Getting submitted to your first travel nursing contract

You’ve done a lot of research, you and your recruiter searched all the travel nursing jobs and worked as partners, and now your dream location has an open travel assignment! It’s an amazing opportunity, but it also can feel a bit scary. You don’t know if you’ll be the traveler to get this assignment and maybe you don’t even know how to set yourself up to be the traveler to get this assignment! You know that you finished your travel nursing application and submitted. But you’re wondering when you’ll hear back about your job submission, if the hospital or your recruiter will call you, if you should be calling to check in… and yes, it gets even more complicated if you are submitting contracts with multiple recruiters (to different travel nursing assignments of course).

Take a deep breath. We’ve all been there. Read on and you’ll be a pro in no time!

How can I get submitted to a job?

Remember those VMS (computer systems) we talked about in our other blog? Check it out here if you haven’t already!

The VMS can submit your name to open job opportunities at various healthcare facilities. But a VMS is not always around in the travel nurse staffing relationship. Sometimes the recruiter has a direct relationship with the healthcare facility instead. In those cases, the recruiter will be the one submitting your name (the old-fashioned way). Sometimes the facility will call you to ask some basic questions, which they then pass on to the hiring manager!

Travel nursing job submission paperwork

This is the list of paperwork your recruiter will likely need to submit you to jobs as a travel SLP, PT, OT, COTA, or PTA. The sooner you get these to your recruiter, the better!

  • Updated Resume
  • Skills Checklist
  • Proof of Licenses & Registries
  • References: at least two names with contact details. They almost always should be from a manager and from a job you had within the last 12 months.
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of certifications

The smartest thing to do (when you have a recruiter that you like and who works at an agency that has jobs in your preferred locations) is to make it a priority to get them every bit of paperwork they need to submit you right away. The rookie mistake that travelers make is waiting to give the recruiter the paperwork after a job opens. Many times you will be too late. Other travelers, who already had their paperwork ready to go, will be at the top of the resume stack for the hiring manager.

Stay organized with your travel nursing job submissions

If you listened when your teachers harped on you to stay organized, it will pay off at this very moment! Staying organized is important during your travel journey! And it is a huge deal when you’re working with more than one recruiter (especially when submitting to jobs). It can make or break your possibility of getting a travel contract.

Communication and organization are important in the entire submission process. You have to make sure your travel healthcare recruiters are not pushing you to submit to contracts you don’t want. Some companies may submit without your approval and some may push you to submit to contracts you aren’t interested in. Those two actions are both HUGE red flags. You want a recruiter who supports your goals and needs, not someone who is pushy, sneaky, or shady. If you ever get submitted without your explicit permission… run! That’s called blind-submitting and it can put you in a bad position. It causes confusion, it locks you in with a recruiter, and it can look bad to the hiring manager. If anything looks off or strange to the hiring manager, they will simply skip you. Don’t give them any reason to pass you up! 

Patience, kindness, and respect are essential in this submission process

I know submitting can be stressful, and travel nurses want what they want — don’t we all! You are your biggest advocate, as you should be! But also… don’t make your healthcare staffing agency or recruiter’s life more difficult with constant demands and unrealistic expectations. Recruiters and travelers are both trying to get through their day as successfully and happily as possible. Use professionalism in the whole process. Let’s face it, we all like someone who is easy to work with, flexible, and patient. You both have the same goal, remember that!

Travel nursing job submission updates

A good recruiter may be able to get hospital updates after the submission, but not always. Workdays can be busy and other things come up. Those things may get in the way of giving lots of waiting travelers continuous updates. Patience is a virtue in any job process, but especially this one! As soon as your recruiter knows something, they will contact you. I promise. So try not to stress too much! And if your recruiter drops the ball and doesn’t reach out at all? Time to get a new recruiter.

Here’s the truth. Sometimes those initial screens don’t get passed to the hiring manager because you don’t meet the qualifications. Unfortunately, you don’t always find out about this directly. Sometimes your recruiter will find out about this by getting a notification that the contract has been filled by a different travel nurse. If you did pass the screen, you will be contacted for an interview (yay)!

Pro Tip: You should reach out to your recruiter to check in about any updates once a day or once every other day. If you are reaching out multiple times a day… you’re becoming that traveler that they won’t want to work with!

Why have I not heard back?

While most contracts need a travel nurse immediately, some delays can happen. This may especially be the case if you are not what the hospital is looking for. Some people pass their screen, get called for an interview, and get an offer on the same day. If you are exactly what the hospital is looking for, you will likely get an immediate response to fill their travel positions. However, sometimes hospital staff are just busy and responses can get delayed. It’s all part of learning how to deal with the submission process.

Additionally, I will say that sometimes you will never hear back about a job. And it’s not your fault or your recruiter’s fault. A job might have lots of submissions or the hiring manager is extremely busy, and your submission gets lost in a black hole somewhere. This won’t matter as much if you’re applying to lots of different jobs (as you should be). Don’t put all your hope and dreams into one travel assignment; the ideal situation is applying to many. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!

Travel submission process summary

  1. The recruiter and account manager work to make sure your profile is complete.
  2. With a direct relationship, your profile is sent and reviewed by staffing offices.
  3. With a VMS or computer-based service, the system reviews your profile.
  4. You will get a screening call from the staffing office.
  5. If you don’t pass the screening, they will (ideally) call to say you won’t be interviewing. Or you’ll just be told the position has been filled already.
  6. If you do pass the screening, you will set up a time to interview with the hiring manager. Depending on the number of candidates, scheduling an interview may take some time. A good rule to follow is the sooner you hear back, the better your chances are.
  7. Keep track of updates. The amount of updates you get in the process is a good sign – the more the merrier!
  8. Keep submitting to other contracts which interest you, as you won’t know if you got the job until they notify you. Remember how many healthcare professionals (ICU RNs, Emergency Room RNs, PACU RNs, etc.) are typically submitting to these jobs. This will help you keep your expectations realistic in the travel nursing staffing world! 

Final thoughts on travel contract submissions

The most important thing to remember is that there is a lot that goes into submitting for a contract. The way you look at things in this travel industry will affect your experience. Going into every situation with an open mind, good communication, and organization will help the process go smoothly. And, hey, some patience along the way is never a bad thing!

You and your recruiter are meant to be teammates. You have the same goal! Each side has such important duties to fulfill to make these travel contracts happen. Do your part and expect them to do theirs.

If you feel like maybe your recruiter does not have your best interests at heart, their communication is lacking, or you feel left out of the loop, come on through to get a Nomadicare custom-match. I’ll match you to vetted, transparent recruiters that we can also help to keep accountable! You deserve a teammate you can openly communicate with and trust. Having one you feel comfortable with can lead to some amazing experiences.

Here’s to successful job submissions and dedicated traveler and recruiter partnerships!

Laura Latimer

Laura Latimer

Travel OT and Founder of Nomadicare

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