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Starting with a travel nurse recruiter

June 12, 2013

Working with recruiters is an experience that all travel nurses have encountered. Two of Fastaff’s most experienced source recruiters, Teresa Tiao and Jennifer Brattain, took the time to sit down and discuss what the process is like specifically at Fastaff as well as what new nurses can expect when they start working with our company:

What do you believe is the most important thing nurses should know about Fastaff?

TT: That we are a true rapid response nurse staffing services provider.  The jobs that we see open and change daily as well as fill quickly since the hospitals want the nurse to start within 1-3 weeks of the order posting.  This is why we can offer higher wages and free travel and housing.

JB:  I think one of the main differentiators between Fastaff and our competitors, besides the rapid response nurse staffing services provider piece, is the fact that we don’t offer any blended rates – what the nurses see is what we offer.  Often, other agencies will quote a specific rate – say $40 per hour – but they will not provide housing (the nurse will have to find and pay for out of those wages), or they end up deducting the housing from the nurse’s wages if they chose to take the housing they offer (so their wages might really only be $25/hour after that is deducted).

In addition to the hourly pay we advertise, we also supply and pay for housing and travel expenses or give the nurse a stipend if they wish to handle those arrangements themselves. Our bonuses and other benefits are also in addition to the base pay. We think it’s important for nurses to understand the components of their pay.

How can a nurse prepare themselves before talking to a recruiter?

JB: I believe completing the application and having a complete, ready-to-submit, file is key – application, skill checklists, copies of certifications and a professional reference.

TT: There are a couple very crucial things that nurses need to consider. The first is knowing their availability to travel since we have such quick turnaround times. The second is that they need to know where they think they may want to travel since licensing in some states could take longer than others. 

What do you generally look for in a nurse’s qualifications when trying to get them their first assignment?

JB: Since we have a minimum threshold I think, for me, it would be years of experience.  Fastaff, as well as the hospitals, typically look for nurses have two years in an acute care hospital, preferably setting level 1 or 2.

TT: Besides the years of experience, I think an important thing is how flexible the nurses can be. There are many facilities that look for flexibility in terms of the shifts the nurses are willing to work and if they are able to float to other departments.

What are some things a first-time traveler should know or expect?

JB: That to make the most money as a traveler, not all locations will be 100 percent ideal to what they want or are expecting.  Some facilities need them to be there due to a large influx of patients so they might be super busy, or they could be going to California but not necessarily on the coast line or in the Bay area.  Also that having a complete file is key prior to even getting an offer for a facility.  Sometimes the notice is super last minute.

TT: With Fastaff it’s a little different than perhaps what they’ve experienced with other companies. With our rapid response style, we will likely be asking them to travel quickly – sometimes within a couple days. On top of that, I would definitely encourage first-time travelers to attain additional licenses in states they are thinking about traveling to – they will come in very handy when they want to use them.

Explain the transition between source recruiting and legacy recruiting:

TT: The way that I view it is that source recruiters are the ones that give new nurses an orientation to the company and legacy recruiters act as career counselors after that. I think we always try to set the precedent that the source recruiters will only be with nurses for their first assignment with Fastaff.

JB: The way I explain it is that we are here due to compliance documents needed and also personality matching.  I want to make sure that I best match the nurse up, personality-wise, to a legacy team member.  The relationship between the recruiter and the nurse during their duration of working with us is important.  We want our nurses to be happy when they take assignments with us, so the meshing with their legacy recruiter is essential.

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