Recently, I asked recruiters what they would do in these situations.  Shandon has been a recruiter 5 years with the last 1 year at Capability Healthcare.  Below is her responses:

In a large metropolitan area, Nurse Floating Flo contracts to float between three hospitals within a 10 mile radius of her housing. Starting in the 6th week, the company ask her to float to a hospital 15 miles away, the 7th week she goes to one on the other side of the city, that is 30 miles away, plus one that is 17 miles away. The nurse is willing to take the first few, but after the behavior continues, she has had enough and voices this to her recruiter.  First, if this excessive distance was ever a possibility I would’ve been transparent with Nurse Floating Flo from the very beginning so that we could talk about how much driving would/could be involved. I think it’s important for any traveler to understand the area that the “floating” encompasses (a single hospital, multiple facilities, ect). I would also call the facility and try to understand WHY they’re floating her so far away if this was not the initial agreement/contract. This could be a simple error on their staffing office’s side, may be they have someone new? If they’re simply taking advantage of Nurse Floating Flo’s awesome skills and wiliness to help out that’s not ok with me. I would let them know that she’s contracted for hospitals A, B, and C and she is really happy to work there, but if they continue to take advantage of her I would help her to find another assignment with a facility that’s more respectful of their nurses.

Baby Nurse Betty is a skilled labor and delivery nurse, who also can float to post-pardium care after the delivery as well as the well-newborn nursery. At 7:30pm, the staffing company hotline gets a call stating that they want her to float to the NICU, which is beyond her competency level. What is your company’s response? My response is that I appreciate their high opinion of her as a nurse, but NICU is a completely different unit. She hasn’t been trained to work in this specialty and by putting her there they are putting the patient, facility and Baby Nurse Betty’s license at risk. I would be happy to schedule her for an L&D or PP shift, but she is not available to work in the NICU at this time (would give them qualified NICU RN option for their open shift if I have one available). I would also ask if they had paid training opportunities available for Baby Nurse Betty to learn NICU so she has an opportunity to expand professionally 🙂

Nurse Roach is all excited about her first travel nursing assignment. She drives 750 miles to her new assignment housing. After getting the keys from management, she opens the door and three cockroaches scurry across the floor. After further investigation, she also finds a ring of mold in the shower. She can’t stand it and immediately texts you with pictures. How do you respond?  I would be SHOCKED and disgusted! I’ve lived in places that (unknown to me at the time) were infested with mold so I know what it can do to your health! There are sadly places that think those qualify as livable conditions, but I try to be well-networked in the areas that I staff in to provide recommendations for housing. In this emergent situation, I would get her booked in a hotel room for the night so I know she’s safe and in a healthy environment while we tried to figure out better housing options for her.

You have worked with Nurse Asthmatic for 3 years now and she has done a great job for you, when she takes an assignment in Southeast Colorado. She envisions magic mountains that reach to the sky, only to find that she has landed in wheat country. Not wanting to cause problems she continues to work and everything is fine, until harvest. She has an asthma attack, ends up in the hospital, and is told that she is going to miss at least 2 weeks of work related to asthma induced pneumonia. How do you work things out?  First of all, if she wanted majestic mountains, I wouldn’t have offered up a hospital in wheat country. As a recruiter I should have at least GOOGLED the location I was sending my nurse to! But let’s say I’ve taken this over for another recruiter who placed her there and they’re no longer with my company… I would make sure that Nurse Asthmatic is ok – phone call, text, email, carrier pigeon, something! Her health is of the utmost importance! I would also communicate with the facility to let them know what’s going on and that she will be out for 2 weeks. This is a delicate situation that I would take one step at a time. I would also send her some plastic “get well soon” flowers so they didn’t further aggravate her pneumonia 🙂

You have worked hard to find Nurse Roulette a job in Las Vegas. You send the nurse a contract that she readily accepts, signs, and sends back. The next morning the bags are packed and Nurse Roulette is on the way to the assignment of her dreams. At 0800 she is out the door and to the hospital. Checking in with HR, they inform her that there is no contract between the hospital and the company, related to the fact that it has not been approved by HR. About the same time, the recruiting manager comes to you and tells you not to send Nurse Roulette on the assignment. This shouldn’t have happened, but unfortunately it does happen. What do you do?  This is a crummy situation. First, I would immediately call Nurse Roulette, take ownership of the mistake and apologize. There is no need for me to make excuses or try to shift blame at this point. I would also work tirelessly to find her another assignment of her dreams because I work hard to understand what my nurses want in a location, assignment, hospital, pay package, etc After speaking with Nurse Roulette I would then go to my manager (or whoever would be required for approval) to see if we can cover the travel expenses occurred to get out to the assignment and back home if I couldn’t quickly find her another assignment in Las Vegas.  

In regards to my office’s practices I would look into where in the process this communication broke down between me and my manager because I shouldn’t be submitting nurses to facilities that we don’t have active, valid contracts with. Then I would request an audit so that we have accurate information regarding which companies we’re working with so this doesn’t happen again.


What would you like travel nurses to know about being a great traveling nurse and making your job easier?  I think communication is key in this delicate dance. There are a lot of moving parts to getting a nurse to day 1 of an assignment so keep me up to date on where you’re at with your license, housing, paperwork, etc. Also, have a good sense of humor because it makes the entire process much more fun 🙂

Highway Line

If you are interested in working with Shandon Hayes, you can email her at:  


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