Travel Nursing Questions: 11 Questions To Ask a Travel Nurse Recruiter 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

Jumping into a new career can be intimidating, especially when it pulls you away from your family, friends, and all that you know. 

With many travel nursing agencies out there, narrowing down the pool and picking the very best one is a job within itself. How do you know which travel nurse agency might be right for you?

Do they all pay the same? Do they offer the same benefits? Is working with one really better than working with another?

As you embark on your travel nursing journey, keep some questions to ask a travel nurse recruiter in your back pocket so that you can feel confident in the agency you’re choosing to work with.


Table of Contents



What Does a Travel Nurse Recruiter Do?

Travel nurse recruiters typically work for a nurse staffing agency to help match travel nurses with contracted positions in healthcare facilities across the country. 

When you work with a quality travel nurse recruiter, their job goes beyond simply matching a travel nurse with a job. Instead, they work to make you feel comfortable, confident, and secure in every decision you make regarding a new contract and assignment.


what is nurse staffing


How Do Travel Nurse Staffing Agencies Work?

Travel nurse agencies specialize in placing qualified and fit nurses with available contracts in healthcare facilities. They might post ads on job boards to recruit qualified nurses, attend job fairs, or work through networking events.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 194,5000 average annual openings for registered nurses (RNs) between 2020 and 2030. Additionally, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing notes that the U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of RNs as Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) age and the need for health care grows. Both of these statistics — and surely more — may result in a large need for travel nurses to fill in the gaps.

Trusted Nurse Staffing employs travel nurse recruiters who are there for you 24/7. Not only do our recruiters work to match qualified travel nurses with their dream assignments, but we are available to answer questions or address concerns around the clock. 


Should You Use a Staffing Agency To Find a Travel Nursing Assignment?

Yes, utilizing a travel nursing agency comes with many benefits. For example, working with Trusted Nurse Staffing might be a great fit for you if:

  • You want to add variety to your career.
  • You want high-paying nursing assignments.
  • You love to travel.
  • You want to get your foot in the door with an employer.
  • Working fixed contracts is ideal for you.

You can count on the recruiters at Trusted Nurse Staffing to help you find the perfect travel nursing position — no matter what location or specialty you prefer. 

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we provide nurses with a wide range of travel opportunities, including:

  • Local assignments
  • Long-distance assignments
  • Permanent placements
  • Temporary positions
  • Per-diem placements
  • And more

Interested in getting started? Use Pronto to search for available contracts near or far in any specialty you’d like.




11 Questions To Ask a Travel Nurse Recruiter Before Taking Your First Assignment

A career in travel nursing intrigues you. You have a passion for helping others, you can be away from your home base, and traveling excites you. However, getting started as a travel nurse is an intimidating process. 

How do you find the right assignments? How can you be sure you’re getting everything you need from a contract? How do you get where you need to be, find a place to live, and more?

Working with a trusted and experienced travel nursing agency can help get you where you want to be with all of your bases covered. Before deciding who to work with, consider these important questions to ask a travel nurse recruiter.


questions to ask travel nurse agency


How Is the Compensation Package Structured?

The higher salary as a travel nurse vs. staff nurse is a huge draw for travel nursing, but there is more that goes into a travel nurse’s compensation package than just high pay.

Competitive travel nurse compensation packages typically also include things like:

  • Tax-free stipends for housing and meals
  • Travel reimbursement
  • Comprehensive bonus packages
  • And more

Some travel agencies have all of these components built into a benefits package for you, but others might not. Be specific with what you want to know when it comes to compensation. 

In addition to these points, you might also consider asking about additional bonuses for accepting contracts for specific specialties or hard-to-fill positions. 


#2: What Benefits Does Your Agency Provide?

The benefits provided by a travel nurse agency will vary between companies. Consider having some questions tucked away in your back pocket to help you navigate specificities regarding the benefits of an agency.

Remember these eight pertinent travel nurse questions regarding benefits to ask your recruiter:

  1. Are my scheduled hours guaranteed?
  2. Are there opportunities for overtime pay?
  3. Can I have my pay directly deposited into my bank account?
  4. Is there a bonus for completing a travel nursing assignment?
  5. Will I be reimbursed for any expenses?
  6. Does your agency help with licensing fees?
  7. Will your agency support me in continuing my education? If so, how?
  8. Is there a referral bonus if I bring in friends who might be interested in travel nursing?


What About Insurance?

As with most careers, having good insurance is important. Be sure to ask your potential recruiter about what is offered, who might qualify, and the specifics of what is available. 

You might ask questions like:

  • Do you offer medical, dental, life, and malpractice insurance?
  • Do I need renters insurance?
  • When does coverage begin for offered insurance?
  • Does my family qualify for coverage?
  • What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?
  • Do I have a choice in my medical provider?
  • Is the insurance transferable between states?

When you choose to hit the road as a travel nurse with Trusted Nurse Staffing, you’ll not only get the highest pay rates in the industry, but in regard to insurance, you’ll also receive:

  • Guardian vision and dental insurance
  • Portable permanent whole life insurance
  • Employee-sponsored Highmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield medical insurance

Getting started is easy. Talk to a recruiter, utilize Pronto, choose an assignment, pack your bags, and hit the road.


What Is Covered as Far as Travel, Food, Etc.?

Some agencies offer great benefits that include stipends to help cover food, travel, housing, and incidentals.

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, this is the case. 

We don’t want our travel nurses stressing about how they’ll afford day-to-day needs when they’re on assignment. Instead, we offer stipends based on where you’re going to help alleviate the stressors of these costs. 

We’ll even help you secure housing, too, so you don’t have to worry about living in an unsafe area or being too far from your contracted facility.


#3: What Types of Facilities Does Your Agency Staff?

Nursing is a vast profession, and nurses are needed in all different types of facilities.

Before you start with a new travel nursing agency, ensure that the agency staffs nurses in your desired department or any other specialties you might be interested in pursuing down the road.

Many travel nursing agencies staff nursing in any healthcare facility, wherever there might be a need:

  • Primary care offices
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Emergency rooms
  • Intensive care units
  • Neonatal ICUs
  • Pediatric ICUs
  • Telemetry
  • Psychiatric units
  • Labor and delivery
  • Cardiovascular operating rooms
  • Long-term acute care
  • Medical surgery
  • And more


#4: In Which State Does Your Agency Have the Biggest Presence?

You might be wondering why this question could be important to ask, but it is. The state in which you travel as a nurse plays a role in your travel nurse pay and the licensing requirements you’ll need to work in that state.

Most states currently participate in the enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC) — a multi-state license that grants travel nurses the privilege to practice nursing in all participating states as long as they remain a resident of the state where they were issued the license — making working between states much easier for travel nurses.


Do Travel Nurses Get To Pick Where They Work?

In many cases, yes!

As long as there is a contract available that intrigues you in the city or state you desire, you can apply, accept, and go.

Whether you have a specific city, healthcare facility, state, nursing position, coast, etc. in mind, your travel nurse recruiter can help you find a contract that checks the boxes.


#5: What Specialties Currently Have the Most Demand?

If you’re holding out for a travel nursing position in a specific specialty that might not be in demand, it could be more difficult to find a contract that works for you, but regardless of specialty, the demand for travel nurses continues to remain high.

If you’re interested in one of the following specialties, there are likely many contracts available for you:

  • Neonatal intensive care unit
  • Post-anesthesia care unit
  • Oncology
  • Intensive care unit
  • Emergency room
  • Home healthcare
  • Telemetry
  • Operating room


#6: As a Travel Nurse, What Contract Conditions Should You Be Aware Of?

It’s possible that you’ll begin your contract and things aren’t as they seemed they’d be. These conditions can make or break any job, so give special attention to asking questions surrounding contract conditions when chatting with your travel nurse recruiter.

You might ask questions like:

  • What is the agency’s stance on racism or gender bias?
  • Will you work in shifts?
  • Will you be required to float between departments/specialties?
  • Are you provided with stipends for meals?
  • How often will you be paid? How?
  • Will you have guaranteed hours?
  • Can you get out of your contract if you feel unsafe or if you feel your license is in jeopardy? Consider these examples:
    • You’re contracted and licensed for the ER, but they’re constantly floating you to the ICU.
    • The patient-to-nurse ratio is extreme.
    • The cleanliness standards of the facility are far from where they should be, and you feel that patient health is being compromised.
    • You’ve become savvy to loose or sketchy policies.


How Is Time Off Negotiated?

If you know in advance that you need time off before heading into a contract, this is something that should be discussed with your recruiter so they can negotiate it within your contract and it is accepted/denied before you sign your contract and begin working.

Should you need time off during your contract that wasn’t pre-requested, you can talk with your recruiter and your facility to see if it can be accommodated and how it will affect your contract. 

It’s important to note that oftentimes facilities are using travel nurses because they are understaffed, so they might not be able to fulfill every request for time off during a contract.


What Is a Typical Contract Length?

Contract lengths may vary from agency to agency, but with Trusted Nurse Staffing, our typical contract length is 13 weeks. However, there are always possibilities for them to be shorter or longer, depending on what is needed at the time. 

If your contract is coming to an end and you’ve really enjoyed your time with a facility, your travel nurse recruiter can work with them to extend your contract or find you another assignment.

Remember, as a travel nurse, you can negotiate your contract length. Consider these two factors when negotiating:

  1. What happens if you’re unable to fulfill your contract?
  2. Would you incur penalties for needing to get out of a contract?


What Is Your Floating Policy?

Travel nurses are often filling a need for understaffed nurses at a facility, so it is not uncommon that facilities typically require travel nurses to float between units and specialties. 

This is 100% dependent on the facility you’re contracted with as a travel nurse, though. Some facilities don’t float permanent staff, so travel nurses are the ones who float if and when it is needed. Other facilities float travel nurses in an even rotation with permanent staff. Other facilities only float permanent staff because they’re more experienced with the facility, processes, and procedures.

If you’re worried about floating, many facilities follow a basic float policy, only floating travel nurses to units of the same type. 

Other floating policies a facility might use are:

  • Sister float policy – Floating to a different hospital in the same region that is contracted within the same hospital system
  • Expertise float policy – Floating to a unit where the nurse has verified expertise or comfort within the unit
  • Scope float policy – Floating only to units with the nurse’s scope of practice (i.e. Labor and Delivery nurse to a Postpartum or Mother/Baby unit).
  • Open float policy – Floating nurses wherever they are needed, regardless of unit or specialties


#7: What Is the Onboarding Process Like?

Most travel nurses will agree that the onboarding process can be overwhelming. No matter how long you’ve been a nurse, no one wants to be thrown to the wolves without all of the information they could need. 

On top of keeping track of documents and licenses for the onboarding process, you’ll want to ask your travel nurse recruiter a list of pertinent questions to make the transition to a new contract as smooth as possible:

  • What is the hiring process like?
  • Is there an orientation? If so, how long is it?
  • When will you get details about the housing process?
  • Will you have an opportunity to shadow a nurse on staff before taking over your own patient care?


#8: Is There a Support System Available To Help With Needs or Issues?

Ongoing support is a crucial component of your travel nursing assignments, and having a travel nurse recruiter you can count on from beginning to end of your time with the company is important. 

Will your recruiter be able to help with all aspects of your travel nursing career, including the good, bad, and ugly? Who can you contact when you need help or have a question?

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we pride ourselves on allowing our travel nurses to have 24/7 access to recruiters. No matter the time of day, if you call, we will answer. Our recruiters are trained to help you through the best and worst of scenarios, so you don’t have to worry about going without support during your time with us.


Do Recruiters Change During an Assignment?

This will vary from agency to agency, but at Trusted Nurse Staffing, you will have access to a recruiter at all times of the day, even if it’s not the recruiter you originally worked with.


Do You Help With Obtaining Additional Licensing or Credentials?

Again, this will vary with agencies, but Trusted Nurse Staffing offers help with licensing and credentials as a benefit to our travel nurses.

We can help steer you in the direction of what certifications, licenses, or credentials would be most beneficial for you based on the path you wish to go or the assignments you’re interested in taking, help you figure out what to do to obtain them, and pay for/reimburse you.


#9: How Are Specific Issues Handled While on an Assignment?

Next, put a few hypothetical travel scenarios on the table for your travel nurse recruiter to work through. You probably have your own questions from your experiences, but if not, here are a few to get you started:

  • What happens if I get sick, a family emergency arises, or I am unable to finish out my contract?
  • Who should I contact if a problem comes up (like a safety concern) while I’m on assignment?
  • What is your agency’s protocol for dealing with issues surrounding housing or travel assignments?
  • Should this assignment lead to other opportunities, how does your agency support my career goals and job success?

Take care in listening to their answers because the quality of the responses to these questions might be the best indicator of how the recruiter and the agency they represent can be trusted during a travel assignment.


#10: What Makes This Agency Different From Other Travel Nurse Staffing Agencies?

This can be one of the most revealing questions you can ask your travel nurse recruiter. 

Find out what makes their agency stand out from all others. Is it:

  • Compensation? 
  • Base rate salary? 
  • Ability to pick up overtime shifts? 
  • Reimbursements?

A top company will be anxious to share with you what makes them stand out from the competition.

For example, Trusted Nurse Staffing not only offers the highest pay in the industry, but we also offer top-tier benefits, access to contracts all across the country, and more.


#11: What Else Should I Know About This Specific Assignment?

There is so much to know and learn with every assignment you take as a travel nurse, so whether you’re brand new to the career or you’ve accepted hundreds of travel nurse contracts in the past, it’s important to ask this question about every specific assignment. 

This could encompass everything from what might be required from you on the very first day, when and where to show up, what color scrubs you should wear, what documentation you need to bring, and more.


Travel Nursing Questions: These Answers Might Be Red Flags

Not every travel nursing agency is a great fit for every travel nurse, so it’s important to shop around to different agencies and ask them all these pertinent questions regarding your career with them as your agency.

Know your deal breakers and keep in mind these big indicators that a travel nursing agency might not be a good fit for you:

  • Biweekly pay, as opposed to weekly
  • Not being willing to pay for credentialing and continuing education and/or reimburse for certifications
  • Not offering insurance or offering insurance that is delayed
  • Rushing through introductory calls or meetings and not taking time to thoroughly answer questions
  • Anything else that makes you feel uneasy, reveals a lack of communication, or leaves with you more questions than answers


travel nurse questions


Trusted Nurse Staffing: Answering All of Your Travel Nursing Questions To Help Get You Started on Your Travel Nursing Career

Stepping into a new career sometimes feels scary. With many unknowns ahead, you might feel fearful of taking the leap. At Trusted Nurse Staffing, you can feel like you’re in good hands with our team of experienced and loyal travel nurse recruiters. 

We go out of our way to ensure our nurses are successful and feel appreciated. While you’re in the process of searching for a travel nurse recruiter and asking all related travel nurse questions, keep in mind these reasons why you should choose Trusted Nurse Staffing:

  • Each new nurse receives a welcome box.
  • Our recruiters are available via phone 24/7 to answer any questions or address any concerns.
  • Our nurses receive full, prepaid health insurance, so the cost comes out of our pocket, not yours.
  • We offer stipends for housing, food, travel, and incidentals. 
  • We offer dental and vision plans with options for both low and high deductibles. 
  • With an entire department devoted solely to quality assurance, we’re always ready to go to bat for our nurses. 
  • We don’t always take the hospital’s side. Instead, we listen to our nurses and want them to know they are seen, heard, and valued. 

Even more, we offer a loyalty program, so as your employment continues with us, you’ll accumulate points that are redeemable for awesome prizes. Earn points with each consecutive assignment you complete. 

What are you waiting for? 

Contact Trusted Nurse Staffing today with travel nurse questions to ask a recruiter and jump into a lifestyle of adventure doing a job you’ll love.