Best Practices for Hiring and Managing Traveling Nurses and Clinicians


The shortage of nurses and clinicians nationwide has a cascading affect for healthcare facilities. Not only are more needed in units, but many healthcare professionals have also had to step up to the unit manager role. They are new to staffing. Effectively hiring and managing traveling nurses and clinicians can be a unique skill, and they may be unfamiliar. Here’s a list of “Dos” and “Don’ts” to help new managers be successful, from interviewing through the end of the assignment.

DO be aware of market conditions. For the last two years, there have been more open positions than clinicians available. That may be shifting. But still, travelers may be submitting themselves to multiple positions simultaneously. It’s best to operate quickly and rely on your Account Manager for guidance on candidate flow.

DON’T forget to discuss job requirements and candidate’s potential requested time off (RTO) during the interview, to avoid scheduling conflicts and surprises for your permanent staff.

DO sign the work order sent by your Account Manager. This document is a confirmation of the traveler’s assignment details and ensures that all parties agree on rates, assignment dates, RTO, and other items.

DO correctly estimate the amount of time orientation will take. The details of your unit are more important than you think. What does a typical work week look like? Be sure to review the attendance policy. Prepare the traveler properly for everything from parking to lunch. Another tip: be sure to make clear what scrub color they will need and help them know how long it will take to get them.

DON’T forget to go over the timekeeping process in detail. Does your system auto-deduct for meals? How do you handle on-call hours? Who is approved to sign off on timesheets? This may sound very granular. But the goal is to prevent discrepancies between traveler timesheet and the hospital’s time detail report. The better the traveler understands it, the fewer headaches for the manager.

DO communicate with the Account Manager if there are any potential challenges with a traveler or assignment. They are solution-minded experts in understanding and expediting what needs to happen to get a clinician on the job.

DON’T forget to reach out to the Clinical Team if there are management issues or challenges with a traveler, like attendance, tardiness, or other issues. Not only do they help ensure qualified clinicians for a role, but they can also draw from their nursing and management experience to take corrective steps if needed.

DO consider extending a traveler in a timely manner. Be aware, the average traveler starts looking for their next assignment six to eight weeks before the end of the assignment. Stay on the same page with your traveler and check to see if they want to extend the assignment. To make sure the extension is approved, be timely in sending the that request.

DON’T forget to complete the performance evaluation on this traveler. Medical Solutions and other agencies require travelers to have an up-to-date performance evaluation from their manager in the last year.

travel nurseThese are just some of the best practices for managing travelers before, during, and after their assignment. If your facility is considering using traveling nurses and clinicians and want to leverage industry-leading expertise, reach out to Medical Solutions to start a conversation about your specific needs.



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