The travel nursing compliance and credentialing process is broken down by members of Onward Healthcare's recruitment and quality management teams. Find out what forms and certifications you need to start a travel nursing assignment.
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Peter: Welcome to our latest edition of Travel Nursing Insider. Today, we’re going to discuss the importance of the travel nursing compliance process as it relates to obtaining a travel nursing job. Joining us is Deb Shea, vice president of Travel Nursing and Marla Pelle, quality manager with Onward Healthcare.
Deb, welcome back to Travel Nursing Insider and Marla, welcome to the show. Deb, how big a part does compliance paperwork play in getting a nurse placed into a travel nursing assignment?
Deb: Onward Healthcare is proud to be Joint Commission certified, so we do take our compliance very seriously.
Peter: Marla, your role with Onward almost exclusively focuses around making sure all nurses are compliant prior to entering an assignment; is that correct?
Marla: Yes, that pretty much sums it up.
Peter: Marla, who requires this paperwork; is it Onward, is it the hospitals, is it both?
Marla: It’s a combination of both the Joint Commission and our client contracts. We also work with different registries, which is there is certain hospitals that will pay an agency or a registry to regulate all the compliance materials that they require. So we have to meet both Joint Commission and registry and also federal and government standards. So it’s a combination of a little bit of both.
Peter: And you mentioned the Joint Commission; what exactly is their role in the healthcare staffing process?
Marla: Joint Commission is the accrediting body for hospitals. They began certifying healthcare staffing agencies back in 2002. That’s when Onward Healthcare first became accredited. We went through the re-certification process in 2005 and again in 2008. So we’ll be going through that process of re-certification again this year, probably some time this summer.
In the renewal process, we were actually awarded the gold seal for healthcare staffing agencies back in 2008, which is the highest you can attain, so we’re actually looking to go ahead and do that this year. So we do like to keep our compliance tight and we are proud of all the accomplishments that we have done.
Peter: And I’m sure, Deb, that the hospitals are also very pleased to work with you because of your compliance record.
Deb: Many hospitals actually prefer to work with Onward Healthcare because we have a track record of scoring anywhere from a 98-100% in any of our audits, so they like working with companies that they can rely on as far as the compliance.
Peter: Deb, what does a nurse need to do to become compliant before taking an assignment through Onward Healthcare?
Deb: At Onward Healthcare, you’re assigned a nurse service coordinator to help you through the compliance process. I look at compliance in three different buckets – there is a personnel file, which will have all your personnel records and your Joint Commission testing. There is your medical file, which would have all your medical records, and then there is your payroll file, which would have all the documents in order for us to pay you.
So once again, there is different documents that you would need in those three buckets that our nurse service coordinator would partner with you to make sure that you got.
Peter: What happens if you have a nurse lined up for an assignment and they haven’t completed all of the necessary items on Marla’s checklist?
Deb: It very rarely happens. Fortunately, we’re proud to say that we have 99% of our slated starts become compliant and start; the other small amount, we either push their start date or as long as it wasn’t a critical item, such as a background check, a drug screen, a certification, license, PE or PPD, we would ask the hospital if they could start pending those items. So we try to be flexible to the nurse and to the hospital, keeping our compliance standard high in the meantime.
Peter: Marla, does a nurse have to repeat this compliance process before each assignment through Onward Healthcare?
Marla: Not necessarily; it depends on what client they will be going to and the contractual obligations we have to that client but generally, they do not need to repeat everything unless something, such as a physical exam, which is only good for a year, has expired.
Peter: Deb, is there anything else you want to stress to nurses about the compliance process?
Deb: I just recommend that the nurses keep a compliance folder because what Onward Healthcare requires, other agencies or other permanent jobs down the road that they go to might require. So once you spend all the work getting these documents done, I encourage them to keep copies for themselves so they can use them in the future.
Peter: Marla, is there anything that we haven’t covered as far as the compliance process that you’d like to communicate?
Marla: I encourage everybody to go ahead and get compliant as quickly as possible. As soon as you accept the assignment, go ahead and get a drug screen done, don’t wait until the last second to get it done because that’s only going to delay you from starting or delay you from getting into Onward Healthcare provided housing.
So the earlier you get compliant, the better.
Peter: Deb, let’s talk about hot travel nursing jobs. It’s about the summertime here and so I’m sure that we’re no longer talking about Florida; we’ve got some new locations. What are some of the really hot jobs that you’re working on filling for the summer?
Deb: Well, I don’t know about you but I really like the beaches on the East Coast, so we’ve got lots of great assignments along the Jersey Shore, up in the Maine coastline and my favorite location – we’ve got a lot of assignments in Nantucket and the shores of Massachusetts.
I’m looking forward to working with you guys all this summer, and I have a lot of great assignments on the eastern seaboard.
Peter: Thanks guys for taking time to speak with us again on Travel Nursing Insider.
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