I worked with many travel nurses and healthcare professionals over the years who had very specific hospital preferences for travel nursing jobs. I’ve worked with travel nurses who would only work with hospitals that had a designated children’s ER and others who would only work with hospitals that performed high risk deliveries. Travel nurses tend to have very good reasons for such preferences. For example, some have told me that they don’t want to lose their skills while they’re travel nursing because they intend to return to their home hospital in the future. Others told me that they were using assignments as a means to landing a permanent job at a particular type of hospital. In any case, there are considerations to bear in mind when harboring such preferences.
Hospital Preferences and Travel Nursing Qualifications and Requirements
First, travelers should consider if they have the qualifications to work in their preferred hospitals and whether or not they’re willing to accommodate the common requirements. Many hospitals require that candidates have experience with similar operations. For example, it’s very common for teaching hospitals and trauma hospitals to require experience in similar settings. It’s also common for units caring for specific patient populations to require experience with similar patients. For example, L&D units taking high risk patients routinely require experience with these patients.
In addition, similar hospitals tend to have similar requirements. For example, rural hospitals tend to require flexibility when it comes to floating. This is due to the fact that the census for many units is highly unpredictable in rural areas. A hospital may perform 20 births per month and only have 1 L&D nurse on staff because of staff departures or scheduled leaves of absence. As a result, they need a travel nurse to make sure they have coverage when necessary. Clearly there won’t be enough work to keep both nurses busy in the L&D on a full-time basis. Therefore, the hospital may require you to float to MedSurg or some other unit. Furthermore, similar hospitals tend to require similar certifications. For example, trauma and/or busy Emergency Rooms tend to require TNCC certifications.
Hospital Preferences and Limited Travel Nursing Job Options
Of course, you may be able to get by without heeding any of these qualification and requirement recommendations. However, you’ll be limiting your options, which is the second important consideration when harboring specific hospital preferences. Preferences reduce options. This is true for any set of preferences you may have. For example, there may be 1,500 travel assignments available right now, but only 15 assignments with Level 1 Trauma Hospitals looking for night shift Emergency Room Registered Nurses. However, hospital preferences can narrow the field significantly. It’s no big deal if you’re looking for only rural hospitals, or only big city hospitals. But if you’re looking only for teaching hospitals, then there are far fewer of those options available.
Steps for Getting Into the Hospitals You Want as a Travel Nurse
There are several steps you can take to counterbalance the difficulties created by hospital preferences. First, you should definitely utilize our process for finding companies that meet your needs. That is, you should identify your preferences and take a proactive approach to finding companies that can meet your needs. The more refined your preferences, the more you should rely on this approach to finding the right agencies. For example, if you’re interested only in rural hospitals, then you’ll probably be able to find plenty of agencies that can meet your needs. But if you’re interested only in teaching hospitals, then you should take a more strategic approach because there are fewer teaching hospitals.
For example, you can find all of the teaching hospitals in the states you’re licensed in. Then you could do some research on-line, or call companies directly in an effort to find agencies that work with these particular hospitals. You could also call the hospitals directly and ask to speak with someone in the staffing office in an attempt to determine if they utilize travel nurses and if so, which agencies they utilize. Again, this approach is aggressive and you may get rebuffed, but it can also be very successful.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have as many licenses and certifications as possible in order to expand your options. Again, hospital preferences will undoubtedly reduce the number of available options. Having as many certifications and state licenses to practice will only serve to increase the available options. Finally, you’ll definitely want to highlight applicable experience on your resume as well as the company applications that you complete. Remember, often times it’s not the best candidate that gets the interview, it’s the best profile.
BluePipes can help you land travel nursing jobs with your most desired hospitals. The BluePipes profile builder provides members with everything they need to control their own submission profile. This way, when the right jobs pop up, you are able to avoid the delays involved with completing the company’s documentation and quickly submit your BluePipes submission profile. Being ready to go immediately is often the deciding factor in landing jobs.
By reducing the paperwork burden, BluePipes makes it easier for travel nurses to work a larger number of agencies. This increases exposure to the job market.
As always, please share your experiences with this topic and/or provide any questions you may have in the comments below!