Like you, I made the leap into travel nursing. And also, like you, that meant I had to find the right travel company and then, of course, mesh with the right recruiter.

And boy oh boy, are there are a ton of recruiters who wanted lil’ ole’ me to take a contract with them.

So look, it’s no secret that RNs are a hot commodity right now. It’s also no secret that travel nurses value their connections with travel nurse companies and recruiters. 

Trust, like all other relationships, serves as one of the essential foundations. 

Unfortunately, the dynamics of these connections, plus the nature of our work as travel RNs allow for a variety of situations in which trust may be jeopardized. This blog article will go through 5 ways a travel nurse’s faith in a recruiter might be damaged and offer solutions to avoid these traps and mend relationships.

1: Submitting me for an assignment without my knowledge 

Recruitment is a dog-eat-dog world.

And it’s also how many recruiters make their living. They have KPIs and metrics that they have to adhere to. In short, they are essentially a salesforce, and you, the RN, are the commodity.

Generally speaking, I’m ok with all that. It’s just part of doing business.

But when I’m not ok is when a recruiter submits my packet to a hospital simply to make their quota. 

Right off the bat, this puts a huge strain on mutual trust. It can make them look bad, especially if the hospital actually liked my packet. And it makes me look bad when I tell them “heck no!” and that I never submitted to the position. Point blank. It’s not cool and not ethical.

As a result, the recruiter places the nurse in a sticky situation which is something a recruiter should never do. 

The recruiter is literally making moves behind your back. 

So yeah, you should understandably question the recruiter’s professionalism.


Talk to the nurse beforehand. We get it and totally understand that positions can open and close really quick. So just let me know that you may submit my profile or package to get me the best assignments.

Knowing this upfront can save a relationship!

2: Asking me to pay for my stuff then reimburse me later 

The last contract I did was a crisis gig.

That means the facility needed RNs yesterday, so get some nurses out there asap to work.

The nurses are the golden egg and should be treated as such. We are the ones hustling for 12-hours and often days in a row. So don’t expect me to have to put my credit card down for the rental car, lodging, or any other expenses AND bust my buns for 12 hours. In fact, a recruiter shouldn’t assume that every nurse has a credit card.

That’s your job, Mr/Mrs recruiter. To take care of your nurses.


Be savvy enough as a recruiter and even savvier as a company to build enough margin into your bill rates and pay rates to properly care for your golden eggs.

Trust me, we have options. Lots of them. And most will do what’s right by us so we can do what we do. Be a nurse.

3: Not paying my completion bonus 

That end of assignment bonus is enticing.

It can be the difference between Agency X and Agency Y. Between working 3×12 or 4×12. Choosing to go to another state vs. staying close to home.

So if your recruiter dangles that carrot and you bite, then they don’t pay…well… that’s a problem.

It’s not the RN’s fault that the hospital is slow to pay an invoice. It’s not the traveler’s problem that your supervisor is on vacation. And it’s certainly not the hard-working nurse’s issue to deal with the red tape of payroll.

All the nurse knows is that they trust you to do what’s right and deliver on the promise. 


Make sure you are both clear upfront on the how, the what and when the bonus will be dispersed. Talk about it upfront and let the RN know that it takes 4-weeks post-assignment. Or that it’s contingent upon certain factors, then spell those factors out.

Your trust and relationship are at stake here.

4: Telling me, “that’s not what the contract says” 6 weeks in 

First of all, I totally understand that the contract is written in legal speak.

But most of all, is we really rely on you to be on my side and spell out the details BEFORE I pack my bags. Nobody, especially a travel RN, likes to have nutty contract curve balls thrown at them after they’re on assignment.

One of the easiest ways to lose trust and business from us nurses is to rely on some obscure, page 7 clause to wiggle out of a promise you had verbalized.


Lay out the details before we pack our bags. 

Talk about the pitfalls, and the “this can happen ifs” upfront. Do it before your nurse signs the contract. Don’t make us feel like you purposely didn’t mention some remote verbiage simply to make the placement. 

Because when you do make us feel that way, the trust bond is broken.

For good.

5: Why haven’t you called lately? 

Perhaps your dog ate your phone. 

Maybe cell service went out only in your zip code.

It could be that you bumped your head and totally forgot that your travel nurse was out there hustling for you.

But otherwise, why haven’t you checked in? Why have you not at least texted to see how the gig was going? Maybe sent a simple email just to see if my head is above water.

Look, I get that I’m an adult and can take care of myself.

But you are my lifeline.

When a new assignment is started, a lot is going on. As a consequence, things can go horribly wrong. Travelers will naturally doubt the competence of the recruiter if recruiters don’t check in during this crucial time, thus jeopardizing the traveler’s trust in the recruiter.


Pick up the dang phone and call!

The final word

Trust between travel nurses and their recruiters is a bond that must be nurtured and cared for. 

And as a recap, here are the ways that bonds can be broken quickly.

  • Recruiters should be savvy enough to build margin into their rates to adequately care for nurses. 
  • Recruiters should be clear upfront about bonus details and payout. 
  • If the recruiter tells a nurse one thing and does another, trust is broken and will not be rebuilt. 
  • Recruiters need to check in on their nurses, especially when a lot is going on at the beginning of an assignment.
  • Recruiters should be honest and build trust with their nurses so that both parties are satisfied.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. And if you have a reason for how recruiters lose our trust, share that too! 

To learn more about the travel nursing opportunity and cities across the country, visit Bestica Healthcare and start planning your next assignment today.


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