Travel nurses are always on the hunt for the best travel nursing companies. This is understandable given the central role that companies play in a travel nurse’s career. In this blog post we’ll compare the “Top Company” lists compiled by the two most commonly relied upon resources for finding the best companies, Travel Nursing Central (TNC) and Highway Hypodermics.
This blog post was written in 2014. While it is still highly useful, you may also want to review our blog post on the best travel nursing companies for 2015 as well as our blog post on the same topic for 2016. And of course, you may be most interested in our article on the best travel nursing agencies for 2017!
Background on the best travel nursing company lists
Both TNC and Highway Hypodermics compile an annual list of the best companies. Each service utilizes a different formula to rank companies. TNC’s formula is largely based on the company ratings the service collects. Ratings received over the most recent year are weighted higher than those from previous years and the total number of ratings entered is also weighted. To qualify, an agency must have a website, must have received more than 15 ratings and must have been rated by a traveler who had worked for the agency in the last three months.
Highway Hypodermics scores agencies in two categories. First, agencies are scored on the benefits they provide. The service asks 21 benefits based questions and allots 1 point for each benefit provided by a company. For example, one question asks if the company provides professional liability insurance. Answering yes gets the agency a point for that benefit. Second, agencies receive a score based on the ratings the service has collected for the agency. The two scores are combined and the agencies are ranked from highest to lowest score.
The list of the top companies provided by TNC is divided into 3 tiers (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) with 4 companies in each tier for a total of 12 companies. Highway Hypodermics provides a top 10 list of agencies and they extend the list to include an additional 10 companies they refer to as “Honorable Mentions.” Here is a side-by-side comparison of the lists for 2014 with the top two honorable mentions added to Highway Hypodermics’ list so we have a straight comparison:
Side-by-side comparison of the best travel nursing company lists
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We have highlighted 5 companies on the list with green text. These companies have verified that they will accept your BluePipes job application, resume and skills checklists. One application, one resume, one skills checklist lets you work with at least 5 of the top companies at your convenience.
Why do we say “at least”? Because these are just the companies that have contacted us directly to let us know they accept BluePipes documents. There are many other companies who accept the documents as well. In fact, you can send your documents to any company you’d like at your convenience. Be sure to view the entire list of verified companies to find many other great agencies that have verified they are simplifying travel nursing for travel nurses.
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As you can see, five companies appear on both lists, Valley Healthcare Systems, Aya Healthcare, Travel Nurse Across America, Talemed, and FlexCare which occupies the top spot on both lists. So 41% of the companies can be found on both lists. That’s great, but what about the remaining companies? How do they stack up comparatively?
Let’s start with the companies that are on TNC’s list, but not on Highway Hypodermics’ (HH) list. They are as follows:
- Medical Solutions is ranked in the Gold category by TNC and they are ranked number 13 by HH.
- Medical Staffing Solutions, Inc is ranked in the Gold category by TNC and they are not ranked in the top 20 by HH. The company appears to have received only 1 evaluation on HH, although they received 18 out of a possible 20. They received 15 points on HH’s benefits scorecard. They didn’t make the cut because they didn’t have enough reviews to qualify for HH’s list.
- The Right Solutions is ranked in the Silver category by TNC and they are ranked number 18 by HH.
- Trinity Healthcare Staffing is ranked in the Silver category by TNC and they are ranked number 16 by HH.
- Soliant Healthcare is ranked in the Silver category by TNC and they are not ranked in the top 20 by HH. The company appears to have received 4 evaluations for an average of 15.4 on HH. However, it appears as though the company did not provide a response to HH’s benefits questionnaire. As a result, they didn’t qualify for list consideration.
- American Traveler is ranked in the Bronze category by TNC and they are not ranked in the top 20 by HH. The company received a dismal 11.3 average rating based on 5 reviews on HH. Additionally, it appears as though the company did not provide a response to HH’s benefits questionnaire. As a result, they didn’t qualify for list consideration.
- Emerald Health Services is ranked in the Bronze category by TNC and they are not ranked in the top 20 by HH. The company appears to have received 1 evaluation for a score of 14.5 on HH. Additionally, it appears as though they did not complete the benefits questionnaire. As a result, they didn’t qualify for list consideration.
Now let’s take a look at the companies that are on Highway Hypodermics’ (HH) list but not on TNC’s list. They are as follows:
- Health Providers Choice is ranked number 2 by HH. The company received 13 evaluations on TNC for an average score of 75.2. This score puts them at 27 out of 78 companies that received more than 5 ratings on TNC.
- PHP is ranked number 3 by HH. The company received 13 evaluations on TNC for an average score of 77.5. This score puts them at 21 out of 78 companies that received more than 5 ratings on TNC.
- PRCS is ranked number 4 by HH. The company received no evaluations on TNC.
- IPI Travel is ranked number 5 by HH. The company received 12 evaluations on TNC for an average score of 72.6. This score puts them at 29 out of 78 companies that received more than 5 ratings on TNC.
- OneStaff Medical is ranked number 6 by HH. The company appears to have received no evaluations on TNC.
- TotalMed Staffing is ranked number 7 by HH. The company received 1 evaluation on TNC for an average score of 95. This isn’t enough evaluations to qualify for either list.
- PPR is ranked number 10 by HH. The company received 15 evaluations on TNC for an average score of 66.4. This score puts them at 47 out of 78 companies that received more than 5 ratings on TNC.
Considerations for travel nurses
We’ve discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using agency rating services in a previous blog post. This comparison validates our recommendation that rating services should be considered as one of many variables when determining which agencies are the best fit for you. As you can see, many of the companies found on these lists receive high rankings on one list and poor to mediocre rankings on the other list. That said, there is also a lot of crossover which bodes well for using the lists.
Perhaps more importantly, these lists don’t help travelers find agencies that work in their desired locations. For example, if you’re looking for an assignment in Michigan, then Flexcare Medical Staffing is definitely not the best agency for you as they currently have no jobs in Michigan. However, companies like Expedient MedStaff and RNNetwork have several opportunities in Michigan and they are not ranked on either list.
It’s also important to note that the rating services have a relatively small number of ratings considering the number of contracts that are completed throughout the year. Moreover, there are many great agencies that simply don’t received enough reviews to qualify to make it on the list. For example, Healthcare Pros, Host Healthcare, and Triage Staffing are all great companies, but they haven’t received enough ratings to make the cut.
We’d love to hear what you think; please share your questions and comments in the comments section below!