What happens when you take a veteran of the healthcare staffing industry and send her into the fray of the increasingly influential Travelers Conference? TRS Healthcare wanted to find out.
The Traveler’s Conference has been taking place since 2008 and was on track to become the industry powerhouse it currently is until the financial crisis made its mark and set the burgeoning meet-up back to the drawing board. With a slower than previous build and some newfound wisdom guiding its choices, the Travelers Conference has seen sustained and massive growth over the last few incarnations to hit a record number of attendees in 2016. This conference has solidly become the go-to spot for learning, industry networking and good old fashioned fun and is expecting well over 1,000 attendees this year.
In an industry where your closest coworker, the teammate you rely upon completely, can be someone you’ve never met face-to-face, the idea of a meet-up seems like an obvious one but by incorporating the other aspects of TravCon, it has become the Oscars of the healthcare traveler lifestyle. TRS Healthcare has been participating with TravCon for several years now and we thought we’d share some insights framed through the eyes of someone who has seen the travel nursing industry begin, seen it crash and rebound and is now seeing it change and evolve.
Robin Clark, Senior Recruiter, is currently in her 19th year with TRS Healthcare and she’s seen it all. The financial downturn in 2009 truly impacted the industry and saw a massive exodus, not just from travel nurses looking for security through core staff positions, but also a departure of personnel from staffing companies that couldn’t handle the changes. According to Clark, what once was a sea of high-paying and glamorous positions, “changed almost overnight” to increasingly rare job opportunities at all, let alone ones with substantial pay. “Very few people survived those times“, shared Clark, who adds that it was a time of tough decisions. Clark stayed because she “cared about the nurses and because I believed so strongly in what TRS is all about”.
TRS Healthcare, helmed at that time by its founder, Diana Wright, RN, survived the economic storm and has thrived ever since. Adds Clark, “you can’t be in business for 2 decades without doing the right things, the right way. This is where I wanted to be”.
Attending her first Travelers Conference last year, Clark has some great advice for those planning on a trip to Las Vegas’ Bally’s Casino this September for TravCon17. Here are her top 5 suggestions:
-Avoid the rush
Robin stated that there was a mass influx before and after classes and speakers but very few visitors to her booth during those times. She recommends, if possible, finding those semi-quiet times to stop by the company booths. Clark said that while seasoned travelers can get the information they need quickly, rookie travelers need to have time for their inevitable follow-up questions to get answered. She also adds that mornings on day 2 are calmer, possibly due to Vegas’ limitless late night temptations.
-Plan your questions and research companies that impress you
Clark said that if you know what matters most to you, such as a specific location, a certain pay rate or gaining new skills while being a traveler, your questions can be more pointed. She stated that experienced travelers are quick and to the point with what they are looking for and how they prefer to be dealt with. Which leads to our next item…
-Let companies know how and when to contact you
Robin Clark talks to a lot of nurses and the thing she tries to be mindful of is their sleep schedules. For nurses working nights, an ill-timed call can ruin a budding nurse-recruiter relationship. Clark says that while at the conference, she always made sure to know if they prefer a call, an email or a text and what shift they work.
Clark said many people use TravCon as an opportunity to network and there will be many business cards handed out to prospective travel nurses. A few attendees there impressed her by having their own cards printed up with all the relevant contact info and contact preferences on the card. These are easily exchanged with other travelers and companies alike.
-Use your nursing skills to assess companies
Have you been told some false information by a patient before? Of course you have and you didn’t believe it because a nurse has honed her observation, intuitive and perception skills to a fine edge. Clark suggests you use those skills when interviewing a company to represent your best interests. Are you falling for an attractive deception? Has this company been around long enough that you can count on them being in business long enough so you can get paid? Does this recruiter know their stuff or were they hired to simply be eye candy to lure nurses on board? These are a few things to consider, she says.
TravCon17 takes place on September 17-19 at Bally’s in Las Vegas. Check here for additional information on attending. TRS Healthcare will be there and we hope you’ll stop by and visit with us!