Finding the best travel nursing companies to work with is a priority for most travel nurses. To help with this endeavor, websites Travel Nursing Central and Highway Hypodermics release annual lists of the top travel nursing agencies based on ratings received from travel healthcare professionals. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at the similarities and differences between the lists for 2016.
This article was written in 2016. While it is still very useful, we highly recommend reviewing our new article on the best travel nursing companies for 2017!
Rating and Review Services for Travel Nurses
Travel Nursing Central (TNC) and Highway Hypodermics (HH) are services dedicated to travel healthcare and both provide a bevy of valuable services for travel nurses. Among them is a service that allows travel nurses to submit ratings on staffing agencies.
Of course, rating and review services are everywhere these days so you might be wondering why we’re focusing on these two niche services. After all, sites from Yelp to Google provide rating services on a general level. And employment related sites like Glass Door and Indeed provide rating services for employers specifically. However, there are several reasons that the niche services provided by TNC and HH are superior to their general counterparts.
First, these niche websites have more companies reviewed as well as a larger number of reviews overall. For example, American Mobile Healthcare, which is the largest healthcare staffing company in the business, has 58 reviews on Indeed and 36 reviews on Glass Door. Meanwhile, the company has 124 reviews on TNC.
Similarly, both TNC and HH have reviews for companies like Tailored Healthcare Staffing and Travel Nurse Across America. However, as of the writing of this blog post, Glass Door has no reviews for either of these companies. In fact, the general services lack reviews for a large number of travel healthcare companies.
Second, TNC and HH are able to provide a more detailed review system than their general counterparts. Both TNC and HH ask reviewers to rate agencies on a host of unique variables including housing, paycheck accuracy, and assignment selection among others.
Third, TNC and HH take measures to ensure that only travel healthcare professionals submit reviews. By contrast, general services will accept reviews from both travelers and internal company employees. This can damage the usefulness of reviews from a travel nurse’s perspective.
As you can see, both TNC and HH have big advantages over their general counterparts. It’s also worth mentioning that there are many other niche rating and review services dedicated to travel nursing. However, none of them possess the traction or in-depth analysis provided by TNC and HH.
Travel Nursing Central and Highway Hypodermics Rating Systems
Both TNC and HH collect ratings submitted by travelers throughout the year. Each year, both services release their lists of the top rated agencies in January. So, the lists released in January of 2016 reflect reviews received prior to December 31, 2015.
Despite their shared focus on travel healthcare, Travel Nursing Central and Highway Hypodermics have both similarities and differences when it comes to their company rating services.
Travel Nursing Central’s Rating System
TNC accepts reviews only from travel healthcare professionals. They ask reviewers to be currently employed or employed within the last three months by the company being reviewed. TNC urges reviewers to submit positive and negative reviews to ensure they receive a fair balance of reviews.
Travelers will be pleased to know that agency ratings are not affected when agencies purchase advertising on TNC. The easiest way for visitors to verify this is by checking the ratings of the advertised agencies. Some have good ratings, but others do not.
If TNC determines there is evidence of rankings manipulation, they will suspend the offending company or remove them, along with their ratings, from the site. This policy is designed to ensure agencies don’t engage in foul play which includes incentivizing travelers to post positive reviews.
The TNC Review Form asks reviewers to rate agencies on 20 different criteria using a 5 point scale. The criteria include pay rate, paycheck accuracy, housing, job availability and other issues important to travel nurses. The reviewer can also submit comments to provide further details and specifics.
Each of the 20 criteria is worth a maximum of 5 points. Therefore, the maximum score per review is 100. Individual scores are averaged together to achieve the company’s average rating. Visitors to the site can view the average score along with all the comments submitted by reviewers. Visitors can also view the average score for the reviews received in the previous year. This allows visitors to gauge a company’s recent track record.
In order to qualify for consideration on TNC’s list of the top agencies for 2016, the agency must have received at least one rating within the last three months of 2015. The agency must also have a minimum of 20 total ratings with at least 10 ratings submitted in 2015.
TNC utilized four scoring criteria when developing their list for 2016. First, they gave full value for the average rating of all ratings received in the year 2015. Next, they gave 1/3 value for the average rating of all ratings received in previous years. So, these criteria were based on average scores.
By contrast, the next two criteria were designed to factor in the number of reviews an agency received. First, TNC gave up to 1/10 of a point for each review submitted in 2015 depending on the rating. For example, if the agency received a review with a rating of 80 out of 100, then the agency received .08 points for the review. Next, TNC did the same thing with reviews for previous years, but they gave 1/3 the value for the total score.
While this appears quite complicated, the gist is clear. TNC is trying to add more value for recent reviews. This ensures that agencies realize the benefits of improvements they make to their service.
Highway Hypodermics Rating System
Like TNC, HH accepts reviews only from travel healthcare professionals. They will also suspend or remove agencies from the site for engaging in foul play. They go so far as to track IP addresses and validate emails addresses used to submit reviews.
It’s also important to note that agency ratings are not affected by agencies purchasing advertisements on HH. In fact, anyone can review the evaluation and benefits questionnaire scores to validate the rankings. Moreover, visitors can easily check the ratings of advertisers for further verification.
Additionally, HH requires reviewers to submit a positive review on at least one agency in order for any negative reviews to be considered. There tends to be higher motivation for submitting bad reviews, so this policy evens things out.
HH’s rating system combines two separate scores. The first score is an average score based on evaluations submitted by travelers. The second score is based on a benefits questionnaire submitted by the company. For the benefits score, agencies are required to complete a questionnaire indicating the various benefits they offer to their travelers. There are 21 benefits listed in the questionnaire and the agency receives 1 point for each benefit they provide.
Highway Hypodermics realizes that there might be cause to question the validity of the benefits questionnaires given that they are submitted by the agencies themselves. We’re relying on them to be honest actors. But HH doesn’t stop there.
HH solicits feedback from reviewers and anyone working with the companies to validate the voracity of the questionnaires. HH has corrected benefits questionnaire scores in the past and will continue to do so when they find discrepancies. Please be sure to let them know if you have reason to believe that a questionnaire is incorrect as it will help ensure the validity of this valuable resource.
For the evaluation score, HH averages the scores of all the evaluations they have received for each agency. HH’s evaluation form asks reviewers a series of pertinent questions where the possible answers are “yes”, “no” and “n/a”. There are 20 questions for a total of 20 possible points.
Therefore, HH’s rating system has a possible high score of 41, 20 points possible for the evaluations, and 21 points possible for the benefits questionnaire. In order to qualify for consideration on HH’s list of the top agencies for 2016, the agency must have an updated benefits questionnaire, an updated profile on the HH website and a minimum of 20 reviews.
Comparing The Best Travel Nursing Company Lists for 2016
As you can see, there are quite a few differences in how the lists are compiled. There are also differences in how the lists are reported. TNC includes 12 agencies on their annual “Top Travel Nurse Companies” list. They separate the list into three categories, Gold, Silver and Bronze. There are 4 agencies in each category. The agencies in each category are not listed in any order, so we don’t know how the exact rankings came out.
HH takes a more traditional approach. They provide a list of the “Top 10 Travel Companies“. The list is clearly ranked by score. This year’s list included a tie at the ninth spot, so there are actually 11 companies on the top 10 list. HH’s list also displays an additional 14 agencies, so viewers can actually see the top 25 agencies.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the top agency lists from HH and TNC for 2016. We added HH’s 11th ranked company in order to even out the lists.
*Save Time Working With The Best Travel Nursing Agencies
First, you’ll notice that we highlighted 5 companies with green text. Each of these companies has contacted BluePipes and verified they will accept your BluePipes resume, job application and skills checklists for job submission purposes. This means you can fill out one set of documents to work with at least 5 of the best agencies in the country.
We say “at least ” because these are just the agencies who have contacted us. You’ll be able to send your BluePipes documents to anyone you’d like. Send them to the other agencies on this list, and they may just accept them too! Either way, this will save you tons of time and simplify your travel nursing career.
Joining BluePipes is free and we don’t sell your contact information to third parties. Plus, you’ll find tons of other useful features to take advantage of!
General Observations on The Best Travel Nursing Agency Lists
As you can see, there are several similarities and differences between the lists. There are 5 companies that make it on both lists. Those companies are Tailored Healthcare Staffing, IPI Travel, TotalMed Staffing, Flexcare Medical Staffing and Talemed.
Talemed, TotalMed Staffing and Flexcare Medical Staffing were also on both lists in 2015. You can view the 2015 list comparison here. And you can view the 2014 list comparison here. You’ll see many of the same companies, but also many changes.
It’s great that there are 5 companies on both lists. This bodes well for these 5 companies. But what about the companies that made it to one list but not the other? Let’s take a look at each of them to discover a little more about them.
Companies On TNC’s List But Not On HH’s List
First, let’s review the companies that are on TNC’s list but not on HH’s list.
Medical Staffing Solutions, Inc
Medical Staffing Solutions, Inc has received a Gold Rating from TNC for at least the last 3 years. Over the years, they’ve received 68 reviews on TNC with an average score of 96.1.
On HH, the company has received 13 reviews with an average score of 16.7. Additionally, they receive a score of 17 on their benefits questionnaire. This gives them a total combined score of 33.7 on HH. This score would have been good enough to rank 16th on HH’s list. However, the company does not qualify for consideration as they do not meet the minimum of 20 total reviews.
Fusion Medical Staffing
Fusion Medical Staffing has a whopping 100 reviews on TNC with an average score of 96.1. They received the vast majority of those reviews in 2015 which is quite an accomplishment.
The company also has a whopping 113 reviews on HH with an average score of 17.5. They received a score of 17 on their benefits questionnaire. This gives them a total score of 34.5. As a result, they’re ranked 13th on HH’s list.
Travel Nurse across America
Travel Nurse across America (TNAA) has received a Silver Rating from TNC for the last two years and they received a Gold Rating for 2014. They have a total of 228 reviews with an average score of 88.4.
As the third largest travel nurse staffing company in the business, Medical Solutions is the lone large company to make the cut. That says a lot. They have received 192 reviews on TNC with an average score of 88.2.
Emerald Health Services
Emerald Health Services received a Silver Rating this year and a Bronze Rating in 2014 on TNC. They were absent from the ratings in 2015. They have a total of 89 reviews with an average score of 86.1.
The Right Solutions
Axis Medical Staffing
Axis Medical Staffing received a Bronze Rating this year, but was not ranked the last two years by TNC. The company has 22 reviews with an average score of 83.4.
Axis has yet to receive an evaluation on HH. Additionally, the company has not submitted a company profile on HH. These issues prevented them from being considered for HH’s list. However, they received 18 points on their benefits questionnaire.
Companies On HH’s List But Not On TNC’s List
Now let’s take a look at the companies on HH’s list but not on TNC’s list.
Health Providers Choice
Health Providers Choice (HPC) was absent from HH’s list in 2015 but was ranked 2nd in 2014. They made a glorious return to the list for 2016 as the top ranked agency. They have received 37 evaluations on HH with an average score of 18.6. They also received 21 points for their benefits questionnaire.
HPC has received only 7 reviews on TNC. The average score is 55.6. However, it appears as though it has been quite some time since HPC has been reviewed on TNC. At least 6 of the company’s 7 reviews were submitted before November of 2013.
PHP (Premier Healthcare Professionals)
The company has received only 17 reviews on TNC so they don’t meet the minimum of 20 reviews for consideration on TNC’s annual list. Their average review score is 74.8. However, they received 2 reviews in 2015 with an average score of 83.
OneStaff has received only 3 reviews on TNC so they don’t qualify for consideration on the annual list. They have an average review score of 71.6. OneStaff is a fairly new company so it may take some time for them to build up enough reviews on TNC.
Trinity Healthcare Staffing Group
Trinity Healthcare Staffing Group is ranked 8th on HH’s 2016 list of top agencies. While they didn’t make the top 10 the last two years, they were in the top 20 in both years.
Trinity has received 49 reviews on TNC with an average score of 75.7. The company received a Bronze Rating in 2015 and a Silver Rating in 2014. However, their average score for the reviews they received on TNC in 2015 was 60.3 which certainly brought their average down. Given the relatively low number of reviews, a couple of bad reviews can bring down the average quickly. We have no doubt Trinity will display improvement moving forward.
PRCS is tied for 9th on HH’s 2016 list. They were not ranked in 2015, but came in 4th in 2014.
On TNC, PRCS has not received an evaluation yet.
On TNC, Atlas MedStaff has received 20 reviews with a total average score of 86.9. They received 18 reviews in 2015 also with an average score of 86.9. They must have been very close to making the cut. In fact, companies like IPI and Axis, which did make the cut, have lower average scores than Atlas. The scoring formulation must have favored the higher recent scores received by IPI and Axis.
PPR Travel Nursing
On TNC, PPR has received 25 reviews with an average score of 65.2. They received 7 reviews in 2015 with an average score of 49.9. The low marks in 2015 most certainly brought the company’s average down quite a bit.
Additional Travel Nursing Companies To Consider Among The Best
BluePipes conducted a survey of travel nurses in 2014 and found 90% of travel nurses do not like filling out applications and skills checklists. We were actually surprised 10% didn’t mind! Additionally, we found 72% of travel nurses would be more likely to work with a new agency if they didn’t have to complete the application and skills checklist just to be submitted for potential assignments.
It’s clear that travel nurses are overwhelmed with paperwork. Therefore, we believe simplifying the initial submission process for new travel nurses is a highly beneficial and desirable service that agencies can provide. As mentioned above, there are 5 agencies on the “Top Agencies Lists” that have verified they will accept your BluePipes application, resume and skills checklists in lieu of completing the agency’s documentation. Those agencies are:
- Atlas MedStaff
- Tailored Healthcare Staffing
- Trinity Healthcare Staffing
- Travel Nurse across America
- The Right Solutions
Again, you can send your BluePipes documents to anyone you want and we know there are many other companies accepting them. There are also many other great companies that have verified they’ll accept the documents in order to simplify your travel nursing career. You can view the entire list of verified companies here. Here is a sample of how some of those companies stand with Travel Nursing Central and Highway Hypodermics:
Valley Healthcare Staffing
Formerly known as Valley Healthcare Systems, Valley was on the Top Agencies Lists for many years running. Their absence this year is an anomaly. They have an average score of 83.7 with 78 reviews on TNC. They are notably absent from HH’s website this year and we’re not certain as to why. They are certainly worthy of your consideration though.
Host Healthcare has received a total of 5 reviews on TNC with an average score of 99.6. They have received 8 evaluations on HH with an average score of 17.8 and they received 21 points for on their benefits questionnaire. That’s a total of 38.8 points which would have tied them for number 2 on HH’s list if they had the minimum number of reviews to qualify.
Expedient Medstaff is a nurse owned and operated healthcare staffing company. They have received 1 review on TNC with a score of 97. They haven’t received any evaluations on HH yet, but they received 20 points on their benefits questionnaire.
Liquid Agents has received 25 reviews on TNC with an average score of 74.2. They have received 5 evaluations on HH with an average score of 15.2 and they received 18 points for their benefits questionnaire. That’s 32.2 total points which would have put them inside the top 25 if they qualified for consideration. They could be worth a look!
TravelMed USA has received 7 reviews with an average score of 84.6 on TNC. Unfortunately, the company does not have any information HH. However, their high marks on TNC might be enough to warrant your consideration.
Soliant Health received a Bronze Rating from TNC in 2015. Currently, they have 29 reviews on TNC with an average score of 77.3. They have received 6 evaluations on HH with an average score of 16.3, which is pretty good. They have not completed a benefits questionnaire on HH yet.
HARTRA is a new company that is nurse owned and operated. They received 2 reviews on TNC with an average score of 100. They are not listed on HH yet. They might be worth a shot if you’re interested in a small nurse owned company.
Additional Considerations for Travel Nurses Seeking the Best Companies
Highway Hypodermics and Travel Nursing Central are excellent resources for finding the best travel nursing companies. Each has its own unique features that are well worth exploring. For example, one of the great things about Highway Hypodermics is that you can view the benefits offered by each company. This can help you zero-in more quickly on the agencies that meet your needs.
One of the great things about Travel Nursing Central is that you can read what reviewers had to say about the agencies. This provides additional insight that could be very useful in your decision making process. Additionally, you’ll be able to see how the agencies have fared over the last year to determine if they’re on the right track.
We highly recommend reviewing both sites when searching for your next travel healthcare company. Also, be sure submit reviews with both services so they can continue to provide these excellent resources.