Working with Multiple Travel Nurse Recruiters: Why and How

Travel Nurse Question

Work with multiple travel nurse recruiters, because no agency rules them all.

New travel nurses often ask is if they should (or shouldn’t) work with multiple travel nurse recruiters. The short answer is simply …. yes.

Okay, so which travel nursing staffing agency is the best to work with? Well, that depends on you and what you’re searching for. Travel nurse staffing agencies are as unique as the nurses and hospitals they staff for. Best practice for the traveler is to work with multiple travel nurse recruiters from more than one staffing agency. Unless you have zero preference on where you work and how much you make (yeah … right) it’s best to broaden the net.

A seasoned traveler once said to me: “you’ve got to date a few to find the right one.” And as your needs change, the agency you’re with may need to change too. So don’t limit your options by sticking with a single agency.

Which staffing agency should you consider?

The short answer is all of the above. Here’s why you should consider working with any and all of them:

  • Staffing agencies have direct hospital relationships, making them the gatekeeper for those jobs.
  • By default that means there will always be open jobs and locations that certain agencies do not have access to.
  • Lastly (and most important), many agencies will subcontract through other agencies to access jobs they cannot get on their own. This results in two companies taking a share from your check unnecessarily.

Can one travel nurse staffing agency have access to all of the available jobs?

There are some agencies out there that will tell you to only work with them because they have access to all of the travel nursing jobs that are available. This is simply not true. So let’s break down how it works:

  • There are more than 500 travel nurse staffing agencies (this number is debatable, but we’ll go with 500 to keep things simple). Each agency is working to staff more than 45,000 (and growing) active travel nurses at any given time (not to mention tens of thousands of allied healthcare pros) across thousands of hospitals nationwide.
  • Sitting in between the agencies and hospitals are numerous Managed Service Providers (MSP) and Vendor Management Systems (VMS). They choose which agencies have access to what jobs, and when.
  • Some agencies can pay more because of a preferred relationship with a hospital. Yet others still will subcontract through those agencies to place nurses at a lower rate.

Being large, medium or small doesn’t change the fact each agency has a different set of opportunities. If a recruiter tells you they have access to all of the jobs available, pay close attention as that’s a big red flag that they may be a bad actor. It’s also important to note that travel nursing agencies operate off different profit margins. So, actively working with multiple will help you keep an eye out for a better rate.

Simply put, no staffing agency works with every hospital. And with direct contracts and varying profit margins, no agency can beat any competitor every time.
If you only pick one recruiter to find your ideal contract, your options will be severely limited. The more you work with, the better chances are at finding a top paying contract in the city you want, for the dates you need, that matches your skills, qualifications, and specialty.

But working with multiple travel nurse recruiters seems like a hassle …

Many travel nurses stick with one recruiter because it can be time consuming to manage and maintain profiles with multiple staffing agencies. It feels like double charting, and we hate double charting.

Having multiple travel nurse recruiters doesn’t have to mean having more work.

If you’re organized, with your professional portfolio locked and loaded, you can quickly move through the application and onboarding process. Allowing an agency to quickly submit you for that perfect contract.

Using Kamana as a digital wallet for your professional portfolio allows you to maintain one profile with multiple agencies. When presented with that new perfect opportunity, having a Kamana profile means you can simply pull out your phone and share everything your staffing agency needs to get you at the front of the line. Speed to submittal is everything in this market. Don’t let yourself be skipped by another candidate just because they are better prepared.

Tips to working with multiple recruiters

If you choose to work with multiple travel nurse recruiters, just be transparent and professional. Recruiters spend many hours finding and connecting nurses with facility needs. When you’re open about working with other agencies, organized with your documentation, and clear with your communication – it will allow them (and you) to quickly identify if they have a match.

This is where Kamana comes in. Travel nurses and allied health professionals sign up for Kamana to store, manage, and share credentials, professional history, and job preferences with employers. Here is a sample Kamana RN profile.

We built Kamana to create a streamlined way for nurses and staffing agencies to engage with each other. Let Kamana be the last online nursing profile you ever have to make.