Once you’ve completed the travel nursing job interview you’ll receive word as to whether or not you’re receiving an official job offer. In my experience, a job offer is official when it is communicated to your company. I point this out because I have experienced situations in which the travel nurse received a verbal offer from the interviewer, but the offer failed to come to fruition. This can happen for any number of reasons; the main point is that it does indeed happen.
How Long Does it Take for a Travel Nursing Job Offer to Come Through?
The time it takes for the official job offer to come through can vary depending on several factors. Offers that come through immediately happen most when the agency and hospital have a direct relationship. However, even with a direct relationship, an offer may need to go through many communication channels or approval channels which can cause delays.
The biggest delays tend to take place when a Vendor Management Service is involved in the process. For example, when you interview with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) representative, your interview report is forwarded on to the hospital. In theory, the unit manager will review the interview report and make a decision. However, we have no idea what the unit manager’s schedule is like, so it’s difficult to determine how long it may take for them to get around to this task. Additionally, circumstances may change between the time the assignment is released and the time the interview report is received at the hospital. The new circumstances may put the need for the assignment in question which may not be communicated to the Managed Service Provider.
I once had an offer come back 3 weeks after the interview as a result of uncertainty at the hospital regarding the need for the job order. We had no idea what the delay was for until the offer finally came through. Even when you are able to interview directly with the unit manager, there still seems to be a bigger delay in offers when a Vendor Management Service is involved. There are simply more links in the chain between the traveler and the hospital and therefore more chance of communication breakdowns. That said, it’s possible for offers to come through immediately when a Vendor Management Service is involved.
How Long do Travel Nurses Have to Respond to a Travel Nursing Job Offer?
Once the offer is received, the hospital wants to hear back as soon as possible. They need to know if the candidate will be accepting the offer or not because if it’s not accepted, the hospital needs to interview other candidates. I understand the hospital may not have afforded the candidate the same courtesy if there was a delay in the offer coming back. However, the hospital is holding the cards in a sense. They can retract the offer if they feel there’s been too much of delay in hearing back. The standard expectation is for the hospital to hear back within 48 hours of the job offer being extended. Some hospitals want to hear back sooner and others are little more flexible. In any case, you can count on your recruiter trying to seal the deal quickly.
The Confirmation: The Official Notification of Acceptance for a Travel Nursing Job Offer
When an offer is accepted, the company is going to send what is commonly referred to as a “confirmation” to the hospital. The confirmation is more than just an email or telephone call simply stating that the job offer has been accepted. The confirmation is an official document that includes the basic details of the assignment. Confirmations typically include the start date, end date, hospital name, hospital location, the unit, the shift, the healthcare professional’s name, social security number, date of birth, the bill rate, and a space for listing miscellaneous items. The confirmation is signed by a designated representative of the company and sent to the hospital where it will be signed by a designated representative of the hospital with a copy returned to the company.
Sometimes recruiters will press to get a signed contract back from the travel nurse before sending a confirmation. The recruiter may use this as leverage to get the signed contract back from the travel nurse by saying that they are unable to send a confirmation without first getting the signed contract back from travel nurse. This is not an underhanded maneuver but rather a sound business practice designed to ensure that recruiters don’t jump the gun and send confirmations that haven’t actually been agreed to. Other times the recruiter will send a confirmation based on the travel nurse’s verbal acceptance of the offer.
Before accepting an offer, travel nurses should make sure that anything they agreed to with the unit manager is included in the confirmation. This includes things like approval for requested time off and floating agreements among other things. The point is that travel nurses need to let their recruiter know what, if any, agreements they came to with the unit manager because such details may not have been included in the offer received by the agency. In fact, in most cases, the offer from the hospital is a simple email that says something like, “Please offer” and that’s it. You’ll want any agreements made between you and the unit manager to be included in the confirmation that the agency sends to the hospital. That’s because the confirmation is essentially an addendum to the contract between the company and the hospital that pertains directly the particular job in question. It will be difficult, or impossible, to hold the hospital to account for any special arrangements if they are not included in the confirmation.
What happens if you didn’t get to speak with the unit manager, or forgot to address a potential need for agreement with them? There are two options. First, you could simply pass the issues along to your recruiter and await reply. I recommend this option if you’re trying to buy time for some reason, if you’re hoping to delay your acceptance of an offer more than the customary 48 hours. However, be warned that it may backfire and too much time may pass resulting in the offer being retracted. Second, you could simply have your recruiter send the confirmation with the requests included. I recommend this option if you you’re 100% willing to accept the assignment as long as your stipulations are agreed to.
At this point, you’re probably wondering about the contract that you hear so much about. Where does it come in to play? We’ll discuss the travel nursing contract next!