Among the long list of travel nurse requirements, most nurses can agree that the onboarding and credentialing process is the most tedious.
Kudos to you! Choosing to become a travel nurse is a major decision but you’ve decided it’s the right one for you. Now it’s time to consider the travel nurse requirements; don’t worry we’ve got your back. If you have been working as a staff nurse, the chances are that you’ve already got a majority of the documents that you will need to become a traveler.
The first thing to remember when tackling the onboarding and credentialing process is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Working with Trusted means that you have a dedicated compliance associate assigned to your file. The compliance team members are experts in their field, and have years of experience dealing with even the most unique of scenarios. Any question that you have, they will be able to help you through.
The next thing to consider is that even if you have been on multiple travel assignments, each facility is different. All too often a nurse assumes that because they have successfully completed onboarding at one hospital, that the next hospital’s onboarding will be easy breezy. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Our goal at Trusted is to make every step of the onboarding process as simple as possible for our nurses. If you follow these tips you will be able to glide through credentialing at even the toughest of facilities.
Gather Your Compliance Documents
Once you have accepted an assignment, you will be assigned a compliance associate who will provide you with a list of the facility’s travel nurse requirements. Some facilities will have higher standards and more requirements than others, especially if they are certified by the Joint Commission.
The typical list of items you will be expected to provide are:
- Physical/Statement of good health within the last year
- N95 respirator fit test within the last year
- TB testing (PPD or IGRA Testing) within the last year
- Current season’s flu shot (this is sometimes required for facilities even outside of flu season)
- Some facilities will accept a flu declination and others do not
- MMR Documentation
- 2 vaccines or positive titres
- Hepatitis B Documentation
- 3 vaccines, positive titres or annual declination
- Varicella Documentation
- 2 vaccines or positive titres
- TDaP vaccine within 10 years
- Drug screen (your compliance associate should set this up for you)
- Nursing License (or registration certificate depending on what state you are in)
- BLS, ACLS, and other certifications required based on specialty (most facilities require these certifications to be completed through the American Heart Association. If a nurse provides a BLS, ACLS or PALS through a different organization the chances of it being rejected by the facility greatly increase. To avoid having to do double the work, choose the AHA as a best practice)
- I-9 Documentation (Driver’s License/Passport and Social Security Card/Birth Certificate)
Don’t be concerned if you are missing items from the list above, most nurses are. That is why you chose to work with an agency! Any missing items will be set up for you and paid for by Trusted.
Agencies are also required to conduct a background check on you. It is helpful to have a detailed resume that provides any city and state that you’ve lived in going back 7 years. Be sure to explain any gaps of employment. Having as many of these items as possible turned in to your compliance associate upfront could significantly speed up your onboarding.
Keep a File of your Medical Documents
Once you have successfully completed the credentialing process, the best thing you can do for yourself is to create a file and keep these documents organized. As a traveler, you will be asked for these documents repeatedly, so having them all in one central location will save you a major headache on your second go around. If your agency is paying for documents, be sure to get them for your file after the service is completed.
Ways to Keep Your Own Compliance File
- Pictures in a file on your phone or email
- A binder containing all the documents
- Google Drive or Google Spreadsheets with the “add alert” feature
- Third-party apps like Nurse Backpack or CertAlert+
- Manage your credentials in your Trusted Nurse Staffing profile – COMING FALL 2020
It is tough not to get overwhelmed when you see the list of travel nurse requirements however, it is doable. When you first obtain the list, go through and send in everything that you already have. These are items like your driver’s license, social security card, nursing license, etc. Begin working on the list again.
Now, discuss with your compliance associate which items will take the longest to complete and get started on them right away. Multitasking is great but if you can chip off smaller pieces and keep your sanity it could be worth it. You should complete your drug screen and any medical requirements in the first few days. There are sometimes forces beyond your control such as delayed blood work testing or a lost drug screen specimen that can really create a ripple in the process.
You should also take note of how much facility-specific testing or paperwork is required as soon as possible. Many nurses wait until the last minute to work on these items and end up realizing they are more time consuming than they originally thought.
One of the most frustrating parts of travel nursing is the credentialing process. Even if you do everything right, there is still a chance that the facility will have a last-minute change, or even reject some of your documents based on a technicality. The best thing that you can do in this situation is be flexible. Understand that everyone is just doing their jobs and their ultimate goal is to get you to work! Is it frustrating that travel nurses have to get several PPDs a year while staff nurses only need one? Of Course! But take the bad with the good, you are considered an expert in your field to be hired as a travel nurse and sometimes that means dealing with higher standards. A positive attitude can make the difference in having a pleasant onboarding experience.
Communicate with your Compliance Associate
100% of successful onboardings have one thing in common. The nurses and the compliance team are in constant communication. Your associate should be reaching out to you at least 3 times per week however, they are there for you EVERY DAY!
The smoothest onboardings happen when not only is compliance communicating what they need to, but when the nurses are not afraid to ask questions.
You are NEVER a bother to your associate when asking them questions about the onboarding process, even if it feels like you are reaching out to them 3 times a day, I promise you, they love it! The more you speak with them, the less chance there is for anything to sneak up and surprise you.
If you follow these tips, you will be able to master the onboarding process. You will be able to start your assignment with a clear mind, and be ready to do what you do best!