Integrating Travelers to Improve Retention


Why do traveling clinicians break contracts? Why are new clinicians leaving the profession after just one year? Voluntary terminations account for 93.9% of hospital separations, citing many reasons, such as workload/staffing ratios, working conditions, and scheduling. While many personal and professional factors may play into the decision to leave, a facility’s lack of integration efforts may also be contributing to the problem. 

Integrating new traveling clinicians into your facility or system can be an immersive experience – one that provides them with the opportunity to connect with staff and gain the confidence and awareness needed to thrive. Integration efforts for travel nurses have their own challenges, as contracts are temporary, they’re not physically on-site until their start day, and you must trust that they complete their assignment. While reputable workforce solutions companies consistently supply clinicians who arrive knowledgeable, experienced, and ready to work, there are still action steps that a healthcare organization can take to help increase completion rates and improve traveler satisfaction.

Integration Takes Many Shapes

An increase in staff benefits your facility in numerous ways, including regaining the balance of patient/nurse ratios and reducing causes of burnout. But a focus must also be placed on how well you can incorporate travelers into your workforce. Better integration can reassure new travelers that they feel welcome and wanted, allowing them to give patient care their absolute best. The steps below highlight some actions you can take to meet your long-term integration goals.

  • Integration starts at orientation. As travelers orient themselves, transition into their new environment, and adapt to new processes, they must also adjust to meet their new facility’s social and professional expectations. A personal touch from a supervisor can help enhance the workplace experience. Whether it’s a meaningful introduction, a small welcome gift, or a short scheduled one-on-one meeting, any extra step that a leader can take will genuinely help your traveler feel embraced as an asset to the team.
  • Create an atmosphere of inclusion. Invite travel staff to celebrations or to participate in your facility’s professional enrichment opportunities, like speed mentoring. Paving an inclusive path for all newcomers will encourage a positive atmosphere and help create a united clinical workforce where high-quality care can flourish.
  • Prioritize technology education. Your staffing partner will work closely with you to understand your workforce needs and supply candidates with the training, certifications, and clinical competency to complement your current workforce. However, a technology review is still a fundamental part of the acclimation process. Clinicians are more likely to leave a position when they encounter roadblocks that prevent them from succeeding in their roles.
  • Demonstrate leadership’s commitment to integration. Successful integration requires a commitment to creating positive experiences at your facility. Using a human-first approach to create a better work experience for all, you can help tailor your efforts to support the needs of your workforce better, which will foster a supportive and collaborative ecosystem of travelers, stationary clinicians, and staff.

Efforts like these can champion an environment that brings contingent and permanent staff together, relieving pressure points and decreasing workforce burdens. The suggestions above, along with these additional best practices for hiring and managing your travel workforce, should be adopted with all nurses and clinical professionals in mind, not just travelers. With a commitment to improved integration, you can help strengthen the sense of comradeship in clinical units and increase retention among permanent staff.

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 staffing needs.

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