nurse sitting on hallway floor with laptop in lap
Travel Nursing June 26, 2020

By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor

6 Common Mistakes RN's Make When Choosing a Travel Nursing Agency

Choosing a travel nursing agency, like American Mobile is a major decision that can chart the course of your travel nursing career. There are a variety of factors to take into consideration when selecting a travel nursing company. 

From the integrity and financial stability of the company to travel nursing reviews and travel nursing salary packages, there are many things to evaluate when deciding which travel nursing agency to travel with. 

What most nurses don’t know is that there are many common mistakes or misconceptions that come with choosing an agency. 

With all of the choices out there in today’s travel nursing company marketplace, things can get confusing. 

Below, experienced travel nurse recruiter Victorya Yandall shares the top 6 mistakes that RNs make when choosing a travel nursing agency. 

1. Not Doing Enough Research 

Choosing a travel nursing agency that has your best interests in mind is one of the most important things a nurse can do when selecting a travel nursing company, explained Victorya Yandall, a seasoned recruiter with American Mobile, an AMN Healthcare Company. 

And, the only way to find out if a company is legitimate is to do your due diligence and conduct plenty of research, such as doing online research as well as talking to various contacts at each travel nursing agency that you are considering working with. 

The IRS is re-evaluating travel nurse compensation packages and it is more important now than ever to make sure a company is financially savvy. 

“One really cool thing about AMN and American Mobile is that our pay rates are determined by a financial analyst who has been doing it for a very long time and is really good at it,” Yandall said. 

This kind of expertise is one of the many things nurses should look out for when researching a travel nursing company. 

2. Forgetting About Reputation and Industry Standards

“The other thing that is really important about going with a well-known company that has a good reputation is that when a profile comes over, if it has an AMN stamp on it versus a lesser-known company, the facility is most likely going to choose the travel nurse that is coming from the travel nursing agency with the best reputation,” she said. 

Nurses should also look to make sure the agency is credentialed by the Joint Commission. The purpose of the Healthcare Staffing Certification Program is to “provide an independent, comprehensive evaluation of a staffing firm’s ability to provide qualified and competent staffing services,” according to the Joint Commission. 

Agencies that obtain the certification must complete a strict qualifications process that ensures you would be traveling with a company that is upheld to the highest standards in the industry. 

3. Putting Too Much Emphasis on the “Perfect” Agency

As a nurse you already know that perfection doesn’t exist, and it’s important to keep that in mind when choosing a travel nursing agency. 

There is always going to be something that even the top travel nursing company is missing, so it is essential to keep an open mind and prioritize what is most important for you to see in a potential travel nursing company. 

One way to help identify your needs as a travel nurse is to build a strong relationship with a recruiter. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk to multiple recruiters before deciding on one that fits your needs and personality. 

4.  Not Thinking About the Number of Jobs 

One thing that many nurses forget to think about when looking at travel nursing companies is the amount and type of travel nursing jobs that are available. 

Nurses should look at the number of job openings, the locations of the contracts and the specialties that the assignments are in. If you are a NICU nurse, for example, it will be important that you ask about the availability of NICU jobs right off the bat. 

“The number of jobs is also important because you don’t want to have to do your credentialing and compliance over and over again every 13 weeks. If you go with a company that has a lot of jobs, they are always going to keep you employed so you won’t have to redo your credentials for each new assignment (except when they expire which is every 1-3 years),” Yandall explained.

5. Putting Too Much Weight on Travel Nursing Agency Reviews

Travel nursing company reviews are a vital piece of the puzzle, but it’s important not to put too much weight on online reviews. Just like you wouldn’t stop going to your favorite restaurant because some random person had a bad experience there, it’s important to keep the same frame of mind when looking at travel nursing agencies reviews.

“People are more likely to post a bad review when they want to vent versus when they’ve had a really good experience. I think social media presence is important, but it’s not as important as the relationship that you will develop with your recruiter,” Yandall said. 

Also, many review sites are owned by competing travel nursing agencies, making it difficult to get an unbiased opinion. 

6. Not Looking at Other Perks Besides Benefits, Compensation and Housing 

Although pay is usually at the top of any job seeker’s mind, it is also important to look at other offerings besides the usual “must haves” of top pay, good medical benefits and free travel nurse housing. 

One important question to ask is whether or not the travel nursing agency that you are considering offers any type of clinical support. 

“We have 24x7 clinical support that is on the line and ready to go. If you ever have a question and its midnight and you are in a new place and it’s scary, you have a nurse that has 20+ years of experience that is there to pick up the phone and guide you through it,” Yandall said. 

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