home Healthcare Staffing, Travel Nurses, Working with Staffing Vendors How nurse managers can improve a hospital's use of travel nurses

How nurse managers can improve a hospital's use of travel nurses

nurse reviewYou are used to giving feedback to your full-time nurse staff, but how often are you giving your travel nurses or travel nursing companies feedback? If you already do, that is great, but if not, it may be something you should look at instituting at your hospital. There are benefits for all three if you do.

Benefit of feedback for the travel nurse

Even though the time a traveler is at your hospital may be as short as 8-13 weeks, that doesn’t mean feedback is not important to her. Many times a travel nurse has decided to pursue a travel career because she wants to become a better nurse and learn new skills. One of the best ways to do that is to get feedback from a variety of managers with different backgrounds who can give constructive advice. It will also help her feel more comfortable in her role and if she is living up to your expectations, which will make her a better nurse. 

Even though the time a traveler is at your hospital may be as short as 8-13 weeks, that doesn’t mean feedback is not important to her.

Benefit of feedback for the hospital

It will also help you get the most out of travel nurses at your unit and the travel nursing companies you work with. Feedback given at the right times during an assignment can also be a huge boost to the travel nurses performance, particularly if there are any areas she needs to improve in. Identifying a nurse’s weaknesses and strengths early in the assignment is going to make you better able to utilize her during her time with your hospital. You can give this feedback on an informal basis or in a formal program, but the key is to make sure it happens in a shorter time-frame than it would with a perm nurse.

You may even want to consider doing  30-day peer review of a travel nurse. That way you can see what the perm nurses on your staff think of her performance as well and find out if there are any issues you were unaware of.

Keeping record of these reviews and feedback is also a great way to create a list of nurses you may want to hire full-time one day or bring back when another travel need arises.

Benefit of feedback for the travel nursing company

Finally, it is important that you share with the nurse’s travel nursing company. First, this will make sure that they know if there are any performance problems they need to address or help the traveler with. Second, it will help them learn what traits and skills you need or value most in the nurses you have on staff and can help them find other similar nurses in the future.

Here is a sample schedule you could follow

7 days in – Go over initial performance impressions and address any issues that look like they may become a problem down the road if not addressed early. This is also a good place to answer any questions she may need to ask.

30 days in – Have your perm nurses take part in a peer review of the travel nurse to get a different point of view of the nurse.

90 days in – Do a post assignment feedback session that you will be able to provide to your travel nursing company and let the nurse know what her strengths are what she needs to improve on for her next assignment.

Here are some tools for putting together your evaluations: Strategies for Nurse Managers