The Travel Times: How to choose the right agency
When I decided to become a travel nurse, I had no idea of the number of intricacies that would come with this choice. There are many things to plan, from which agency to work with, selecting assignments, finding housing, attending orientation, and the first few days of an assignment. For now, let’s talk about a few of those things for those who are interested in travel nursing which should be everyone!
First, let’s focus on selecting a travel agency. There are many reputable healthcare travel agencies and selecting one is dependent on what you are looking for in an employer. Some agencies offer higher pay than others, some have great relocation packages, some occasionally give their nurses perks or incentives.
Because travel nursing is individualized, some travel nurses alternate or switch agencies often. With switching comes plenty of paperwork and credentialing, but there is a swap in getting more money or an assignment that a different agency doesn’t have available. I did not switch agencies often, as I considered it worth sacrificing a little pay to have a great recruiter who knew my goals. Some travel nurses work with a few recruiters at different agencies for variety and consistency.
The clincher for me in choosing an agency to work for was my recruiter. Your recruiter is your advocate and voice, just as nurses are the advocates and voices for their patients. As mentioned, I loved working with my recruiter because she knew my goals in traveling. Together, we found some great assignments that exceeded my expectations. I worked at world-class hospitals across the country and met some wonderful nurses and friends along the way. Although I could have made more money by changing agencies for some assignments, I stuck with her because of our great relationship.
Your recruiter is your advocate and voice, just as nurses are the advocates and voices for their patients.
The best way to find a good agency or recruiter is to just jump in. Begin talking with one and see if you mesh well. There are websites, blogs, and Facebook forums for travel nurses with oodles of recommendations for recruiters. You can even connect with recruiters on the forums. You can also find various rankings of agencies. But until you take that first step, you won’t know what you are looking for in an agency and in a recruiter.
Current and former travel nurses out there, what do you look for in travel agency?
Opinions expressed by NPSM contributors are their own.