The best travel nurse agency is one that ensures your travel nursing experience is everything you want it to be. But how do you evaluate which agencies are right for you? With so many to choose from, figuring out which companies offer what you need may seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to help you find your perfect match.
To help you find which companies align with your travel nursing goals, we’ve broken what to look for into 5 basic categories.
Reviews and accolades
There are so many different awards a travel nurse company can receive. A few include: Most Loyal, Most Traveler-Centric, and Best Career Accelerator. However, the biggest accolade you need to look for is, The Joint Commission Certification. This certification verifies that a travel nursing agency meets the highest standards of care in the industry. As a travel nurse, this means you can expect high-quality nursing services and assignments.
Also, browse their review pages like Facebook, Great Recruiters, and Google. Current travel nurses with the company will speak louder volumes than almost anything else.
Opportunities for growth
Some agencies offer continuing education, tuition reimbursement, and career building opportunities. If an agency provides these services, it’s a good indication that they’re invested in you. If feeling supported as you grow within this career is important to you, then these opportunities for growth are something to look for.
Assignment locations and availability
A large reason to become a travel nurse is the opportunity to travel. The perfect agency for you will have a multitude of assignments available across a span of locations. You’ll want to make sure that these assignments also align with your skill set and requirements. A few things you can look at include:
Unique locations. If visiting new and exciting places is a priority for you during your travel nurse journey, then check out and compare agency’s locations. If they offer tons of places marked on your bucket list, they could be the agency for you!
Current jobs board. Nothing can be more frustrating than getting excited over an assignment that no longer exists. If this is something you run into, the agency may not be updating their jobs frequently enough. The best company for you, will keep you informed on the most current – and available – jobs that are perfect for you.
Specialty assignments. A travel nurse agency without diversity is like a fruit basket of only apples – not the best. Make sure if you’re seeking a specialty assignment that your agency staffs for that and have knowledgeable recruiters.
You might be surprised by what benefits are available to travelers. Definitely speak with a recruiter about the type of insurance offered, and when it goes into effect. It would also be important to discuss 401k options, tax support, housing assistance, counseling, and other potential benefits. Don’t be afraid to advocate for what you need from an agency to be the most successful travel nurse.
Recruiter and agency support
No agency should make you feel like just another number. Your perfect travel nurse company should have YOU as their top priority. If it’s hard to get in contact with your recruiter, you can always request to switch to someone else. However, if you have any doubt about your agency having your back in certain situations, it might be time to leave.
If you aren’t currently with an agency, and are nervous about getting assigned to an unresponsive recruiter, reach out to other travel nurses. They can give you unfiltered information about their agency’s culture and support. Furthermore, they might even refer you to a recruiter they love – which, depending the agency, could have a bonus in store for both of you!
Recruiters will be a major resource for you, so finding the right one is important. Asking questions can help you learn more about your recruiter and even the company. If you’re unsure what to ask, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Do you have resources to help me find housing?
- What if I miss days of my assignment?
- How do I track my hours, and when do I get paid?
- What if I dislike my assignment due to practices/treatment?
Figure out what questions are the most important for you to have answered. And remember, sometimes no answer is an answer.
These 5 basic categories should give you a great glimpse into what to look for in a travel nurse agency. Some items might hold more weight than others, which is perfectly okay. This is about finding the right agency for what you need, which can look different to each nurse.
Signs it’s time to move on
It’s okay to change your travel nurse agency if it’s not benefiting you. Here are a few signs that you may need to move on:
You don’t like your recruiter. If you feel like your recruiter doesn’t advocate for you, comes across as pushy, or is unwilling to find the answers to your questions, it may be time to find someone else to work with. A recruiter is your lifeline, a good one should feel like a long-time friend who cares about you and your success.
You have limited options. Not every agency will have the jobs you’re looking for. You want to work with a company which continues to have tons of options for assignments that match your career goals. If you notice you’re being offered less opportunities each contract, you’ll probably struggle to find a job you’re excited about.
You feel like you’re talking to a wall. Proper communication is key to a good travel nursing experience. A great recruiter responds quickly to solve problems, updates you on submittals and job opportunities, and helps you feel heard.
Your documents are late. In order to make any contract successful, timely documentation is a must. If your paperwork is late, your start date will be pushed back, causing you to miss out on money. Because credentialing can take over 2 weeks to complete, your agency should be collecting all documents needed as early as possible to keep you on track. If you’re not receiving communication about sending in paperwork, you may need to take initiative.
If you’re struggling with any of the above, it’s probably time to leave. The issue is, how?
How to quit your travel agency
If you’re needing to leave your agency, there are a few things we recommend to be successful.
1. Be respectful
Being respectful is a great way to leave an agency while maintaining a good reputation. Remember, even if the agency wasn’t right for you, you’re still dealing with people who deserve to be treated nicely. Furthermore, you never know where this career will take you, so you should avoid burning bridges.
2. Be truthful
If you leave the agency without being truthful about why, you won’t benefit anyone. Document any issues throughout your contract which have resulted in your departure from the company and discuss these with your recruiter. Giving honest feedback and constructive criticism is important for the agency to make necessary changes.
3. Be reasonable
When it comes to leaving your agency, make sure you’re setting reasonable expectations for them. You might want your recruiter to be in contact with you 24/7, but is this a realistic possibility? Evaluate your situation and view your agency impartially. If it is time to move on to a new company, remember to advocate for what you want, while maintaining fair expectations.
Whether you’re thinking of beginning travel nursing, or a 5 year veteran, it’s never too late to find the best agency for you. Use this ultimate guide to ensure that your experience as a travel nurse is everything you want it to be. Ask questions, do your research, and evaluate what you need from your agency in order to find your perfect match. There are plenty to choose from, so don’t settle for anything less than what you deserve.
Your path is our purpose.
Looking for an agency with great assignments, great recruiters, and great pay? Look no further than Ethos Medical Staffing! Founded by nurses for nurses, we offer you the freedom to travel, explore new environments and gain autonomy over your own schedule—all while helping you navigate the entire journey. Our talented and dedicated team believes you deserve an advocate who treats you like a priority while you’re caring for others, which is exactly what we do. If you want to know what it’s like to work with a team that treats you like family, then let one of our amazing recruiters reach out today. We can’t wait to hear from you!