What Do Travel Nursing Agencies Require?

Travel nursing agencies are companies that arrange the temporary working contract between traveling nurses and hospitals. These companies are partners or sub-contractors of medical facilities that help them find qualified travel nurses to fill temporary positions and quick assignments.

There are hundreds of these agencies operating in the United States. They have existed for decades but have mushroomed in recent years because of the nursing shortage. A few have been around for a long time, even before the boom in this industry. The largest of them are present in multiple states, have contracts with major hospitals and employ hundreds of nurses.

Some of the largest travel nursing agencies are American Mobile Healthcare, NurseChoice, Kaiser Permanente, American Traveler and All About Staffing. These companies have a large presence either regionally or nationally. They have thousands of positions available nationwide especially for advanced practice nurses who are in most demand. The most established firms have gained Joint Commission Certification for Health Care Staffing Services.

Most nurses in this field find their jobs to be demanding and stressful. This is why agencies carefully select only experienced nurses for their roster. A minimum of one year experience is required by most recruiters. Some even want applicants to have three to five years of experience. Preferably, the experience must be in medical-surgical nursing or a specialty.

Travel nursing companies also require employment documents from their nurses. These include the nursing license, BLS, ACLS or some other specialty certification, immunization records, physical exam results and recent lab work. A resume, list of references, letters of recommendation and a copy of a driver’s license or some other legal identification are also required to be included in the nurse’s file. Applicants are likewise asked to sign a background check consent form.

After receiving these documents, the agency will interview the nurse. In some cases, a representative of the facility would want to conduct the interview and the agency arranges and facilitates the meeting.

These companies try to match openings with their nurses’ specialty, desired shift and preferred location. They will discuss options and conditions with nurses before offering a contract for an assignment that typically lasts 13 weeks.

Recruiters may provide housing and means of transportation. They can offer housing subsidies and company-owned accommodations. Travel allowance, free plane or train tickets and car rentals may also be offered.

Nurses negotiate the terms of their assignments with agencies. Things like hourly rate, per diem payment, renewals and extensions as well as tax breaks and insurance matters are all stated in the contract.

Agencies assign nurses based on their employment deal. They deploy nurses to facilities who contact them about a staffing need they want to fill. The nurse travels to the new location and starts working immediately. The agency remains the employer of the nurse and takes a cut off the nurse’s salary. Even if the amount that goes to the agency is larger than what the nurse gets, the nurse usually still ends up earning more than regular staff nurses.

Travel nurses enjoy the freedom to go to different places and earn good money. Yet, they are not immune to attempts by recruiters to renege on contract terms. To avoid finding themselves on the losing end, nurses should carefully choose among travel nursing agencies.

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