Travel nurses should receive reporting instructions for a travel nursing job at some point prior to the start date. Typically, hospitals don’t send the reporting instructions to the travel nursing company until they’ve received a fully compliant file of documents for the travel nurse. The way the hospital sees it, the travel nurse isn’t starting until they have a fully compliant file, so there’s no need for the hospital to send the reporting instructions until they have the documents. As a result, don’t be surprised if you don’t receive reporting instructions until 3 or 4 days before your assignment is scheduled to start.
Travel nurses should expect to receive fairly limited information in the reporting instructions. Many times, the company receives nothing more from the hospital than a date, time, and location. Therefore, if something is important to you, then you should request it well in advance. Don’t wait for the reporting instructions to arrive before asking your questions. It may be too late at that point to get answers.
I recommend maintaining a list of standard questions regarding reporting and utilizing it for all new jobs. You should communicate your questions to your travel nurse recruiter as soon as possible and I recommend sending an email so there’s a verifiable trail. This approach shifts responsibility to the company. There’s really not much that can go wrong with your reporting instructions, but in the off-chance that there is something important that doesn’t get communicated to you, then it’s best to be able to hold the company accountable.
I’ve had my own share of encounters with poor reporting instructions. There have been small instances like nurses showing up in business casual attire as opposed to the hospital’s desired scrubs. Such instances aren’t that big of a deal. They’re easy enough to remedy. However, I’ve also encountered instances that resulted in substantial set backs.
For example, one time I had a Physician Assistant show up for the first day of orientation at the wrong address. The hospital had multiple campuses and he was sent to the wrong one. He was unable to get to the orientation in time to meet the hospital’s stringent attendance requirements. As a result, the hospital delayed his start date for two weeks so he could make their next orientation on time. Luckily, the PA was very flexible and had no problem with this. However, setbacks like this could be a disaster. That’s why I recommend maintaining a list of standard reporting questions.
Questions to Ask Regarding Reporting Instructions for Travel Nursing Jobs
What’s the exact address I am to report to?
Is there a particular room number or location in the building where I am to report?
Is there a contact person at the hospital?
Is there a contact telephone number at the hospital?
What is the schedule for the first day of orientation?
What is the dress code for the first day of orientation?
Does the hospital require a certain color of scrubs?
What am I required to bring with me to the orientation?
Ask any other questions that you feel are important and build on this list as you go along.
You may not get answers to all of these questions and that’s okay. The important thing is that you ask them to ensure there’s no push-back from the company in the event that something goes wrong.
Please let me know if there are any questions I missed or if there are any stories you have to share regarding reporting instructions and reporting to a job in general.