There are two major events that occur in your relationship with your recruiter – one is when you decide to start working together and the other is when you decide to take on a new assignment.
Here are the 15 questions you must ask your recruiter.
Why should I choose to work with you?With this question, you want the recruiter to tell you that both he/she and their organization are traveler-focused, that they have your best interest in mind and are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How will you communicate with me? (Text, email, call, Facebook, etc.). This question goes both ways – if you have a preference, it’s important to clarify that with your recruiter by letting them know that the easiest way to get a hold of you is through texting (or Snapchatting, Facetiming, carrier pigeon, etc.) Also be sure to let them know how often you would like be in contact. Do you prefer a weekly check-in or are you good with every few weeks?
How long have you been recruiting?There is no right or wrong answer to this question! It may seem like a seasoned recruiter with years of experience would be a better fit, but that is not necessarily the case. New recruiters may have less nurses and more time dedicated to YOU!
How will my pay be broken down?Between the taxable portion, meals and incidentals, and housing stipends, your paycheck can look a lot different than, perhaps, what you were expecting. Be cautious of ads that claim a certain take-home amount – everyone’s tax situations are different!
Is orientation paid? The way that you get paid is by the hospital paying your agency. If the hospital decides that orientation is not billable, your agency may not be able to pay you your full amount (or any) for orientation. Don’t leave this as a surprise – go over orientation details BEFORE taking an assignment and decide whether or not it’s for you.
What is the overtime (OT) rate? Is OT based on the taxable amount or is it based on something entirely different?
Is there call? What is the call rate?Make sure the recruiter distinguishes between call rates (the rate you are paid to ‘stand by’ at home ready to return to work if need) and called in rate (the hourly rate you are paid after you are called into work).
Are there guaranteed hours? (How many times can I be called off?)Is the facility allowed to cancel my shift without guaranteeing hours?Some hospitals offer guaranteed hours, meaning if you get sent home during hour 28/36 (for example), you’ll still be paid for 36 hours that week. Some hospitals only offer that after calling you off for a certain amount of hours. Some hospitals do not offer this at all. It can be uncertain to go into a situation where there are no guaranteed hours whatsoever, but your recruiter will be able to assess what other travelers there are experiencing and help you make a decision. For the most part, this is pretty uncommon, but it does happen in some places.
Is there a third party agreement? When going into a new assignment, if your company is subcontracting the contract through another agency, there might not be as much clarity or control over the assignment. You’ll want to be aware of this right off the bat. Also, there may be other travelers from other agencies currently there with different pay. This is something to consider.
What is the floating policy?If you’re uncomfortable floating to certain units, then you definitely will want to make this clear with your recruiter and in your interview. Keep in mind that some assignments may also require you to float between facilities, not just units. If you are required to float between facilities, you will want to make sure that you can only be floated at the beginning of a shift, not during. Understanding what the float requirements may be will help you be mentally prepared for your work in your new hospital.
Is there anything about this facility I should know?Things unique to the hospital that you should know might get missed sometimes. Information about parking, scrubs, etc. can be asked.
What type of charting system is used?It can be difficult, especially if you are a new traveler, to initially start an assignment when you are unfamiliar with a facility’s current charting system. Unfamiliarity with a charting system should not determine whether you accept an assignment or not, but it should lead you to asking additional questions such as, “Is the charting system covered during orientation?”
What happens if I need time off, but don’t know the exact dates at this time?If you know you’re going to need time off (whether you know or don’t know the specific dates yet) it is imperative you communicate this with your recruiter and also with the person interviewing you. It’s not always a given that your request will be approved, but it makes it easier for everyone if you are able to give a heads up from the start.
What happens if I have an emergency?Many companies, such as MSSI, have a representative available 24/7 for instances such as this. However, you’ll still want to have your recruiter’s contact information should something happen.
Is there a financial penalty if I have to end the assignment early? Some facilities charge agencies an early termination penalty if a traveler is unable to complete an assignment and it is possible this penalty can and will be passed onto the traveler. If you travel long enough, chances are something unforeseen will occur that may require you to terminate an assignment early. Make sure you are aware of any financial penalty for early cancellation of the assignment.
To check out current travel assignments we have at MSSI, click here.
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