Travel Nursing Agencies: What you need to know

If you’re reading this article, you are probably a medical professional who has just entered, or is planning to enter, the Travel Nursing niche.  

What Is Travel Nursing? 

Travel Nursing is a wonderful concept that has come up in response to the shortage of nurses, both nationally and globally. The Travel Nursing system allows hospitals or other healthcare organizations to employ nurses for short-term assignments, as per their needs. Once this assignment is over, the nurses move on to other organizations for a similar short-term assignment. Assignments are usually 13 weeks long, but some can be up to 26 weeks. 

This ensures a free flow of personnel between healthcare organizations, through which shortages can easily be met. For the nurses, it provides an opportunity to live a life of adventure and flexibility while also earning money and advancing in their careers. 

How Does It Work? 

While the concept is basic enough, you may be wondering how such a system works. Well, it all comes down to Travel Nursing agencies. 

These agencies act as an intermediary between nurses and hospitals or other healthcare facilities. They help nurses find assignments, act as a liaison during the recruitment process, and even provide assistance while the assignment is on. 

Some agencies also offer other benefits, such as: 

  • Housing or housing stipend
  • 401K contributions
  • Paid liability, health, and dental insurance premiums
  • Travel reimbursement to and from assignments
  • Competitive pay rates

So, the key to having a beneficial and fulfilling experience as a travel nurse is to find a good agency. 

How To Choose A Travel Nursing Agency?

The first private agency to recruit travel nurses on a temporary basis was set up in the 1970s by an individual called Bruce Male. As the model became popular, more and more agencies began to come up. As of the present, there are upwards of five hundred Travel Nursing agencies operating in the USA.  With the commercialization of the Travel Nursing niche, many companies have come up that only care about making a quick buck and do not offer adequate support to their nurses. 

Of course, when there are so many options available, one is bound to get confused and perhaps make a wrong choice, but fear not. There are only a few questions you have to keep in mind while searching for the right agency for your needs: 

What is the volume and variety of assignments on offer? 

This is the first thing to consider, because it will determine the kind of jobs you get and whether they are what you are looking for. 

Which organizations does the agency work with?

Some healthcare organizations work with any and all Travel Nursing agencies, while others work only with a select few. It is important to find out whether your agency of choice has contracts with good, prestigious organizations and how selective the agency is in building these relationships. 

This is important because some agencies might take up a contract without properly vetting the organizations’ working conditions and history of the treatment of nurses.  

What are the benefits and pay being offered?

While pay is one of the main criteria for many people, the other benefits offered by any agency are also equally important. Like we said above, only some agencies offer a comprehensive benefits package to their nurses.

What do others in the industry say about the agency?

Last but not the least, it is very important to speak to other, veteran travel nurses and ask about their experience with any given agency. The actual experience of someone is far more valuable than any data because data does not tell us how the agency actually treats its employees. 

So, always make sure to read enough reviews and do some in-depth research before choosing any agency. Asking these questions of your recruiter, as well as others in the industry, will help you make the right decision about which agency to work with.