Members of the travel nursing recruitment team walk us through the process of what happens after you decide to apply to a travel nurse company, including what to expect from your travel nurse recruiter.
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Peter: 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.
Peter: Welcome to our third episode of Travel Nursing Insider. We're back in Wilton, Connecticut with Deb Shea, Vice President of Travel Nursing at Onward Healthcare and Sera Cullen, the Director of Travel Nursing.
In the first two episodes of travel nursing insider, we discussed what is travel nursing and what does a travel nurse need to do to get started in a travel nursing career. Today, we are going to focus on the hiring processes.
Deb, let's say I've decided I really want to pursue this idea of doing a travel nursing assignment. I've gone online, filled in my application, I've sent it in, what happens next?
Deb: The next step is within the same day, a nurse recruiter from Onward Healthcare will give you a jingle. Basically if you have about half an hour to spend with us because it's a time for us to kind of bond, get to know one another, find out the type of nurse that you are, the type of facilities that you like to work at, really get to know you and perhaps your family and pets if you're traveling with pets, and at that point, you talk about when you're available to start to travel, and then we start talking about potential opportunities.
Peter: And Sera, how do you decide which recruiter calls me up?
Sera: Actually you are assigned to a recruiter and that recruiter's responsibility is to, as Deb said, call you right away and build a relationship with you. They really want to get to know you, what motivates you, and why you're interested in travel. So they're going to ask you some personal questions about your work history, but also what you're looking for out of this travel experience.
Peter: So, I do about a half an hour interview with my recruiter and then my recruiter goes away and then...
Sera: Okay I'm going to jump in here. Basically, what happens is when you have that recruiter on the phone, and you and the nurse are talking, you guys are going to go through everything all at once. This is a really smooth process where you're not going back and forth with 10 phone calls trying to connect; this is something that we can do in one swift motion. Basically, you're going to talk about what you're looking for, your recruiter is then going to guide you because really they are expert, and they want to help you get what you're looking for. So, they're going to talk to you about what positions are available for you, how that's going to fit in with what you're looking for, with your start date. They know the licenses, like how long it takes to go to a particular location. So, if you had someone that wanted to go to Florida, that recruiter would be able to guide that nurse and say Florida actually takes six to eight weeks to get a license, but you're looking to start next week, why don't we look at one of these other states that is a walk-through state that you actually could.
So, in that conversation, not only are they going to be able to guide you on where you want to head, but they're also going to be the expert to help you get there.
Peter: And Deb, I'm assuming that during this conversation, that recruiter pulls up your database and is able to do a scan of the kinds of the travel nurse jobs that are available in the locations that that individual may be interested in, in pursuing an assignment.
Deb: Absolutely. We have an extraordinary database both on the nursing side, but also on the client side, so as soon as we find out what specialty you are, what we would do is we pull up all our open positions and then the expert recruiter would match you to those open positions. One thing that's nice about our database is we have anywhere from 2000 to 3000 open positions and it's changing in real time. Minute to minute the system is getting updated so your recruiter can see the hot jobs and really help you get the job you want, that's correct.
Peter: So this is sort of like the Twitter of nursing jobs?
Sera: Absolutely, and then what happens is when you and the nurse are talking about jobs, anything that you're interested in, the recruiter will actually be able to send your profile or your application straight over to the hospital. The recruiter represents the nurse and then on the flipside, there are account managers that represent the hospital. So the recruiter has your best interest in mind, and you can apply to multiple positions at once. You don't want to put all your eggs in one basket; you want to apply to four or five different locations and you're going to interview with all of those to see which one is the best fit for you.
Peter: What's the next process? Let's say, in this initial phone call that you have submitted my CV to what, 10 different positions and 10 different locations, how long does it take then to get back in touch with me with some times and scheduling of those interviews?
Deb: Great question. We actually probably don't recommend that you send your file out to more than about five locations. We do have awesome relationships with our facilities and sometimes if it's more than five, it gets confusing. We'd recommend at the most, you send to five, and then what would happen is we would go ahead and set up in person a telephone interview information with each nurse manager. So you'd actually be able to talk to the nurse manager, find out a lot about the floor, the nurse/patient ratio, the type of equipments used on the floor, the charting system that's used, a lot of charting nowadays, as we all know, is through the computer, to make sure you're comfortable with that, and really get a chance to find out if your style of nursing and your background is going to be a good fit for the hospital. Of those five positions that we send you to, because you know we're pretty good at what we do and we're great recruiters, you're probably going to say yeah, I feel good about four, but one just isn't a right fit, it just isn't a right fit, and we really want you to spend the time in the interview, and listen to your heart to make sure that you go to the right assignment because at the end of the day, nurses and our best interest is always to give the best patient care, and if you're happy at your unit and comfortable, that's when you're going to be able to perform the best patient care.
Peter: Speaking about background Sera, what happens when I… let's back up just a little bit, I've submitted my application what do you do on your end to check my references to go through and make sure I have the certifications and the licenses that I put in, in my resume?
Sera: Well, I don't expect that you're lying to me so I'll take you at your word for 99% of the stuff you give me. We do check references before we send your file over. We do background checks and then all your certifications are kind of like credit card-type certifications that you would fax in to me but a lot of times I don't need information pre sending you out to get you out for a position.
My motivation is again to work with you and be your representative and get you out to these hospitals. I take your application and again, I don't use a resume because hospitals like it in a particular format; that's why I encourage everyone listening to get online and fill out an application because that's how the hospitals like to receive it.
Once I send it over to the hospital, the hospital reviews it, the nurse manager reviews it, and then I as a recruiter get an email or call from the hospital saying, "Yes we are interested in Nancy nurse, please have her call in to this number." And I receive the information directly from the hospital. As recruiter, I then call the nurse and let the nurse know that this was the information I was given, and I will give her tips on how to interview and how to interview successfully.
With this process, I can get interview information in a little as an hour or it may take a day or two. It really depends on the hospital's process and how quickly that nurse manager is reviewing files and reading through the ones that she likes and the ones that she doesn't like.
Deb: One part of our online travel nursing application is actually what we call the skills checklist. So, if you're an ER nurse, we have a specific ER skills checklist. So if you're an ICU nurse, we have a specific ICU checklist. So that checklist really is a way for the unit manager to see your level of proficiency. Checking #1 means you cannot do the duty and checking #5 means you can teach and supervise. That really is a guidepost for the hospitals to see if you're a good fit. Checklists take about four minutes to fill out, they're really easy to do.
Peter: And Deb, once I've gone through this process, let's say that there is a position that the hiring hospital really wants me for, but I'm really not that cool about it, do I have to take that position?
Deb: Absolutely not. You know, the ball is always in the nurse's court. We would definitely never make you take a job that you didn't feel comfortable with. As a matter of fact, we don't encourage it because, again, our job here Onward Healthcare is to get you a great job and provide excellent patient care, and if you're not feeling great about the job, it's probably not something you should do.
Peter: Well, Sera, let's say I am feeling great about the job and I really, really want this job, what happens next?
Sera: Well, I go Woo Hoo! on the phone to you, and the next step is we start talking about numbers, making sure we get you the right contract, we confirm everything with the hospital to make sure that it's a good one on their end is well. The great thing about the over-the-phone interview is a nurse manager isn't going to corner you on the interview and say, "Do you want this position?" They're basically going to get off the phone with you, say "Thank you very much for the interview." As a nurse, if I love this position, and I think it's a good fit for me, I'm going to drop a couple of hints, like "When are you going to make a decision?" And, "I'm really interested in this" or if they are not sure if it's a good fit, they are just going to say, "Thank you very much" and then the good thing about it is the nurse manager will contact the client service manager and tell them what she thought, and then the nurse will actually contact the recruiter and say, "Sera, I just interviewed. It sounds fantastic. I want this position. You know, go get it for me" or "Sera, I interviewed and eh, you know, just not sure, don't like paper-charting" or - nurses have been nurses long enough that they know what they like and they know what they don't like. So, even within a five-minute interview with the nurse manager, they can already tell whether it's going to be a fit for them.
Peter: What's different between this kind of an interview process and a process where you would be interviewing for a full-time job?
Deb: I'd say it's not much different except it's a lot more streamlined. Hospitals tend to move through the hiring process for a traveler a heck of a lot quicker than they would a permanent position. You talk to a recruiter on a Monday, on a Monday afternoon you're going to get interview information. Hopefully, Monday night or Tuesday morning, you're going to interview, and then the offer will come that next day. So it moves through really quickly, which is actually great because the nurses want to know what position they're going to be at next. So, it moves really quickly, so I'd say similar but faster.
Peter: And it seems like that with these interviews, you're really talking to either the supervisor or someone who is a decision-maker; you're not going through like an RPO (recruitment process outsourcer), or going through a whole series of interviews before you get to that hiring manager, is that correct, Sera?
Sera: You are talking directly with the nurse manager that is working on the floor, which is why the interviews are so great, because they are able to give you real life examples of what they're seeing on a day-to-day basis. You're not interviewing with someone who is sitting in HR, who isn't on the floor, and can't give you accurate information.
Peter: What have we missed here in this segment about the whole initial interview process, Deb anything?
Deb: I think the one thing that I'd like to add is once you've been offered the position and you want to accept it, it's really important at that point that you work with your recruiter on the best package for you. You know, nurses are obviously money-motivated but there are benefits that we offer like we talked about in our last sequence. There's insurance, there is travel, there is Onward Healthcare housing, 401K. So if you want those benefits, that's great and we will be more than happy to provide them for you, but if not, we will give you more in the base salary. So, a big part of this is working with us to make sure you get a package that fits your needs.
Peter: Sera, is there anything that you would like to add to this?
Sera: The last thing I do want to add is we have talked about applying to five positions or more, and I want to tell everyone that just because you have applied to all five positions doesn't mean you need to interview at all of them. If you interview at the first location and love it, you can say I love this one; I got this offer, and we can politely decline the other opportunities, and give them to other nurses.
I want them to know that just because you've applied to five, doesn't mean you need to interview at all five and as soon as you find the one that you love, go for it.
Peter: Well, thanks again for taking time to speak with us today on Travel Nursing Insider and be sure to tune in to our next episode, because we're going to be talking about acing the interviews, and these two ladies are going to give us some real insider tips on the kinds of things that you need to do to prepare for an interview.
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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