How to Choose a Travel Nurse Company


The time has come. You’re ready to take your career on the road and explore the world of travel nursing. As you begin to investigate the possibilities, choosing the right travel nurse company is a pivotal first step—and not all companies are created equal. No matter which one you eventually choose, has assembled a team of experienced travel nursing professionals and recruiters to clue you in to what to look for.

The Nursing Recruiter Relationship

Once you start talking to travel nursing companies, your most meaningful contact will come in the form of telephone conversations with recruiters. This is where the fun begins. “If you’re considering travel nursing, the very first thing I would analyze is the kind of nursing recruiter you have on the phone,” suggested Holly Pharr, Senior Recruitment Manager at NurseRx.

“There are so many different companies out there,” she added, “And your recruiter will differentiate one travel nursing company from another and can ultimately make or break the travel experience! Go with someone who you feel you can build a relationship with because, ultimately, the jobs are always going to be there. The person who connects and works with you will get you the offer.”

“It’s really important that you go with a recruiter you feel you can trust,” agreed NursesRx Recruitment Manager Tiffany Shyrock. “You need to find someone you feel will support you. Travel nursing is fun and exciting but the unknown can also be scary. Go with someone you feel has your best interest in mind.”

Richard Mui, Senior Recruitment Manager at NursesRx put it this way: “Every choice you make directly impacts your life. Therefore, it’s important to go with not only a great travel nursing company, but a great nursing recruiter--one who cares about you as a person and is committed to making each and every assignment memorable. When you’re taking a big step like this, and depending on someone else whom you’ve likely never met, shouldn’t it be with someone you trust?”

Avoid High Pressure Sales Tactics

Every travel nursing experience should be tailored to suit the needs and desires of the nurse. As a strategy is developed, it’s important that the traveler remain clear about what they would like to get out of the experience, rather than allowing the goals of the recruiter to dominate.

 “Travelers shouldn’t feel pressured, they should feel educated and know what their options are,” Kari Peloza, NursesRx’s Director of Recruitment, confirmed. “The recruiter is there to help guide the process but never dictate it.”

“There are so many options for travelers, so we don’t need to settle,” added traveler Jamie Shuette, “Stick to your guns and find (a recruiter) that is willing to work with you; one that’s willing to hear your needs and go out and find that right fit for you. You shouldn’t feel like you’re just taking a position somewhere; you’re growing in your profession.”

“NursesRx spends a lot of time training our nursing recruiters to be personable and to offer what (travelers) need,” Peloza said. “We’re not car salesmen, and we don’t want to push something that’s not right. That is different from what a lot of other agencies put out into the marketplace. A lot of our travelers come to us because they know it’s going to be a mutual relationship, not one-sided.”

The Importance of Transparency

Although travel nursing offers amazing opportunities, not every assignment is going to be a good match. For this reason, it’s imperative that that your travel nursing company of choice provides detailed information and analysis on all aspects of every potential position. “We‘re not going to sugarcoat anything or try to pull the wool over our clinicians’ eyes,” NursesRx’s Peloza is quick to point out. “They can tell from our conversations that we’re going to be genuine with them and shoot straight. They’re going to get the truth from us, and that type of transparency is essential.”

“Make sure to ask any question you can think of,” suggested traveler Christy Morris. “Even if you think it’s silly or ridiculous. A good recruiter will be happy to answer them and, if they can’t, they’ll find someone who can. You don’t want to blindly walk into your assignment.”

“I look at this way,” said Mui, “Travelers need to work with passionate, committed and--most importantly--ethical (recruiters). When there are good times, we celebrate; when there are not-so-good times, we support you and help turn the tide.”

It’s Not Just a Job…

“Traveling is about more than finding great facilities to work at, “offered Melanie Douglas Major, Recruitment Manager for NursesRx, “While on assignment, the things that nurses get to do from a personal perspective are, in most cases, just as important as the actual job. Travel nursing is a lifestyle choice not just a professional choice. So if you want to be an effective recruiter you have to understand the clinician’s life from the moment they wake up and put their feet on the ground to when they put their head back on the pillow at night.”

“We literally spend weeks just teaching our recruiters how to get personal with people and how to ask questions without coming across as too invasive…and we also help them understand how to explain to a traveler why we’re asking these questions. At the end of the day, when my clinicians leave work, I need to make sure that they’re satisfied with their life outside of their job. That requires an understanding of what they want out of their career not only professionally but personally also.”

“It’s really important for clinicians to collaborate with their recruiter and really be clear about what they’re looking for,” Major added. “Communication with the recruiter is key, so we can make sure that we’re matching their professional and personal goals and ensuring they get everything they want to get out of traveling.”

Relationships with Leading Facilities

Although the demand for travel nurses is high, many opportunities are inaccessible to a majority of recruiters. This is due to the fact that several facilities maintain exclusive arrangements with individual travel nursing companies. Thus, when weighing options, it’s important to investigate which ones retain the most relationships with the types of hospitals and clinics that you are interested in.

“Large companies like ours are always going to have the large hospital contracts that no one else can get their hands on,” explained Kaitlynn Tomlinson, Senior Recruiter at NursesRx. “That’s a huge benefit to consider when you’re deciding who you want to go with. We have assignment options in a diversity of settings and more exclusive (facility) accounts than anyone else.”

“Our relationships with employers are essential,” Peloza remarked. “We have multiple nurse travelers that leave other agencies and come to us simply because we have better opportunities based on those relationships.”

Travel Nurse Company Stability

Since the relationship between the travel nurse and their recruiter is utterly essential, one of the most important things to consider when choosing a partner is the long-term stability of the company itself. After all, when taking a travel position, you’ll want to know that your nursing recruiter will see you through the assignment.

“Working with a company like NursesRx, which is part of AMN Healthcare, is a very smart choice,” said Mui. “I’ve been here for five years, I’ve seen the economy go up and down, and I can’t tell you how many small companies I’ve seen come and go. One of the beautiful things about NursesRx is that we’re always going to be here. You know that you have a concrete, full-time employer that will take you from one assignment to another.”

“We may be a large company,” adds Major, “But you’re not going to get lost. We’re committed to providing top-notch customer service in every regard. If I was a travel nurse, I would choose to work with a company like NursesRx because I would know that I could trust them, and there aren’t many companies out there like us. In fact, I would venture to say that there’s no company like us! If you give us a chance, we’ll prove that to you.”

Looking for more tips and tools to advance your nursing career? Make sure to log in to access our full collection of nursing career information. You can also hear from other recruiters and real travel nurses on our Testimonials page.

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