Do you have a to-do list as long as your stethoscope (or gait belt, looking at you, PTs) to get ready for your next travel assignment? Changing locations every 13 or-so weeks is enough to make anyone feel scattered. Luckily, travel professionals work with recruiters to guide them through the process from start to finish. However, many travelers miss out on this resource by failing to probe their recruiter for advice or knowledge. Here are 10 questions you need to ask your recruiter when prepping for your next assignment – your sanity will thank you!
1. What’s the location like?
While your recruiter likely hasn’t actually lived in your next travel location, they can provide you with some tips on scoping things out. Commonly, recruiters recommend specific resources for you to check out based on your interests, providing personal insight on your new community.
2. How long is the assignment?
Most assignments are 13 weeks, but this is not the only option – there are other assignment lengths available. Maybe you want to squeeze in something before the holidays? Or perhaps you’d like to extend beyond the usual 13 weeks? Ask your recruiter what else is available.
3. Does the facility have a history of treating travel nurses well?
Recruiters have a pretty good idea of which facilities are more “traveler-friendly” and which ones you might steer clear of (unless you’ve got nerves of steel). Recruiters want to work with you more than once, giving them incentive to be honest about assignment locations with reputations for poor treatment of travelers. So ask!
4. Can you help me calculate my take-home pay?
Talk to your recruiter before each assignment about your take home pay – when things like housing stipend, insurance and taxes are factored into the equation, you need to know what to expect in your pocket. When you’re quoted an hourly rate (gross pay), understand what your pay will truly be (net pay) come payday. It’s not all about deductions: also ask your recruiter when you’ll receive things like bonuses and your first paycheck.
5. How many hours are guaranteed each week?
When locking down a new assignment, the last thing you need to worry about is guaranteed hours – but never assume you’ll receive a full 36 hours per week. Be very clear on what the facility guarantees on hours so that aren’t surprised by the small print on your contract.
6. What is the breakdown on health insurance?
You’ll likely be given multiple insurance plan options to choose from, much like you would for a permanent placement position. When speaking to your recruiter, make sure to ask when coverage begins and ends, and other questions about out-of-pocket expenses, premium, deductible, etc. If you end up needing your insurance, you will be glad you asked.
7. What questions will I be asked in an interview, and what questions should I ask?
Recruiters are experienced enough to know what questions can make or break your interview with any given facility. They may not know when the Facility Manager will call you, but they can offer up wisdom on how to nail the interview itself. Most recruiters offer interview coaching, and will actually give you a mock interview if you request it.
8. How can I leverage my previous experience to land a competitive assignment?
If you’re hoping to advance your career, your travel experience can be an asset, not a set-back. Tell your recruiter about your career aspirations, and they can help guide you from assignment to assignment with your professional growth in mind, and recommend next steps for advancement.
9. Where will I live?
Luckily, you’re not cast out on your own after a job offer is made – your recruiter can offer suggestions of where to look for great housing options. Staffing agencies may have discount codes available for their travelers at extended stay hotels and/or furnished apartment complexes, so be sure to utilize this resource. Make sure you have made your housing expectations clear to your recruiter so they can recommend housing that suits your personal requirements in congruence with what you’re willing to pay, but ultimately this is your responsibility. Don’t wait until the last minute to arrange your housing!
10. How do I get licensed and certified in all areas before starting my assignment?
While getting licensed on time is ultimately your responsibility, recruiters can help you navigate the process by providing their knowledge about the licensure process for a particular state. They can also help nurses find CPR class openings, and find clinics where they can get a physical or TB test if required by the facility.