Morality in Travel Nurse Recruitment

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By: Adam Gomez

February 15, 2021

By: Adam Gomez

Recruiting travel nurses is an honorable position.  Matching qualified candidates to open positions at hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities across the nation solves a serious problem in our country. From geographic shortages to seasonal shifts in patient census, many healthcare facilities are unable to independently source and hire ample staff which is associated with negative patient outcomes and increased mortality. In essence, travel nursing recruiters are helping to prevent unnecessary patient suffering and even death. And in the midst of a pandemic the stakes are even higher.

But, as honorable as it surely is, there are some who view Healthcare recruiters negatively.  I spent some time speaking with a few of my former travelers in preparation for writing this blog. What I learned in those conversations is that there are some bad recruiters out there, and even bad agencies, ruining it for every other recruiter. Having worked as a recruiter for many years I wasn’t surprised to hear this. But some of the experiences they shared with me were shocking. And they revealed an incredible lack of morality on the part of the recruiter and sometimes an entire agency.

Now, to be fair, I understand there are nurses who commit immoral acts as well. But that’s not the focus of this article. And let’s remember, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Getting back to my conversations with these former travelers, as I listened to some of the things that were shared the thought of writing this article took on much greater meaning. I realize there are some recruiters who will not like what I’m about to say but I believe it needs to be said…travel nursing recruiters need to call out those recruiters who are saying and doing things that damage the trust between nurses and recruiters. But, that’s not enough. We need to develop a moral code for travel nurse recruitment that extends beyond the confines of a single agency. Every recruiter in the industry should and must adhere to this code, because when one recruiter fails to do so it impacts every recruiter out there.

I understand this may seem a bit doom and gloom, but that is not my intention, nor the tone I’m hoping to set. From my own personal experiences, I will say that the overwhelming majority of recruiters out there are good, hard-working people. And they work extremely hard, in what is an increasingly difficult position, to do what is right – what is morally correct. And the same goes for the owners and executives I’ve encountered by and large. I believe there is opportunity for recruiters and agencies to change the negative perception some nurses have of recruiters by following a universal moral code. Here are some items I feel should be practiced by every Healthcare recruiter:

Moral Code for Travel Nursing Recruiters

  1. I will only submit candidates when I’ve received their permission to do so.
  2. I will not encourage a traveler to end a contract with another agency to take a contract with me.
  3. I will not encourage a nurse to commit an immoral act.
  4. I will not lie to a nurse to ‘get the placement’.
  5. I will always be a supportive advocate for my nurses.
  6. I will encourage every nurse to do what is morally correct, even in situations where not doing so would benefit me.

This is a pretty short list. But I think it’s a great place to start! Together, we can and should all work together to change how poorly some view healthcare recruiters. The irony in all of this is that those who need to see it are probably not reading an article title, “Morality in Travel Nurse Recruitment”. Thank you for reading my article. Please let me know what you’d add to a moral code for travel nursing recruiters!

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