Wednesday, October 12, 2011

For Directors, Staffing Opportunity Right Under Your Nose

If you're a director of either rehabilitation or nursing you may be missing a great opportunity to recruit experienced professionals right under your nose. I'm talking about your travelers.

For those directors who use contract professionals to help fill their health care needs these people, termed travelers because they travel from one assignment to another under contract, are prime opportunity to recruit them to come on board as permanent workers.

Of all the places the Traveler and I have been to we only had one director who tried to recruit her as a permanent employee. This person was also probably the best of the directors the we have dealt with.

Experienced travelers usually are able to hit the ground running at a new facility because they have had so many different experiences that they can draw on. Usually, the only set back to hiring a contract worker
is that the contract company may have a buy out clause. By this I mean for the facility to hire the worker full
time the contract company that the traveler works for wants compensation for the loss of the contractor.

As a director of rehabilitation or nursing you need to be aware of what your traveler's contract stipulates.
Sometimes a contractor can work his or her way out of the contract buy-out clause merely by working a
second assignment with the current company.

Directors in general do not like to hire contractors because they cost more than a permanent employee.
You need to gauge what the cost of hiring is versus the loss of income because of not having a person
to treat the patient.

Frequently, directors do not do the direct hiring of contractors. That may be the job of someone else such
as an area supervisor. But the director will usually get the blame when the budget for workers exceeds

But you can help reduce this by trying to recruit the traveler. How would you do this? First, you start by
telling them the great benefits working for the rehab or nursing facility would give them such as health
care, paid time off (which they don't usually get with a staffing company), as high a pay as  you can offer,
other benefits such as free memberships to area gyms or other activities.

Then, you might want to be an ambassador for the town you are in. Tell them about the great events, the
quality of life, restaurants and shopping and cultural activities.

Finally, find out what interests the traveler. What are they looking for? What are they traveling? It's not all
about the money. Also, and this is very important, make them feel like a part of the group. Introduce them
at your first weekly meeting.

Often, the Traveler gets to a new facility and most people did not even know she was coming. At the first
weekly meeting to discuss the patients and the progress or lack of it they are making, she is never introduced. If it wern't for the nametag no one would know who she was.

Just remember, if you are short on health care workers at your facility, your best pool to recruit from may
be as close as your contractor. Moreover, even if they are not interested in hiring on they can say your facility was the best they have ever been in and recommend it to others.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mail Forwarding Service Great For Medical Travelers

Many health care professionals who travel from assignment to assignment usually love it.

But the main drawbacks, if you don't have a home base, a place you are renting or buying, are what do you legally put on your drivers license for an address? How do you get your mail?

Quite a few people try to get around this by using a relative's home address or a friend's. Then using the friend's address as their home. They try to take advantage of the tax breaks traveling health care professionals get by taking a job more than 50 miles from their home base.

This is clearly illegal and if the IRS were to check on your claim, however remote, you would be hard pressed to prove your residence. The government could require you to show rental receipts or mortgage payments. Even if you home is paid for, they could ask you for property tax payments, utility receipts, any number of records regarding your home.

You're better off just taking the higher tax hit, assuming you're trying to get around the home requirement. Afterall, if you travel for a living, you will have a large number of tax deductions without the added benefit from home/rental ownership.

For those of you who are clueless as to what I am referring to about the tax benefit of having a home base, I am talking about your pay structure.
If you have a home or rental unit and you are more than 50 miles away from it, a good portion of your pay is not taxed. But if you don't have a home, you just get straight pay.

The point here is that if you don't have a home you are maintaining while traveling but still need to have a legal drivers license and mail sent to wherever your current job assignment is, what do you do?

Use a mail forwarding service. You can use the address on your drivers license and all your mail will be sent there and then forwarded to you wherever you're at.

I am not recommending any particular service. You can get pages of them just by putting "mail forwarding service" in your favorite search engine.

Nearly all of them that I looked at offer scan services. They will open your mail in a secure facility, color scan it for you, and put it on your own email service. Many also offer private shredding for mail you don't want forwarded to you and shredding of junk mail. They will scan just the envelope so you can see if you even want it sent to you or just scan it and then shred the document.

Moreover, the nice aspect to this is you can lgitimately use the service's address as your own.

Essentially, you may be homeless. But at least you have a legal drivers license and your mail can reach you wherever you are.

In the past we have used a UPS service and rented a mail box. Once a week they would stick our mail in an envelope and mail it to our current location. We would keep them apprised of our moves. Not all the UPS shops offer mail forwarding, but the one we used did.

You will just have to investigate and see which of the services meets your needs.

(If you are trying to stay fit, check out my articles on fitness at

Friday, April 23, 2010

Travel Photo Page - See What You're Missing

Kitchy trike on lawn at Anna Maria Island, near Bradenton, FL

Hundreds of thousands of dollars hanging from the rafters at McGuires Irish Pub, Pensacola FL

Hunting Island Lighthouse near Beaufort, SC

Arboretum At Lakeland, FL

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Recruiters Pay Attention to Your Staffing People

By George Newton

It has to be really hard being a recruiter for a health care staffing company. I say that because our experience has been that recruiters seem to have very little longevity. My wife, a certified occupational therapist assistant, has been with at least a dozen staffing companies, and if she found a recruiter she liked, he or she was gone after less than a year.

I imagine that a good recruiter doesn’t just wait for someone to call looking for an assignment. Remember, I said a good recruiter. We have met some that we were sure did just that. But a good recruiter cold calls various medical facilities to see if they need a medical professional, which can range from therapists and assistants, to nurses and doctors and the various medical fields in between. Some staffing companies specialize in only a few medical fields.

With that said, it seems to me that most recruiters would bend over backwards to keep a medical professional once they have one on board, but such is not the case.

My wife and I have found that many of them, after you sign on, have a lackadaisical attitude toward their contractor.

It seems to me that companies would not have to work so hard to recruit medical contractors if they kept more of the ones they do have. To that end, I am writing a few suggestions recruiters can use to keep their contractors and it will emphasize physical and occupational therapy because that is what I have the most experience with. But there’s no reason why these suggestions shouldn’t work with all medical fields.

Keep in touch
First, after you get someone to join your company and you get them an assignment, call them once a week, or at least every other week, to see how their assignment is going. I can’t tell how it ticks my wife off when no one at the staffing company calls her periodically to see if the assignment is a good one. She does not feel it is her responsibility to call them unless something is going wrong. As a result, it seems that they only time she is in contact with someone from the staffing company is when she is having a problem. As a result, it may appear to staffing companies that they hired a bunch of whiners. With my wife, and with many others from our experience, paying them attention means more than an increase in pay.

Recruiters, Pay Attention
Second, be a good listener. When my wife calls up, it’s because there is something not quite right about the facility where she is working. Sometimes it’s minor, sometimes it’s major. This is something important you may need to know. If the facility has a rehab director or administrator who has gone off the deep end, you need to know this. If the permanent staff there often passively pick a new contractor to torment, which frequently occurs, you need to know this. If the patients are low functioning and difficult, you need to know this.

When you make a friend of the contractor, it is hard for them to change companies, because they want to continue with your friendship. They like talking you to because you are interested in them.

Often, just listening and being sympathetic can prevent an early termination on the part of either the contractor or the facility. In addition, a quick phone call and you may be able to pick up some vital information about other contractors there who may be dissatisfied with their company and you can tell them all the wonderful opportunities you can offer.

Listen to what the contractor is telling you they want. Is it money? Is it a particular place? Is it a particular facility – ie outpatient, long term care or hospital.

Visit medical facility if possible
Third and final point, if you have a facility nearby your office that has one or more contractors there, drop by to say hello to the staff and rehab director. Bring some donuts, bagels or a fruit and vegetable tray. It shows you’re concerned and you get to make new contacts. Get to know the rehab director.

It used to be that the rehab director was the person to talk to about getting a contractor in a facility, but not any more. The trend now is for someone over the rehabilitation director to do the hiring of contractors and other personnel. But the director frequently has input as to which staffing company consistently puts the best people to work. Best time to drop by, just before lunch or right after. Most of the patients have been seen by then and the medical staff may have time to say hello and have a bite of what you have brought.

To sum it up: call, listen, visit. Try some of these suggestions and see if they work. You may find that you become the most valuable recruiter your company has and the highest paid and the one with the most longevity.

(Note to travelers: I have frequently seen that women travelers often have a husband or significant other who is not employed. It can be difficult to get a job if your drivers license is from another state and you are only going to be there for three months or so. So, rather than have the guy sit around all day waiting for you to get home, put them to work. Check out this program and see if it is something that would work for them.)
Click Here!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Explore Your Travel Assignment. Fun, Excitement Await

Florida was nice, but now we are in Lynchburg, Va. The nice aspect of going to Virginia is that medical health travelers don't need a state license, as least not for certified occupational therapy assistants. That makes getting here easy in that it doesn't require a lot of prior planning. Other medical health disciplines may require licensing. it varies from state to state. Check with a recruiter or go to and put in your question in the search box.

We came to Lynchburg because this was the nearest to our home base in Matthews, NC that she could get a travel job. My wife has some family business to take care of that will take several months and may require her presence from time to time. Florida was just too far away.

But back to prior planning. For instance, if you want to go to California to work, you better get your paperwork in four months prior to leaving. We have been told by various recruiters for medical staffing companies that it takes that long to get approved to work there. .

As a traveler one measure you should always take is to spy out what there is to see and do in the area around you. After all, this may be your only chance to see a particular state on someone else's dime.

After we have been some place for a couple of months my wife will talk to co-workers about what we have seen and where we have been in a state. They usually reply with something like, "I live here and I've never seen any of that," with "that" being whatever scenic wonder, or event there is to do.

As an example, the Virginia Highlands Festival, which has been going on in Abingdon since the 5th will end this Sunday, the 12th.

The Traveler and I plan to drive over early and visit for the day. There are plenty of arts and crafts, antiques, photography, creative writing, youth events, fine foods, drama, concerts, nature walks, historical tours, and hot air balloons, to mention a few activities.

The Festival has been named one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association and Top Twenty Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society. Please go to for more information.

We have only been here for about two weeks but we have explored Lynchburg and nearby Roanoke some. There seems to be a lot more activities to do here than I would have thought.

They have a great walking, biking running path that is pretty level to walk on. Afterall, Lynchburg is known as the "City of Hills" and believe me there are plenty of hills. The path alone is a fine attraction that people visiting or living here should take advantage of.

More about Lynchburg later. See you in Abingdon Sunday.

Monday, June 25, 2007

All Health Care Fields Needed to Fill Shortage

Get Paid Well To See The Country

Today's article on traveling nurses also applies to nearly every medical health field specialty. If your field is in physical therapy, occupational therapy, PTA, COTA, pharmacy, physician, or radiology to mention a few, then you are needed as a traveler.

As mentioned in previous articles, traveling is a great way to see the country on someone else's dime and get paid a great wage with luxury housing provided. The article below, courtesy of NewsUSA, emphasizes the shortage in the health field.

Traveling Nurses Ease Staff Shortages

(NewsUSA) - With the acute shortage of nurses nationwide, travel nursing has come into its own within the health care profession.

Today, a well-qualified nurse with experience in a high-demand specialty can find short-term placements almost anywhere in the country - including exotic resort locations like Hawaii and the Caribbean - throughout the Widgets

Registered nurses with at least 10 months of clinical experience and good references are eligible. These temporary assignments, typically lasting 13 weeks, are often staff positions in critical care settings in locations ranging from rural areas to cruise ships and resort areas.

Travel nursing offers something for everyone at every career stage: the allure of travel and unique settings; rewarding positions at top teaching hospitals and research institutions; and challenging work in hard-pressed, underserved areas.

"For a nurse or nurse practitioner with a flexible schedule, travel nursing can be a very appealing career option as it offers higher pay, flexibility, variety and often the opportunity for business travel," said Andrea Higham, director of The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future, a public awareness and image-building campaign that is addressing the nursing shortage through nursing scholarships and nursing student recruitment activities. "It's one of the many areas of specialty where current demand far exceeds supply."

Those interested usually get their start with placement companies to determine openings. Candidates complete an application, discuss their plans and interests with a recruiter, and conduct telephone and in-person interviews with potential health care facilities.

If the candidate is offered a position, the travel company helps with the details of travel documents, credentialing and licensure, hospital orientation, housing (some provide free or subsidized apartments) and even arrangements for furniture and utilities.

For more information on travel nursing, visit

Monday, April 30, 2007

Part II. Question Health Staffing Firms In Detail

Medical Staffing Company Loots Traveler's Pay

by George M. Newton
(This is the second of two parts concerning our poor experience in dealing with one particular travel staffing company and is not reflective with all staffing agencies.)

On each new assignment the Traveler signs a new contract. This document protects the travel professional as well as the company, though in truth, the contracts leans more toward the staffing company than the worker.

In the previous article my wife had some questions about what she perceived as lack of agreed upon pay with the staffing company. It was quite a bit lower than expected.

The Traveler gets her check sent direct deposit so we knew the pay was short of expectations, but until she received her pay record, which is sent to her in the mail, she wasn't sure why.

Carol figured that since the housing was not any more than her last assignment, her pay would not be any smaller even though her hourly pay was reduced. She would recoup it with lower than expected housing costs.

This didn't happen. After looking over her pay record, she talked with her recruiter who was confused that she wasn't getting the money back in her check. He investigated and said he was still unsure of what to say because he didn't understand the answer and would try to get a better explanation.

Next thing you know, he is no longer with the company and the company is not standing by his verbal agreement to put any pay not spent on housing back into the Traveler's pay.

So not only did the Traveler take an unncecssary pay cut of more than $1,100 a month, the staffing company was also taking out enough money each pay period during the contract term to cover the cost of breaking the lease. The company signed a seven month lease to get the cheaper rent and would have to pay a penalty fee if the apartment was not rented. That was not our problem. Taking out this fee was not specified in the contract.

Furthermore, my wife specifically asked her recruiter, who is no longer there, prior to taking the assignment if she would be responsible for paying any penalty fee if she didn't stay longer than her specified contract time. She was told, "No." That was the company's responsibility.

To make a long story less long, company representatives dodged her queries for two months until she finally cornered the finance officer and was told that the penalty fee was her responsibility and that she was not getting any money back. None of this was spelled out in her contract.

After considering a number of options, our main recourse was to change to another staffing company and tell everyone we could what crooks these people are. I won't mention their name here, but if you want to know it, send me an email and I will tell you.

The problem here is not that we object to travel companies making a profit, but that we want all details spelled out in the contract and then both parties abide by them.

We are aware that travel staffing agencies sometimes get the crappy end of the stick when a traveler does not live up to their agreed upon contract. We just want staffing companies to treat travelers like they would want to be treated, ethically, honestly and don't take out money not spelled out in the contract.