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What to look for in recruiter and agency?

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Hey y’all! I am looking to start applying to travel assignments by mid June and to secure a position by early August. This will be my first time applying to a travel job, and I will have one year of step down experience.

What are some things I need to look out for with agencies? Recruiters? Etc? What can I negotiate? What are tips/advice?

I know many say to get more experience but several nurse friends have recently taken positions with only a year, or with just under a year. So I know the jobs are out there.

To further explain, I need a flexible job where I can take 1-2 months at a time to go to Korea to visit my husband. I also am a “fly by the seat of my pants” type and love to move, put myself in new situations, and challenge myself to the extreme.

Any advice is greatly appreciated !

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Recruiters are the most important part of this puzzle, especially for new recruiters. Good recruiter with a "bad" agency is far better than the reverse. Start by calling a dozen agencies (brand unimportant - there are close to 400 of them - Google nurse agencies and pick say from page two of results randomly), and pick the best 3-5 recruiters to work further with, like actually doing paperwork needed to present your profile to a hospital. You choose by best communication with you, and least BS. This is a lot of work, but it has the side benefit of learning a ton about the travel industry and what is important to you.

You don't want to start by chasing money. A good recruiter with your best interests at heart will not play this game with a new traveler. A well paying assignment for a new traveler with only a year of experience will be a disaster. Why would they pick you? Same cost to hospital for any traveler, no matter the experience. What you want is a first assignment or three well within your comfort zone clinically. You will have enough on your plate with everything else being new: the EMR, patient flow, work culture, local culture, and different patient population. Although finding your own housing is important to bankable pay, I'd skip this hassle for your first assignment and just take agency provided housing (reduces your financial risk too).

The pandemic might mess with this standard advice but be very careful starting out. You don't even know what you don't know about how different hospitals operate. Many hospitals (in normal times) won't even consider a nurse who has not already completed successful travel assignments - they don't want to train or babysit you. You are a double red flag, low experience and no prior travel.

Consider seasonal assignments directly with a hospital in California or Arizona. This might work well for your situation and they tend to give you a better orientation and treat you better than a random hospital looking for a hired gun. And you can repeat readily - easier to go back to a hospital than learn a new one. They may have higher experience requirements though, not sure as I've never gone that route.

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39 Posts; 1,580 Profile Views

1 hour ago, NedRN said:

Recruiters are the most important part of this puzzle, especially for new recruiters. Good recruiter with a "bad" agency is far better than the reverse. Start by calling a dozen agencies (brand unimportant - there are close to 400 of them - Google nurse agencies and pick say from page two of results randomly), and pick the best 3-5 recruiters to work further with, like actually doing paperwork needed to present your profile to a hospital. You choose by best communication with you, and least BS. This is a lot of work, but it has the side benefit of learning a ton about the travel industry and what is important to you.

You don't want to start by chasing money. A good recruiter with your best interests at heart will not play this game with a new traveler. A well paying assignment for a new traveler with only a year of experience will be a disaster. Why would they pick you? Same cost to hospital for any traveler, no matter the experience. What you want is a first assignment or three well within your comfort zone clinically. You will have enough on your plate with everything else being new: the EMR, patient flow, work culture, local culture, and different patient population. Although finding your own housing is important to bankable pay, I'd skip this hassle for your first assignment and just take agency provided housing (reduces your financial risk too).

The pandemic might mess with this standard advice but be very careful starting out. You don't even know what you don't know about how different hospitals operate. Many hospitals (in normal times) won't even consider a nurse who has not already completed successful travel assignments - they don't want to train or babysit you. You are a double red flag, low experience and no prior travel.

Consider seasonal assignments directly with a hospital in California or Arizona. This might work well for your situation and they tend to give you a better orientation and treat you better than a random hospital looking for a hired gun. And you can repeat readily - easier to go back to a hospital than learn a new one. They may have higher experience requirements though, not sure as I've never gone that route.

Interesting. I’ve never heard of the seasonal employment... so that’s more like a staff position that is temporary vs. contracted?

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It is a contract but you would be the hospital employee versus an agency.

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