In this episode of Travel Nursing Insider, we explore the latest addition to Onward Healthcare's growing list of resources, The Career Guide to Travel Nursing Jobs. Steve Dobrowski, Director of Corporate Marketing, offers insight on this valulable infographic that was designed to inform both current and prospective travel nurses about this exciting industry.
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Welcome to Travel Nursing Insider, the podcast that brings you the latest insight and advice from experts within the travel nursing industry. Travel Nursing Insider is brought to you by Onward Healthcare, a leading nationwide provider of travel nursing jobs, with offices across the country. If you're looking to get started in a travel nursing assignment, you should apply online at onwardhealthcare.com or call 1-800-278-0332 and talk with an experienced Onward Healthcare recruiter today.
Hillary: Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Onward Healthcare's Travel Nursing Insider. I’m your host Hillary O’Keefe, here with Onward Healthcare’s director of corporate marketing, Steve Dobrowski. Today, Steve and I are going to be discussing a brand new resource for anyone who is considering or currently enjoying a career in travel nursing. It’s the Onward Healthcare Guide to Travel Nursing jobs.
Thank you very much for joining me today, Steve. How are you doing?
Steve: I’m doing great, Hill. We’ve just released our travel nursing guide last week via a national press release, and I’m excited to be talking about it today.
Hillary: Yes, this is a wonderful new resource and I can’t wait to get into the details of it. Before we dive straight into the data of this new infographic guide, I understand that this isn’t the only piece of career guidance that you offer on onwardhealthcare.com. Is that right?
Steve: That’s absolutely correct. Obviously our website is an educational resource for all professionals looking to go into the travel nursing or travel rehab career field. We have numerous things online dedicated to helping people learn about the profession, about how to advance their careers for first time travelers basically giving them an overview of the profession. Things, such as this podcast, which we’ve been, I think, recording for about two years now. We have a blog that we update regularly. We have a traveler tips section on our website which offers insight into particulars as far as moving to a new city or how to stay fit on a travel assignment and different types of items like that for travelers.
Then finally, we of course have checklist resources, paperwork, everything that they might need once they actually take an assignment. And finally, which is kind of parallel to our website, we’ve prided ourselves as being one of the first travel companies to embrace social media. We have a Twitter feed and Facebook feed for our nurses and allied professionals as well, that we update regularly with corporate news, photos, videos, stories and traveler tips.
Hillary: Given that you already have all of these wonderful resources, what was the motivation behind creating this infographic guide?
Steve: Well basically in today’s web world, it seems like everyone’s kind of in a Twitter/Facebook mindset where they want to look at visual stuff more than they want to read these days. So when it comes to drawing in a traveler who’s looking to learn about the travel nursing profession, our current website does a great job of listing statistics and list of benefits, list of requirements, list of jobs. But it’s certainly text-heavy as web pages have traditionally been. This guide was kind of able to allow us to break free from that mold and put together a really nice visual piece that speaks to both nurses looking to get into the field, as well as I think provides a lot of valuable information for current travel nurses, just to see how and where they fit into the industry as far as a piece of a pie in different segments.
We’re really happy to add this. It’s a great resource that basically allows someone to just land on one page and almost get a complete view of the travel nursing profession as a whole, kind of taking all that information and make their next decision from there.
Hillary: Let’s look at this data bit by bit then, because this is a beautiful infographic. It has so many neat sections to it. Right up at the top, the first question – and I understand this is based on a survey. So the first question that you asked your travel nurses across the country is, what is your main motivation when searching for a travel nursing job? 50% of the respondents said location. That’s not surprising, right?
Steve: Not at all. Actually, in speaking with recruiters that seems to always be the primary factor for a nurse who’s looking for a job. While salary is obviously very important to these professionals as it is to most people, really when you hear travel nursing, travel is the main factor. It’s about where do they want to go? And many of them have locations that they’ve been looking to visit their whole lives. They might have family there. It might just be somewhere in particular that they want to visit. It might be moving south or west during the winter months, going closer to the beach, seeing new seasons. Some people want to visit family and use this as a reason to do that. So location was not at all surprising and even seeing the people who selected other on the survey and wrote in answers, most of them were a combination of location and salary. It’s kind of what you would expect; it really is what we try to do as much as possible to accommodate our travelers and putting them in the location that they want to go to.
Hillary: And up next, the following data point. This is an interesting representation. It asks, in what age range did you take your first travel nursing job? And the data is pretty evenly distributed among the ranges of 20 to 30, 30 to 40, 40 to 50, and 50 and so on. What does that tell you about breaking into the travel nursing industry?
Steve: It really shows that any time is a good time to kind of start a travel nurse career. The way the data broke down, it certainly showed the diversity of our professionals. The only requirement to becoming a travel nurse, aside from obviously your licensure and your degrees and such, is to have one year of professional work experience. So once you have that, you can basically travel at any age - fresh out of nursing school with that one year of experience, all the way to nurses who are retired. That’s what we really traditionally do see. We see a lot of younger professionals who have graduated, done their one year and are eager to kind of use this as a way to build a resume to travel the country, to experience new settings. And then we have a lot of the elder nurses who are kind of on the tail end of their career and they’re using this as almost like either full retirement and still doing travel nursing or just kind of on the way there; they’re using this as their chance to explore the country now that their kids are out of the house. We have handfuls of nurses who own their own RVs and travel with their significant others across the country. Those are the ones who rave about it the most. It’s like an opportunity like no other, to kind of explore and get to see new places while basically getting paid for it.
Hillary: Now when asked how many travel nursing companies the respondents have worked for, the majority of them, 47.7% said 2-4. Is this a sign of flexibility in the industry for travel nurses?
Steve: Yes, I would say so. Really when you combine that with the piece of the pie that said only one, which was 33%, it’s such a huge chunk in the pie. Really that’s because as a travel nurse, you might say to yourself, “Well, gee, let me just sign up with everyone in the industry and see who has the most jobs or the exact thing I want.” They’ll realize quickly that they’re going to get very overwhelmed doing it that way. With each company that you sign up for, comes a dedicated recruiter who’s going to obviously work with you one-on-one to help you find that job that you’re looking for. So on your own time, from your own perspective, you’re only going to be able to manage a certain amount of these relationships. We obviously would hope that you’d pick just one and that they’d be us. That might not always be the way. What many nurses would do is kind of find the nursing agency that they’ve heard good things about, via word of mouth, through any of their professional colleagues or looked online and saw the jobs that they want and that’ll become their kind of primary agency and maybe they’ll sign up with one or two more just to see the variety that’s out there or compare what the jobs and salaries are. You’re going to see a similarity throughout agency to agency, but really what’s probably going to win you over is the connection that you make with your recruiter.
That’s what we really pride ourselves with on Onward Healthcare, is having dedicated recruiters who really take a big interest in our traveler’s career path and help them find that piece of the career that they’re looking for.
Hillary: Which is very important and speaking of important, we all want to know about benefits. This next data point is really interesting; 62.5% of the respondents said that they valued the free housing stipend benefit the most out of all the benefits that they received in their travel nursing career. Well that’s just one of the many benefits, right Steve?
Steve: Yes it absolutely is Hill. Really when I saw that data come in, at first I said to myself, “Well, is that shocking? That many people actually chose housing?” After looking at it for a while, I said “It’s probably not because if you think about it, this stigma always is that travel nursing does not provide all the benefits that a full-time, permanent nursing job would. The reality is that it does. It offers health benefits, 401k based on the way your schedule fits in. You can earn vacation time. So it really does offer the traditional aspects that any permanent job would. It offers something that pretty much no profession in the country does, which is, we’ll provide you housing on top of putting you in the location that you desire.
Not only do you get to say, “Oh boy, I’ve never gone to Texas. I’d really like to go there.” And on top of saying, “Okay we’ll send you there, we’ll pay you for it, but we’ll also put you up on housing.” Really, obviously that’s a key point because to take a three-month nursing assignment, which is how long a traditional travel nursing assignment is, obviously it’s a concern for the nurse of where I’m going to stay. And having housing departments that are familiar with the areas that have relationships with good housing facilities, be it apartments, long-term stays, whatever it might be - we really work with the nurse one-on-one to put them in a place that they feel comfortable, that’s close to the facility. So that they could really come in, move in a day or two before the assignment and hit the ground running and be in a nice area that they’re comfortable with, and that has a local scene around it. That’s very important to the nurses and that’s why I wasn’t shocked to see that it did end up number one.
Then of course as part of that, there’s also the point that the whole slash stipend. The other option is that these nurses, can use our housing department if they wish. But they could also take a stipend which will increase their pay drastically, and then they could find their own stay. So sometimes if they’re traveling to an area with a fellow traveler or where they have family, they might already have an idea of where they might stay in that location. Then in that case, the money that would’ve gone to housing goes directly into their paycheck, which is of course a huge benefit on its own.
Hillary: It’s not bad at all. So when these travel nurses are bouncing around the country and being set up in these nice places to live for these cool assignments, they have to stay in touch. So of course your survey asked them about which social network they used the most. And Facebook came up as 68.5% of the respondents, but then 29.6% said none. Were you surprised to find this out?
Steve: I wasn’t a little surprised about the none aspect of things, but I guess that’s, to each his own. Some people just aren’t as comfortable with social media or just have never gone around to setting up a profile or maybe just has issues about telling the whole world where they are or what they’re doing. But that chunk of people who are actually on Facebook certainly did not surprise me at all, seeing that number. When you look at 800 million worldwide users, it’s that chunk of the pie certainly looks about right. It’s such a resource to nurses to be able to stay in touch with friends and family when they’re out on assignment, being able to post their status updates, let people know that they’ve arrived safely. Let them know how they’re enjoying their new profession, being able to post pictures, videos and whatnot. It’s a medium that we just didn’t have five, ten years ago in the industry when it was like these nurses would go out and obviously they called to check in, but it would be like they’d be walking around with cameras and they’d be taking pictures, and then they’d have to develop them and then hopefully their friends and family one day would get to see a photo album of these pictures. In today’s world, it’s just like, this is what I did this morning or this is what I did last night. It certainly brings an aspect to the travel industry because obviously that’s what you want to see.
We love it when our travelers send us pictures, which we post on our own Facebook account a lot, because it’s great to see them kind of out. When travelers send you a picture of them in front of Mt. Rushmore or them in the beach when it’s the middle of winter in Connecticut, those are awesome pictures to see all the time. We’d love to see that they’re enjoying themselves. We’d like to stay in touch with them as much as anybody. So Facebook works great for us as well.
Hillary: Speaking of enjoying themselves, this next piece of data is really cool to see. You asked all of your survey respondents if they would recommend the travel nursing experience to a colleague and 97.7% said yes. I bet that was so much fun to see come back in the data.
Steve: It was extremely rewarding. It was a data point where you certainly, that’s what you have your fingers crossed to see. You’re working with these nurses all year long and new kids all the time ongoing and to see that this many of them said that they would recommend the profession to a colleague is the biggest selling point in the world that you could have. We sit here and we try to sell travel nursing as such a great profession, giving all the benefits that we just talked about. Nothing can sell it more than saying, that almost 10 out of every 10 travelers are going to tell you that, “I do what I love and I would recommend that you do it too if you had the chance.” So it’s certainly something that we were so happy to see and publicize on this.
Hillary: And when everyone sees this infographic and they realize, you know what, travel nursing is the career for me, they’re going to want to know how to get started. So take me through the timeline of starting a travel nursing job, because this seems like very helpful information for people who want to break in and enjoy all of these benefits we’ve been discussing.
Steve: Right. So for a new traveler, like I said all the data up until this point has been based on survey information, but we thought it was really valuable hoping that people find this on websites and bookmark it or forward it to a friend, especially new travelers and referrals. We kind of wanted to show that nursing and travel and just how the process works leading up to an assignment. Really, there’s not set-in-stone data but it kind of is a three-month process. But this process could take as little as one month from when you first fill out that online application, to submitting your paperwork, getting your licensure in order, speaking with the recruiter, interviewing with facilities and then accepting a job. Timeline will certainly adjust to how eager you are to start a job and what you’re looking for and whether you’ve found the right match for you. But basically, this data point really gives nurses kind of almost a checklist to say, “Okay, I did this step. Now let me know what I should do next. Next step is my paperwork and next step is my licensure.” It’s a nice little visual for them to kind of look at and realize how the process works.
Hillary: Finally, you have a data point on here that points to the average salary for a travel nursing professional to be $79,000 a year. Now that’s something I wasn’t expecting to see, to be honest. Is that higher than most registered nurses make?
Steve: It is, Hill. Basically it’s a tough data point to gather in because we’re talking about so many different specialties and just like any profession in life, your years of experience are going to come into play when it comes to your salary. In nursing, a lot of it is going to depend on what your specialty is. Some of it just might depend on the location that you go to. We have certain, what we call crisis needs in some towns and cities across the United States. Or ready-to-pay nurses up to $60 an hour to start in the next month because the needs are so bad there, be it for strike or shortages or new units. So nurses have great opportunities to be able to maximize their pay through everything that’s offered. So this is a very general bell curve that shows what the average nurse would make. But even when we show that average, it still is about 15% higher than the BLS would indicate that a registered nurse would make in a permanent job. So across the board, the opportunity is there at all times to make more as a travel nurse, which is obviously why so many of them continue to love the profession.
Hillary: This is a wonderful infographic, Steve. Thank you so much for taking me through and explaining all the data and all of the great information that you’re trying to share with people about the travel nursing industry. Are there any hot jobs at the moment that you’d like to tell the audience about?
Steve: Yes. As our director of marketing, I went and talked to my recruitment staff and they would not let me get off this podcast without telling what our hot jobs are. What they screamed at me today was, ER nurses. We want ER nurses up and down the east coast, in particular. Right now, New Hampshire, Boston, parts of North Carolina, parts of Florida are all hiring, in addition to many other parts across the country. So if you’re looking for one of those locations, we’re ready to get you started immediately. If there’s something else that you’re looking for, we encourage you to call and speak to a recruiter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you very soon with the open positions that we do have available.
Hillary: Thank you very much for speaking with me today Steve. It was a pleasure.
Steve: It was a pleasure as well, Hill. I appreciate you having me on to talk about this.
Hillary: Absolutely. Everybody out there, be sure to check out all the hot jobs and especially the Guide to Travel Nursing jobs on onwardhealthcare.com. Thank you very much for tuning in to another episode of the Travel Nursing Insider.
Thank you for tuning in to Travel Nursing Insider. For more information on the exciting world of travel nursing, you should visit Onward Healthcare on the web at onwardhealthcare.com or call 1-800-278-0332 to speak to a travel nursing recruiter. You should also follow Onward Healthcare on Twitter at twitter.com/onwardhealth, fan them on Facebook at facebook.com/travelnursing and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. Just do a keyword search for Travel Nursing Insider.
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