Hitting the road as a travel nurse sounds exciting and fulfilling.
What could be more amazing than traveling the country and getting paid to do the job you love?
But how do you decide which travel nurse agency is right for you?
Before you load up for your new adventure, there are a few things you’ll want to know.
This guide discusses travel nursing and walks you through the top questions to ask your travel nurse recruiter before you hit the road.
Table of Contents
- What Is Nurse Staffing?
- How Do Nurse Staffing Agencies Work?
- Should I Use a Staffing Agency To Find a Travel Nursing Assignment?
- Top 10 Travel Nursing Questions You Should Ask Your Travel Nurse Recruiter
- Red Flags: Travel Nurse Recruiter Answers That Should Make You Run the Other Way
- What Sets Trusted Nurse Staffing Apart From Other Travel Nursing Agencies?
What Is Nurse Staffing?
Nurse staffing ensures that an appropriate number of nurses are available to serve in all areas of healthcare at any given time.
It monitors the allocation of nursing staff to ensure adequate staffing for each shift, unit, and department in a variety of healthcare settings.
Nurse staffing is essential to the nursing profession, as well as the healthcare system overall.
How Do Nurse Staffing Agencies Work?
Nurse staffing agencies specialize in the placement of nursing professionals.
They do this by posting ads on job boards to recruit travel nurses. Travel nursing agency recruiters then match nurses to qualifying jobs.
The travel nursing agency receives a commission each time a travel nurse is placed on an assignment.
Should I Use a Staffing Agency To Find a Travel Nursing Assignment?
A nurse staffing agency, such as Trusted Nurse Staffing, may be right for you if:
- You want to add variety to your career
- You want to make fast money
- You love to travel
- You want to bring in top pay
- You want to get your foot in the door with an employer
You can count on the team at Trusted Nurse Staffing to help you find the perfect travel nursing position — no matter what location and specialty you prefer.
We provide nurses and other clinicians with a wide range of travel nursing opportunities, including:
- Local assignments
- Travel assignments
- Permanent placements
- Temp to perm; and
- Per diem assignments
Top 10 Travel Nursing Questions You Should Ask Your Travel Nurse Recruiter
You’ve decided travel nursing sounds right up your alley, but how do you get started?
After selecting a travel nurse agency, one of the first things you’ll want to do is put together a list of travel nurse questions to ask your recruiter.
Travel Nurse Question #1: How Is the Compensation Package Structured?
There’s more to your compensation as a travel nurse than just your salary alone.
The first question to ask your travel nurse recruiter is if the company reimburses its nurses for housing and meals or if a stipend will be provided.
You’ll also want to find out if they offer any additional bonuses for specific specialties or hard-to-fill positions.
Remember to evaluate both the taxable and non-taxed components when calculating your total compensation figure.
Travel Nurse Question #2: What Benefits Do They Offer?
Travel nurse agency benefits can vary greatly between companies.
Here are eight pertinent questions to ask your travel nurse recruiter:
- Are my scheduled hours guaranteed?
- Are there opportunities for overtime pay?
- I have friends who may be interested in travel nursing. Is there a referral bonus?
- Can I have my pay directly deposited into my bank account?
- Is there a bonus for completing a travel nursing assignment?
- Will I be reimbursed for mileage?
- What about my licensing fees? Does your agency help with those?
- What about continuing education? Is that something your agency is willing to support me in, and is there reimbursement?
Do They Offer Insurance?
Be sure to quiz your travel nurse recruiter about insurance, as well.
- Do they offer medical, dental, life, and malpractice insurance?
- If so, at what point does coverage begin?
- If you have a family, do they qualify for coverage?
- What if you happen to have a pre-existing medical condition?
- Will you have a choice in your hospital 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 — you will also receive:
- Guardian vision and dental insurance
- Portable permanent whole life insurance; and
- Employee-sponsored Highmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield medical insurance
Getting started with Trusted Nurse Staffing is easy! Simply use the Pronto job search to find available travel nurse assignments and pack your bags.
Travel Nurse Question #3: What Types of Facilities Does This Agency Staff?
As you’re well aware, nursing is a vast profession.
You’ll want to ensure that the travel nursing agency you choose staffs nurses in your chosen department and any other specialty you may be considering down the road, including:
- Emergency room
- Intensive care unit
- Medical surgery
- Neonatal ICU
- Labor and delivery
- Cardiovascular operating room
- Long-term acute care
Travel Nurse Question #4: In Which States Does This Agency Have the Biggest Presence?
There are a couple of reasons why you’ll want to ask your travel nurse recruiter which states their agency operates in, including:
- Travel nurse pay can differ greatly from state to state.
- State licensing requirements can vary.
If you’re looking for travel nurse jobs in a specific state, you will want to make sure that your chosen agency can accommodate you.
Do Travel Nurses Get To Pick Where They Go?
When you think of travel nursing, you probably have some specific locations in mind.
Do travel nurses get to pick where they go?
They sure do!
Not only do you get to select your state, but you also choose the healthcare facility and the type of nursing position.
Travel Nurse Question #5: What Are the Contract Conditions?
Contract conditions are something that can make or break any job, so give special time and attention to the following travel nurse interview questions:
- Can you get out of the contract if you feel unsafe or if you feel your license is in jeopardy? Consider these examples:
- You’re only licensed for the ER, but they have you floating to the ICU.
- The patient-to-nurse ratio is over the top.
- The cleanliness standards of the hospital are far from what they should be, and you feel that patient health is being compromised.
- You’ve become savvy to loose or sketchy policies.
- What is the agency’s stance on racism or gender bias?
- Will you work in shifts?
- Will you be required to float between departments?
- Are you provided with a stipend for meals?
- How often will you be paid?
- Will you have guaranteed hours?
How Is Time Off Negotiated?
Time off is typically settled on by you and your travel nurse recruiter before you take the assignment.
Most travel nursing agencies don’t offer pay or reimbursement for housing during time off between assignments, but you’ll want to clarify with the agency to be sure.
What Is the Contract Length?
Standard travel nurse contracts are typically 13 weeks but can range anywhere from a few weeks to a year.
There are two factors to consider when you are negotiating contract length:
- What happens if you’re unable to fulfill your contract due to something such as a family emergency?
- Would you incur penalties for needing to get out of your contract?
Travel Nurse Question #6: What Is the Onboarding Process Like?
Most travel nurses will agree that the onboarding process can seem more than a little overwhelming.
You’ll need to keep track of things like:
- Compliance documents
- Housing; and
- A multitude of other little details
On your list of travel nurse interview questions, you will want to be sure to include a couple that have to do with the onboarding process, such as:
- What is the hiring process like?
- Will there be a time of orientation? And if so, will there be daytime and nighttime shift options?
- How long is orientation? (They can vary anywhere from a day to a few weeks.)
- At what point do you find out about the details of your housing assignment?
- Will you have the opportunity to shadow one of the nurses on staff before taking over patient care on your own?
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, our goal is to make your onboarding process simple, smooth, and headache-free.
Travel Nurse Question #7: Is There a Support System Available if I Have a Need or Issue?
Ongoing support is a crucial component of your travel nursing assignments.
Ask your travel nurse recruiter if you can count on them for support throughout your time working with the company.
Are they able to help you with all aspects of your job? Will you be able to contact them anytime you have a need or a question?
Travel Nurse Question #8: How Will Your Agency Handle Specific Issues That May Arise on the Road?
Next, put a few hypothetical travel scenarios before your travel nurse recruiter. You’re sure to have your own questions, but here are a few to get you started:
- What happens if I get sick, a family emergency arises, or am unable to finish my assignment?
- Who should I contact if a problem comes up (like a safety concern) while I’m on an assignment?
- What’s your agency’s protocol for dealing with issues that may arise with housing or travel arrangements?
- Should this assignment lead to other opportunities, how does your agency support my career goals and job success?
The quality of the responses to these questions may be the best indicator of how the recruiter and the agency they represent can be trusted during a travel assignment.
Travel Nurse Question #9: What Makes This Agency Different From Other 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:
- Base rate salary?
- Ability to pick up overtime shifts?
A top company will be anxious to share with you what makes them stand out from the competition.
Travel Nurse Question #10: What Else Can You Tell Me About This Assignment?
Whether you’re a brand-new travel nurse or this is your 20th assignment, there is likely something you may forget or not think to ask.
Your recruiter should be able to give you the lay of the land before you arrive at a new facility, easing the inevitable new-kid-on-the-block anxiety that can often pop up.
They will be able to clue you into how many other travel nurses are at the facility, the policies for canceled and extra shifts, the best areas to live, what the commute and parking are like, and a little about the on-site contact.
Red Flags: Travel Nurse Recruiter Answers That Should Make You Run the Other Way
We talked about important questions to ask your travel nurse recruiter when choosing a travel nurse agency, but what about deal breakers?
What are the biggest indications that a company is not going to be a good fit for you?
Here are a few things to take note of:
- Biweekly pay, as opposed to being paid weekly
- Not being willing to pay for your credentialing and continuing education and/or reimburse you for certifications
- Not offering insurance or offering insurance that doesn’t kick in right away
- Rushing you through your introductory phone call or not taking time to answer your questions
- Anything else that causes you to feel as though there’s a lack of communication between yourself and the recruiter
What Sets Trusted Nurse Staffing Apart From Other Travel Nursing Agencies?
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we go out of our way to help our nurses be successful and to let them know how much we appreciate them.
Here are just a few great reasons to choose Trusted Nurse Staffing:
- Each new nurse receives a special welcome box, complete with cool swag.
- Since we’re a smaller company, we’re always here to answer the phone and are standing by to address any questions or concerns that may arise.
- You’ll have access to your recruiter 24/7. Do you have a question about housing or pay? No problem; your recruiter will always be there for you.
- Each of our nurses receives full, prepaid health insurance. This means the cost of insurance comes out of our pocket, not yours.
- You’ll get a fully loaded HRA card.
- 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 listen to our nurses and don’t always take the hospital’s side. We want you to know that you’re seen, heard, and valued.
And Trusted Nurse Staffing even has a loyalty program. As your employment continues with us, you’ll accumulate points, redeemable for awesome prizes, for each consecutive assignment you successfully complete.
What are you waiting for?
Would you like to pad your resume and branch out as a travel nurse?
Check out Trusted Nurse Staffing’s Pronto app today and jump into a lifestyle of adventure doing the job you love!