Travel allied health agencies: Your employer & the middle man

Learn travel healthcare like a from fellow travelers (unbiased and honest)

Travel allied health agencies are our employers and the main middle man between us and travel jobs. Staffing agencies are here to help hospitals find good, quality, skilled allied health travelers. Facilities put a lot of trust in the recruiting agency. They must prove they did their due diligence to find a qualified tech or therapist to bring on to the floor. That’s why we have to do so much paperwork, skills checklists, and credentials. To show the agency we are qualified for the job. It’s up to you to be honest when filling out all of this paperwork. And it’s up to them to run the background checks, call your references, and double-check your credentials and licensure. They could be held liable if they bring someone unqualified on the floor AND they could lose that contract forever with a whole hospital system.

They are also the ones that we get employee benefits from like health insurance, 401k, short term disability, and liability insurance. They create our pay packages based on the bill rate they were given by the facility. Each agency offers unique benefits and they also have access to different hospitals and job locations. So working with a few is a great idea.

Who they are not: The ones who control the bill rate. They have to work with the $$ that the hospitals are offering to pay us and themselves. They are not magic. And as much as we may want to work in San Diego, they can’t create jobs or a market where there is not one. They are not out to get us and if you feel like the staffing agency you are talking with is not a company you trust, just move on to a new one. There are over 400 to pick from and they should truly be a team and honest with you.

The travel allied health agency’s role

What they need: Being a middle man and trying to coordinate expectations and align needs is hard work. They need great communication and honesty from both sides. They need the hospital to give them clear communication about what roles they are hiring for and they need the hospitals or the MSPs to tell them when jobs close or when their traveler is getting selected to be interviewed (which doesn’t always happen). They need travelers to communicate all needs upfront (like time off or where they are open to travel to), to complete their paperwork fully so they are able to submit them to jobs. And if the traveler gets hired they need them to complete the onboarding paperwork on time so they can start for the hospital on the day they all agreed to.

Who they interact with the most: Everyone! They coordinate it all and have to do it well since they are legally liable for many things.

How to impress them: Communication, professionalism, open-mindedness. Get your paperwork in so they take you seriously. Tell your recruiter everything you need and want so they can really help you. Be amazing if you get a job (you are representing you and them as you go to work). Don’t steal a recruiter’s jobs and give it to another recruiter. Don’t ghost them. Don’t sign a contract if you are unsure, make sure your yeses mean yes and you don’t carelessly cancel agreements you make.

What motivates them: They LOVE helping you! When you win, they win. Almost all staffing agencies’ favorite part of their role is getting you in a job that lights you up and fits your needs. They are motivated to help you, especially the travelers they bond with and have some sort of relationship with. Send them pictures from your travelers, say thank you for their hard work, and create a nice professional relationship with them- it goes a long way!

What frustrates them: Just like us, a lack of communication is frustrating. If you never return their calls or emails that can be frustrating. They don’t like feeling like a bother, and if we just tell them we are not looking for assignments or update them on our plans it helps everyone. They get frustrated if we “ghost” them during paperwork time which can cause us to not start on time (it makes them look bad to their client, the hospital). When we call out sick a lot or cancel a contract thoughtlessly.

And of course, if we treat them poorly. Like they are our opponents instead of like they are on a team with us. Things like making demands about pay packages that don’t exist. Only wanting to work in destination locations where there are no jobs. Or telling them “but someone on Facebook said…”. That would be like one of our patients telling us “but WebMD said…”. We should not get our truth from Facebook. That’s just a good life rule.

How to pick a travel allied health agency

The truth is, most agencies are pretty similar. They may differ based on how they handle some decisions, like tax rules, reimbursements, benefits, and what their recruiters are allowed to disclose to travelers (e.g. profit margins). But the biggest difference is going to be in what jobs they have for us and our relationship with the recruiter. And what jobs they have has a lot to do with how many facilities they have direct relationships with. In order to have the most opportunity, I suggest working with 2-3 agencies.

The other players

The travel allied health agency isn’t the only one playing in this game. Check out the rest of these people (and the not-people too) and how they’re a part of your travel allied health journey.

  • The hospital or facility – The one who pays for everything else
  • VMSs and MSPs – The robots you need to make happy
  • The account manager – The hospital’s point of contact
  • The recruiter – The most important player for the traveler experience
  • The allied health traveler: You! (The talent 😊)

 

Cheers to the travel allied health game being a win-win for everyone,

xo Laura

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Additional Reimbursements

Did your offer come with something extra that would cost the staffing agency money? This may include a CEU class, scrubs, or sign on bonuses. Don’t worry if this section is blank, most offers don’t have extra reimbursements.

Travel Reimbursements

This is tax-free money that is paid to you to help you pay for the expense of traveling to your assignment. Many staffing agencies pay for this per mile up to a certain amount. They will usually pay this on your first paycheck or split between your first paycheck and last. If you are traveling a short distance this could be a very small amount.

Also, it’s becoming more popular for an agency to not offer this at all. It’s really not a big deal though. If you don’t get travel reimbursement money you should make a bit more in your weekly pay so many times it all equals out.

Weekly Housing Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code.

The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Meal Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code. The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Insurance Costs

Medical insurance can impact your final paycheck a lot since it will deduct pay from your check each week. If you are taking the company health insurance, you are going to want to know up front about how much this will cost you per week.

The average is around $30 a week but some companies charge as much as $100 a week to their travelers and some offer some health insurance options for free. If you are not taking their insurance just set this to zero.

Hours per week

For this calculation, put the hours per week you are expecting to work. And then feel free to run it again with the hours you are guaranteed. Many times contracts have guaranteed hours that are lower than the expected hours.

Guaranteed hours means if the facility doesn’t need you to come in, you will still get paid as long as it was their choice and not yours to not work.

Also, find out if this contract has any “call off shifts” where the hospital can call you off without pay a certain number of times per contract. This is common and not a deal breaker but just good to know!

Length of assignment

In travel nurses and allied health the most common length of a travel assignment is 13 weeks. If you are looking for a contract shorter or longer just ask! Sometimes facilities or hospitals who hire you will be flexible.

Taxable rate per hour

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city.

If you do not have a tax home all of your pay will be taxed and put in this field.

Good to know: Your taxable base pay is the only part of your paycheck that is legally considered income. The average taxable base pay is $20 but you might get offers higher or lower than this. It’s the only part of your paycheck that is taxed

Nomadicare’s purpose is to empower. It’s the lifeblood that flows through every single thing we create. We are here to make sure every traveler has all the transparent knowledge they need to make empowered decisions. We want you to feel confident so you can live your dream!

Nomadicare is partnered with dozens of companies and each of those companies have access to different settings, locations, and exclusive contracts. We know their benefit options and who have jobs in each location. We will match you to the best recruiters for you and your goals. Every single recruiter has been vetted and comes with the Nomadicare guarantee.
You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait and switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend. When you request an interview, we’ll instantly match you with the vetted recruiter who posted that job.
Typically 0-3 months before you are ready to start your next assignment is best. A short quiz will give us a picture of who you are, and what you are looking for. After the quiz we’ll have everything we need to match you with the perfect recruirer for your travel goals
If you know where you want to go and you’re ready to travel, Instant Matching is perfect for you. You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait-and-switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend.
We highly recommended being ready! Having all of your documents and being super responsive are key. Speed is the biggest factor in getting the job you want. We recommend using a free service like Kamana, which you can share your online resume, credentials, and licenses with a single link to any of our vetted recruiters when requesting an interview.
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