Across the United States, hospitals and medical practices serve diverse patients with a wide range of medical conditions. These medical facilities depend on skilled Registered Nurses to provide quality patient care. Regardless of the setting, these respected healthcare workers are known for their professionalism and compassion for their patients.
For decades, United States medical facilities have experienced Registered Nurse staffing shortages. These planned (and often unplanned) vacancies often cause existing staff to scramble to meet patient care needs. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly magnified the existing nurse shortfalls. While patient care needs dramatically increased during this period, many nurses were sidelined by the virus.
Why U.S. Medical Facilities Still Need More Nurses
Today, many United States medical facilities have seen greatly reduced COVID-19 patient care demand. However, rapidly increasing numbers of older adults require care for often-complex health problems. More medical practices and specialists are offering this care, causing a rising need for Registered Nurses. Concurrently, the general population’s medical care needs also continue to grow.
Unfortunately, United States hospitals and medical practices continue to face nursing shortages in all 50 states. As a result, medical facilities have had to pursue alternative methods of maintaining the required nurse-to-patient ratios. Versatile, adaptable travel nurses continue to be a tried-and-true solution to this nationwide problem.
How Health Carousel Travel Nursing Solutions Can Help
Skilled travel nurses are ready to help resolve short- and mid-term staffing shortages. These nurses often possess varied educational backgrounds and skill sets. When they share their knowledge with their agency client’s nursing staff, this helps to elevate the facility’s standard of patient care.
Travel nurses also enjoy three concrete benefits from their client assignments. First, they can acquire new skills and/or certifications that can help advance their careers. They’ll also enjoy personal and professional connections as they move through their assignments. Finally, these versatile nurses enjoy the freedom of working in interesting places on their own schedules.
Health Carousel Travel Nursing Gains Industry Prominence
Since 2004, Health Carousel Travel Nursing (or HCTN) has been a leader in the travel nursing field. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, this fast-response healthcare recruitment agency regularly fields client requests for Registered Nurses. Although many clinical professionals are generalists, other nurses possess certifications and/or clinical experience that may increase their marketability.
The streamlined HCTN management structure enables a timely response to client requests. Each job listing is quickly routed to an experienced healthcare recruitment professional.
These resourceful recruiters utilize updated recruitment technology and intimate regional market knowledge. Together, these advantages consistently enable HCTN’s recruiters to pinpoint matching candidates for each client assignment.
The Health Carousel Travel Nursing OnDemand Platform
Health Carousel Travel Nursing (or HCTN) coordinates travel nursing assignments for Registered Nurses in all 50 states. As part of HCTN’s services, the company offers a web-based application entitled Health Carousel Travel Nursing OnDemand. This versatile program provides nurses with digital tools to help them find (and manage) upcoming assignments.
How the HCTN OnDemand App Works
The Health Carousel Travel Nursing OnDemand app enables Registered Nurses to search for jobs using very specific parameters. To illustrate, users can filter by factors such as estimated pay, location, teaching facilities, trauma level, and others. Based on each nurse’s search parameters, they can obtain smart job recommendations.
When a nurse is ready to apply for a job, they can upload their licenses and certifications via their smartphones. By placing every document in a central location, they’ll eliminate the need to scroll through endless menus to put together their application. As a bonus, nurses can sort by currently active documents. This rules out the chance they’ll add expired documentation to their application.
Nurses can also set up targeted task management and useful application tracking. Finally, the app enables seamless communications between nurses and HCTN’s highly effective recruiters. Quick message exchanges can often mean the difference between snagging a coveted job and being edged out by someone with faster messaging capabilities.
Regardless of each nurse’s specific needs, the Health Carousel Travel Nursing OnDemand app offers an efficient way to help meet them. To get started, Registered Nurses can create their OnDemand profile at no charge.
Health Carousel OnDemand: Common Q&As
The Health Carousel Travel Nursing OnDemand app serves as a portal to the company’s available opportunities. By obtaining answers to frequently asked questions, nurses can derive maximum benefit from their HCTN OnDemand interactions.
What Types of Healthcare Positions May be Available?
Health Carousel Travel Nursing fills contract openings in all 50 states. These positions may include local assignments along with travel nurse opportunities. In addition, HCTN occasionally staffs LPN/LVN positions when the need arises.
Does HCTN Work with Brand-New Travel Nurses?
Yes, Health Carousel Travel Nursing often works with first-time travel nurses. The company’s Travel Nurse Academy provides plenty of first-timer resources. The HCTN job search tool also contains filters that show which facilities accept first-time travel nurses. By creating an OnDemand profile, nurses can access this handy tool.
In addition, new travel nurses are matched with a First-Time Travel Nurse Specialist. This friendly, knowledgeable professional can provide guidance and resources for a first-time travel nurse’s satisfying experience.
Will Each Travel Nurse Have a Primary Point of Contact?
While working with Health Carousel Travel Nursing, each travel nurse will primarily work with the same recruiter. Alternatively, nurses can choose their next assignment without contacting a recruiter first. The Health Carousel Travel Nursing OnDemand self-service portal can easily handle the logistics. If needed, a recruiter is available via a single click.
From time to time, Support Services team members will jump in to ensure the nurse’s success with their HCTN assignment. The Support Services group includes Credentialing, Employee Support, and Travel and Housing Specialists. The HCTN Clinical Team, composed of actively licensed Registered Nurses, can assist with career-directed conversations.
What Types of Health Insurance Plans are Available?
Health Carousel Travel Nursing offers three United Healthcare health insurance plans. Nurses can select a PPO Standard, a PPO Premium, or a High Deductible plan. HCTN also offers MetLife dental and vision plans.
Benefits Plan Enrollment
The HCTN-provided medical, dental, and vision plans are available on the first day of each nurse’s assignment. From the day they begin employment, the nurse will have 25 days to complete their new hire selections. They will enjoy coverage retroactive to their start date.
If a nurse fails to enroll during this period, they will have effectively waived their benefits. They will not be permitted to enroll in benefits coverage until they experience a Qualifying Life Event or the next open Enrollment Window opens.
Benefits Plan Discontinuation
Each HCTN nurse maintains healthcare benefits for up to 28 days following the last day they worked on their previous client assignment. This provision applies if the nurse has signed a contract for a new assignment starting within 28 days of their earlier assignment’s last day.
If the break between assignments exceeds 28 days, or the nurse decides to terminate their HCTN employment, their benefits will stop on the Saturday of their final week of work. At this point, COBRA continuation coverage enables the nurse to continue their medical, dental, and/or vision insurance.
On the Monday following the nurse’s last paycheck, COBRA information will be mailed to the address on file. The HCTN team can provide COBRA enrollment and pricing information upon request.
Additional Health Carousel Travel Nursing Benefits
- Accident and Critical Illness Insurance
- Voluntary Life and AD&D Insurance
- Voluntary Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance
- Standard Limited Liability Insurance
- Employee Assistance Program
- 401(k) Retirement Plan (includes company match)
- ADP LifeMart Corporate Discounts
- Free HealthStream Access to CEU Credit Courses
The Travel Nurse Credentialing Process
Before a travel nurse begins a client assignment, they must complete the required credentialing process. Credentialing typically includes proof of specific certifications along with lab and background checks.
How Long Does the Credentialing Process Take?
Although each medical facility has specific requirements, the credentialing process generally takes from two to three weeks. If a start date is quickly approaching, the HCTN team is usually able to complete the credentialing tasks in a week (or less).
Which Credentialing Tasks are Most Important?
The nurse must complete each required Credentialing task before beginning their assignment. However, the background check authorization and lab tests should be done immediately. These two factors most commonly delay the start of travel nurse assignments. In addition, nurses should allow sufficient time to complete applicable orientation modules and/or Relias exams before the assignment begins.
Can Nurses Get the Credentialing Process Underway Before They are Considered for Assignments?
Nurses are welcome to submit unexpired or otherwise valid documentation at any time. However, the client’s facility may (or may not) accept the documents. Documentation may include Physical Exam Results, a Fit Test, and any relevant certifications (front and back of the card). Medical documentation includes Flu, Hepatitis B, Varicella, MMR, TB and Tdap, among others.
Can Nurses Use Documentation from Previous Agency Work and/or Assignments?
Depending on each facility’s standards, many medical documents can be reused from prior nursing agency work or client assignments. Examples include vaccines, titers, TB tests, and similar items.
However, previous background checks, drug screens, and competency exams may not be reused. These items will be reassigned when a new credentialing cycle begins.
It’s also possible that an HCTN client may decline to accept documentation used for other assignments. This generally happens when nurses begin working at a new facility or change assignment locations. In this case, the HCTN team will ask the nurse for new documentation.
Does HCTN Pay for Nurses’ Credentialing Work?
Each nurse will receive $20/hour while working on relevant online modules that must be completed before an assignment begins. In addition, Health Carousel Travel Nursing will provide reimbursement for certifications required for the nurse’s HCTN assignment.
Travel Nurse Competency Exams
Travel nurses must pass the required competency exams to be eligible for placement at clients’ facilities. Health Carousel Travel Nursing utilizes Relias competency exams.
Which Competency Exams are Required?
Health Carousel Travel Nursing’s universal assigned exams include the Unit Competency Exam along with the Core Mandatory I, II, and III. The Core Mandatory Exams serve as the HCTN orientation.
Core Mandatory Exam topics include HIPAA regulations, Patient Rights, and Ethics. Safety Goals and Emergency Preparedness are also part of the Core Mandatories. Each client facility may require additional exams.
How Long Do Competency Exams Take?
The Unit Competency Exam and the Core Mandatory Exam Series are timed tests. Nurses must complete each exam within 45 minutes. Before beginning each exam, nurses should ensure they have sufficient time and reliable computer access.
Does HCTN Accept Competency Exams from Other Agencies or Assignments?
No, Health Carousel Travel Nursing does not accept competency exams taken through other agencies or on other assignments. HCTN’s exams carry the company brand and are conducted under company standards. As such, HCTN must be able to verify each nurse’s number of exam attempts.
What Happens if a Nurse Cannot Pass Their Competency Exams?
Each nurse has two attempts to pass their competency exams. If they do not pass the tests, the HCTN Clinical Nursing Team will contact them for remediation. Once the team identifies areas needing improvement, they’ll assign guides and practice modules.
Some client facilities only allow a maximum number of exam attempts. If a nurse cannot pass the tests, the facility may request another healthcare provider.
Nurses with testing anxiety or other test-related concerns have help available. The HCTN team will gladly provide any needed assistance. Nurses are asked to advise a team member before taking any competency exams.
Do the Relias Competency Exams Provide CEU Credits?
No, the required Relias exams are not associated with CEU credits. However, nurses may obtain CEU credits by taking courses via the HealthStream online portal. Nurses will receive a HealthStream login on their first day with HCTN. This valuable access enables unlimited (and free) entry to courses that can provide required CEUs.
Travel and Housing
When travel nurses accept out-of-area assignments, they must obtain safe, convenient housing while employed at the client’s facility. Health Carousel provides its travel nurses with multiple types of housing assistance.
What Types of Housing Assistance are Available?
Health Carousel travel nurses can select from company-paid accommodations or accept a housing stipend. If nurses arrange for their own housing, the HCTN Travel and Housing Department offers pre-negotiated rates and discounts on selected accommodations. Temporary hotel stays are also available.
Nurses can also obtain details on state-specific travel restrictions. City-specific information includes details on neighborhood safety, grocery stores, schools, and more. The HCTN Travel and Housing Department stands ready to help with any aspect of assignment-related housing.
How Does Company-Paid Housing Work?
Health Carousel Travel Nursing offers turnkey company-paid housing. Here, the HCTN Travel and Housing Department researches, reserves, and pays for the nurse’s assignment-related housing. A Travel and Housing Department associate can provide customized options based on each nurse’s lodging parameters. Pet-friendly options are often available.
Company-paid housing includes apartments, Airbnb lodgings, and vacation rentals. Additional options include traditional hotels and extended-stay hotels. Nurses with RVs will have their site rental fees paid. Nurses’ electric, gas (if applicable), water, sewer, and trash fees are also covered.
Because travel nurses typically don’t bring along their furniture, each accommodation will be fully furnished for their convenience. Each lodging includes a standard living room, bedroom, and kitchen furniture along with commonly used housewares.
How Does a Housing Stipend Work?
A housing stipend is a predetermined sum of money included in each nurse’s paycheck. The stipend (or per-diem payment) is intended to pay the cost of the nurse’s travel between their housing and the client’s premises. If a nurse chooses the housing stipend, they must research, book, and pay for their own housing and travel expenses.
With that said, the HCTN Travel and Housing Department will gladly help housing stipend recipients find a safe, affordable housing option. Once the nurse provides the search parameters, an associate will vet and verify all options before sending them for evaluation.
Maybe a housing stipend recipient’s apartment won’t be ready when they need it. A HCTN Travel and Housing associate will be happy to arrange temporary accommodations for each nurse who needs them.
Health Carousel Travel Nursing OnDemand Delivers on All Levels
When travel nurses are ready to find and book assignments, they can access Health Carousel Travel Nursing OnDemand at any time of day (or night). When these healthcare professionals need a recruiter’s assistance, these industry-savvy associates are only a click away. Either way, Health Carousel Travel Nursing stands ready to help nurses at every level advance their careers.