Traveling during a pandemic has been extremely lucrative for healthcare professionals. Since the pandemic hit America in 2020, facilities and staffing agencies saw traditional healthcare staffing standards go to the wayside. In an attempt to keep up with the demand for staff, and ultimately help prevent the healthcare system from getting overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
The healthcare travel industry was inundated with jobs promoting crisis pay rates, emergency licensing approvals, and even waived experience standards. As the market begins to shift into a post-COVID era, the healthcare travel industry is starting to see some of these exceptions normalize. But what does “normal” mean anymore?
If you’re a seasoned medical traveler, you might be looking forward to some of these changes. But if you jumped into healthcare travel for the first time during the pandemic, you can expect to see a stricter pre-screening processes, increased onboarding requirements, as well fewer hours on the floor.
What to Expect in a “Normal” Market
Bye-Bye Crisis Rates
Crisis rates are more difficult to find these days (if not non-existent). However, the good news is that traveler pay rates are still elevated in comparison to pre-COVID times. Being a healthcare traveler is still lucrative, so don’t get discouraged when you see the weekly rates level out.
Fewer Hours Worked
Healthcare workers have been overworked the past two years (and beyond). As the market continues to normalize, 36-hour work weeks will return. Fewer hours in the hospital or clinic means more time to explore the city, meet locals, or catch up with co-workers over happy hour.
Be Flexible on Shifts, Pay and Location
Throughout the pandemic, travelers have been able to set their expectations and have every one met. Primarily, due to facilities being desperate for help to prevent overwhelming their ERs and ICUs with COVID-19 patients. Now that things are less chaotic regarding COVID, travelers will need to be more flexible with their list of preferences.
It helps to have open conversations and collaborate with your recruiter to get your contract as close to your wish-list items as possible. For example, if you want to work in Dallas, Texas and there’s a gig 40-minutes from the city, you may want to consider taking it as there are simply fewer jobs to choose from.
Expect to Interview for the Job
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the era of auto-offers is in the rear-view. Facilities are back to requiring interviews prior to making an offer. But don’t worry, if you’re a little rusty on your interview skills, your LRS Healthcare recruiter is a great resource! They’ll help you prepare and share best practices and tips for nailing the interview no matter by phone or Zoom.
Be Responsive or Miss Out
With interviews making a comeback and auto- approvals no longer a thing, there is now a larger pool of candidates applying to the same job. If you’ve shown interest in the job and are working with a recruiter, be sure to answer your calls and texts, or call back in a timely manner. A lack of communication or responsiveness could mean that another applicant lands the job simply because they were qualified and quick to reply.
Increased Onboarding Requirements
COVID-19 challenged staffing agencies and facilities to work together in getting travelers placed and working as soon as possible. To do so, onboarding requirements took a back seat and processes were cut short. In a normal market, your onboarding requirements will be stricter. This means passing wellness tests, background checks and fewer exceptions when it comes to state licensing and job certifications.
As the healthcare traveler market continues to normalize, it’s important to find a recruiter you can trust and lean on as an advisor. It’s our job to ensure you are paired with the best job for your qualifications and lifestyle preferences. The closer we can work together, the more personalized your next travel assignment will be.
For questions about traveling with LRS Healthcare, your next assignment, or how to get started as a healthcare traveler, reach out to an LRS Healthcare recruiter at 1-800-811-0064.