So I am trying to do some sort of weekly “advice” for travel nurses. I am approaching my one year mark, and I feel like I have learned a fair amount in that time. I have worked with several different companies either as a contract worker or for per diem, and I have started to feel out what I really want to see in a company that I work for. The beauty of travel nursing is the flexibility to do what is best for you!
That being said, one of the key people who can help make or break your travel experience is your recruiter. This is your link to jobs, to your travel company. Your go-between for pretty much anything you need while on assignment.
However, for many people, this role looks very different. Each company and recruiter is different, so here are some key things to think about when deciding what “recruiter style” works best for you.
- How much contact do you want with your recruiter?
- Weekly? Monthly? Some recruiters may just check in at the beginning of the assignment and towards the end to see if you are ready to find the next one. In between, there is often no need to speak with your recruiter unless you have a problem.
- What is your preferred method of contact?
- Many recruiters rely on texts and emails to keep in touch with their nurses. However, this may not work well for everyone.
- What role do you want your recruiter to play in your traveling experience?
- While your recruiter is ultimately responsible for putting you in contact with specific hospitals, sometimes as a nurse you can put in some leg work as well. I often reach out to fellow travelers to find out about jobs in different areas, and I also look at travel company job boards to scout out potential placements. I will admit I am a teensy bit on the control-freak side, so this may just be me being a little over-involved.
- Similarly, some companies will utilize your recruiter as your go-to person for anything: paperwork, schedule or time clock issues, etc. However, larger companies often have different divisions and departments that handle each individual component.
- Can you trust your recruiter?
- Too often on travel nurse pages, I get a very strong “Us Vs. Them” mentality when nurses are talking about recruiters. While some surely take advantage, most recruiters know it is mutually beneficial to keep an open an honest dialogue with their nurses. One thing I would not handle well as traveler would be catching my recruiter in a lie, and I believe that most of them would try to avoid lying for this very reason.
- Pro Tip: When first looking into travel nursing, I got quotes for the exact same job from two different recruiters. When one low-balled me on housing, I called them out. Almost immediately she “miraculously” found some “extra” way to give me some money. The other recruiter was upfront and honest, and the housing stipend came close to the GSA standards for the area. Obviously, I went with the more straight-forward recruiter. The shady one could have cost me an extra $600 a month in tax-free money if I had not asked the right questions and compared packages.
In the end, your relationship with your recruiter is similar to a business partnership. As nurses, it is such a blessing to have the opportunity to work ANYWHERE in the United States and its territories, but without recruiters this would be much more difficult. When beginning as a traveler, I encourage you to ask around for other travelers’ experiences, make phone calls, and compare different companies to find the right fit for you. Because we have the flexibility to do what’s best for us, do not hesitate to find someone who you can work with easily and who is supportive and listens to your plans and goals.
Happy adventuring, friends!