6 Criteria on Your Travel Nurse New Hire Checklist

by CoreMedical Group


Are you experiencing nursing staff turnover or challenges finding and retaining the right nursing candidates? You’ve come to the right place! When time is of the essence and you are short-staffed on your hospital floors, having skilled travel nurses available to bring continuity of care for your patients is a major relief.

A medical staffing agency will take on the bulk of the recruitment work for you, and help ensure you’re getting a quality placement. But ultimately, hiring is your decision, and you undoubtedly want to make sure you do your due diligence too.

This easy reference list covers what to clarify with your medical staffing partner and verify for yourself during the hiring process.

Quick Reference Travel Nurse New Hire Checklist

1. Nursing Education and Licensure

If you’re hiring a travel nurse, of course, you want to ensure they have the appropriate educational background and a current nursing license in your state. Applicants should include dates of their medical licenses on their resume, so you can be sure that they are up-to-date and can provide continuity of care for the duration of their proposed travel nursing contract.

Keep in mind if your state is a part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), applicants may not have a nursing license specifically in your state, but they are still able to work across state lines due to this cooperative. If your state is not a member of the NLC, ensure each applicant is properly licensed in your state.

It’s also important to keep in mind that RNs, LPNs, and those with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees are generally eligible to be travel nurses. If your facility requires a certain level of education for all nurses (a BSN, for example), ensure that the medical staffing agency you are working with understands and communicates your minimum education requirements.

2. Basic Nursing Certifications

Beyond education and licensure, most all travel nurses are required to have additional base-level nursing certifications. These generally include base life support and advanced cardiovascular life support.

If you’re hiring a nurse in a surgical field, they may need stroke care and/or telemetry certifications. Others may need specific certifications if they are working in pediatrics, emergency care or other specialized units. Once again, make sure that your medical staffing agency partner knows your minimum certification requirement for every specialty to save time in the candidate review process.

3. Bedside Nursing Experience

Generally, travel nurses are expected to have a minimum of 2 years of bedside experience. But as a hiring facility, this baseline is up to your discretion. For example, nurses in labor and delivery or critical care specialties may need a longer resume of experience compared to other units. Communicate your expectations to a staffing agency from the start for each position.

4. Medical Technology Familiarity

Most nurses in the field today are accustomed to various electronic medical recordkeeping systems. But it may still be beneficial to know which specific systems applicants are familiar with to understand how quickly they can adapt to your processes. EPIC, for example, is the most common system used in hospitals currently but could prove to be a steep learning curve for those who are unfamiliar.

5. Resume Gap Explanations

Gaps in applicant resumes are common in today’s job market. Reasons for these gaps could include completing travel nursing contracts, starting a family, going back to school, being a caregiver, among others. Look for an explanation in an applicant’s resume or cover letter, but if a reason for the gap isn’t clear, don’t hesitate to bring it up in an interview. Gaps shouldn’t be considered a negative off-the-bat, but they do deserve explanation.

6. Solid Interpersonal Skills

Candidates who are dependable, easily adaptable, communicate well, and possess strong conflict resolution skills often make exceptional travel nurses. Dependability also is key, because you’re hiring them to fill an existing gap. Flexibility is essential, especially after a recent pandemic where nurses had to adapt every day to new protocols and practices. And strong conflict resolutions skills allow a candidate to jump in with confidence, knowing they can handle any interpersonal issues that may arise with grace and professionalism.

So, how do you find out if applicants possess these qualities? You likely won’t know for sure. But asking the right questions in an interview or reaching out to a candidate’s references could provide you with enough insight to make an educated decision.

Discover the CoreMedical Difference

Luckily for you, many of these criteria are already on our checklist at CoreMedical. A quality medical staffing agency will handle all these details for you. Once education, experience, and personal requirements and expectations are clearly laid out, a staffing agency can recruit based on your specific needs, taking the heavy lifting off your team.

With so many healthcare staffing solutions for organizations like yours, how can you be confident you’re selecting the best for your organization?

CoreMedical Difference