What Facilities Should Know About Onboarding Travel Nurses

Onboarding Travel Nurses

As demand fluctuates, many healthcare facilities turn to travel nurses to fill gaps in staffing. While travel nurses offer crucial flexibility, effectively onboarding them requires some unique considerations compared to permanent staff.

Here’s what hospitals and medical centers should keep in mind when welcoming travel nurses to maximize productivity:

Key Considerations for Onboarding Travel Nurses

Condense Orientation Content

Travel nurses typically have a strong history of nursing experience and don’t require the extensive orientation permanent new hires go through. Condense onboarding down to the most essential policies, protocols, technologies, and workflows to get them patient-ready faster.

Introduce Facility & Unit Culture

Each workplace has its own culture and rhythms. Provide some orientation sessions for travel nurses to acquaint them with the facility and unit’s common practices, terminology, leadership team, schedules, and norms. This facilitates quicker assimilation.

Pair with Nurse Mentors

Assign an experienced permanent unit nurse as a mentor and ongoing resource to guide contracted travelers. Mentors can answer questions, provide informal feedback, and help acclimate travel nurses to any unit-specific systems.

Set Clear Expectations Upfront

Prevent surprises regarding documentation requirements, competency testing, dress code, and conduct standards by covering these expectations clearly from the start. Outline support resources as well to ease transitions.

Enable EMR System Access Without Delay

Delayed EMR access severely hinders travel nurse productivity and care continuity. Have user profiles, password credentials, and access permissions ready to issue on day one of assignments. Prioritize EMR training.

Highlight Unit-Specific Resources

Collect Ongoing Feedback

Check-in periodically with travel nurses throughout assignments to pinpoint any lingering onboarding gaps that need reinforcement so they feel fully equipped for duty success.

Survey Exit Feedback

Exit interviews help identify broader onboarding and cultural weaknesses from travel nurses rotating out. This intelligence should shape more seamless integrations for subsequent contract teammates.

With strategic onboarding processes that cover technology access, role expectations, unit resources, and cultural dynamics, travel nurses transform into integral contributors in maintaining care standards, even with temporary stints. Facilities that perfect traveler onboarding reap substantial benefits all around.


Looking to leverage travel nurses to fill urgent openings or temporary vacancies? Get connected with one of our recruiting experts.