Travel Nursing Agencies – Do You Need One?

Posted by Admin on August 13, 2010 under Travel Nursing | Comments are off for this article

A travel nursing agency is usually the best way to find travel nurse jobs. Travel nurse jobs seem to pop up and disappear as quickly as rain storms in Florida, making travel nursing one of the more difficult careers in which to find job placements on your own. For that reason, you absolutely do need a travel nursing agency to help you find your next assignment.

But before you go searching the internet to jump on the first agency you find, it’s helpful to know what makes an agency better than the alternative – searching on your own – and what to look for in an agency.

What is a Travel Nursing Agency?

Simply put, a travel nursing agency is a company that specializes in finding travel nursing jobs for professional travel nurses. They may staff other types of nurses, and even other kinds of medical professional, but at its core a travel nursing agency is designed to be the connection between travel nurses and those hard-to-land hospital jobs.

Travel nursing agencies employ travel nurse recruiters, who work to place travel nurses into jobs similar to the way an agent finds work for an actor. Without a travel nursing agency, travel nurses seeking jobs are at somewhat of a disadvantage to nurses who have a recruiter to find jobs based on their specialties, tailor the application, and help them prepare for the interview. Unlike searching for other types of job, where a staffing agency may or may not be used, making use of a travel nursing agency is your best bet to finding a good travel nurse job.

Which Agency Should you Choose?

There are many, many agencies out there that recruit and staff travel nurses. A few of your choices include:

American Mobile — This agency is a subsidiary of AMN Healthcare, one of the biggest names in healthcare staffing. The organization has many connections, claiming to offer more jobs in more locations than any other staffing company.

Cross Country Travel Corps — This is another larger name in the travel nursing landscape. Cross Country has access to 80% of the top-ranked hospitals on US News’ annual list, as well as 65% of Magnet hospitals as listed by the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Medical Solutions — The third largest travel nurse staffing agency in the US, Medical Solutions was also one of the first to be certified by the Joint Commission, the widely recognized accrediting body for healthcare organizations. The company works with over 1,500 hospitals nationwide.

Emerald Health Services — This medium-sized agency is strongest in California, Florida and Texas, but has access to job listings nationwide. Its founder is also the founder of the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO), which regulates business practices in the travel healthcare industry.

Aya Healthcare — Based in San Diego, CA, Aya staffs both nationally and internationally, staffing per diem and permanent positions as well as travel assignments.

Aureus Medical Group — A subsidiary of Omaha, NE’s C&A Staffing corporation, Aureus Medical Group has a nifty job-search tool on their homepage that lets nurses search by specialty.

Why Use a Travel Nursing Agency?

The most obvious answer here is the best one: connections. A travel nurse recruiter has direct access to hospitals that place job ads, meaning they hear about openings before a job ad even hits a job board.

In most cases recruiters have contacts at these hospitals whom they keep in frequent touch with, sometimes getting updates several times per day. In other cases, hospitals send out job requests electronically to a list of travel nursing agencies, all of which then scour their lists of RN contacts searching for the nurse that best fits the job criteria. These nurses are often submitted for the assignment, evaluated by the hospital and scheduled for an interview before internet-searching nurses have had a chance to respond to the ad.

Thus, it goes without saying that a travel nursing agency is your friend when it comes to finding a job. But not all travel nursing agencies are created equal.

What Makes a Good Travel Nursing Agency?

Customer service. A strong agency will assign a nurse one recruiter, and that recruiter will work with the nurse on an ongoing basis, getting to know the nurse’s travel nursing specialties, preferences and personality in order to find the best job for that nurse. A good agency recruiter will even keep in touch with a travel nurse when there are no current openings, just to keep tabs on the nurse’s availability and let them know they are still a priority. This allows the nurse to focus on other things, leaving the job searching to the recruiter.

If you are still trying to find the right travel RN job without the help of a recruiting agency, make it a lot easier on yourself and find a recruiter now. Good luck on your next assignment.

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