Category: Healthcare Hiring


What to Look for When Working with a Travel Staffing Agency

iStock 000006207278XSmall What to Look for When Working with a Travel Staffing Agency

It can be often difficult finding a quality healthcare staffing agency to hire. You need to trust the company is sending you qualified healthcare staff that integrates well with your hospital. Here are some things to look for when working with a healthcare staffing agency:

Experience-One important factor to consider is how long the agency has been around and how long their recruiters have been recruiting. Knowing how to place qualified candidates and fill positions is something learned with experience. Having this experience gives them the know how to handle difficult situations and the foresight to know which type of candidates will be best for an assignment.

Candidates that Fit- They provide you with good matches for your available positions, not just candidates they need to assign. Where do they recruit their candidates? What is their screening process? Great agencies will screen their candidates thoroughly to make sure their resume matches their experience.

Organization- If paper work comes to you unorganized and incomplete, it could be a reflection of the recruiters work habits and also a possible indication they will not be providing you with the best candidate for your position.

Specialization-What does the staffing agency specialize in? Do they place travel nurses, allied professionals, therapists, techs? Your best chance for finding the ideal candidate is to go to an agency who concentrates on exactly the type of positions you are trying to fill. An agency will have an abundance of skilled candidates in their database and will know how to filter out and send you the superstar traveler you are looking for.

Benefits- They provide their travelers with great benefits. This ensures the happiness of the traveler, which means a better employee for you.

What do you look for in a travel staffing agency?


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LinkedIn, are you using it to recruit?

LinkedIn has become the #1 social media network among recruiters, with over 120 million members. With it’s easy search of keywords, skills, specialties and recommendations, it alleviates a lot of the previous steps to finding the right candidate.

Are your recruiters using it to search for potential healthcare staff?

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Our top 10 most popular healthcare staffing posts

top healthcare staffing articles Our top 10 most popular healthcare staffing posts

It’s years end coming up soon, so it seems like a good time to look at the most popular posts have been over the past year.

10. How are you dealing with a more diverse nurse population?

This article looked at the results of a nurse population study that had interesting results in relation to the amount of racial, gender and age diversity in the nurse population.

9. Easy ways for nurses to de-stress and avoid burnout

This post discusses an article that lists 22 ways for nurses to de-stress and prevent nurse burnout.

8. Full time nurse labor costs versus travel nurses

In this post we discussed the KPMG study that looked at the overall cost of full-time nurses and discussed their findings.

7. Overtime and hospital staff burnout

This post provides a list of resources to help Nurse Managers spot and respond to nurse staff burnout.

6. Mentoring Programs designed to keep nurses, young and old.

The subject of this post is about the value that putting a mentoring program in place can have on retaining nurses and improving patient care.

5. 14 questions to ask yourself about your nurse recruitment plan

This post lists 14 key questions that hospitals need to ask about their nurse recruitment plan in order to make improvements in their hiring.

4. Phone interview questions to make sure travel nurses will be a cultural fit

The purpose of this post is to list resources that Nurse Managers and Hospital Hiring Managers can use to ensure that the travel nurses they bring in are a good cultural fit at the hospital and in the unit.

3. Evaluating a Healthcare Staffing Company’s Cost

Here we explain the best way for hospitals to compare the costs of travel nursing companies they work with.

2. Build your best nursing unit

In this post we discuss things that Nurse Managers can do during tough economic times to get the most out of their units.

1. Improve your nursing staff morale

This post talks about our 7 Steps to Better Nursing Morale ebook, a poplar handbook we made on how Nurse Managers can improve the morale of nurses in their unit to prevent burnout.

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Evaluating a Company's Nursing and Allied Health Candidates

The quality and quantity of nursing and allied health candidates that a staffing company provide is really the core of their business and is one of the main reasons you should be considering working with a staffing company in the first place. There are four key components to this: Nursing and Allied Health Candidate Pool Size, Recruiting Travel Nurses and Allied Health Professionals, Screening Travel Nurses and Allied Health Professionals and Speed in Finding Travel Nurses and Allied Health Professionals for Your Hospital.

Nursing and Allied Health Candidate Pool Size

First you want to look at how many nurses and other healthcare providers they have in their database. It does not do you much good to sign on to work with a company, no matter how low their prices or how friendly they seem, if they don’t have the candidates to meet yiStock 000005650834XSmall 1 Evaluating a Company's Nursing and Allied Health Candidatesour needs. Even more specifically you will want to find out how many candidates they have licensed in your area and working in the specialties you need most.

Recruiting Travel Nurses and Allied Health Professionals

Next you want to find out how they attract new nurses and therapists to work for them. You want to know that they are an attractive option for the best candidates out there. Think of them like a college sports team, often the best schools get the best student-athletes and in turn put the best teams out on the field. Travel nursing companies or travel therapy companies function basically the same way. The best nurses, for example, know that they are in higher demand and thus are going to go with the company that treats them best, whether for that nurse it is pay, relationship with recruiter or customer service. That’s why you want to work with companies with good reputations among the travelers themselves and that are always actively seeking new candidates and building their brand among them.

Screening Travel Nurses and Allied Health Professionals

The next factor you will want to look at is what qualification process goes on to ensure that your hospital only gets qualified and pre-screened candidates that you feel comfortable providing patient care at your facility. One easy way to do this is to make sure they are Joint Commission certified, which means that they have been evaluated by the largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare and have earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ . This demonstrates that they are dedicated to providing qualified healthcare staff able to deliver high-quality patient care.

Next you want to ask specifics about their application and screening process. The basics of a good screening process include a thorough background check, immunizations, drug screening, skills evaluation, personal interviews and references. If any of these things are missing from a company’s screening process you should reconsider if they are going to provide you with the best candidates.

Speed in Finding Travel Nurses and Allied Health Professionals for Your Hospital

Another important factor in evaluating travel nursing or travel therapy companies for your facility is their response time in getting you the candidates you need. Again it does not do your hospital any good to work with a staffing company that boasts thousands of candidates, but takes a week to send you someone. You should expect a company to provide you with qualified candidates in the speed you need whether it is a couple of days or months in advance.

Conclusion about Evaluating a Company’s Nursing and Allied Health Candidates

Being thorough in evaluating the quality of candidates of a travel nursing or travel therapy company is an important part of the patient care your hospital provides so take the time to do it right and ask the right questions and lots of them. In the next post in this series we will look at Evaluating a Healthcare Staffing Company’s Processes.

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Refreshing nursing skills?

A post and comment thread on a great blog over at the HCA West Florida Recruitment Blog  brought up the point about nurses returning to the profession due to the economic recession after time away and their need to take part in “Back to Nursing” type programs to refresh their skills. 

Here are some other nursing articles and resources  I found on this topic:

Career Focus: Refresher Programs Help Nurses Return to Work
RN Refresher Courses at | Nationwide Refresher Course
NurseWeek: You Can Go Home Again

One thing to keep in mind as you look to bring more permanent nurses on that are reentering the workforce, is that if it takes longer than you would like to get them going, but know that they will be worth the time investment, you may want to still look at travel or temporary nursing staff as an interim. Especially considering the quicker orientation time of a travel nurse typically. In fact a travel nurse with their wide range of backgrounds could be very useful in bringing a re-entry nurse up to speed pretty quickly.

Is this something you are seeing at your hospital as well? If so how long is it taking to get them up to speed? What are your thoughts?

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How does your hospital grade?

Have you ever wondered what the nurses and allied health professionals working for you thought of your unit, management style or hospital. Thanks to a new website called you may be able to find out. The site is very new and as of yet I have not seen any ratings take place, but I think that it is only a matter of time before traffic picks up for it (I have seen a fairly aggressive advertising campaign for it using Google). When it does, you will have two choices ignore what people say about your hospital or see it as a chance to make some real improvements.

Currently the site lets users rank anonymously on the following areas:

  • Doctor to Nurse Relationship
  • Nurse to Nurse Relationship
  • Pay
  • Location
  • Nurse Management
  • Professional Development
  • There are a couple of sites that are for patient ratings like, and – Hospital Compare, but this site is a different approach to improving your patient care from the ground up. If all the areas are above are taken care of then there should inherently be good patient care going on at your hospital. I would be surprised if a hospital rated well on, but poorly on for instance.

    Also, from a recruiting the best nursing staff standpoint, this site could be very beneficial or harmful. Seeing the feedback nurses are giving your hospital and making adjustments when appropriate is a great way to improve your overall nursing and allied health recruiting efforts.

    Check the site out in a couple of months, I think you will see that there are plenty of ratings on it and some very useful information for all nursing and allied health unit managers, hospital staffing managers and hospital c-level decision makers to look at.

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    How to evaluate a traveler's resume

    When you are receiving 30-40 resumes for any open travel nursing or travel allied health position need that your hospital has it is imperative that you are able to quickly and accurately assess the talent and qualifications of the candidate. Hiring the wrong candidate or even wasting your valuable time talking to the wrong travel nurse or therapist can be a big drain on your hospitals resources. One of the best ways to do avoid this scenario is through a thorough but efficient look at the travel healthcare candidates resume. Here are some quick tips to help you do just that:

    Have a plan. First look at skills, then the unit worked in, then experience.
    Look for job relevance and make sure that the travel nursing or therapist candidate meets the minimum requirements for the job.
    Try to picture the applicant in the nursing or allied health position and interacting with your current hospital staff.
    Avoid making assumptions, if anything looks irregular on the traveler’s resume; make sure to follow up with the travel staffing company or the candidate during the interview.
    Look for gaps in work history any sort of vagueness, this will help you avoid a nurse or therapists who may be hiding something.
    Ignore disclosed information that may cause you to subconsciously discriminate against a candidate.

    Hopefully following these quick tips will help you bring the most qualified and talented healthcare providers to your hospital.

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