Handling Your References on the Road

Whether you want to continue a career as a traveling healthcare professional indefinitely, or you’d like to get a more permanent position in the future, it’s critical that you maintain good references while you’re on travel assignments.

Read below for tips on how to do just that.

Many of the best facilities have the most stringent requirements. For example, many nursing units won’t even look at you without a reference from your most recent unit manager.

Fresh references also are required, or preferred, for other traveling healthcare professionals, so it’s absolutely critical that you keep up to date on providing recent references.

Another factor that can make getting references a bit difficult is the fact that many employers today will only give out the following information: When you worked, what your title/duties were and whether you’re “eligible for rehire.” In other words, they won’t give references about how hard you worked, your skills, etc.

To get around this, make a point of forging close relationships with assignment colleagues and supervisors. As you’re getting ready to leave the assignment, ask them if they’d be willing to give you a good reference in the future. (Be sure to ask if they’ll give you a good reference. If you ask them if they could give you a reference, they may be happy to…and give you a poor one. You only want people on your reference list who will give you good or even glowing reviews.)

If you’re unable to get close enough to people while on assignment, know that your traveling healthcare service will be asking your supervisors to evaluate you as part of your assignment. These evaluations become part of your record with the staffing firm. Not every medical facility will fill out the evaluation forms and not every staffing firm will allow you to see them.

To counteract this, take in your own evaluation form and give it in person to your supervisor, asking him or her very nicely to fill it out. You can then give a copy of this form to your staffing manager, keeping the original for your own records.

If you do decide to leave a traveling career for a permanent healthcare position, these written evaluations can be a godsend to you. Even if a permanent employer were to call your former supervisors, it’s doubtful that they would remember your great work in detail (unless you keep in touch with them in some way, so that they remember you).

But perhaps the smartest – and most enjoyable – way to ensure you get great references is to befriend supervisors and colleagues at your assignments. Ask them to become a good reference and offer to the do the same. And, once your assignment is over, stay in touch. Offer to put former colleagues up in your place when they travel to your region. Provide job leads to people you know are looking for work.

And, naturally, the best way to get great references is to provide exceptional work and service while on assignment.

If you’re an RN, OT, PT, speech therapist, or other allied health professional with a bare minimum of one year of professional experience, contact a recruiter at MedPro Healthcare Staffing. We love talking to healthcare professionals about the many great travel assignments we offer. Contact us today!

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