Securing a Travel Nurse Job: What Happens After Your Profile is Submitted

You made your decision, and you’ve taken all the steps toward this exciting phase of your nursing career: found a travel staffing agency, submitted your paperwork and profile showing just how qualified and experienced you are. Maybe you even found a recruiter with whom you feel a certain sympatico; this thing is going to work! 

Visions of airplanes and exciting new places run through your head as you await your next steps. Your new suitcase sits–still empty. And you wait. And wait. What could be happening? You know that hospitals need travel nurses like you. What’s taking so long? 

Staffing agencies and hospitals

Staffing agencies usually have one of two types of relationships with hospitals. The first type is a direct relationship, where the agency works directly with the hiring point person or staff at the hospital. If this is the case, your agency will submit your profile directly to the hospital, where the point person decides what happens next. This person acts as a screener of sorts, and may want to ask you some follow up questions; or they might just submit your profile to the Unit Manager or whoever will be conducting the interviews. 

This may seem like the most direct route, but often the hospital staff is busy (as hospital staff often are) and may not move on to the next step as quickly as candidates would like. You may get a call for an interview immediately–or not for weeks. You may not get a call at all, if the position gets filled and no one tells the staffing agency. Much of this process can depend on the relationship the agency has with the hospital. 

Vendor Management System

The second type of relationship is called a Vendor Management System, where the system acts as a sort of middleman between the travel nurse agency and the hospital. A VMS is a software that houses not only the candidate’s profile, but may also include other preliminary interview processes such as surveys and questionnaires about licenses, certifications, and experience for the candidate to fill out. Responses to these processes are then rated, and the candidates are ranked according to their responses and ratings. 

This can be cumbersome, as the candidate has to log in and complete the assignments on the VMS; then the hospital has to log in and follow up. Candidates who rank higher get pushed to the top of the list, which means they get interviews first. That doesn’t necessarily mean that those who don’t rank as highly won’t get interviews, but it may mean they wait a bit longer for the interview. 

Stay Patient Through the Process

Whichever type of relationship your agency has with the hospital, the interview process for travel nurses is much like any other interview process. Once you’ve filled out the application and done the paperwork, you then wait for the employer to contact you. Unfortunately, although your staffing agency can help you with onboarding, they can’t control what the hospital does on the other end. 

Consider this scenario: a hospital has chosen a candidate from its VMS. The candidate is contacted for an interview, which takes a few days to schedule and complete. The hospital then takes a day or so to decide if they indeed want to hire this person, and then they have to contact the candidate again to extend the offer. If the candidate takes a couple of days to decide, that extends the process even further. If the candidate declines the offer, the hospital has to start the process all over again. That can add days or weeks to an already lengthy situation. 

The process can also be affected by the relationship between the hospital and the agency, even if the hospital uses a VMS. Likewise, if a hospital has several openings, they will be fielding several candidates, potentially slowing down any communication even further. 

Keep your options open

This scenario is what might happen when dealing with just one agency, and why it’s usually recommended to work with more than one travel nurse staffing agency. Travel nurse jobs are rarely in short supply, but you can see how the hiring process (as is true with any hiring process) can easily get bogged down. There is always more than one candidate for an open position, and each candidate has to go through the process. Having multiple irons in the fire can increase your chances of meeting your goal–landing an interview. 

Be patient with the process. Follow up with your recruiter, and remember that they may or may not know what’s happening with your process. Complete your assignments in a timely manner and be sure that your profile is up to date. Keep your lines of communication open; if you receive a call, answer it quickly. This will increase your chances of getting that all-important interview, where you will get to shine. 

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