Quote from bmcqueen
I had been traveling with one company, but would like to add other agencies. The problem that I have run into is that too many agencies have called my references, and now the department managers won't return the calls.
You need to start handling your own professional portfolio personally. You need written
references in your own hand for many reasons, one of which you just stated. Written references are vastly easier to verify than a phone number, and you control it - with a phone call from a random agency to your supplied phone number with who knows who answers it and what they say is not good control of your career.
I get one as early as possible in an assignment. If you get terminated for any reason, you have it to protect you against claims of incompetence (some hospitals will do that if they don't like you, or if they are having low census). I will get one from the charge, the manager, and the director. I will put the best one in my portfolio. I do tell them that it is for external use to use to get other jobs. Otherwise they will think it is for your agency internal personnel file and point out areas that need improvement rather than the positives you brought to the workplace.
Don't have any now? Start working! Current workplace, and any recent ones where you still have a good relationship with the manager. Charge nurses or even coworkers if necessary (especially if they ever do charge and can put that in their title). Are you on good terms with the agencies you work for? They collect a work evaluation from every assignment. They may give you a copy, or if you are friends with your current manager, she may copy them for you from the profile your agency sent them on you.
I had just that scenario happen. I first worked for Cross Country as a traveler for three years and they wouldn't give my any of my evaluations citing Florida law. My manager allowed me to copy every one (they send all evals to each hospital they submit me to). So that opened my eyes early and as a result, I have a written reference/evaluation from every hospital I've ever worked at (usually several).
When you have such a portfolio, you will find it extra easy to find new agencies and new assignments. Written references are far more persuasive and powerful than simple employment verifications.
So you need a form! Try PanTravelers - they have a couple available for free downloads, at least one of them is customizable so you can format it to your liking. For example, lots of forms have a checkbox for "will rehire". I don't like that option, and mine doesn't have it. Or you can make one up from scratch. The key is to make it so it only takes a couple of minutes to fill out. Some checkboxes, a few lines for a narrative, and I always pre-fill out the assignment details. I've found that if you just hand it to someone and say "when you have time", you may never get it back. If you ask them to fill it out now, just a couple of minutes, it usually happens right then.