I’ve Changed My Mind!

Greg – Even after all my research, I don’t like my assignment. Do I have to complete my contract?

A

Yes, absolutely you do! We understand that sometimes life happens (or isn’t what you expected) and we will work with that to the best of our abilities. But, we do expect for our travelers to work the full hours and dates of their contracts. Anything less will create penalties related to your personal income.  I don’t know a single individual who doesn’t have some portion of their work life that isn’t completely satisfying – but we all work anyway. Being a contractor is no different.

 

Hopefully, you have been in constant communication with your recruiter regarding the specific aspects of your dissatisfaction. If notified early enough, our recruiters can help with housing and workplace issues.  Is the job not what was described in your contract? Let your recruiter or DON investigate. Often the solutions are simple.

 

We, and you, have made a commitment to our client facility to provide a specific service to be performed by YOU especially, and we will honor that commitment. It is simply the professional to do!

 

Have a burning question? Email me (Greg).

BEST TRAVEL NURSING COMPANIES FOR 2017

When Kyle from BluePipes called to tell me that Convergence Medical Staffing had been named one of the best Nurse Travel Companies for 2017, I was totally floored.  Never mind that his telephone call could have been from anyone – answered at my desk like all the rest – but the fact that it was a call bringing good news and recognition boardered on the surreal.

BluePipes is a respected resource in the healthcare staffing world and carries a high level of industry credibility. Although we are a medium sized company  (but a good bit younger than most reviewed) I expected to see the same names listed as have been in previous years.  However, there is a twist.  The special part about the BluePipes award is that recognition is based on actual reviews of travelers and staffers. So instead of determining value as an outside pair of eyes looking in, between all agencies, ranking came directly through positive comments made by the travelers themselves. Even though we had fewer reviews than these larger companies, the strength of these reviews put us on the list!

In a world where negative feedback is often the only feedback given, your kind feedback is an incredible boost to the Convergence Team.  Our efforts to create the win/win for our travelers and our clients make the painstaking levels of customer service that we deliver worthwhile – and recognition in a public forum feels good! (Although we would not function in any other way!)

For us, there is nothing more rewarding than to be known as a trusted career resource, a reliable shoulder, a dependable employer, and a true friend to our travelers. I would like to give a special thank you to our travelers for your hard work and your dedication to both your callings and to Convergence.  We would also like to thank our incredible staff who, through their invaluable experience, meticulously care and deliver satisfaction to each of our travelers on a daily basis.

Cheers!

Greg

Work Your Options To Get The Interview

Greg – While working with my recruiter, I completed an application and was submitted for a job.  I have been waiting on an interview for 4 days now.  My recruiter says they haven’t started interviewing yet.  Should I keep waiting?

A

 

Absolutely not! As a traveler, if you want to remain employed regularly and for the long term, you (and your recruiter) need to be working on at least 3 travel options. Of your three options you will most certainly get at least one interview and the possibly one or more offers.  Also – have a frank conversation with your recruiter about any limitations you may have put on your job preferences. The traveler who is the most flexible with shift preferences, location options, on-call preferences, and travel limitations will get the most opportunities for interviews. Additionally, if you have any paperwork, licensing or credentialing yet to be completed, get it done!  Your recruiter will be able to close the deal on your behalf quickly and confidently if your proverbial “bags are packed”. There is power in having choices!

Have a burning question? Email me (Greg).

Five Unwritten Rules for Travelers

Greg – I was just terminated from a contract and still do not understand why.  Does this happen?

A

Yes, it happens on occasion and the reasons sometimes mystify the traveler. So, here it is – the unabashed truth – the truth that no one else will say straight out.  If the information applies to your situation then learn from it. If not, carry on.. you’re better than that last assignment and should consider yourself lucky to move on elsewhere.

Five Unwritten Rules for Travelers:

  1. SHUT UP AND OBSERVE.   You will be able to separate the professionals from the troublemakers/agitators. Surround  yourself with the professionals. Be polite to the rest but do not engage beyond simple courtesies. Don’t be anxious to be accepted.  It will come in a week or so.
  2. DO NOT GOSSIP.  Mark my words: your story will be passed from staff member to staff member and embellished to the point that your original point is no longer in the thread. With certainty, you will find yourself at the CENTER of everyone’s drama and YOU will be to blame.
  3. TRUST NO ONE.  Your trust should be earned. Do not discuss your personal opinions or personal life casually with anyone unless it’s strictly platonic and general.  Embellishment from your co-workers will strike again and that simple parking ticket will turn into a felony for an appalling crime that never even occurred.
  4. DO NOT TOUCH OTHERS OR MAKE INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS. It will be twisted into something that it was not meant to be. Others involved will deny any participation and you will be blamed for the disturbance because YOU are the VISITOR.  Incidentally, SEX is NEVER a discussion topic under any circumstances.  Once that happens, the client WILL FIND A REASON to terminate your contract.
  5. YOU ARE A VISITOR. Do not get too comfortable and do not let your guard down.  Though a team member for the moment, you are not part of their full-time staff. In fact,  you are being held accountable by management to be BETTER than their full time staff. Full-time staff at your client facility will find it easy to blame the Traveler and sacrifice the Traveler – so don’t give them ammunition.   ACT AND WORK AT A HIGHER STANDARD.  Higher pay has a price- so be prepared to walk the talk.  If you can’t, then Traveling isn’t for you.  P.S. – Keep your own records; document any issues you see and keep handy.

If you’re guilty of even one of these five things, you’re not going to survive your contract much less the Travel Profession.  Clients need you, but not to the point of letting you contribute to issues already present with full- time staff. As always, professional behavior and respectful interaction with managers, co-worker patients, and family members is required. Of course, no one is asking that you be a “doormat”, but it is far better to smile and walk away from these common “set-ups” than to risk termination. So think before you engage; your credibility will speak for you.

THERE…Someone finally said it.

Have a burning question? Email me (Greg).

Tax Breaks for the Traveling Contractor

Greg – It’s tax time and I am confused! A fellow traveler said that I could qualify for special exemptions or refunds, but i don’t know how to proceed. Help!

Because I am not a tax professional, I cannot tell you specifically how to file, but I can help you with your next steps!  Travel mileage, uniforms (including shoes), meals, rent, and other incidentals related to your out-of-pocket expenses for your specific assignments can qualify you for tax breaks. Although we do not endorse a particular tax service, there are services that specifically cater to travel nurses.  These guys are up-to-speed on the most recent updates and advantages for traveling healthcare professionals. One such firm is called Travel Tax.  You can find their contact details on our website under the RESOURCES tab. Even if you  use a tax firm who doesn’t specialize in the travel industry, make sure that your tax professional understands the nature of your profession and the details surrounding the unique expenditures required of a traveling contractor.

 

Getting the Position You Want

Greg – Every time I apply with an agency, the position I want is filled.  This happens all the time and is frustrating! Is it just me, or is it common everywhere?

A

It’s everywhere! When travel opportunities open, you are competing with 3 to 5 other applicants who have been submitted to the client from other agencies –  all within just 24 hours of the job posting. In another 24 hours, you can more than double that number of competitors.  By day three, you have no chance at getting the assignment – even though the job is still posted. 

Clients, industry wide, will not accept a candidate for consideration unless they have completed their application, submitted a resume, completed a skill checklist, included two references, have verification of a state licence (if applicable) , and submitted copies of their valid certifications. No agency will submit a candidate with less, and some clients even require more information than is listed above. Savvy applicants will ask the agency of other anticipated requirements and submit them immediately.  If an agency submits an applicant without requirements, their applicants will end up in “file 13” – the trash – every time.

There is Hope! What to do: 

  • Complete all the information listed above and submit to your agency of choice so that they have it on file and are ready for those opportunities that interest you.
  • Watch the agency’s job posting daily.
  • Connect with a recruiter so that he or she knows your preferences.
  • Be open minded and determine the areas that would be a second and third choice for you.

If you have done your “pre-work” when the right openings surface, you can notify or authorize your recruiter to submit your application immediately. The first candidates submitted are usually the candidate who get hired. Thank ahead to get what you want!

 

Have a burning question? Email me (Greg).

Meet Rebecca C – an EXTRAORDINARY Operating Room RN!

Originally from California, our Featured Traveler for August grew up in New York and later relocated to the Midwest.  This 19 year veteran RN (17 of which spent in the OR) calls Illinois home but is currently working a travel assignment in Iowa that she loves so much, she has extended it several times!

Having traveled with Convergence for the past year, Rebecca says about her experience:  “I like the freedom of choosing when and where I work.  I love meeting new people and experiencing different kinds of surgical procedures.  In fact, I had never been exposed to plastic surgery before working in Iowa.” She hopes to continue to renew at her current assignment because of the great people and good friends that she has made while at this assignment.

Her advise to those who want to try Travel Nursing? “Be open to new or different ways of doing things. Also try to be understanding about the stress that the staff members may have been under while shorthanded. Smile and know that the job is the same one you love no matter where you are performing the work.”

She also has good advise for experienced travelers: “Depending on your home life, you may have to let go of some of the control of things at home.  We have two large dogs that my husband has to entertain and clean up after while I’m away.  As a result,  I’ve had to learn to accept my husband’s idea of  ‘clean and organized’ since hitting the road.”

Our special road warrior has also had to adapt to her own challenges.  She shared that she has locked her keys in her car at least five times while on assignment! Now she locks her car with her keys ONLY rather than the button (just to make sure the keys are in her hand)!

When asked why Rebecca likes working at Convergence she replied,” My recruiter, Mo, always has a prompt response time to my calls.  He answers my questions immediately.  If he can’t provide an answer at the moment, he collects details and follows-up quickly.  He’s a ’10’ on any scale as a recruiter.”  She continues, “The Company is always willing to do what they can to ensure my satisfaction.  You can’t find that just anywhere.”

Thank you Rebecca!

She continues: “I highly recommend working with Convergence to anyone.  I’m very happy and content with this fine group of people. Finally, I get paid what I’m worth and I’m shown appreciation frequently.”

From our perspective, it’s not difficult to appreciate Rebecca’s talent, the quality of her work and her attitude/character in general.  Plus… that gorgeous smile….We think we’ll keep her!

 

Travel Close To Home

Greg – Can I travel close to home so I won’t have to leave my family?

A

You CAN travel somewhat locally; but most often the answer to your question depends upon client restrictions (some will not consider candidates that live within 50 to 80 miles of their facility) and your flexibility and willingness to commute. If we don’t have an opening that is somewhat local to you, I would recommend that you carefully define a mileage radius that you are willing drive and let your recruiter know your exact restrictions upfront.   Another option is to define a mileage radius that you  are willing to work your “stretch” of days weekly as a conventional traveler and then return home for your time off.   I will remind you that in order to take advantage of the tax free perdiems offered by the IRS for traveling consultants, you must travel more than 50 miles from your residence of record.  This is a great question and I understand life is full of trade-offs; but much of the true career and financial benefits of Travel Nursing come to those who fully commit to “taking to the road”.                                                                                                                                                                                            

Have a burning question? Email me (Greg).

A Real Breath Of Fresh Air….Cheryl H.

Our Featured Traveler for July is a Registered Respiratory Therapist – Meet Cheryl H! Cheryl has been practicing Respiratory Therapy for 37 years and LOVES her profession.  In fact, Cheryl claims that in those 37 years she has never not wanted to go into work.  She loves taking care of her patients like they were her family – and her family and her eleven grandchildren are the most important things in her life.  Patients are just a very close second!

Having survived stage four cancer, Cheryl says the experience opened her eyes to tossing her “self-imposed” limitations aside.  Being the care giver she she is, Cheryl uses this life lesson to give her a special connection to patients in similar circumstances.  Not surprisingly, she has found she can be their “star of hope” while they are under her care.

Well, Cheryl is certainly a “star” in our book.  With a year of traveling under her belt, it is no surprise that Cheryl likes her new phase of life.  “It’s always a pleasure to learn new things after 37 years”, states Cheryl.  Currently on assignment in North Carolina,  she says ” the people are so nice to work with! Everyone pulls their weight and have the same work ethics as I do.”

Her advise to travelers?  “Really take time to learn the facility’s computer system well.  I have found that to be a consistent challenge for even the most experienced travelers.” Cheryl’s advise to newbies? “This experience is a great way to see the country, meet new people, and learn numerous ways to achieve a desired outcome. Traveling, may perhaps, be the best way to keep your career fresh and exciting!”

While traveling is exciting, it can also have potential bumps in the road. Cheryl laughs about one incident that happened while she was moving into her housing.  A stranger offered to help her move items from her car – to which she politely declined.  About that time another car pulled up and she witnessed an illegal transaction.  “Stunned, I was paranoid, but later confirmed that I was in a very good section of town, where a “one-off” occurred.   Convergence offered to move me, but I declined and decided to wait and see if anything else occurred. Nothing else has been negative, but I appreciate the the company was so responsive to my best interests.  That’s why I recommend Convergence to everyone.  They demonstrate how much they actually care”.

Cheryl continues: “My recruiter stays one step ahead of me and takes care of anything I need immediately. The staff is awesome, respectful, and are quick to respond to anything.  I intend on staying with Convergence because the employees are honest, attentive, and consistently go over and beyond my expectations.”

As you can see, Cheryl is that proverbial, and very special, “breath of fresh air”, and we are so happy she is sharing that with us!

Our Featured Traveler for June – Meet Kim B!

Our featured traveler for June is a Midwestern girl with 15 years of nursing under her buckle.  Combining her passion for Labor & Delivery and Mother/Baby with old fashioned horse sense and excellent care, Kim is successful with her young charges both on and off the farm.  After relocating to Florida with 12 horses in tow (some of them babies themselves) Kim ultimately decided to satisfy her curiosity for travel nursing and joined the Convergence team.  She’s been with us for a year now, and loves the lifestyle!

Like most travel nurses, Kim enjoys “seeing new places, learning about the local cultures, and of course, meeting new people.”  But Kim sees special rewards in being a travel nurse. She states, “I have come to realize that patients love to know that travel nurses are caring for them.  They find it interesting and usually want to know why we travel, where we’re from, and ask other questions that really help to ‘break the ice’ with them and their family members.  On my last assignment I met a wonderful couple where one of them was from the same city that I was born and raised.  It was awesome to have that connection with the family.  You never know who you are going to meet during your travels.”

Kim has some good advice for other Travelers: “Become acquainted with the staff on the unit before getting comfortable and even then, don’t get too comfortable.  Staff members can also be extremely helpful with the city and can tell you about things to see and do.”

For those nurses new to the Travel business, Kim recommends: “Really get to know your recruiter and have a frank conversation about why you want to travel; discuss how the two of you can work together to make it happen successfully.  Your recruiter should be assisting you along the entire process and your cooperation makes that possible.”

Wise beyond her travel years, Kim continues: “Your recruiter and the credentialing staff need to be your primary friends. they can make or break you as a traveler.  Waiting until the last minute to meet credentialing requirements and a lack of communication with your recruiter will cause you to fail.  I see it all the time.”

Kim says she has chosen to work with Convergence because they demonstrate that she is appreciated.

“My recruiter is so helpful and understanding. I only need to tell her something once, and it’s handled. She is available through phone, email, and text and when I need her she responds quickly! When my recruiter calls me, it’s at night, when I work.  Night shift nurses rarely get to connect with management.  Additionally, their insurance package is very good and Convergence covers the cost.”

Our thoughts about Kim? Well, she’s the perfect example of a travel nurse – smart, well spoken, clinically adept, attentive, personal, professional, dependable and resourceful.  We could go on… but more importantly, that’s why we love that she is a Nurse.