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Travel Nursing Agencies

Table of Contents

You spend so much time caring for others, it's important to work with a travel nurse agency that you can trust. But with hundreds out there, how do you find the top travel nursing agencies to contact about your next assignment?

What is important to you? Is it a high-paying assignment, no matter where it is located? Is it the destination? Is it working with a recruiter and company that you enjoy? Is it the benefits? Is it working with a firm that is established and accredited by the Joint Commission? Is it a combination of several of these items?

Benefits and Perks

Travel nursing offers a flexible lifestyle and schedule, a chance to explore new places, and the opportunity to work in new and challenging clinical settings. At the same time, nurses enjoy:Benefits

  • Higher compensation
  • Guaranteed hours
  • Continuous availability of assignments
  • Minimal or no office politics
  • Referral bonuses
  • Opportunities for career advancement (switching specialties, leadership roles)
  • Licensure reimbursement
  • Medical, dental and vision insurance
  • PTO and holiday pay



All travel nurse staffing firms are not created equal. You want to work with a company that is responsive, honest, and transparent. Your initial impression of a travel nurse agency often begins with the recruiter. A good recruiter should get to know you and have a thorough understanding of what you’re looking for when considering multiple travel nursing assignment options.

Traits of an excellent recruiter:

  • They make themselves available and communicate clearly when they will not be able to access their phone or email due to scheduled time off.
  • They answer your complex questions. This applies to general information as well as nitty gritty details of a contract. If your recruiter doesn’t have a concrete answer, they follow up with the appropriate person and get back to you quickly.
  • They’re timely. We’ve all seen horror stories of recruiters “ghosting” candidates. A great recruiter should respond to you within 48 hours. It is reasonable to expect a response the same day, assuming it’s a regular business day (Monday-Friday).
  • Has been in their role for at least one year. Seasoned recruiters are more likely to be organized and poised, both during the initial onboarding process and when a candidate is signing the contract. A well-versed recruiter should never make you feel pressured or hurried into signing a contract without a complete understanding of the ins and outs.
Remember when you used to work on the “Connect the Dots” puzzles as a kid? Think of yourself as a dot, and your future assignment as the other dot. A stellar recruiter will be your connecting line, for your first, and any additional, assignment opportunities in the future. When the dots and lines are connected, the final product is a robust nursing career.


Joint Commission-1Ultimately, the travel nursing staffing agency you partner with should be accredited by the Joint Commission.

Since 2004, The Joint Commission has been offering comprehensive evaluations of staffing firms’ abilities to provide qualified, competent staffing services. If a travel nursing company receives an appropriate score from the evaluation, it becomes “Joint Commission Certified.”

Travel nursing companies that receive the Gold Seal of Approval should be at the top of your list, when sifting through your options for a top nurse recruiting firm. Think of Joint Commission accreditation as the benchmark that signifies quality, professionalism and trust.

In addition to being Joint Commission Certified, LeaderStat has been recognized by various organizations for exceptional practices. LeaderStat was the recipient of the Best of Staffing Award in 2020 for both clients and talent, which means we received a Net Promoter Score higher than the industry average. This score indicates that exceptionally high levels of service were provided to both healthcare clients and job seekers.

Jobs and Pay

Job Board (1)A variety of travel nursing jobs are open across the U.S. at any given time. Your options are even most vast if you hold a compact nursing license, which means you can practice as an LPN or RN in more than half of the country.

High-paying travel nurse jobs usually take place in cities with higher cost of living, such as Los Angeles or New York City. Hourly rates can also vary based on urgency of needs. For example, if a brand new hospital building is opening in California, administrators may lean on travel nurses to help ensure that nurse-patient ratios are kept within legal limits on each unit.

According to Vivian Health, on average, travel nurses are now earning about $3,334 a week. To provide a bit more context, in 2019 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic), The Trusted Health Travel Nurse Compensation Report stated that the average travel nurse weekly pay was about $1,800.

Travel nurse specialties that have higher weekly pay are: Intensive Care Unit (ICU), follow by Emergency Room (ER) and Labor and Delivery (L&D).

Travel RNs typically make around double of what a full-time staff nurse makes. However, this pay increase comes with a few caveats, such as: expectations of immediate start date (48-72 hours), going to an unknown area alone (without friends or family), working long hours in critical care, and the potential to float to other units based on staffing shortages.

Nurses that pursue a career in travel nursing must be able to enter a new medical environment in a new location and get up to speed with current protocols and procedures quickly. Additionally, they must have excellent clinical, analytical, and communication skills, a calm demeanor, and the ability to work well within a team.

Contract lengths can vary, though it’s common to see them ranging from 4 weeks to 13 weeks (and typically, travel nurses will have the option for an extension, if they choose).

A handful of travel nurse specialties are in high demand virtually everywhere, including:

  • Cath Lab
  • Critical Care Unit (CCU)
  • Dialysis
  • Emergency Room (ER)
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Labor and Delivery (L&D)
  • Medical Surgical (M/S)
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Orthopedics
  • Operating Room (OR)
  • Pediatrics
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
  • Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health
  • Step-Down (also known as Progressive Care Unit, or “PCU”)
  • Telemetry (Tele)


Another factor that should help you choose a top travel nursing agency is how long it’s been in business. An RN staffing agency that’s been around for decades is sure to have industry knowledge, connections and expertise that cannot be matched. These longstanding agencies have had time to develop a strong reputation amongst fellow travel nurses and healthcare organizations (client buildings) alike.

Reputable staffing firms will have:

  • A professional, updated website
  • A social media presence across multiple platforms
  • Testimonials and online reviews

See What Others Are Saying

Take an hour to scour the internet – search for traditional Google reviews, as well as those on Facebook. Additionally, check out Glassdoor to see what current and former travelers are saying.

If a company has no reviews at all, consider this to be a giant red flag. It is also unlikely that a legitimate travel nursing firm will have nothing but shiny, 5-star reviews.

Tip: Don’t forget to check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to confirm if an agency is legitimate, as well as how many years it has been in business.


The most important thing is to find a company you trust, with a staff that can provide you with great job placements and support throughout your travel nursing journey.

If something just doesn’t feel right (like if an agency is offering incentives that sound too good to be true), trust your gut. A top travel nursing agency and their recruitment team should make you feel comfortable, excited, prepared, and eager to start on your travel nursing adventure!

There are so many RN travel agencies out there. Be sure to allot time to vet your top choices.

Ideally, you want to work with a travel nurse agency that cares about the whole you, and meets all of the above criteria, like LeaderStat Travel Nursing. When you partner with LeaderStat for your next travel nursing assignment, know that you have a trusted partner that’s been in business for more than 20 years.

We continually strive to uphold our mission and vision, which is to be a trusted source for talented interim staff for healthcare organizations nationwide.


Open Travel Nurse Jobs

Healthcare Consulting | Recruiting | Staffing | LeaderStat

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