient care and service. That is why these travel nurse agencies are willing to pay for excellent nurses that are consistent.

Things To Think About When Selecting A Travel Nurse Agency

There are a lot of travel nurse agencies out there, and it is extremely important to pick one that you know is going to be the right fit for you. You want a travel nurse agency that will work with you to accomplish your goals as a nurse and to provide you with the compensation and benefits that you deserve as a professional.

One of the best ways to see how a travel nurse agency is going to work for you is to figure out how they have handled problems that they have had in the past, or how previous nurses with this company would say their experience was. You can ask the travel nursing agency for some of the references that they have from nurses that have worked there in the past. They will usually be able to provide you with a phone number or an email address of the reference that you need to make an informed decision about the company.

It’s Good To Shop Around!

This is a piece of advice that is really good to use when it comes to just about anything in life. There are always going to be people competing for something, and that should benefit the person that they are competing for. The same can be said for travel nurse agencies, they are always going to be looking for the right nurses. Therefore you should be able to check out quite a few of them and compare what each one of them has to offer. Don’t be shy about telling them that you are shopping around either. It may get them to up the ante a bit more.

Getting Along With Your Recruiter

The recruiter is someone that you are going to want to become close friends with. They are the person that will help you get to the assignments and personal/professional goals that you have. This same recruiter should also be able to tell you all about the business and the company, which includes the bad, the good, and the ugly. You basically just want to ensure that there is some kind of communication connection with you and your recruiter, since they are really a big part of your success.

The Contracts

When you are out and about on your travel assignments you are going to have a contract in which your relationship between yourself and your employer is laid out. Please make sure that you fully understand this contract before you sign it. Ask whatever questions are on your mind and make sure that you are fully informed on every part of the contract before you move forward. I can’t tell you how important this is, and so many nurses just try to get through it as fast as possible.

Your Temporary Living Situation

The housing accommodations are almost just as important as the amount you get paid as far as most travel nurses are concerned. Obviously if you are able to get a permanent residence somewhere, you are not going to have to pay rent. It is important to know what the accommodations are going to be that are provided by the travel nurse agency before you get involved with them. A majority of the time a housing coordinator that works with the travel nurse agency has the job of finding a suitable place for you to live while you are taking on the assignment.

There are important questions that you will have to ask in order to get the information that you need. For instance, how many rooms will be in your apartment? Are you going to be sharing an apartment with anyone else? A lot of agencies will give you the option to live privately, but it is going to be an upgrade. There are very few that still use shared housing, but they are out there. In that case it would be good to get to know your roommate as soon as possible.

Some other important questions to ask are if you will have your own washer and dryer inside the apartment. You can also ask if anything else is going to be furnished besides the actual furniture, like a television or some of the kitchen appliances. You also need to ask about the utilities, and which ones you will have to either pay for or get hooked up ahead of time. You also want to know the move in and out dates, along with the crime rate of the area. Basically any questions that will help you get a feel for what is expected of you, what you will have to pay for, and about the community around you are important.

Health Insurance & Travel/Licensure Reimbursement

Health insurance is a big topic that you want to have covered ahead of time. You need to find out when their coverage starts. Also, you are obviously going to have to get to your travel assignment each day, and you want to be able to go places while you are in your new environment as well. It is your job to find out what the travel agency has to offer as far as travel reimbursement. Finally, you need to find out about license reimbursement. You will have to talk with your specific travel nurse agency, as it is different with each one.

Let’s Talk Bonuses!

There is traditionally a completion bonus that you will get once you have completed the assignment at the hospital you were sent to work at. It is important to note though that not ever assignment and hospital you go to will have these completion bonuses, and those that do will probably have stipulations put in writing to get them. If they decide that they want to keep you longer on your assignment, you may get to talk about an extension bonus. Last but not least, often times travel nurse agencies will give bonuses to those that refer other nurses to work with the same agency.

Long-term Perks

One of the nice things about the competition among agencies to keep nurses long-term is that they are offering some serious perks that come with working for them. There are things such as 401K plans, nice travel benefits, and a variety of other discounts and benefits. You might at first think that staying with one company is not going to be much fun since you probably won’t get the variety of assignments you want, but some of these perks are just too good to pass up if you ask me.