Finding the best travel nursing companies to work with is important given the central role companies play in a travel nurse’s career. Unfortunately, determining which companies are worthy of being considered “The Best” is much more complicated than it sounds. So in this article, we’ll simplify your search with our list of the best travel nursing companies of 2017 based on aggregated ratings from across the web.
Why It’s Difficult to Determine the Best Travel Nursing Companies
There are several factors that complicate determining the best travel nursing companies. First, the total number of reviews for travel nursing companies is relatively small. This is largely due to the fact that the travel nursing industry is quite small and has a relatively large number of agencies.
Travel Nurse to Company Ratios
We estimate there were 32,000 travel nurses in 2016. Meanwhile, there are over 300 healthcare staffing companies engaged in travel nurse staffing. That’s an average of just over 100 travel nurses per agency. Of course, there are a relatively small number of large travel nursing companies that control a significant percentage of the market. According to Staffing Industry Analysts, 36 companies account for 62% of the market. This means there are hundreds of agencies working with an average of 50 travel nurses per year.
Why is this important? The fewer travel nurses a company works with, the fewer reviews they stand to get. In statistics, they call that a small sample size. This diminishes the efficacy of the reviews because results are easily skewed when the sample size is small.
Many Rating and Review Websites
Meanwhile, there are a large number of websites offering rating and review services. This further complicates finding the best travel nursing companies. There are employer rating and review services like GlassDoor and Indeed. Then there are general services like Facebook and Google that have added ratings and reviews to their platforms. Finally, there are rating and review services devoted specifically to travel healthcare. In fact, we know of at least 8 different rating and review services devoted to travel nursing.
Two problems result from the large number of rating and review services. First, it makes it difficult for any one service to achieve an adequate sample size. Second, it results in disparity between services. One company may look amazing on one platform and horrible on another. We refer to this as “rating-service-disparity”.
How We Determined the Best Travel Nursing Agencies of 2017
Previous Articles on the Best Travel Nursing Companies
We’ve been publishing an annual article on the best travel nursing companies for the last three years. In the past, these articles focused on comparing and contrasting the “best travel nursing company lists” published annually by the two leading industry specific rating and review services, Highway Hypodermics (HH) and Travel Nursing Central (TNC). We love both of these services and highly recommend reviewing their “best travel nursing company lists” for 2017.
While we believe our articles comparing the lists of HH and TNC are useful and interesting, we decided it was time for a change. Unfortunately, our previous articles did nothing to address the problems of small sample size and rating-service-disparity. For example, there were companies on top of one list that didn’t even qualify to be on the other list or, worse yet, were horribly rated. Additionally, there are companies that have fewer than 5 reviews on either HH or TNC but have 50 to 100 reviews on services like Facebook or GlassDoor. It doesn’t seem fair for us to ignore those companies.
New Approach to Determine the Best Travel Nursing Companies
Moving forward, our goal with this annual review of the best travel nursing companies is to address the problems pertaining to small sample size and rating-service-disparity. We hope the resulting product will help travel nurses confidently and conveniently ascertain the potential service quality of travel nursing companies.
To accomplish this goal, we aggregated the rating scores from 6 different sources and distilled them into one average score for each travel nursing company. We used data collected between June 7th and June 13th of 2017. The 6 sources we used are:
- Highway Hypodermics (Company Evaluations)
- Travel Nursing Central
- Travel Nursing Blogs
100 Point Scale
The 6 sources use different scoring methods. For example, Highway Hypodermics uses a 20 point scale for their “Company Evaluations”. Travel Nursing Central uses a 100 point scale. The others use the common “star rating” system which is essentially a 5 point scale.
As a result, in order to aggregate the ratings we had to choose one scale and convert the others to match. We chose to use the 100 point scale. We feel it’s the clearest scale given its association with the commonly understood school grading system. It’s easier to conceptualize how well a company is performing if we know they received a score of 90 as opposed to a score of 4.5 (which is the same as 90). A score of 90 is easy to associate with an A- grade.
We provide a sample breakdown of the scoring for one company at the end of this article so you can see exactly how we aggregated the different scores. Also at the end of the article, we provide a brief overview of each rating service and a detailed discussion on the rationale and efficacy of this new approach in order to address any questions or concerns.
Qualifying for Consideration
To qualify for consideration on the list, a company must:
- Have 50 or more reviews combined from all platforms
- Currently be in business
It’s important to note that this is the first year we compiled this list. As a result, we’re starting with a clean slate which certainly has an impact on the results. In subsequent years, we will add more requirements for consideration. For example, future lists will require a specified number of reviews submitted during the prior year. This will most likely have a large impact on future results.
Who Are The Best Travel Nursing Companies of 2017?
We chose to list 20 companies on our list of the best travel nursing companies for three reasons. First, there are over 300 healthcare staffing agencies engaged in travel nursing. While you’ll never hear of many of them because they are so small, we were able to find reviews for over 250 of them. Our list of 20, while large, represents less than 10% of all companies.
Second, we wanted to make sure we recognized companies that earned great scores. With a score of 88, the 20th company on our list is essentially earning the equivalent of a B+, which is really good for an employer!
Third, we’re huge proponents of travelers working with multiple companies. It’s the best way to maximize your access to the job market and ensure you maintain a solid negotiating position. Plus, most of the companies on our list are small to mid-sized companies. Having a wide variety of these companies to select from is a huge benefit for travelers.
Connect With The Best Travel Nursing Companies on BluePipes
The great news is that you can connect with 17 of the top 20 travel nursing companies right here on BluePipes! In the list below, we’ve highlighted the 17 companies who have recruiters and a company page on BluePipes with green text. It’s free to join BluePipes and we never release your personal contact information to third parties.
With BluePipes, you can create a travel nursing resume that recruiters and hiring managers will love. You can also complete and save skills checklists for over 100 nursing and allied specialties. You can even create your own job application and upload copies of your licenses and certifications. You can send all of your documents to anyone at your convenience.
When you’re ready for your next job, simply update your Job Availability settings on BluePipes. We’ll let the recruiters know and they’ll be able to contact you through the BluePipes messaging system. This way, you can keep your personal contact information private. Select the button below to discover why travel nurses are calling BluePipes their “secret weapon”.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at our list of the best travel nursing agencies of 2017.
|Rank||Company||Total Reviews||Average Score|
|1||OR Nurses Nationwide||54||95.065|
|2||Triage Healthcare Staffing||316||94.983|
|3||Fusion Medical Staffing||677||93.762|
|4||The Quest Group||231||93.564|
|5||Axis Medical Staffing||123||93.309|
|7||Medical Staffing Solutions, Inc.||162||92.527|
|8||United Staffing Solutions (USSI)||136||92.406|
|11||FlexCare Medical Staffing||1165||91.721|
|12||Convergence Medical Staffing||77||90.416|
|14||Republic Health Resources||131||90.035|
|15||Tailored Healthcare Staffing||291||89.925|
|19||Health Providers Choice||105||88.998|
|20||The Right Solutions||320||88.391|
About the Best Travel Nursing Companies of 2017
Let’s find out a little more about the best travel nursing companies and how they made our list.
Don’t let the name fool you. While they got their start serving OR nurses, OR Nurses Nationwide quickly branched out to serve nurses and allied professionals of all specialties! They are nurse owned and operated. They have offices in Houston, TX, Dallas, TX, and Memphis, TN. All offices are supervised by nurses.
You will not find OR Nurses Nationwide on the lists of either TNC or HH because the company didn’t receive enough reviews to qualify. However, they had 47 reviews on Facebook with an average score of 4.8 which works out to 96 points on our 100 point scale. They made our list on the strength of those ratings.
It’s also important to note that OR Nurses Nationwide barely made the cut with 54 reviews. Some might argue that the sample size is too small. However, we had well over 50 companies on our list that had between 10 and 100 reviews and only 2 of them made it into the top 20. This means it was more likely that review totals in this range actually skewed negative. Perhaps more importantly, we spot-checked the Facebook reviewers of OR Nurses Nationwide and found a significant percentage of them to be healthcare professionals who were pleased with the service they received.
BluePipes members can connect with OR Nurses Nationwide and their recruiters here.
Triage Healthcare Staffing was founded in 2006 as a boutique firm specializing in Radiology. They quickly grew into a full service healthcare staffing firm that was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the nation’s fastest growing companies for 3 straight years.
Triage was an honorable mention on TNC’s list of top companies for 2017. They don’t qualify for HH’s list because they only have two reviews on HH. However, the company currently has over 200 reviews on Facebook with an average score of 4.9! They also have 44 reviews on GlassDoor with an average score of 4.8.
Fusion Medical Staffing was founded in 2009 by Scott Wehner and Sam Wageman. The two had previously worked at one of the nation’s largest healthcare staffing companies. From their humble beginnings working out of a basement in Omaha, Nebraska, they and their team built a company that has grown rapidly and has won several “Best Places to Work” awards.
Fusion Medical Staffing was one of TNC’s top companies for 2017. They also scored well on HH where they were recognized as an honorable mention for 2017. The company currently has over 200 reviews on Facebook with an average score of 4.8. They have 66 reviews on Indeed with an average score of 4.8. And they have 58 reviews on GlassDoor with an average score of 4.9.
Fusion tallied the second highest number of reviews on our list. They made our list because they scored well across all platforms.
BluePipes members can connect with Fusion Medical Staffing and their recruiters here.
The Quest Group was founded in 2004. The company is based in Frisco, Texas just outside Dallas. In addition to nationwide travel nursing opportunities, they also staff per diem in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
The Quest Group was an honorable mention on TNC’s list of top companies for 2017. They received an average score of 17.1 out of 20 on HH. The company currently has 120 Facebook reviews with an average score of 4.9. They made our list on the strength of their ratings on these three platforms.
BluePipes members can connect with Quest Staffing and their recruiters here.
Axis Medical Staffing was founded in 2004 by Ryan Skjonsberg and Adam McKinnon from a humble 10×10 executive suite. They booked their first per diem shift on Christmas Day and quickly expanded to placing travelers in all 50 states. The company is based in Seattle, Washington and has assignments nationwide.
Axis Medical Staffing was an honorable mention on TNC’s list of top companies for 2017 and they were honored as one of the top companies in 2016. They had 51 reviews with an average score of 89 on TNC. The company currently has over 60 Facebook reviews with an average score of 4.8. They made our list on the strength of their TNC and Facebook scores.
BluePipes members can connect with Axis Medical Staffing and their recruiters here.
LRS Healthcare made our list on the strength of their Facebook reviews. They currently have 129 reviews with an average score of 4.9! They are the perfect example of why an aggregated list such as this is so important. This is because they have received only 13 reviews on TNC and 5 on HH. This makes them ineligible for consideration on either website’s “Top Companies” list.
BluePipes members can connect with LRS Healthcare and their recruiters here.
Medical Staffing Solutions, Inc was one of TNC’s top companies for the last three years! They are rated highly by TNC reviewers with an average score of 94.7 on 114 reviews. They score fairly well on HH with an average of 16.7 out of a possible 20. They have also received good reviews on Facebook with an average of 4.4 on 31 reviews. Medical Staffing Solutions, Inc made our list with a solid all around performance.
BluePipes members can connect with Medical Staffing Solutions, Inc and their recruiters here.
United Staffing Solutions, Inc is another company that is reviewed well on all services. They were one of TNC’s top rated companies for 2017. Reviewers on TNC gave them an average score of 91.2. They also score well on HH with an average of 16.6 out of a possible 20. They came in with 30 Facebook reviews averaging 4.9 and 19 GlassDoor reviews averaging 4.8.
BluePipes members can connect with United Staffing Solutions, Inc and their recruiters here.
Host Healthcare was one of TNC’s top companies for 2017. They also made it on HH’s list for 2017. To date, they have 28 reviews on Facebook with an average score of 4.8. They have 13 reviews on Indeed with an average score of 4.6. And they have 18 reviews on GlassDoor with an average score of 4.7. They made our list based on their solid reviews across the board.
10. Atlas MedStaff
Atlas MedStaff has scored well to date on TNC, but did not make the website’s list of top companies for 2017. However, they did make it on HH’s list for 2017. They also scored well on Facebook with 67 reviews averaging 4.8. Atlas made our list based largely on their reviews from HH, TNC and Facebook.
BluePipes members can connect with Atlas MedStaff and their recruiters here.
With a whopping 1,165 total reviews, Flexcare is the most reviewed company by far to make our list of the top travel nursing companies. They are the most reviewed company on TNC with 828 total reviews. This is over 450 more reviews than any other company. They’re also the second most reviewed company on HH where they have over 200 reviews.
They’ve made TNC’s list of top companies for the last four years and HH’s list for the last 7 years! This is an amazing accomplishment. It’s fair to say Flexcare is the most decorated company on our list. We were surprised to see them at number 11. How did that happen?
Their average score on TNC is 93.4. They also have 78 reviews on Facebook with an average score of 4.7 which equates to 94 on 100 point scale. However, their average score on HH is 17 which equates to 85 on a 100 point scale. These reviews brought their average down a bit. That said, if you’re one who believes reviews are a better indicator of expected performance when there are more reviews to consider, then Flexcare is your company.
BluePipes members can connect with Flexcare Medical Staffing and their recruiters here.
Convergence Medical Staffing made our list with a solid showing on both TNC and HH. They have an average of 94 on 27 reviews from TNC. Convergence’s 37 reviews on HH averaged 17.6. However, they are a bit of an anomaly because they didn’t make either website’s list of top companies. Convergence probably didn’t meet the websites’ minimum requirements to be considered for their lists. We’re glad to see them get recognized here.
BluePipes members can connect with Convergence Medical Staffing and their recruiters here.
LiquidAgents was one of TNC’s top companies for 2017. To date, they have received 129 reviews with an average score of 88.8 on TNC. They have also received 130 reviews with an average score of 4.8 on Facebook. LiquidAgents made our list based largely on their scores from these two platforms.
Republic Health Resources also made our list based on their scores from Facebook and TNC. They have an average score of 91.4 on 79 reviews on TNC. They also made it on TNC’s list of top companies for 2017. Meanwhile, they’ve racked up 47 reviews with an average score of 4.4 on Facebook.
BluePipes members can connect with Republic Health Resources and their recruiters here.
Tailored Healthcare Staffing made our list based on the strength of their scores from TNC, Facebook and HH. They have received 138 reviews with an average score of 91.7 on TNC. They made TNC’s list of top companies for 2017 and 2016. They also made HH’s list for 2017 and 2016. On Facebook, they’ve racked up 87 reviews with an average score of 4.4.
BluePipes members can connect with Tailored Healthcare Staffing and their recruiters here.
Talemed’s aggregated score on our list was largely the result of their reviews on HH and TNC. They also score very well on Facebook, but with fewer reviews. The company has received 310 reviews to date on HH with an average score of 17.6. This makes Talemed the most reviewed company by far on HH. They have made HH’s top 10 list for the last 3 years, including the number one ranking in 2015.
Meanwhile, Talemed has received 256 reviews with an average score of 90.5 on TNC. Talemed has made TNC’s list of the top companies for the last 4 years!
BluePipes members can connect with Talemed and their recruiters here.
TotalMed staffing makes our list of top travel nursing companies based largely on their reviews from TNC. TotalMed has received a total of 252 reviews on TNC with an average score of 93.5. They have been included on TNC’s list of top companies for the last 3 years.
BluePipes members can connect with TotalMed Staffing and their recruiters here.
Gifted Healthcare received the lion’s share of their reviews on Facebook where they have racked up 130 reviews with an average score of 4.4. They’ve also received good reviews on HH, TNC, GlassDoor and Indeed, but they received a smaller number of reviews on each platform.
BluePipes members can connect with Gifted Healthcare and their recruiters here.
Health Provider’s Choice makes our list based largely on their reviews from HH. The company has received a total of 78 reviews on HH with an average score of 18.2. They have made HH’s top 10 list for 3 of the last 4 years including the number one spot for 2017 and 2016!
BluePipes members can connect with Health Providers Choice and their recruiters here.
The Right Solutions (TRS) received the lion’s share of their 320 total reviews from TNC with 191 reviews coming from the niche rating and review site. They received an additional 42 reviews on HH and 76 on Facebook. They made our list of the best travel nursing agencies based largely on their reviews from these three platforms.
BluePipes members can connect with The Right Solutions and their recruiters here.
About the Rating and Review Services we Aggregated
Now that we’ve reviewed the list, let’s have a detailed look at how the list was compiled. First, each of the rating and review services we selected are a little different. Here’s a brief overview of each.
Highway Hypodermics (HH) is owned and operated by an active travel nurse named Kay Slane. The website allows travelers to submit a “Travel Company Evaluation” questionnaire for the companies they have worked with. There are 20 questions on a wide variety of topics including housing, benefits and more. The website also allows companies to submit a “Travel Company Benefits” questionnaire. There are 21 questions pertaining to various company offerings like housing, insurance and more.
Each year, HH publishes a list of the top 10 travel companies. The companies are scored by combining the results of their Travel Company Benefits questionnaire with the average score of their Travel Company Evaluation questionnaires.
For our aggregated scoring system, we count only the Travel Company Evaluation scores. We tallied a total of 2,293 reviews from Highway Hypodermics.
By the way, Kay also wrote the book “Highway Hypodermics” under the pen-name Epstein LaRue. We highly recommend the book for anyone interested or engaged in travel nursing. Get your copy here. Additionally, HH’s website has tons of other useful tools and services so please head on over and check it out! And to top it off, Kay also moderates a great Facebook group for newcomers to travel nursing called “Travel Nursing Newbies“.
Travel Nursing Central
Travel Nursing Central (TNC) was started by a travel nurse and purchased by Medical Solutions a few years ago. Medical Solutions is one of the nation’s largest travel nursing companies. TNC allows travel nurses to rate the companies they’ve worked with using a five point scale for 20 different criteria. They also allow travelers to submit a written review along with the rating. There are tons of other useful tools on TNC, so be sure to check them out!
Each year, TNC publishes a list of the “Top Travel Nurse Companies” for the year based on the ratings and reviews they’ve received. Their annual list gives more weight to recent reviews in order to account for improvements in service quality.
For our aggregated scoring system, we incorporated each company’s cumulative score as reported by TNC’s Travel Nurse Agency Ranking Results. We tallied a total of 6,083 reviews from TNC.
Travel Nursing Blogs
Travel Nursing Blogs (TNB) has tons of resources for travel nurses. Like TNC, TNB is owned by Medical Solutions. The website has two separate rating services. The first is referred to as Travel Nursing Company Ratings. This option allows users to simply select a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down option for the various companies included on the page.
The second is referred to as Travel Nursing Company Reviews. This option allows users to provide a Star Rating from 1 to 5 as well as a written review.
For our aggregated scoring system we incorporated each company’s Star Rating from TNB’s Travel Nursing Company Reviews. We tallied a total of 1,084 reviews from TNB.
Facebook is one of the 5 most trafficked websites in the world. It has also become one of the most popular platforms for the travel nursing industry. Travelers use the site to find jobs, research companies, get their questions answered and provide support. Agencies and recruiters use Facebook to advertise their services and recruit new candidates.
Facebook launched their review service in 2013. Facebook users can submit reviews on Facebook Pages that have chosen to enable the review feature. Given Facebook’s popularity, many travel nursing companies have accumulated a healthy number of reviews on the service. What we love about it is that reviews on Facebook are commonly made “public” so you can actually see who posted the review. This helps validate the veracity of the results.
For our aggregated scoring system we incorporated each company’s Star Rating from Facebook. We tallied a total of 5,737 reviews from Facebook.
GlassDoor is one of the fastest growing job and recruiting platforms. It’s main differentiation is that it collects company reviews, CEO reviews, benefit reviews, salary reviews and more from website users. The company first launched in 2008 and is considered by many to be the leader in reviews of company working conditions.
For our aggregated scoring system we incorporated each company’s Star Rating from GlassDoor. We tallied a total of 6,463 reviews from GlassDoor.
Indeed is the world’s most trafficked job board. The website got its start by scraping the job postings off of other sites and essentially creating a search engine for job postings. Since then, the company has added a ton of features including company pages and company reviews.
For our aggregated scoring system we incorporated each company’s Star Rating from Indeed. We tallied a total of 6,405 reviews from Indeed.
General versus Travel Nursing Industry Specific Ratings
Our previous articles on the best travel nursing agencies of the year focused on the top two rating services devoted specifically to travel nursing, Highway Hypodermics and Travel nursing Central. Our new approach combines industry specific ratings with general rating services. There are some differences between these services worth noting.
Rating and Review Formats
First, HH and TNC both have evaluation forms with 20 questions on topics of specific importance to the travel nursing industry. As a result, when you closely review the outcomes, you have a better chance of determining whether or not a company ranks well on factors that are particularly important to you.
By contrast, the general evaluation systems are free-form. Users simply provide a rating from 1 to 5 and write a review covering anything they want. This means you aren’t guaranteed the level of specificity offered by HH and TNC.
However, the general evaluation systems are still highly useful. The free-form format provides reviewers with the flexibility to describe all the details that were important to them. As a result, you’ll be able to form a solid understanding of a company’s overall service as long as there are an adequate number of reviews. And, of course, the rating scores still provide the desired result.
Another difference worth noting pertains to reviewer requirements. The industry specific services make a best effort to accept reviews only from travel healthcare professionals. By contrast, the general services accept reviews from all employees of a company. That means travel nurses as well as recruiters and other company employees can submit reviews.
The industry specific services restrict their reviews to travelers only for two reasons. First, their review formats ask questions that are pertinent only to travelers. Second, they want to ensure the ratings are not tainted by company insiders whose sole motivation is to make their company look good by submitting amazing reviews.
Ratings From Travel Nursing Insiders are Important Too
We certainly appreciate the logic and intent behind restricting the reviews to only travelers. However, we have also come to believe that reviews from a company’s internal employees are useful, and perhaps even essential, to consider when determining the best companies in the business.
The happiness of internal employees is an important barometer for travel healthcare professionals. When internal employees aren’t happy, turnover tends to be high. This effects the company’s ability to execute on services that are critical to travelers like payroll, housing arrangements and benefits. Perhaps more importantly, poor morale among internal employees can transform a once happy and amazing recruiter into a cranky and mediocre recruiter. Worse yet, it can result in the traveler losing a recruiter that they’ve come to trust.
We also believe it’s nice to have a review of the best travel nursing companies that is useful for both travelers and internal staff members. And for those who think that internal employees will only give five star reviews of their company, we recommend taking a look at the reviews of travel nursing companies on Indeed and GlassDoor. The sites are packed with horrible reviews from internal employees. Some of them even highlight their companies’ mistreatment of travelers.
Sample Breakdown of an Aggregated Rating Score to Determine the Best Travel Nursing Companies
Of course, you may still be wondering exactly how we crunched the rating scores of six different services into one all encompassing score. As promised above, let’s take a look at an example from our list.
Sample Score Sheet
We tallied the following figures for Fusion Medical Staffing from the six sources we used:
|Travel Nursing Central||180||94.2 out of 100|
|Highway Hypodermics||170||17.7 out of 20|
|Travel Nursing Blogs||2||4 out of 5|
|201||4.8 out of 5|
|Indeed||66||4.8 out of 5|
|Glassdoor||58||4.9 out of 5|
As mentioned previously, the 6 services each use one of three different scoring systems. TNC uses a 100 point system, HH uses a 20 point system, and the rest use a 5 point system. We needed to choose one system and convert the others to that system in order to combine the scores.
We chose to use a 100 point system. To convert HH’s scores, we needed to multiply them by 5 (5 * 20 = 100). To convert the 5 point scoring systems, we needed to multiply them by 20 (20 * 5 = 100).
In addition to converting the scores to a 100 point scale, we also needed to tally the total score value the companies received from each platform. For example, Fusion’s total score value from TNC was 16,956 (180 reviews * 94.2 average).
Next, we tallied the total score values from each platform into one overall total score. Fusion’s total score was 63,477 (180 * 94.2 + 170 * 17.7 * 5 + 2 * 4 * 20 + 201 * 4.8 * 20 + 66 * 4.8 * 20 + 58 * 4.9 * 20 = 63,477).
Finally, we tallied the total number of reviews across all platforms and divided the overall total score by the total number of reviews. Fusion had 677 total reviews (180 + 170 + 2 + 201 + 66 + 58 = 677). Therefore, Fusion’s average score across all platforms was 93.762 (63,477 / 677 = 93.762).
It’s not rocket science, but WHOA! That’s a lot of numbers!! We did that for over 250 companies in order to create this list of the best travel nursing companies. Of course, the wizardry of spreadsheets simplified the process.
We hope this list of the best travel nursing companies is helpful! We’d love to hear your feedback. Do you have experience with any of these companies? Is the list helpful? How do you find the best travel nursing companies? Please share answers to these questions along with any questions you may have in the comments section below!