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Is This Common?


Specializes in Psychiatric, Med-Surg, Operating Room. Has 5 years experience.

I decided that I wanted to travel and 2 weeks ago I signed up with 3 travel agencies. The initial talks went okay with each recruiter. Then I did not hear anything from any of the agencies for a week so I called today to inquire about my status. The one agency tells me that they have not been able to get in contact with my references. I ask who she had been trying to get in contact with and I was floored. The one agency was trying to contact my current unit director (no one knows at my current facility that I'm looking to leave/travel) who I did not give them permission to contact and thankfully they were unsuccessful in their attempt. Two of the agencies were also trying to contact a previous manager who I don't have contact with and who also happens to be a part of the health system that I currently work for, so I don't want her contacted. The thing is I did not list these people as references when completing the application. They were listed under the the current/past employment section where you have to list previous managers and supervisors & I make sure to check the do not contact box.

Is it common for travel agency to just contact past supervisors without your permission? The one travel agency (the one that tried to contact my current employer) never asked me for references at all.

BTW I do have supervisor/charge nurse references from my past jobs.

Get written references and this issue will go away. It will also give you a lot more control over who is saying what about you and just about eliminate annoying calls to your references.

There are a couple of form examples available for free download on PanTravelers including editable ones you can fine tune.

Some agencies are still requiring to speak to references. I know its stupid but get written references just in case.

It is extremely difficult to get a telephone reference because of legal jeopardy. Employers don't generally allow anything beyond a will or will not rehire, or just dates of employment. What usually happens is just employment confirmations.

Written references on the other hand, can either be confirmed directly without having to ask questions of the referee that is against the employer's policies, or confirmed indirectly by confirming the referee also worked there during the period in question.

Written references are obviously much more powerful in getting an otherwise anonymous traveler an assignment than confirmed dates of employment. Ask your recruiter about this. Agencies get a written evaluation for every assignment but they don't give it to the traveler because it is too valuable. A traveler could take them and use them to get assignments with another agency. That speaks volumes!


Specializes in ICU/PACU. Has 10 years experience.

Companies have asked me for names/numbers but haven't called asking for a supervisor without my permission. I do the written reference too, but usually I will have to give a name/number and the company will call them and verify that they filled the form out. When I first started traveling they were pushy and were calling a charge nurse I used for reference multiple times a day! From then on I am very clear with my company that they are NOT to do that, it is rude and unnecessary!!