Agency vs. Traveler: what do you choose?

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    Hi. I am hoping to get some input for my grad school project. I am investigating the differences in perceptions of agency nurses and travelers. If you need supplemental staffing for your unit which would you be likely to employ and why? Do you think staff nurses have different feelings about travelers vs. agency? What benefits would you see in using travelers over agency or vice versa? In this economy has your hospital or institution called for a freeze or required scaling back on either?
    Certainly feel free to tell me any other thoughts you may have on the subject.
    I really appreciate your time! I am finishing the nursing portion of my MSN/MBA this Spring and have learned a lot from scanning the posts here. (The business portion will be fininshed next year) Maybe my research will be helpful to someone else!

    Have a great day.
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    In general, my organization is working hard to eliminate the use of any contractors - clinical or non-clinical. So our use of agency & travelers is dramatically decreased from this time last year. Staffing patterns are being carefully analyzed and re-worked with an optimal mix of FT/PT to prevent scheduling mismatches that result in the need for contract workers.

    Travelers are used to fill 'predicted' vacancies for a period of time - most often due to FMLA or other scheduled leaves of absence. They function as 'temporary full-time' staff and are treated as such.

    Agency staff, on the other hand, is locally obtained, contracted on a per-diem basis and can be cancelled at the last minute. In times past, we may have utilized an agency nurse on a routinely scheduled basis, but those days are pretty much over. Instead, we are doing much more with bid-shift or other arrangements that encourage and reward our own staff for filling in as needed to cover for unscheduled absences.
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    Thanks for your input. I appreciate it
  6. 0
    We use agency for day to day needs. We use travelers for positions that are consistently left unfilled. Unfortunately, they are both very expensive and agency can cancel at the last minute and have no ties to the organization. Our CFO will not allow us to fill more positions for new grads but did just ok us to extend our 2 travelers!!! Whatever was he thinking!
  7. 0
    Thanks. It seems the ability of agency nurses to cancel last minute is very frustrating for staff. I am curious as to what the CFO was thinking. Hmmm.


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