Guest Blog by Jan Steele, RN.
Every day, I talk to travel nurses who call looking for assignments. Almost always, I am asked to tell them the assignments I have based on location, money, and shift. Rarely do travelers ask the questions that will help them to make informed decisions as to whether or not the facility they are choosing is a good fit for them based on their professional skill set and experience.
The team of travelers that I work with require detailed facility information from me before being submitted to an assignment. They are also interested in money and location, but they know that the most important task when choosing a travel assignment is finding the right facility. This team ended 2017 with a 90% overall renewal rate and less than a 10% overall default rate. High renewal rates let me know the nurse is comfortable and satisfied with the facilities where they have chosen to work, and the low default rate lets me know they are completing contracts successfully.
Select a travel agency that keeps some type of facility scorecard, and make sure you have a recruiter who understands the importance of sharing that information with you. What is important to one traveler may not be important to another. Make an effort to get accurate data regarding travel facilities where you have agreed to be submitted.
Before being submitted to a facility, ask your recruiter:
- How many nurses have you placed in this facility over the past year?
- How many beds in this facility? Is it a teaching hospital? What is the facility’s trauma level?
- Have any of your travelers defaulted or walked off a contract at this facility? If so, how many?
- Have you received excessive complaints from nurses regarding staffing levels? Do you know the average nurse to patient ratio?
- Did any of the travelers renew their contract at this facility?
- Does this facility guarantee hours, or is there a guarantee with a cancellation clause?How often has this facility cancelled shifts due to low census?
- Does this facility typically allow travelers to request days off?
Asking your recruiter these questions about a facility you are considering for your next assignment can greatly improve your travel experience. Money and location are important, but are often non-negotiable for the traveler due to lifestyle and family demands.
Hopefully you will have a choice when selecting a facility for you next assignment. Choose wisely.
Care to suggest other questions nurses should be asking? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!