Why Your Medical Traveler Can’t Start Next Monday

For facilities that need help on one of their units, they need that help ASAP! It’s a frequent phrase that we hear from our hiring managers when they are making an offer.

“Please offer RN a 13-week contract for an ASAP start.”

I have seen offers go out on a Wednesday and they are hoping the traveler can start the following Monday. Let’s take a look at a few items that put a potential wrench in the quick start.


A majority of our facilities require recent drug screens and background checks (some within 30 days of start), OIG/GSA Sanctions and EPLS, TB testing, physicals, titers draws and applicable vaccinations/waivers, certifications, licenses, diplomas, transcripts, references, and a partridge in a pear tree. Well…not the partridge, but I think you see the point. There are a lot of items that need to be collected to make sure the medical professional you are bringing on to care for your patients is qualified and safe to be working for you!

Orientation dates

With some facilities there are so many moving parts to onboarding. HR needs to credential and get badges for incoming staff and train them on the timekeeping processes. There have to be instructors available to train incoming travelers on the EMR charting that your facility uses. There needs to be available preceptors to orient on the unit. Sometimes these people are not all available at the drop of a hat and need to schedule out a few weeks to be prepared. A lot of facilities actually have a set orientation schedule and will not bring in travelers on the off weeks.


With the travel market currently being candidate driven, a lot of travelers are looking for their next assignment a lot further in advance. I have seen some facilities offer a contract for three months in advance. While the normal turnaround is a lot quicker than that it is fairly common to see travelers who are looking for a contract after their current assignment ends in three to six weeks. There have been some amazing candidates who have to turn down offers because they cannot leave an assignment to get to the new offered contract when the facility needs them.

What can we do?

Being in this industry for years now and seeing the fast pace that these travelers are living in, I have found a few things that have helped to speed along the process and get travelers to start when the facility needs them:

  • Plan ahead. Know if you have vacancies in staffing approaching (vacations, maternity leave, retirements, etc.). The best course of action is to offer a full three weeks out to allow for proper onboarding, so post a job with that in mind.
  • Interview fast. Easy one here, but taking 15-20 minutes right when you receive a profile will get an offer out quicker, ensures the candidate is still available, and allows credentialing to start immediately.
  • Get waivers (if absolutely necessary). This one is a little touchy and sometimes not an option, but if the agency is missing a reference or offers to bring in certifications on day one it might help move along the traveler starting.
  • Flexible orientation dates. Again, this might not be an option but if you have a relaxed scheduler/instructor schedule and can do mid-week starts, then once the compliance is complete you can start the traveler. This could mean a traveler could start one to three days earlier than anticipated.

Communication is key!

If you are ever curious what the projected time frames of getting a traveler to help staff your unit is, give us a call! We speak to agencies daily and keep an eye on the market trends from the hospital and agency perspective across the states to make sure we can give you an accurate look at availability and interest for travelers going to your location. If you have questions on your compliance, reach out to your HR or our compliance team. We make sure that we are collecting the correct documentation required by your facility and want to make sure we are all on the same page to be successful!

Thank you all and happy staffing!

Sam Mosher

Sam has been with FocusOne Solutions since June 2017 and has two years of prior staffing experience. He enjoys working with clients and agencies to find a solution that is beneficial for all parties. Sam loves being able to use his critical thinking skills to find creative solutions to issues and situations that come up. When Sam is not at work he likes to play music, watch movies, and spend time with his wife and two sons.

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