Whether you’ve made up your mind to pursue working with a travel nursing agency or you’re still on the fence as to whether you’d prefer to go it alone, it’s in your best interest to know not only what a quality travel nursing agency can do for your career, but what to look for when searching for the best fit for you. Read on for ten important factors to consider when making a decision about your next step as a travel nurse, travel LPN, or travel CNA.
Variety in nursing assignments
High quality travel nursing agencies generally partner with a variety of hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and other health care facilities. This means that you can enjoy variety in assignments, both geographically and among specialized nursing fields.
In addition to the variety that comes with travel itself, if you’re tired of working in the same specialty, working with a travel nursing agency can provide you with the opportunity to try something new. Think of it as a chance to try before you buy. If you love the many benefits of travel nursing, you can stick with it for years to come. If not, you’ll have a better idea of which facilities, specialties, and geographical areas you most enjoy.
Most quality travel nursing agencies provide health insurance for their employees. Generally, coverage is for full-time staff, but some do offer insurance for those who work fewer than forty hours per week. A good agency will also provide:
- Dental and vision insurance
- Employee assistance programs, which offer counseling, financial and legal help, resources, and behavioral health services.
- 401K with employer matching
- 24/7 access to a Nurse to support you in caring for your clients
- Paid time off
- Short-term disability
- Continuing education
From special seasonal bonuses to sign-on bonuses, completion bonuses, overtime bonuses, and shift differentials, bonuses abound in travel nursing. Another perk that may also benefit your social life is referral bonuses. If you have a friend and fellow travel nurse (or two or three) who signs on with the agency you work for, you’ll receive a bonus.
Most agencies will either provide housing or provide a stipend in order for you to make your own arrangements. The amount of the stipend you can receive will vary based on your assignment since each state has its own limit on the amount allowed. In addition, if you choose the stipend option, you’ll need records of your rent to validate your expenses.
Joint Commission Certification
If the agency you’d like to work with has received The Gold Seal of Approval by The Joint Commission this is an excellent sign. The Joint Commission program, launched in October 2004, provides independent, full assessments of travel nursing agencies’ ability to meet healthcare quality standards and deliver competent staffing services.
The select group of companies that have achieved this designation have to be evaluated and recertified every few years. Any travel nursing company that you work with should have this designation as a benchmark for success.
A good reputation
In addition to the Joint Commission Certification, it’s important to research the reputation of the travel nursing staffing agency. Are they well-regarded in the community? Are clients happy with the care and staff provided? If the agency is looked at as an asset to the community and a provider of excellent care, you can gain a sense as to whether you’d be content and proud to work for that agency.
Friendly, helpful staff
Knowledgeable, friendly recruiters or other onboarding staff are one of the key factors to consider in your career as a successful travel nurse. It’s perfectly acceptable and, in fact, advised to interview your recruiter and ask a lot of questions. By doing so, you can determine how they can help you and build rapport with the staff you’ll be working closely with.
Support on the job
Most agencies provide on-the-job support in case staff members have questions or need immediate assistance. A quality agency will provide this support 24/7, so you are never left to fend for yourself and can always get the help you need – day or night!
When deciding on the best travel nursing staffing agency to work with, it’s a great idea to talk to nursing colleagues, as well as read reviews and opinions by other travel nurses. Find out what other travel nurses, travel LPNs, or travel CNAs like or don’t like about the company they work for. Another good place to look for feedback is on social media or on job sites such as Indeed.com or Glassdoor.com.
It’s a good fit for you
It might be tempting to accept the first offer that comes your way, but usually, if you do your homework, you get a sense as to whether or not the agency will be a good fit for you. If the agency checks all (or your most important) boxes, it might be the right fit for you. If not, it’s OK to keep looking. The ideal agency is out there and your patience will pay off!