- Nov 16, 2017: Travelers Speak to Agency Owners
The annual Healthcare Staffing Summit is a large conference for staffing agency owners, executives, and other industry leaders. It is hosted by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA). The 2017 Summit was held in Dallas and included an expert panel comprised of current healthcare travelers. The purpose of this panel presentation was to educate agency executives regarding travelers' views of best-practices for agencies. Panelists included PanTravelers President and TravCon board member Phil Light, RN and Laura Latimer, OT, a TravCon planning committee member, OT Traveler and owner of Nomadicare - a well-regarded recruiter matchmaking service. Panelists told the agency owners that travelers prefer increased financial transparency by revealing bill rates and/or gross profit margins, that contracts should be clearly written, always include fair overtime or extra-shift compensation rates, that cancellation damages must be fair, tied to causation, measurable and should be mitigated whenever possible. When asked for features of a good agency, the panel listed solid ethics, honesty, and transparency as key requirements for agencies hoping to retain travelers.
Left to right: Panel Moderator Subadrha Sriram - Publisher/Editor SIA, Monique Doughty, RN, BSN - Owner of theresilientnurse.com, Laura Latimer, OT - Owner of Nomadicare.com and TravCon organizer, Phil Light, RN - PanTravelers president and TravCon organizer, Connie Ness, RN, BSN - nurse traveler for Aya Healthcare.
- Sept 10, 2017: Conference-bound! We are headed to TravCon, our annual conference, this week! In conjunction with Travelers Education Group, we will be providing continuing education for existing travelers and basic training for new travelers. All can benefit from the CEUs when it's time to renew that professional license. This year we are also providing some basic training for recruiters on Sunday, Sept 17. Over 1200 travelers have registered for TravCon this year!
- May 31, 2017: Conference Update - The 10th-Anniversary Travelers Conference (TravCon) is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet! We are WAY AHEAD of last year's registration numbers on June 1st. The conference will likely sell out despite a much bigger venue. Don't forget to schedule the time off in your contract! We'll be there and hope you can make it too!
- April 4, 2017: Here's a great little article by Julia - a traveling Speech-Language Pathologist and one of our TravCon attendees. Thanks Julia for the nice work!
- Feb 18, 2017: PanTravelers has always supported legislation to improve safe staffing ratios. As travelers, our members are in a unique position to view first-hand the benefits of staffing ratios and compare the results with their home regional practices. Many nurses, particularly from the South Eastern US choose to travel to places like California because of unsafe staffing in their home States.
- On May 5, 2017, the NursesTakeDC Rally for safe nurse staffing will take place in front of the U.S. Capitol http://www.nursestakedc.com. We encourage our members to attend if possible. The purpose of this event is to unify nurses behind the problem of unsafe staffing. There are two major proposals for safe staffing legislation being introduced at the federal level. The Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 2083/ S. 1132) endorsed by the American Nurses Association and introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH); the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act, (S. 1031), sponsored by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2273 sponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, both of which are endorsed by National Nurses United.
- Sept 22, 2016: Headed for Vegas! We're on the road to Vegas for the Travelers Conference. Be sure to download the app if you're attending. We're using this to post the schedule, provide a map, distribute handouts, make announcements, track CEUs, and as a means for attendees to exchange contact information with each other. Here's a tutorial on using the app.
June 15, 2016: Here is a shout-out to AllNurses for conducting a large survey of nursing specialty distribution and compensation. This page breaks down pay by state and education and includes a relative cost of living for some states. Traveler pay tends to follow regional pay so this can serve as one guideline to what state licenses to acquire. No surprise about which states, it is the usual well-known ones of the West Coast, NorthEast, and Alaska and Hawaii. It is disappointing that compensation is not broken down by specialty. However, given that many hospitals pay similarly for specialties and entry level positions, the data would not reflect the market rates different specialties command for travelers.
- May 7, 2016: Registration for TravCon 2016 is now open! The Traveler's Conference is THE annual event for Traveling Healthcare Professionals, providing an opportunity to network with other travelers and top industry insiders. You will earn CEU's for classes specific to the industry, and meet agency representatives in a relaxed, low-pressure setting. This event has grown into the largest gathering of healthcare travelers in the United States. The Traveler's Conference is organized by volunteers who are themselves current or former travelers and hosted in conjunction with PanTravelers. Contributing (paid) members qualify for a $10 Discount.
- April 7, 2016: As we prepare for the 2016 Travelers Conference, I'm tasked with wrangling the topics for continuing education, and choosing the speakers to deliver the presentations. This brings many topics to mind - many of which are important but insufficiently broad to merit one of the limited speaking slots at the conference. One such is maintaining your professional profile. In my current assignment as House Supervisor for a medium-sized California hospital, I review traveler profiles submitted by the Vendor Manager. I've noticed that incomplete profiles are the number one impediment to starting as scheduled. A word of advice: Take ownership of your profile documents. Don't rely on your agency to remind you when a license or certification renewal is due. Read this PanTravelers article on maintaining your professional profile.
- January 12, 2016: Planning is well underway for the 2016 Travelers Conference. Our keynote speaker this year will be Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio - well-known nurse educator and notably, she was the organizer of the Nurses March on Washington DC, March 1995 and May 10, 1996. Her CCRN and CEN Prep courses are among the most well regarded for those prepping to obtain these critical care certifications.
- December 31, 2015: As 2015 comes to an end, it is clear that healthcare travel has rebounded completely from its historic lows following the 2008 recession. Job orders and pay are up in most parts of the country. Participation in online forums (including our own TNT ) by travelers and would-be travelers is up markedly, indicating a renewed interest in following this career path. It will be fascinating to see where 2016 will take us. Happy New Year!
- Sept 12, 2015: We're in Vegas! Getting ready for the 2015 Travelers Conference. Newbie Boot Camp and other pre-conference events start in the morning. We have essentially doubled the attendance from last year! Should be an amazing conference.
- June 26, 2015: Big News! PanTravelers is now the host of Delphi's Travel Nurses and Therapists (TNT), the Internet's oldest and largest travel nurse forum. Started in 1999, TNT has always been a great resource for travelers. In the coming weeks and months, we aim to make it much better. It's sister forum - TNT Recruiting - is the best resource on the Internet for travelers to communicate directly with recruiters, view diverse facility needs, and find that perfect assignment. Join us on TNT and become part of a robust and historic online community of travelers.
- June 2015: This is proving to be a great year for Travelers! The dynamics of an improving economy, declining unemployment, and benefits created by Obamacare have combined to increase demand for Travel Nurses and Allied Healthcare Travelers in 2015 with no sign of slowing in 2016. With increased demand comes higher wages. Now is a great time to be a Traveler. Your skills are in high demand! The 2008 recession hit our industry hard, and the recovery from the 2009 and 2010 low points had been disappointingly sluggish. But according to Staffing Industry Analysts’ latest forecast report, healthcare staffing is projected to increase substantially in 2015 and 2016. This is especially true in States that expanded Medicaid or have their own robust healthcare exchanges. The ACA dramatically decreased the number of uninsured admissions to hospitals and increased total admissions. Hospital profit margins are increasing as are staffing burdens for administrators. Orders for travelers grew by 8% in 2014, 10% so far this year, and SIA projects an 8% growth for 2016. This is welcome news for travelers! PanTravelers closely monitors industry trends and
advises its members on the best strategies for maximizing the benefits of this great career path.
- April 2015: The target date for launch the new website is mid-July, 2015. We expect the transition to be seamless with current members being able to log in with their current credentials, but if a password reset is required members will be notified by email.
- February 2015: The 2015 Travelers Conference will be September 14 and 15, 2015 at the Rio in Las Vegas. This is a big upgrade in venues. More than 30 sessions will be offered over the course of two days with many of them qualifying for CEU credits. Newby Bootcamp was so popular last year that we will be repeating this pre-conference session with expanded content on Sunday, September 13. The Traveler's Conference is hosted in conjunction with PanTravelers, and Contributing Members receive an additional $10 off the cost of conference registration. Members must register before September 1st to receive their discount.
- Sept 2014: The 2014 Travelers Conference is now history. We hosted over 400 travelers this year - a record attendance. New this year, day 1 was set aside for new travelers. Monday's Newbie Boot Camp provided a series of talks on basics designed to bring new travelers up to speed so they would feel comfortable with more advanced topics presented on days 2 and 3. This was well received and will be repeated at future conferences. Pictured below is a snapshot taken during one of the general sessions and another of PanTravelers president Phil Light lecturing on Contract Negotiation on day 3.
- June 2014: Old news that we missed when released in January: American Mobile's annual hospital survey (pdf) It shows a nurse vacancy rate (nurses needed to fill positions) of 17% in 2013. This compares to a reported vacancy rate of 5.5% in 2009. This correlates well with agency reports for the last 24 months of many more assignments available than nurses (and allied health providers as well). Travel nursing is strong with bill rates essentially similar or higher than 2008. The total number of travelers have not returned to peak early 2008 levels, but the increasing number of assignments is increasing confidence and the numbers of staff becoming travelers is accelerating. The impact of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) on the demand for nurses is not clear yet but should be positive ultimately. There was a surprising drop in overall healthcare spending in the first quarter of 2014 of almost 2% versus a predicted 10% increase.
- March 2014: Reports of delays in licensure by endorsement (reciprocity) in the important traveler state of California have finally been explained. These were particularly perplexing as last year California significantly improved their processes resulting in issuing of temps in as little as 48 hours. The BON replaced two ancient databases with a single modern one, but are having trouble integrating them into the application system. As a result, they are having to manually enter applications by hand and this has resulted in an estimated backlog of over 3,000 applications. Right now, we suggest applying at least two months before looking for a California assignment.
- Nov 6, 2013: With well over 400 attendees, the 6th annual PanTravelers sponsored Travelers Conference was a great success. The 2013 Travelers Conference in Las Vegas, October 28 & 29, featured two exciting days of engaging and thought-provoking content, productive and roundtable sessions, not to mention some very memorable professional and social events spanning 5 days. PanTravelers roundtable sessions on contract negotiation were very popular and a and will likely be expanded into a larger presentation for the full assembly next year. Feedback from attendees, speakers, and exhibitors has been universally positive, with nearly all vowing to attend next year's conference. This event marked more travelers coming together in one place than ever before in history. It was an incredible experience.
We were able to meet the heads of a number of agencies and present our skills checklist project. Slam dunk! All of them are planning on replacing theirs with ours in the near future. Hard to argue with free and better. One agency head, Steven Swan of Valley Healthcare Systems (a PanTravelers fan and supporting member), has agreed to write a guide to other agencies about how to import PanTravelers skills checklists into popular agency support software. It looks like the project may soon reach critical mass and then this one small part of travel becomes easier and better for everyone involved.
PanTravelers also established an alliance with Candy of the popular traveler's site The Gypsy Nurse to contribute to a series of original articles. A full report and pictures from this year's conference will be posted soon.
Oct 18, 2013: PanTravelers skills checklist project has added five more nursing specialties to Resources > Downloads (log in first). This brings our total number of covered nursing and allied specialties to thirty-one! Still left are psych, nursing assistant, and respiratory tech. When these are finished, the collection should cover perhaps 98% of the travelers utilized by most of the agencies we work for. By the end of next year, we expect to cover the larger part of allied health not yet done, primarily physical and occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.
This latest skills checklist is in some ways the most ambitious one yet, combining the 5 related specialties of Rehab, LTC, Home Health, Hospice, and Case Management. That took a lot of volunteers and bothering managers with drafts. While several of our other checklists also combine related specialties, this is the broadest application yet of this practice.
You may well work in just one of these specialties and wonder why you are being asked about the others - we have certainly had that issue raised. The reality is that managers want to know about any related skills, potentially for floating, and potentially to give their unit more depth, or the ability to utilize a traveler as as resource for other staff. Sometimes they won't need other skills. Either way, on a single page, an interviewing manager will get a quick snapshot of what you are all about (along with your work history). This is invaluable and saves them from rummaging through several narrow skills checklists (and saves you from doing several specialty skills checklists with many repetitive items).
- For example, in this particular collection of specialties, you might be a case manager who has to visit a rehab patient at home and help manage therapeutic interventions while there.
We think travel companies will be much better off adopting PanTravelers.org traveler-written and manager-approved skills checklists so that you have the optimum chance of being selected for your best-fit assignment.
- Many agencies will accept our skills checklists if you want to use them instead of their (usually very bad) agency supplied lists. There is room for their agency logo. Do you like your agency? Suggest they use PanTravelers skills checklists. There is no copyright and they are free to use them as-is or adopt any part to improve their own skills checklists.
- July 21, 2013: Blended rates California overtime rules often lead recruiters to quote so-called blended rates instead of the real base rate with the overtime rate after 8 to look more appealing to travelers. PanTravelers prides itself on its extensive knowledge base, but it was recently brought to our attention that there was no mention of blended rates on our site. Of course, this has been fixed. Since we already had an otherwise comprehensive article on California overtime rules (not as simple as you may have heard), we simply added a section about blended rates. This can be confusing, even for travelers who have worked several assignments in California. We give you the whole scoop here (log in first).
- July 20, 2013: Conference Update This year's Travelers Conference is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet! At more than 3 months out, we already have more than double the number of early registrations we had at this point last year. Our final count of travelers attending last year was 200.
- June 8, 2013: Registration for the 2013 Travelers Conference opened today. This year's conference will be held October 28 and 29 in Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hotel. To register, or to read more about the conference, go to www.travelersconference.com. PanTravelers is a long time co-host of this annual event.
- May 29, 2013: Due to technical security changes in our host ISP, Google Checkout was deleted from the payment choices last month. While this update is a little late in coming, it was noted with interest that Google just announced they were discontinuing the service a few days ago. That currently leaves PayPal as the only way to join as a new contributing member or renew your membership (the free membership level is still available of course). PanTravelers will be moving to a service to accept credit card payment directly in the near future along with a new website to add much-needed features (not advertising though, PanTravelers is a fully member supported non-profit Association). One benefit of direct payment will be the option to renew automatically.
- May 9, 2013: Dialysis RN/LPN and Dialysis Tech skills checklists uploaded today to Resources > Downloads. That brings the total up to 26 different nursing and allied specialties. If your agency allows it (many do), using one of PanTravelers skills checklists will improve your chances of getting the assignment you want. Sell it to your agency - agencies are free to adopt our lists as is (there is room for their logo), or just the parts they like (they can also contact us for the source documents for easier modification). PanTravelers one page checklists are much better than the average agency checklists, easier to fill out, a better snapshot of your skills, and easier for the manager to read and interpret.
- May 1, 2013: We had a secret shopper at the California Board of Nursing today (OK, it was Phil), who managed to infiltrate the board and obtain top secret info on the fastest way to endorse into California. Best case scenario is to visit Sacramento in person to do Livescan fingerprints. Visiting the board office afterward with a completed application and license verification can get a temp issued within 24 to 48 hours. Full information at the State Nursing Boards link above. Good going Phil!
April 25, 2013: Skills Checklist Initiative update: 7 new allied health imaging specialties, endoscopy RN, and endoscopy tech were uploaded today in Resources > Downloads ready for printing or download by travelers and agencies (for all members, log in first). This brings our total up to 24 different specialties! All checklists have been vetted by at least two hiring specialty department managers, and are all single page user-friendly to travelers and interviewing managers (who matter the most of course). Thanks to everyone who contributed.
- April 23, 2013: PanTravelers RN state board resource has been substantially updated today. Thanks to everyone who helped! As noted earlier, more and more states are requiring background checks with fingerprints. All compact states have committed to eventually requiring such checks. One state, Maryland, now requires new fingerprints every license renewal, which is likely to become more common in the next 10 years among other states. That might even be good for travelers if hospitals stop requiring additional background checks. It is good for healthcare. In a conversation with the Maryland board, a significant number of renewing nurses undergoing background checks for the first time had undisclosed criminal convictions.
- April 5, 2013: We are plugging along on our comprehensive update of the Nursing Board resource. As usual, more states are requiring fingerprints with more and more use of LiveScan type devices instead of fingerprint cards. Some states such as Florida are now allowing nurses to do their LiveScan prints in other states. A great tip has come up for everyone who needs to send a fingerprint card to a state such as California (who routinely asks that they be redone causing long delays in licensure) and nurses with indistinct fingerprints:
- Find a LiveScan vendor nearby (a lot of police stations now have them), and take your prints with the LiveScan process. The operator can manually adjust contrast until the image is perfect. Now they can print to a standard card. This has the added bonus of not smudging the way manual ink prints will and is much less likely to be rejected for poor quality.
March 24, 2013: Our groundbreaking and definitive article the History of Travel Nursing has been massaged and some updates added. It was originally researched and written in 2010/2011 and the perspective today has changed from those dark years. It looks like our new site update should be ready this year, and with it the ability to post slideshows. There are some really fun marketing materials from the early days of travel nursing we have been waiting several years to post.
We are still plugging away at updating the State Nursing Board resource and that is going online as each state is updated. It takes some work to get the simple information from boards that travelers need. That is if they even have a site! We had to have the Virgin Islands mail us their application for review as their site (which has always been bad at best) is now offline permanently.
- February 12, 2013: Medical Solutions of Omaha has purchased On Assignment of Cincinnati. On Assignment specialized in rapid response assignments and also owned the strike staffing company NurseBridge in Mississippi. While there has been considerable consolidation during the economic downturn, this one is notable in that it creates the third largest agency behind American Mobile and Cross Country with some 1,000 travelers. It is also notable that the founder of American Mobile, Steven Francis, is chairman of the board of Medical Solutions. You can read more about the role Steven Francis had on travel nursing in History of Travel Nursing.
January 22, 2013: It has been a while since we've updated this blog. We want you to know that despite PanTravelers board of directors being very busy professionally and personally, things are still happening behind the scenes nicely. No less than 14 new specialty skills checklists are finished, both nursing and allied, and are awaiting a final committee meeting to go over some global changes to the rating system.
The State Nursing Board resource is getting its annual overhaul. This is a big task, taking up some 60 hours of volunteer time on top of small ad lib revisions when travelers report issues throughout the year. It will still be some time until all the small details are updated, but volunteers have already updated all the links, phone numbers, and walk in addresses. It is surprising how often BONs move! It has been running about 4 boards a year since we first published this popular resource.
Also in the works is a major update to our popular PBDS resource. Times have changed, and so has PBDS. Travelers need to know how to handle the assignment that requires this unusual test.
- November 26, 2012: Here's a photo of some of the great travelers who attended the 5th Annual Travelers Conference in Las Vegas. PanTravelers sponsors and co-hosts this annual conference as a service to our members and the traveler community at large.
- Nov 6, 2012: No matter which way you might lean politically, election night confirming Barack Obama for another four-year term was a huge win for travelers. The reason? The Affordable Care Act - often referred to as Obamacare. Obama's win today ensures full implementation of the ACA in 2014, which means that substantially more Americans will have health insurance. This means more healthcare providers will be needed, and more healthcare travelers.
- Exit interviews with voters today showed that the ACA is becoming increasingly popular: a plurality of Americans now support it fully despite the attempts during the electoral cycle to turn voters against it. We believe as more Americans have healthcare insurance and enjoy benefits from access to healthcare, it will become a baseline expectation. That is a good thing for the health of the country and continued employment in healthcare.
- Oct 20, 2012: The 5th annual Travelers Conference is over. Highlights include over 200 attendees, with an estimated 30 plus potential travelers with the rest current travelers. Phil Light, RN, the current president of PanTravelers gave an informational speech on what PanTravelers brings to the traveler community. It must have been inspirational as 35 attendees joined PanTravelers as contributing members (paid supporters with full access) including 5 new lifetime members! Also heard there were many other speakers saying nice things about the Association. The skills checklists were also a hit, with several of the agencies in attendance planning on adopting them. Bit by bit, PanTravelers is improving things for all travelers and it is great that agencies are paying attention.
- On a sober footnote, Phil was involved in a serious car accident in California on the way back to his assignment. He is OK, with a cracked rib being the most serious injury. It will take a few days before he is able to post better details of the Conference happenings, and he apologizes in advance for any delays in getting the new members from the Conference up and running. Personal effects including the new member list went to the wrecking yard with his car while Phil had the interesting experience of a personal ambulance ride and four hour ER visit after 25 years as an EMT and then an ER nurse!
- Sept 14, 2012: Reminder about the Travelers Conference coming up next month on Oct 18 and 19 in Las Vegas. The early bird admission price of $29 has a deadline just four days away on Sept 18. Paying online after that is $39 until Oct 17 (the day before); and at the door, the price will be $49. Travelers Conference website. The Association is a sponsor of this event, as we have been since the first one five years ago.
- This admission fee is tax deductible as a professional expense. In fact, all your expenses related to the Travelers Conference are deductible, even if you are not a traveler. This includes the hotel, travel to and from Las Vegas, meals and incidentals (or per diems), and certification renewals done while there. Tax questions about deducting attendance costs (and any other tax questions) can be posed to Joseph Smith at the Conference. Joseph's sobriquet is TravelTax, and he is the well-known tax preparer specializing in traveling healthcare professionals. Joseph is a former traveler himself and a director of PanTravelers.
- This is one of our premium articles, reserved for paying members. Most articles in PanTravelers knowledge base are available to basic members, but we reserve some of unusual quality to encourage paid membership to help keep the lights on and keep us an independent non-profit member supported Association. Thanks to all those members who support our mission!
August 9, 2012: Don't forget to schedule time off to join us at the 5th Annual Travelers Conference October 18 &19 at the Aria Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Everyone who attended last year's conference had a fabulous time, and this year's is shaping up to be even bigger and better. And remember, as a professional conference, it's fully tax deductible. Conference details and hotel information can be found on the conference web site - www.travelersconference.com. See you there!
August 8, 2012: It turns out that the cath lab traveler involved in the HCA whistleblowing case against a physician who performed unnecessary invasive heart surgeries has been a member of PanTravelers since 2007. We are proud of him. We reached him yesterday and he said that no one from HCA had contacted him since he made his report and he thought it was over. Just last week the New York Times called him before filing their breaking news report. He told us that he doesn't "consider himself a hero, just an ethical nurse who takes patient advocacy seriously". Kudos! We all know how difficult it is in that position to do the right thing. Beneficial changes will come to many hospitals as a result of one traveler's actions.
- August 6, 2012: The news broke today that a cath lab traveler to an HCA hospital in Florida in 2010 reported unnecessary procedures being done to HCA corporate. HCA stock dropped 4% today as a result. This looks to be huge, perhaps with penalties as large as the ultimate price paid by HCA for large scale Medicare/Medicaid fraud in 2000 (1.7 billion dollars). The traveler? HCA did not extend his contract as punishment even as they admitted privately that he was correct. The New York Times was first to report it here.
April 17, 2012: Today the Court in the case of the Arizona Hospital Association extended the deadline for class members to apply for settlement funds to August 7, 2012 (due to late negotiations with a hospital holdout). The case involved price fixing of traveler and per diem workers working at Arizona hospitals between Jan 1, 1997 and Sept 12, 2007.Every traveler who worked in Arizona during that 10 year time frame period is eligible to receive funds from the 25 million dollar settlement. This is not fast money, our best estimate for distribution is next year. But it your money and will come in handy whenever it ultimately arrives! It will come.
Applying online here is strongly recommended. This is a second chance for all those who missed the original deadline a year ago. It takes under 30 minutes to lock in your claim. Old contracts, paystubs, W-2s from tax returns are included in the evidence that can support your claim (they don't have to show every hour claimed). You can recover evidence from agencies and tax preparers if needed.
- If you happen across the page that asks "Am I a Class Member?", ignore the deadline listed, it is the original one and is out of date. This is the home page for the settlement.
April 12, 2012: We had our new Cath Lab skills checklist validated by another Nurse Manager today (each one is validated by at least three managers who hire travelers for their department and checklists are updated from their feedback). This NM was a former traveler with 7 years of travel. She made a pertinent comment, versions of which we have heard numerous times before, and still worth sharing with our members. She said she wished all the profiles on her desk had such concise skills lists (one page for each Association developed list). She is sick of looking at profiles with 6 page skills checklists, and gives the better presented profiles priority. She said ours covered every point needed to get an interview.
- March 24, 2012: Added today to PanTravelers is a brand new Cath Lab RN skills checklist. There was a brief hiatus while key coordinators all traveled to new assignments! That is of course great news as new jobs are multiplying. Most RN specialties are now available as well as a couple of allied specialties. The PACU skills list is still going through validation and should be up next.
After nursing skills lists are completed, the focus will be on allied health skills checklists. You can read more about the Skills Checklist Initiative here, and sign up to help!
The links to the skills checklists now reside on the Downloads page here. Everything on that page is free to the entire community, however you will need to log in before visiting that page (if you haven't logged in yet today). Basic membership is free and provides access to about 75 percent of PanTravelers articles and the Traveler's Calculator and of course the skills checklists collection. A paid membership level is also available and helps support our mission, giving you complete access to the entire site as well as legal services. Register here.
- Feb 20, 2012: Cross Country has updated their PBDS resource and honored us with a copy to distribute to our members. It still cites PanTravelers as a primary source, and we have added this well made resource for download to our original PBDS information page. Both the 2008 version and 2012 version are available as well as at least one other agency guide and some traveler comments. Due to some changes in PBDS, a revision of PanTravelers article is planned this year and will include some sample questions from past versions of the test.
Jan 3, 2012: Good news for travelers, assignments are finally getting out of the recession lows. Right now, there are more available assignments than there are travelers. Some specialties, particularly allied specialties, are in heavy demand, and pay rates have been steadily going higher over the last 8 months or so. For those considering traveling, and those former travelers who have been weathering the recession in staff positions, this may be a great time to start building a relationship with an agency again.
PanTravelers recommends that you complete your paperwork with several agencies, and see what the market is like for your specialty. For those living from paycheck to paycheck, we recommend finding an assignment with a start date compatible with giving due notice to your current hospital (don't burn your bridges). Over the last few years, most assignments have been ASAP, however in another good sign, jobs with start dates a month or more out have also been increasing.
If possible of course, it is always a good idea to travel with a financial cushion in case of emergencies.
Dec 15,2011: Because of the importance of California to travel nurses, we have left a note at the bottom of this page for some time describing a way to get a license much faster via a modified walk-through technique. Some agencies have also been educating their travel nurses in this technique, with some actually paying for a preliminary round trip flight to Sacramento for the first step of the process: the background check with a Live Scan of their fingerprints in state.
Recently however, even this formerly reliable way to get a California license has been so sketchy that some California hospitals are now requiring proof of current licensure before a traveler profile can be submitted by an agency. This is true of the St Joseph's Health System (which includes the popular traveler hospitals in Eureka, Napa, Santa Rosa, and Apple Valley) which taken together consistently use hundreds of travelers.
The log jam appears to FBI processing of background check requests. This is not limited to California, and as more state boards are utilizing FBI checks, the delays may increase. As far back as 2007, we had reports of Ohio licenses being delayed by FBI processing.
At this point in time, it is difficult for PanTravelers to make a definitive recommendation. Applying for California licensure by a mailed application has the highest variability, ranging from a best case scenario of 2 weeks to sometimes over a year (usually because of other factors such as school transcripts not meeting Board requirements). Getting a Live Scan of fingerprints in California can result in getting a temporary license in as little as 5 days. However, recently it has taken over a month to obtain a temp, because of FBI delays.
At this point, the best thing we can recommend is that you plan in advance. If your dream assignment comes up and you don't have a license already in hand, you may not get it. It appears to be one of those situations nurses will have to live with, but prior knowledge may help avoid a fruitless trip to California with a signed contract and a license that doesn't come through on time.
Nov 8, 2011: As of October 3, Michigan is now a full participating state in Nursys. Nursys is a centralized service of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to validate nursing licenses to member boards. While all US boards are members of this non-profit association and nurses can verify all participating licenses easily when applying for a new license in every state, there are still 8 states holding out from submitting data on their own nurse licenses. If you hold (or have held) a license from California, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Alabama, or Georgia; a trip to their website to print a paper form is still necessary (along with an additional fee) to verify that license.
Despite those 8 holdout states, the rise of Nursys over the last 10 years has made life much easier for travel nurses. For a single fee of $30, a traveler can instantly verify every state in which they've ever held a license (excluding those 8 states). Prior to Nursys, times were tough. A nurse had to mail a paper form with a fee (as high as $75 - often requiring a certified check) to each state they held a license and wait for round trip mail to reach the state to which they were applying for a license.
Oct 31, 2011: Last month healthcare travelers from around the country participated in TMPC 2011, the 4th Annual Travel Medical Professionals Conference , held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Participants gave us feedback describing the conference as empowering and informative. They said they got great information to help them move forward in their careers and ended the two day conference with a renewed sense of hope about the profession's future.
Based on feedback from last year's attendees, we made sure we had extra time for socializing built into the agenda during the conference, and most attendees also went out together for food, drink and entertainment every night. There was universal agreement that everyone had a great time! Mark your calendar for next year's event on October 18th and 19th, 2012. It will be another great time in Vegas! Click here to read the TMPC 2011 wrap up and see a few photos from the conference.
Oct 25, 2011: Just added to our content is our new Pediatrics - PICU - NICU combined skills checklist. And it is a work of art! (if we do say so ourselves). There is now coverage of perhaps over 80 percent of all nurse travelers with our currently completed checklists. We have drafts of PACU and Home Health- Case Management - Long Term Care (combined list) that are currently under construction.
Oct 9, 2011: One of the events at the Conference was a well attended round table discussion. This included a frank discussion of industry fall-off rates by the heads of three participating agency heads. Fall-off rates are the number of assignments that fail to complete for all reasons. The average industry rate for all agencies is one out of ten assignments fails to complete. While this number is quoted in several of our existing articles, we decided that this shocking figure deserves its own article discussing how travelers can beat the odds. The good news is that we can beat those odds significantly with some precautions and minor changes in how we operate. The article is aptly named Failure to complete and as usual, this link will remain public for 30 days. After that, members will have to log in to read this article.
Sept 30, 2011: The 4th annual Travelers Conference is over. By all reports, a good time was had by all participants, with around 50 attendees (not counting pets). We are hoping that Phil will post an update on the happenings with pictures, as soon as he return to his assignment and works off his make-up shifts!
Sept 12, 2011: A member just reported getting a very competitive ICU assignment in California using an Association skills checklist today. Of course it was her actual skills that got her the assignment, but we'd like to think it was our checklist that allowed her skills to show through to the interviewing manager! In any case, it is the first reported success using one of our checklists, and congratulations are due to our member, and all those who collaborated on the specialty checklist.
- Sept 9, 2011: The skills checklist project has really gained momentum. Several new ones have just posted today here. The lists previously posted have been freshly updated with feedback from travelers and managers and there are now over a dozen specialties and sub-specialties ready for download. They are far better in every way than anything else out there.
August 23, 2011: The new skills checklists posted a few days ago are a bit hit! Lots of rave reviews from both travelers and managers. One agency that we know of is adopting them. Flattering, and just what we hoped for. PanTravelers mission is to improve the industry and we would be happy if every agency used better forms that help travelers succeed.
The announcement last week also brought new volunteers for the effort. An OB - GYN - Nursery list is just about ready to post, and the Pediatric - PICU - NICU list is well under way. There have also been some great suggestions to refine the Medical Surgical - Telemetry - ICU list to better represent Oncology skills. Feel free to join the effort with your specialty knowledge.
- August 16, 2011: Just posted,the first fruits of our long running skills checklist initiative. We know, skills checklists are a big yawn, a chore to go through with every new agency. True, you've never seen a good one, but so? Well, we are here to tell you that they do matter! Your profile is selected out of a large stack of profiles sitting on the manager's desk, and her assessment of your abilities is what get's you interviewed.
There are a number of other factors regarding skills checklists you may not have ever considered before, including it becoming a legal document in a patient injury case. Read more here and access our current checklists. More to come in the next few weeks.
August 3,2011: PanTravelers is again one of the official sponsors of the Travelers Conference in Las Vegas. This free get-together to meet other travelers is coming up very quickly: September 26 and 27, 2011 in the MGM Grand Hotel on the Strip. Phil Light, RN will, as in past years, give an update on PanTravelers work on behalf of travelers, Joseph Smith, AKA as TravelTax, will give one of his popular seminars on tax planning for travelers, and several other interesting speakers will be there including the famous traveler book author Epstein LaRue. If enough travelers sign up to update of BLS/ACLS, that will be available again. Expenses incurred in coming to this conference are deductible as a professional expense! Read more here.
June 14, 2011: The History of Travel Nursing has finally been published today, after some significant delays for fact checking. This book supplement covers the travel nurse industry from its founding in 1978 to the present day.
Lots of fun stuff to read: Do you know who "invented" travel nursing? Would you believe there were no written travel contracts? That is was common for recruiters to have to obtain permission from parents to have their young daughters go flying off into the wild blue yonder (with nothing in writing)?
A lot of never before published data was collected for this article, and incorporated into a graph showing the largest agencies since 1978. Also published is a graph of the total number of nurse travelers, and we have utilized this graph and data to update our original 2007 research into total number of travelers.
We hope you have as much fun reading this book supplement as we did collecting it, interviewing many travelers and industry pioneers from the early days of travel nursing. As usual, this new article can be accessed by the public for a full month until it is restricted to the membership.
Like every article on PanTravelers, the History of Travel Nursing is a living document. We welcome additions, revisions, and corrections of fact as they become available from readers. We would very much like to hear from any of the first travelers from circa 1978 who can contribute first-hand accounts of these first travel assignments. And we are still trying to locate Maureen McGuire. She was the Director of Nursing at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans in 1978 and was instrumental in getting the travel nurse industry going, and will have some interesting stories to share. Enjoy the article!
June 12, 2011: The scrolling news in the header broke for unknown reasons, leaving a lot of gobbly-gook in its wake. You would have only noticed that if you visited in the last couple of days. With the assistance of our original website developer, we decided to just remove it rather than repair it for several reasons. While interesting, it was never that popular; it did require extra computing power (if members used laptops on their lap, it became warmer than usual); and hopefully we have a new site that will go live soon. Apologies to any members who loved that news scroller.
Speaking of our new site (which we have been doing for an embarrassingly long time), another developer has joined our original team. We have high hopes that this new collaboration will bring new energy and momentum to the project. We are told that it is 95% complete. One of the modern features we are most looking forward to is the commenting ability. This blog-like feature will allow immediate comments to be posted to any page, increasing our connection and interactivity with members tremendously. It will allow additional information to be added to all articles, and of course allow pointing to typos and technical glitches such as the broken news scroller.
May 24, 2011: WARNING - the claims deadline for the Arizona Hospital Association class action lawsuit is only a few days away on June 2, 2011. This lawsuit has already been settled and a 22 million dollar pool established for class members. In general, eligible RN/LPNs will have worked per diem or as travelers in Arizona between 1997 and 2007. Any reasonable evidence showing that you worked there during that period should establish your eligibility and get you a check. You can file online here.
- May 14, 2011: Travel nursing makes big upswing this year. First quarter reports from large agencies report an 80 percent increase in filled orders over the same period in 2010. While that is a huge increase, travel nursing still has not recovered to 2008 levels. As such, it is still not back to the point where a travel nurse may be able to choose an exact city to work in, but it is getting close. Reports received from many agencies suggest a shortage of travelers, with many unfilled travel assignments. It will probably take a year or more for the balance to readjust, as the economy continues to improve increasing censuses at hospitals nationwide, and for nurses to leave the security of their permanent jobs to go back to traveling (or become first time travelers).
As reported before, allied health travel is still very vigorous having recovered before travel nursing, with many unfilled positions.
April 26, 2011: The comprehensive Nursing Board Resource refresh was completed today. Whew! Nursing Boards can absorb a lot of work and time to extract simple information. A couple of boards actually reduced their fees, but most have increased their fees substantially over the last two years. Many boards have added background checks. Noteworthy was an FAQ on Wyoming's board site stating that they will strongly support joining the other Compact Licensure states when all the Compact States have uniform background check requirements.
- April 12, 2011: Georgia introduced legislation today and joined 5 other states that have pending Compact State Agreement initiatives. The primary sponsor of this bill is a Georgia State Senator who is an RN. This information came courtesy of member Sherry Zampino RN, who is planning an article on the current status of the Compact for PanTravelers and what travelers can do to encourage adoption. In the meantime, she is suggesting that Georgia nurses write their state representatives and tell them what they think - start at the link above.
April 2, 2011: Healthcare Traveler Magazine is publishing this month a version of an article on Pre-employment Testing for Travelers, penned by Phil Light, RN, as part of our collaborative relationship with HT. Phil happens to be the President of PanTravelers and an ER/ICU traveler. The article can be found on PanTravelers here, and while aimed at newer RN travelers who have not yet experienced the gamut of testing required by different hospitals, some of the resources listed in the article may help even very experienced travelers who suffer from test anxiety. And who doesn't?
Per our usual practice with new articles, it will be available to the public for a full month. After that, it will just require logging in with a free (or better) membership account.
March 24, 2011: It has been two years since our comprehensive Nursing Board Resource was published. While it has been updated continuously since as change reports have come in, it is time for a more thorough update. Between reviewing board sites; and applications for endorsement, renewal, and reactivation (sometimes requiring a lengthy online process); and calling individual boards (some of whom do not answer their phones or return calls readily); condensing the information takes a surprising amount of time: it has been averaging well over an hour to update each board item.
Thus it will be several weeks before the update is complete. All this just for a few lines of information on a quick reference guide to help travelers with assignment decisions!
Trends observed will not surprise long-time nurse travelers. Costs and hassles are going up. California for example, one of the most popular states for travelers, have doubled or near doubled their basic fees this year. Public safety concerns mean that more boards are requiring state and FBI background checks and fingerprints.
One bit of good news for compact state license holders is that the first state in three years, Missouri, has joined the list of compact states, now 24 states strong. The bad news is that there are no more states that are likely to join in the near future.
Savvy or lucky holders of certain non-compact states licenses may benefit however. Pay rates tend to be higher in non-compact states, and less competition for available assignments: the stack of profiles on a manager's desk will be shorter.
March 8, 2011: This is almost in the category of old news, dating from the first of the year, but is new news to many of our members. Heathcare Traveler Magazine (HT) has named a member of PanTravelers Board to their Editorial Advisory Board. This is a general interest publication for travelers with both a monthly and online edition. As part of this relationship, PanTravelers will be publishing a minimum of two articles a year in HT, and will be cross publishing them here as well. Currently, an article is under development to provide an overview of required testing of travel nurses at agencies and hospitals.
Another one of PanTravelers directors (and our CFO) is Joseph Smith, a former respiratory therapist traveler who runs a tax service for travelers and agencies, TravelTax. He has a long time history publishing tax advice column for Healthcare Traveler, and after a change of editorial staff at HT, is back and has published a column for the last two months. These two new articles are very timely and of interest to all travelers: Claiming state refunds on your tax return. Which state tax agencies monitor professional licenses?
March 5, 2011: Good news for travelers, current and potential. Anecdotal reports from a number of agencies show that job orders are increasing. At the same time, the number of times that it is necessary to submit a traveler before getting an assignment has dropped. These are great signs. A report by Staffing Industry Analysts shows that total travelers working in late 2010 were up by 10 percent over the same period in 2009.
In addition, overall national unemployment is finally on a downward trend. This will lead to more people employed with health insurance, and the confidence to access their benefits - leading to more healthcare employment.
March 4, 2011: Apologies to our membership: the front page has not been updated for a while. There is a plausible excuse: our small team of volunteers who maintain this site have recently spent hundreds of hours collectively working on a major new article that should be very interesting to our members. In addition of course to providing member services and updating resources. That excuse will not be available much longer as the expected publication date is only a week or so away. Keeping up the mystery for a little longer, it can be said that completely unique article has a ton of information that cannot be found anywhere else.
November 15, 2010: Every once in a great while, we feel an urge to toot our horn, umm... report to the membership. We have had some great successes in the three and a half years since incorporation as a non-profit for the benefit of travelers. Our knowledge base is comprehensive and includes unique resources that can not be found anywhere else: Our latest article on how vendor managers affect travelers , the Traveler's Calculator making it possible for the first time to compare agency offers, all about how to pass the infamous PBDS test, How to negotiate a travel contract, strategies to maximize compensation (many articles), and lots more.
Travelers have been kept up-to-date on strategies on how to survive the recent economic downturn, and how to get unemployment (and here ) and health insurance (and COBRA), and the Recovery Act (stimulus bill) COBRA subsidies (eligibility unfortunately ended May 31). More hospitals have been canceling contracts, and articles are available on how to deal with that major event that can happen to any traveler.
PanTravelers has worked behind the scenes on several initiatives benefiting travelers, some in progress and yet to be announced. One such effort helped kill a legal blacklist scheme by a number of agencies that would have eventually affected 80 percent of all assignments. Related to that, we have lobbied Congress on a pending bill that would stop the use of credit checks pre-employment (which is also one avenue for legal blacklists) and provided members with resources to also lobby Congress with their own letters. With our direct experience in blacklists, we published resources on legal blacklists with tips for travelers to avoid getting into trouble.
PanTravelers in-house legal counsel has been very busy helping travelers successfully negotiate legal disputes with agencies. One case was so potentially serious that it could have involved a traveler being thrown in jail because of a threatened injunction to stop her from working. While that is an extreme example, a number of our members have benefited greatly from our legal services. Legal services is a great benefit for joining at the paid membership level.
All in all, PanTraveler members have a lot to be proud of with their Association.
- October 10, 2010: MSN/Intelistaf emerged from bankruptcy reorganization the last week of September 2010. This is good news for travelers reducing the potential risk of missed paychecks. Agencies that subcontract to Intelistaf's managed hospitals including traveler heavy hospitals such as St Joseph's in Eureka will also have less risk.
October 3, 2010: One topic noticed recently on traveler forums involves vendor managers, the usually invisible-to-travelers third parties who are often positioned between the hospital and agency. The general consensus was a belief that these vendor managers cost travelers money. This conversation pointed to a large hole in our published knowledge base, so a comprehensive report on this industry has just been published today.
Surprisingly for an industry working behind the scenes, we discovered a large amount of information about vendor management companies that travelers can actually use when looking for the best agency, pay, and contract terms.This very thorough article on vendor managers has been designed as a resource (filed under Resources) for our paid members and includes specifics on every vendor management company in the travel space. You can read it here.
September 30, 2010: The 2010 Travelers Conference in Las Vegas is now history. We had a good mix of nurses and allied health professionals attending, and all feedback was very positive. Attendees enjoyed excellent presentations from industry insiders, from a financial planner presenting information tailored for travel medical professionals getting a late start on retirement planning, and CEU offerings including a fascinating presentation of new research on sudden cardiac arrest in pediatric patients by the study's author Dr. Scott Lamprecht. Numerous planned and spontaneous extracurricular activities were enjoyed including hiking, a Cirque du Soleil show, and the usual Vegas nightlife. Next year's conference will be held Sept 26th & 27th, 2011. More information here.
- September 15, 2010: The price fixing lawsuit against the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) has been settled out of court for 22 million dollars. 25% (plus costs) will go to lawyers and the rest distributed to nurses. In general, eligible RN/LPNs will have worked per diem or as travelers in Arizona between 1997 and 2007. Full details here.
- September 1, 2010: Recently seen on traveler forums is a lot of anxiety and questioning of agencies that apparently are getting credit reports on travelers. It is not what it seems! Your recruiter is not looking at your late payment history with AT&T. You can read the full scoop on background and credit checks as it relates to travelers in this comprehensive article. Do log in to read this article - if you are not a member, there is complimentary membership available that provides access to a large amount of useful content and services, including this article.
American Mobile, already the largest temporary medical staffing firm, has acquired Medfinders in a deal worth $220 million. This also adds two more brands that were under the Medfinders corporate holdings, Nursefinders and National Healthcare Staffing. Nursefinders has many local staffing offices across the country, as well as an active vendor management business, and a travel company. NHS was a large travel company. Medfinders specialty was also vendor management and one of their notable contracts was exclusive staffing of the Medstar group, which includes Washington Hospital Center, and Georgetown University Hospitals, both major users of travelers.
American Mobile themselves have a number of exclusive contracts with hospitals, notably Stanford Hospital, and acquiring Medfinders has added substantially to their own vendor management abilities. While American Mobile does subcontract out to other agencies, their own travelers will of course have priority on these contracts.
Lots of consolidation and acquisition activity in 2010 is making it difficult to keep up. PanTravelers maintains a page where members can keep up on on the brands owned by the largest agency groups. There used to be three extra large agencies with the Medfinders group, but now there are only two large groups with multiple agency brands and companies: American Mobile and Cross Country. Here is the link to that information.
- Old news to many nurses, however increased nurse to patient ratios is strongly correlated to reduced mortality and morbidity (less likely to die or have serious side effects at better staffed hospitals) in many studies. What may surprise travelers is that hospitals with higher levels of temporary nurses with the same staffing ratios also had improved numbers.
After controlling for adequacy of staffing and resources, higher levels of temporary nurses were associated with lower levels of adverse events. Aiken LH, et al, Supplemental nurse staffing in hospitals and quality of care. Journal of Nursing Administration, July/August 2007.
There is a strong implication here that travelers bring stronger skill sets to hospitals.
There has been lots of news about hospital strikes recently. On June 10, the largest nursing strike in history, involving 12,000 nurses, occurred in Minneapolis/St Paul for 24 hours. Perhaps saying something about patient safety and care, those 12,000 nurses were replaced by only 2,800 strike nurses. Emotions ran hot after the strike and an open ended strike was narrowly averted on July first.
Travelers are understandably curious about strikes and so PanTravelers has published this comprehensive article About strikes. (Log in first to read this article, available to all levels of members). This article shares what it is like to work a strike, what it pays, what healthcare unions are all about, and why nurses strike. There is companion editorial about Working Strikes here. Editorials are open to the public.
It is great to hear feedback from readers. Recently a recruiter for a large agency raved to us about our Nursing Board resource. He finds it easy to navigate with good organization of pertinent information. He uses it daily and finds it more accurate and useful than any other sources, including his own agency's resource and even the state board website! He had a good story: A traveler needed a fast license for an assignment from a state - no luck getting through to the board. An unpublished back office number listed on our Nursing Board resource got her through to a supervisor who helpfully expedited her application and had everything ready when she walked in (it was not supposed to be a walk through state).
By the way, both Florida and Georgia have made significant changes in getting a nursing license by endorsement this year, potentially taking longer to get a license. California's walk through policy changed last year - more info on this page below. All three states are up to date on the Nursing Board resource.
Another PanTravelers member was canceled in the middle of her assignment in February, apparently for low census. The hospital (an HCA hospital unsurprisingly) cited some clinical reasons, but clearly the agency did not find them credible either, for they offered the traveler another assignment. When she was unable to take that assignment, the agency issued her an invoice for $4,407.16 for breach of the first contract! Much of it was for housing even though they gave her only 48 hours to vacate, so she could not use the housing even if she had paid the amount demanded in the invoice.
Fortunately, as a Full member, this traveler was eligible for legal assistance from PanTravelers. Our legal counsel has backed the agency down from pursuing these claims. This was a huge legal victory, overcoming very unfavorable language in the contract.
For what it's worth, about one in ten contracts cancels industry wide. Sooner or later it happens to every traveler who travels long enough. So it is good advice to have a financial reserve of several months living expenses for unseen career or personal events. And having a Full membership in PanTravelers is cheap legal insurance for contract disputes.