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Tips for finding a travel healthcare job during COVID-19

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States, including California, are beginning to lift the ban on elective surgeries, and the need for nurses will be strong. That’s great news! The challenging part is that there will be thousands of travelers competing for every assignment. It’s time to get your ducks in a row so that you can take advantage of the opportunities. With the COVID-19 pandemic, some specialties have been in high demand while others, like OR, have been left on the sidelines. The outlook is bright, and opportunity is coming, but there will be a rush of submissions so if you want to be in the front of the line, there are several things you can do now to make sure you are ready for the looming demand for assignments.

Supply and demand

Our toughest conversation with clinicians today involves helping them intimately understand the powers of supply and demand. There are most likely hundreds of thousands of staff nurses out on furlough, so the first step is for hospitals to reintroduce those folks back into the schedule – census permitting. Travelers will soon follow that first step. We are however forecasting an immediate demand in labor and delivery (L&D) and OR.  L&D has often been a summer season need so we are expecting a normal year, and some are even projecting a robust December and January because, well, of course, we’ve all been stuck at home. ER and orthopedics may also see a seasonal increase as people spend more time in recreational activities over the summer months.

Tips!

  • Go where you are needed For now, take whatever assignment comes your way – being picky is a luxury for another time. The facility that hires you will be happy to have you and you can use the time to sharpen your skills and get to know a city that you would not have necessarily traveled to.
  • Network with your managers If you’ve done travel assignments in the past, reach out to the managers at those facilities and let them know you’re ready. Managers will naturally gravitate to travelers who have experience in their facility. Also, reach out to your manager at your staffing company (if you are with one). They are always willing to help out with placements.
  • Create your plan Be ready to roll as facilities begin doing more elective procedures and towns get back to a new, albeit modified, normal. Know where you want to go, communicate that to your recruiter, and make sure you have the documentation you need.
  • Update your profile information Create a digital profile if you don’t already have one. This will make it easy to keep it updated. Ensure that you have quick access to all the documents required for hiring so once assignments are available, you can forward the information to your recruiter. Add a calendar reminder for document updates.
  • Be Flexible Flexibility in location, shift, and limiting demands for days off will also help you nail a great assignment. If you go in as a flexible candidate rather than someone who is demanding before you even start, the relationship between you and the facility will be stronger. Once you have your foot in the door and gain rapport with your manager, that’s when you can start asking for other perks.
  • Align with a strong agency This will be a time of tremendous transition and consolidation in the healthcare industry. Focus Staff has built strong relationships through the years with our facility partners around the country and we will continue to offer thousands of opportunities nationwide.

This has been and will continue to be a bit of a trying time for the traveling healthcare labor market. Travel nurses, therapists, and allied clinicians will have to be as flexible as possible when considering location, compensation, shifts, and time-off requests. Be ready and give hiring managers a reason to place you at the top of the submission stack. There is light at the end of the tunnel – and it leads to a great travel career. It’s about the journey and we will be by your side along the way!

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