This week, we’ve invited one of our agencies, Nurse First, to chat with us and share a little more about who they are and why they love working with travelers so much. They are a part of providing travel assignments on Wanderly in an empowered way with the information you need. Get to know Nurse First a little better here:
Share the Nurse First story– who, where, why, what, how.
- Who: Nurse First Travel Agency was founded by our CEO, Jeremy Commisso.
- Where: The company was founded in Ohio, Jeremy’s home state, but has since relocated and is now based out of the Raleigh, NC area.
- Why: It was founded due to the habitual pitfalls, both he and many other travelers, have experienced in the industry, such as low-balling, the industry’s cultural feeling of Agency Vs. Healthcare Professional opposed to Agency AND Healthcare Professional, and so on.
- What: Nurse First Travel Agency has empowered its entire team (both internal and travelers) to truly UNDERSTAND all that there is to know about this agency and due to this model, Nurse First Travel Agency has instilled a company-wide culture of “we are all in this together.” Afterall, isn’t that correct? Without the travelers, Nurse First Travel Agency wouldn’t make a dime on any contract. Likewise, we feel that the travelers working with us would not receive the holistic travel experience, the 100% accountability, clear and concise communication, and sheer honesty with any other agency. Nurse First Travel Agency also feels that travelers should not have to deal with the financial stressors of wondering if they’re getting paid fairly for all that they have to deal with by simply being a travel healthcare professional. Simply put, the travelers deal with being far away from their families for months on end, a lack of job security (on a relative basis due to contract lengths being finite), finding housing options numerous times a year in “foreign to them” areas and so on. We feel that the last thing they should ever have to worry about is their onboarding process, remaining compliant throughout their contract, having to “rush” around to do anything that an agency could have been on top of sooner and whether or not they’re being paid fairly for the extremely difficult work and situations in which they’ve entrusted us to employ them. As we speak, we are actually unveiling the first of two new divisions to further enhance the experience we can provide to our travelers.
- How Nurse First Travel Agency came to be: We did over 2,600% more business (yes, that is accurate) in 2018 from our founding year of 2017. We are on pace to top those 2018 numbers by another 600% by year’s end and it is all solely due to our amazing internal staff and travel team’s hard work and all buying in to the “everyone can, should and will win by working for and with Nurse First Travel Agency” culture our CEO has created within our agency.
What should travelers know about Nurse First?
What we feel separates Nurse First Travel Agency from any other agency is how we develop pay packages for travelers, how we have instilled processes to ensure a streamlined onboarding experience to minimize headache and time spent onboarding, as well as developing timekeeping/payroll processes to ensure each traveler is paid in a timely fashion and 100% accurately.
At our agency, everyone has a job internally that they’re thoroughly trained in to execute their maximum potential and company expectations. Our travelers and recruiters alike, constantly reiterate their love of feeling like they’re in a team effort when working together. We have created many policies to ensure they both feel like, and truly are, “in the trenches together” when it comes to finding jobs, developing pay packages and having the full emotional support needed to establish and maintain longstanding working relationships together.
Our compliance team is “Johnny on the spot” with beginning their process as soon as they’re able to do so to ensure few, if any, onboarding requirements are pushed close to the deadlines needed for travelers to begin a contract or remain compliant while on contract. Our payroll/timekeeping team does all that they can to ensure travelers understand and follow our processes in place to ensure they’re always paid what they should be paid, when they should be paid.
The combination of high-quality travelers, a timely and concise compliance team, as well as a detail-oriented and efficient payroll / timekeeping / invoicing team has also has proven to be greatly appreciated by our clients (facilities) that our travelers are at and thus creates more opportunities and stronger likelihoods that future travelers will be placed at said facilities.
What is the team culture like at Nurse First? Share some examples of team members, their roles, and exciting milestones from 2018….
While working internally at Nurse First Travel Agency, our staff has completely bought into the culture of ensuring we work towards goals of ensuring everyone wins, giving more than we have received, all while having fun and enjoying milestones reached.
One example we are all proud of at Nurse First Travel Agency is the new weekly tradition that began towards the beginning of 2019. We call it our “Optimism Chart” and in essence, at the end of each day, our team comes together and each person recognizes one person who was extremely uplifting for that day. On Fridays, the employee with the most points (recognitions) for the week, chooses where we go out to eat a company lunch. Once there, the employee(s) with the fewest recognitions get to pick one person or group of people to “pay it forward” and pay at least a portion of their bill. We feel that there are few ways better to ensure you’re in a great mood than to perform a random act of kindness for a stranger. Every week, it has been quite rewarding to see that nearly all of our employees split that chosen bill, so not only are the people with the fewest points-paying it forward, but every employee tends to.
How does the leadership at NURSE 1ST define success for the employees as well as success for the travelers?
At Nurse First Travel Agency, we fully understand and take pride in developing company culture from the top and want all expectations made to be first led by example from our leadership team. We want every employee to truly take ownership of their role within the company and we feel that in order to expect each employee to act that way, it must be lived out from the top down.
We also ensure that our leadership team speaks with each traveler. Currently, our COO, Wendy Watkins-Ragan, speaks with the travelers shortly after they begin their contract to obtain feedback on the onboarding process and answer any questions or hear any comments that the travelers may have. Towards the last couple weeks of each contract our CEO, Jeremy Commisso personally attempts to reach each traveler to obtain feedback on their entire contractual experience at both the facility, and their dealings with our internal team to allow someone with a nursing background to hear all of the comments and/or praise they had.
What are the hopes for the Nurse First/Wanderly partnership in 2019? How can we continue to best support each other?
What myths about the travel healthcare industry would Nurse First want to correct for someone considering taking an assignment?
I cannot stress enough that traveling is NOT for everyone. As many experienced travelers know and new travelers quickly learn, there are numerous different stressors that only come with being a traveler. A few are minimal orientation, finding housing, having to take interview calls at all times of day, moving around the country quite frequently, and long stents from your family and home.
On the flip side, many horror stories told are far outweighed by stories of sheer enjoyment. A very large majority of our travelers have wonderful experiences from contract to contract. They have found that most facilities are truly very kind to travelers and thankful that they’re there. We recommend travelers go into each assignment open-minded and with a belief that they’re a guest at that particular facility. It is quite ill-advised to show up to any work environment, no matter the profession, acting as if one “knows it all.” There are many different ways to get to the same endpoint and just because getting there may not be done in a fashion that what one is used to, doesn’t mean it is wrong. Do not be afraid to suggest new alternative processes based on previous experience but as long as you’re not putting your license in jeopardy, be accommodating yourself and learn a new process as they believe is best.
However, we feel this is where the agency “earns its stripes.” We pride ourselves on ensuring our travelers do not just know what is needed to take a contract but we want them to fully understand all that there is to know about the industry. As travelers do not have a particular facility to back them up or lean on in stressful times, they do have us and we do all that we can to ensure we fully and completely exceed their expectations.
What gives the team at Nurse First the feeling of purpose in the day-to-day?
Nurse First Travel Agency thrives in knowing that we are not only filling the desperate needs of our clients but we are providing top-notch care, compassion and changing the lives of our travelers by the experience we provide them.
What are the plans for the future of Nurse First? What is planned for 2019? ANY NEW EXCITING DIVISIONS?
A lot more detail is yet to come, but we are developing a process to further ensure our travelers and recruiters feel as though they are even more “in it together” as well as looking to roll out our third division in the next 12 months that will allow us to meet ALL of the possible needs any traveler could have or desire from their agency.
Thanks so much to Nurse First for taking the time to share all this wonderful information. If you’re a traveler, don’t forget to check out their travel assignments here. and be sure to follow them on Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn
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